Once upon a time, Game of Thrones actor Peter Dinklage was slated to be the voice of Destiny's AI helper, Ghost. Everyone was excited. Then the game shipped, we learned where wizards come from, and people generally shook their heads in disapproval at Dinklage's delivery. But where did it go wrong, and why was Dinklage replaced by Nolan North when Bungie and Activision released The Taken King a year later? We asked Taken King creative director Luke Smith on a recent GamesRadar+ stream, who had some refreshingly honest answers about our little Dinklebot/Nolandroid.
"I think that the Ghost is a really great metaphor for Destiny in this way where, I don't know that we, as Bungie, understood the type of game that Destiny could be," Smith said. "In the same way, I feel like a bunch of the early writing for the Ghost, in vanilla, we didn't understand what the character of the Ghost could be. And because we didn't understand that character so well, the words don't always ring super well and the performance didn't have the writing that it needed either."
Unfortunately, as a game developer, you don't always have time or resources to fix things up as much as you (or your audience) would like. In talking about such trade-offs, Smith said that it was "better to ship and learn something" than to indefinitely polish something. Of course, knowledge is no good if it's just sat on, so you have to take what you've learned and apply it. He explained that part of the reason why The Taken King is so cutscene and dialogue-heavy is due to this, giving kudos to his co-workers for their contributions in making the expansion come together.
"We had to make a bunch of mistakes to learn how we wanted to do it better," Smith said.
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