This news roundup has been long overdue, but I wanted to make sure I had enough to talk about. Still, there’s not a lot of meat on this plate today. I hope you don’t mind a few table scraps.
The Destiny symbol has started popping up more and more lately. Here are a few of the most recent sightings:
– Back in October, Bungie posted a few pumpkin-carving stencils to the Facebook fan page, including a nice high-res version of the Destiny Logo:
– Bungie’s mobile app is now available on iPhone and Android. A quick perusal of the wallpaper section (on the Android version, at least) reveals this image:
If you don’t have the mobile app, the image can also be found on Bungie’s website. (Thanks go to Tevin for first bringing this to my attention.)
– The Bungie Store has been updated with a new category: The “See You Starside” collection. This includes a Destiny-themed mug, a beanie (yes, that beanie), a scarf, and even a backpack. I have been told that the mug does NOT feature any new sections of the Destiny map. (Thanks, Colin.)
– The Bungie.net front page had a special holiday message for fans:
– FoMan123, admin at the fan wiki Destinypedia, sent me this image he obtained:
The design of this holiday card is listed as “Per Audacia Ad Astra” and is attributed to Bungie artist Lorraine McLees. Note that the dots/stars and Destiny logo are in the same pattern as in the Bungie.net Happy Holidays message, only now some of the dots correspond to mountain peaks from the Destiny map. While the dots might be significant, they could also just be an artistic choice made for a pretty holiday card. The terrain in the background is not a new section of the Destiny map – rotate the card and you can see how it fits onto the existing art:
Unfortunately, none of the above Destiny sightings give us any new insight into the game. Nevertheless, it’s always encouraging to see the new logo becoming a part of Bungie’s community presence.
The Bungie.net Careers page has been pretty active lately. It seems the studio that has grown so much over the years is eager to continue growing. Here are a few interesting tidbits from the job listings:
– The description for “Lead or Senior Graphics Engineer” lists “a love of combat on the high seas” as a nice-to-have skill. This could be a reference to Crimson: Steam Pirates or (more likely) a joke about Pimps at Sea, but it could also indicate a possible gameplay feature of Destiny. Time will tell.
BITS AND PIECES
“You may have the opportunity to use virtual, in-game or in-app currency (“Virtual Currency”) or license a variety of virtual, in-game or in-app items (“Virtual Items”) that can be used through the Bungie Mobile App or Bungie games.”
Is this just a legal safeguard for the Bungie Pro render minutes, or could it hint at something more? (Something that requires the hiring of an Economy Designer, perhaps?)
“Software (if any) that is made available to download from the Bungie Web Sites, excluding software that may be made available by end-users through a Communication Service, (“Software”) is the copyrighted work of Bungie and/or its suppliers and publishers.”
Again, this could just be legal protection (and might only be there because of the Bungie mobile apps or Marathon downloads) but who knows – maybe Grognok will see public release?
– On December 15th, Umbra Software made an announcement:
“Bungie, the creators of the Halo-franchise and all around amazing developers, are busy building their new game and world. We are proud to say that the most awesome crew at Bungie are using Umbra’s latest technology, Umbra 3.1, for their next big thing.”
Keep in mind, this is NOT replacing the engine Bungie is building – Umbra 3 is used “to increase frame rate and help you get better performance out of your game.”
– The integration of Umbra software can be explained by Brandon Sheffield’s December 27 Gamasutra interview with Bungie Senior Graphics Engineer Hao Chen:
“So having our own engine, where we are intimately familiar with every aspect of that engine, allows us to have the flexibility to change, first of all. Second of all, nowadays we’re also using a good mix of middleware to do a lot of the nitty gritty functionality that typically would take a lot of time. So it makes even more sense for us to focus on the ones we consider to be the bread and butter, and things that give us competitive advantage. And if you adopt an engine wholesale, you lose that competitive advantage.”
Some more choice quotes from that article:
“Our project right now is at a very exciting stage. For the first time we’re now shipping on multiple platforms, and then the new consoles are at least not far on the horizon. We have a brand new game, a brand new IP. But all of these things actually present a lot of challenges. We already have a very strong graphics team, but because our ambition is so much bigger, we’re also looking for very talented graphics people.”
“We re-architected our graphics engine, and the primary reason is the need to go multiplatform and get ready for the next gen.”
“An even bigger challenge is to future proof the engine so when the next generation of consoles is here, we are already pretty good at squeezing the performance out of it.”
“PodophobiaEntertainment.com” – I won’t even grace it with a link. This site was registered on May 20th – the day after Hitmonchan107 discovered the Destiny trademark filed under the dummy corporation Podophobia Entertainment. The corporation (and trademark) were created by Bungie employees – the website was not. This was confirmed by Urk via the Bungie twitter account. While most of the community moved after the fake countdown provided now new information, this site still pops up in the forums now and then. It is a hoax.
“Destiny concept art” – This one is easier to explain. The original art was created by “adonhis” for the cover of Imagine FX issue 51 – a magazine dedicated to fantasy and sci-fi digital art. It looks like someone else took the image, slapped a poorly-designed “Destiny” title and Bungie logo on it, and passed it off as leaked concept art. It’s a great picture, but it is NOT from Bungie.
I’d like to end this roundup on a lighter note – by highlighting a couple Bungie.net forum threads discussing Destiny! These don’t have any new official info, but they do have an armful of passionate (and reasonable) fan speculation:
THE NEW IP Bungie Formula:Durandal, Cortana, Joyeuse? – cortana 5 has written an excellent post focusing on the following line inscribed upon Curtana, a sword included in the Crown Jewels of the United Kingdom:
“My name is Cortana, of the same steel and temper as Joyeuse and Durendal.”
To clumsily paraphrase the thread: Marathon had an AI named Durandal and Halo had an AI named Cortana. Will Destiny have an AI named Joyeuse? Read the thread for more detailed speculation.
(Edit: Louis Wu reminded me that there are two more sword names that could pop up in future Bungie games – Sauvagine and Almace. Hopefully at least one of the three titles will be included in Destiny.)
That’s it for now, friends. Destiny news is hard to come by these days with Bungie going dark. Be brave – there’s got to be a morning after (if we can hold on through the night).
Select parts of this post will be added to my Waiting for Destiny page.