Interviews

Destiny 2 Raid and Dungeon design with Bungie’s Katherine Walker

Destiny 2 Beyond Light has launched, bringing with it a whole host of new content for players to dive into. Stevivor recently had the chance to chat to Producer Katherine Walker about her work on the Raids and Dungeons team, and the design process behind crafting the Deep Stone Crypt.

“The very first thing we do when planning any new raid or dungeon content is we just like, get everyone in a room together for at least 5 hours or so just to come up with ideas of like what are things that are exciting for us, what do we want to work on this time,” Katherine said.

“One of the reasons I love working on the Raid and Dungeons team is that multidisciplinary, lots of different perspectives kinda thing.”

At the same time, the encounter design team will be working out what new things they want to challenge players with this time around.

“They’ll be like ‘Hey, I had this idea kind of on my own, I’m just going to try it out’, so they’ll work with the World Artists and come up with various encounter exercises and things like that,” she said.

“Usually those things end up turning into things that mesh really well with ideas that come out of the brainstorms, and that’s kind of how we start with the designs.”

That whole process usually takes around 6 weeks from inception, and from that the teams generates a few pitches that stick to those ideas laid out in the brainstorming session.

“Not only do we have a key theme of just like, here’s the experience we want you to have throughout the whole raid, but also a kind of narrative through-line that obviously we’re working with Narrative on that. Then we have what we think the bosses are doing in there, and we work with the Bosses team.”

After that comes the hard part – hours of playtesting and balancing to make sure that the new activity is just the right mix of excitement, frustration and fun.

“Developing a raid is a really long process, and fine tuning it is the work of several months,” Katherine said.

“It’s a lot of playtests – the raid team is constantly bringing in other people from around the studio and just being like ‘how does this feel in this encounter’.”

The team has to consider all types of factors from enemy health to enemy composition, and even if the signals players are getting are straightforward enough for them to proceed.

“It’s a lot of playtesting, it’s very difficult and very long and protracted, but it’s also very cool because the team is so multidisciplinary that we can have all of these different perspectives wailing at it,” she said.

“If it were just like encounter designers or artists I think you’d get a very specific singular experience, whereas this makes it more fun for more different types of people.”

You’ll be able to check out all of the raid teams hard work in Destiny 2 Beyond Light when the Deep Stone Crypt raid goes live on 21 November.

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.