Behind the Art and Atmosphere of Destiny

The art team at Bungie that brings those places to life just shared several pieces of never-seen-before concept art for Destiny and Destiny 2 in a blog post. They also gave WIRED early access to the artwork, including original designs for player characters that reveal a more sleek, futuristic approach to what Guardian armor would have looked like, and a very familiar-looking character labeled “Rogue,” which looks a lot like a Hunter.

The interior of a Cabal power station, located in the European Dead Zone (EDZ).
Illustration: Adrian Majkrzak/Bungie

We also see art for destinations like a Cabal facility in the European Dead Zone, a decaying engineering facility slowly being reclaimed by nature, and a destination that looks like Nessus, terraformed into cubes and rectangular pillars by the Vex. We even see a Vex-controlled subway system, complete with a train whose locomotive looks like a giant Vex Goblin head. (I asked the Bungie art team if we’ll ever see a Vex train, and they declined to comment. It’s OK, I get it; you’re keeping your options open.)

So much of Destiny‘s art philosophy and visual language has changed over time, and I asked the art team how they managed to stay true to the roots of the game and the overall feel that drew people into the world over so many years.

This interview has been lightly edited for clarity.

A “Sunken Market,” which looks a lot like a Clovis Bray facility on Mars, but could be a destination we haven’t seen yet.
Illustration: Joseph Cross/Bungie

WIRED: Specifically, what does your team work on? We see lots of concept art of characters and places, but do you all also work on weapons, armor, ships, and vehicles?

Shiek Wang, art director at Bungie: Yes, yes, and yes! Anything that requires some visual representation in the game, the art team is responsible for. This also includes but is not limited to VFX, animation, lighting, UI, and skyboxes. All of these come together to help build a cohesive visual experience for the player.

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