Interviews

Destiny 2 Beyond Light: Hawkmoon and making Exotics more exotic

If Legendary weapons are the meat and three veg of the Destiny 2 Beyond Light experience, then Exotics are the hot sauce that Bungie sprinkles in to give the whole experience a bit more kick. Prior to Beyond Light’s release, Stevivor had the chance to chat with Staff Designer Chris Proctor about what goes into designing these spicy additions to Destiny 2 gameplay, and how that differs from Destiny 1.

“For Exotics, they’re built much more bespoke [than Legendaries]. We’ll generate a bunch of ideas, like when I came to Bungie I was like man, I’d love to make these six Exotics, and put a bunch of those into the pool and we pick a handful of the concepts,” Chris said.

“We’ll say we want a gun that feels like this to use or we want a gun with this particular aesthetic, and then we will workshop them a little bit on paper to figure out how they’ll work and then just go and build a prototype.

“Once we’ve got something we’re fairly happy with, which is generally only a week or two of design work, we’ll start talking to concept and animation and all the other teams like audio and VFX and everything to make sure that everyone’s on the same page with the thing that we’re making and try to make each exotic as unique and cool as possible.”

The core design ethos behind exotics has shifted too for Destiny 2, with more and more exotics featuring all new gameplay mechanics rather than just a buffed baseline perk.

“All Destiny 2 Exotics are basically more exotic than Destiny 1 Exotics, but also as time goes on and we’re more limited in what we can do with traditional sandbox verbs, we go further and further afield and come up with weirder and weirder stuff,” he said.

“Generally we’ll try to ship at least one really bizarre, brand new mini-game sort of exotic like Ruinous Effigy or Symmetry or something like that.”

Perhaps the worst kept secret so far in Beyond Light is the return of the Destiny 1 Exotic handcannon, Hawkmoon, and Chris wasted no time in using it as an example of how Exotic design has changed in the intervening years since its release.

“There’s a particular feel and fantasy of that gun from Destiny 1 which we knew we didn’t want to deliver in Destiny 2,” he said.

“We didn’t want a gun that had a random damage output in PvP, that’s just really unpleasant to play against. We wanted something that felt sort of the same while you were shooting it and felt like it tied into that kind of cards or dice kind of feel. The version we settled on ends up being very hard to tune for PvP.”

You can check out the returning Hawkmoon yourself as well as the other exotics joining the sandbox with the launch of Destiny 2 Beyond Light on all platforms.

Destiny 2 Beyond Light

10 Nov 2020 (PC PS4 PS5 Xbox One Xbox Series X)

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About the author

Hamish Lindsay

Avid reader and general geek, justifying the time I spend playing games by writing about them. I try not to discriminate by genre, but I remember story more than gameplay. I’ve been playing League for longer than Akali and I’m still Silver. Fallout 3 and MGS3 may be the pinnacle of gaming.