In a New Year’s Eve appearance on the Destiny Tracker podcast, Kotaku's Destiny authority Jason Schreier shared some insight on the development of Destiny 2, and the inception of the Eververse microtransactions store that has caused so much ire among players.
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Activision's CEO Eric Hirshberg said work had begun on Destiny 2 back in November 2014, so players have felt that time constraints were not a problem with the sequel as they were in the original. According to Schreier, however, that's not the case:
"I think that it was made in a relatively short period of time," he says. "There was a big reboot of Destiny 2 at some point in early 2016. There had been a previous guy who was directing the game before Luke Smith, who's the current director, took over. So that guy was kind of put aside - he's not at Bungie anymore - and Luke Smith took over. I believe that was in April of 2016 but I might be misremembering. Don't hold me to that exactly. So if you think about it that way, they didn't really have a ton of time to work on this game. It had been a 16 month period between the reboot and when the game actually shipped."
It's worth noting that Schreier first reported this reboot much closer to when it actually happened, but to judge from the reaction to the DTR Podcast on Reddit, that seems to have been largely forgotten.
Back on the podcast, Schreier goes on to say the decisions to cut all the original game's planets, and to pursue a similarly ambitious content cycle as year one of the first game, also "hurt" Bungie. With the release of the original's Taken King expansion, Schreier says:
"What Bungie decided was: 'we can’t do this any more. This is just too much, this is too hard for us to do - the tools that we work with are really hard to deal with. It’s hard for us to make this much content. It’s just hard making content in general.' And they said 'we are going to do a drip feed of smaller stuff, and we're going to put up the Eververse, sell microtransactions, and make money that way.' And Activision said 'okay' - it was a part of their renegotiated deal - and they got to a point where they didn't have to be cranking out as much content. And now they're back to the same pattern, where they have to crank out these DLCs and just be making content constantly."
Apart from the revelation that Eververse was Bungie's idea - which runs contrary to the popular narrative of money-grabbing publishers browbeating well-meaning devs into greedy practices - it's interesting that Schreier thinks the year one content cycle should still be a challenge for Bungie. The studio has grown significantly since 2014/15, and you'd hope that they'd fixed the problems with their development tools, too.
We've reached out to Activision for comment, and will update this story if we hear back. In the meantime, though this information is unofficial, there's some reason to trust it; Schreier has become known as an authoritative source when it comes to Destiny leaks. He correctly reported that Destiny 2 was coming to PC, as well as many of its key plot points, and revealed the theme and even the title of its Osiris DLC.