February 25, 2013

Pete Parsons talks Destiny and who's idea was it to make it

pete parsons office
Frankie's old school drawing of Parson's office from way back in the day.

GameBeat was lucky enough to use their old school connections and land an interview with Bungie Big Wig, Dave Parsons (no, he’s not the bass player from Bush).

He’s the Chief Operations Officer which basically means he’s in changing of running the company – and when you’re the boss of around 350 people with an expectation your company will produce another brilliant game a-la Halo, then you must be pretty good at your job.

Here’s a few Destiny related excerpts from the interview with Dave.

GamesBeat: Did somebody in particular sell you on the idea of Destiny? I think you came in after it started, right?

Parsons: No, we’ve all been working from the very beginning. Well, it depends on how you look at it. Destiny has been an idea bouncing around since even before the technology to make it existed.

Destiny is very much a product of everybody at Bungie, but its inception comes from Jason [Jones, co-founder of Bungie]. This is very much a vision that Jason has. Then, he gathers a small group of really talented people who have been here a long time, and they begin hammering on it. It’s had multiple incarnations until it finally landed into what it is today. That’s fun to watch. Not just on technology, but art and story.

GamesBeat: It sounds like you did have options, though. Was there a point where you bought into Destiny and said, “I want to do this too?” For 10 years or whatever it will be.

Parsons: As na├»ve as this may sound, if Jason believes in something and he’s ready to go for it, I’m in. No joke, I still walk in the door every day and think, “Who gets to do this? This is awesome, to be a part of this thing.” Even when I’m having a shitty day, I feel that way.

There are so many other things I could do that, for me, wouldn’t be as satisfying or as interesting. They might be enriching. They might satisfy some level of my curiosity. They might be exciting. But there’s something about these people and this place.

GamesBeat: Did you feel any tug when Halo went off in another direction, with Microsoft’s 343 Industries, and then Bungie went its separate way with Destiny?

Parsons: Personally, I did not. I love the Halo universe. I think it’s great. It inspires me. It inspires my children. They’ve never played, but they know the universe. One, though, I’ve spent a lot of time with Halo. Two, the mythic science fiction of Destiny immediately attracted me. It was that first image … It’s a simple image, but it took weeks of back-and-forth to put together. There were a few images already, maybe three or four, but they didn’t speak to what it was. The moment that image was done, it was like, “That’s it.” That’s the game. That’s the idea. That’s a place that I want to be.

GamesBeat: You had a leak. You had some interesting reactions. What was it like, looking at the reaction from the inside?


Parsons: You’re never really excited when you first learn that a leak happens. Then you get to see the reaction. We had this really quick thing. We said, “There’s a leak happening. We can either say nothing, or we can say, ‘Yeah.’” Instead of looking at images that we didn’t want you to see, let’s give you one that we want you to see. So, we released the picture of the Fallen.

When our community, who we love, reacts so positively to an image — “Oh my God. That’s so great. That’s a place I want to be in. I can’t wait to learn more about that” — we go from, “Oh, man” to “Sweet!” Within less than half an hour, we were like, “This is the course of action. Let’s go.”

GamesBeat: The one thing that seemed to cause some confusion out there was whether this could be called an MMO or if this is more like a single-player campaign-ish thing. Is there a new name for whatever this will be? “Universe” is a little vague.

Parsons: It’s Bungie’s next first-person shooter. That’s how I think of it. For consoles, we came out with Halo, and it certainly was the start of something really big for first-person shooters. Then, with Halo 2, we brought it online. With Halo 3, we started to bring in a whole bunch of how the community interacts with each other. We want to take the next big step forward in first-person shooters.

The way we think about that is, we’re going to bring people together in a really interesting way. We’re going to be able to throw in a whole bunch of adventure and a whole bunch of competitive multiplayer, and you’re going to have a great time, whether you like to play by yourself or whether you play in groups, from intense to casual to solitary.

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