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Bungie on Destiny’s character customization


Character customization has become a staple for many games, even to the point where some games allow the player to play as a women. Bungie with the later Halos has always emphasized extensive character customization, but Destiny looks to be a whole new beast compared to their previous attempts.

Speaking to a panel at GDC, Bungie technical art lead Scott Shepard talked about the work going into Destiny‘s character creation system. According to Shepard, character bodies are broken into four “slots”: head, chest, arms and legs. While playing through Destiny, players will acquire new equipment that can be equipped into those slots. The pieces, according to Shepard, will be a mixture of aesthetics and stats, aesthetically pleasing while also important to the gameplay.


Shepard also discussed the design surrounding Destiny‘s three character classes: Hunter, Warlock and Titan. The Hunter is meant to look like a scavenger, with a tattered cape and gear based off of hazmat suits and gas masks. The Warlock is a “warrior-scholar”, a mixture of a wizard and World War I soldier, with cloaks and robes with hardware underneath. The Titan is the most heavily armored, with medieval inspired armor layered over tight-fitting suits.

Since Destiny is a franchise that Bungie sees as growing over a decade, they have designed pieces that could be used with multiple armor sets. According to Shepard, Bungie wants customization to be accessible, even as the game expands beyond its original design.


As an example of the extensive customiazation, Shepard introduced Mash Up, Bungie’s internal character customization program. In the demonstration, an artist built a helmet using a myriad of visors, sides, colors and other pieces. Along with Mash Up, Bungie created several color palettes for each class, with gear changing both shape and color the more advanced the pieces become. The team also created tools that would accommodate the female physique, allowing the developers to efficiently create parts at an accelerated rate and ensure the parts look right on both physiques.

According to Bungie, other customization features will be a decal system and an expanded color dye system. “We’ve seen the system get better and better the more content we add to it,” Shepherd said. “This bodes well for a franchise we want to expand on for years and years.”

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