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Destiny's Luke Smith talks candidly about the first game: "I don’t think we always knew exactly what we were making"

Destiny (opens in new tab) wasn't necessarily an immediate hit. While it won fans over from the start, it was initially just a touch obtuse and unwelcoming to anyone not prepared to put in the effort. A lot of effort. Several changes and updates eventually made everything much more friendly but it very much feels like a game that grew into what it is now. 

I recently spoke to Destiny 2 director Luke Smith about that process, and of the first game's early evolution. "I think candidly... I don’t think we always knew exactly what we were making," he tells me. "We had high level things that we understood. Like, we want this to be a game you can return to every week. We wanted to be a game that was compatible with real life. And candidly, we failed there. Destiny 1 wasn’t compatible with real life." 

Anyone who's played Destiny from the start will remember the early effort it needed to really reach the higher levels - people had to devote serious amounts of time to get anywhere. "It became a game that became an obligation," admits Smith. "I’ve described it before - it’s hard to give someone Destiny as a gift. They open the game [and] there’s a wedding ring instead of a disk. You’re giving them this relationship, this thing that’s going to take work. Compatibility with real life? Gone."

The idea of making a game you'll play every week is still in place for Destiny 2 but Luke and the team seem more confident that, using what they've learned, they'll be able to nail it first time with the sequel. "With Destiny 2, [we've] built a game that we want to call you and your friends back to it, but does it in away that is compatible with your real life," explains Smith. 

Time management is a crucial part part of this: "If I only have two hours to spend I know exactly what to do," Smith says of Destiny 2 (opens in new tab). "In Destiny 1, if I said you only had two hours to spend you’d have to go to reddit. In Destiny 2 you’re not going to go to reddit, you’re going to press one button on the controller and the game’s going to tell you what to do."

Destiny 2 will be out September 6 with a beta starting July 21 so we'll be able to see what's changed quite soon. In the mean time take a look at everything we know about Destiny 2 (opens in new tab)

Leon Hurley
Leon Hurley

I'm currently GamesRadar's Senior Guides Co-ordinator, which means I've had a hand in producing or writing all of the guide and tips content on the site. I also write reviews, previews and features, and do video. Previously I worked for Kotaku, and the Official PlayStation Magazine and website. I'm a big fan of open world games, horror, and narrative adventures.