It all started with a small project built by five people in a week during Bungie’s first Carnival (a week dedicated to the self-directed projects we want to have annually) in January 2017, just to show what was possible . This is how I fell for it:
It was a remarkably complicated problem to solve. In summary, it was simple: we want to give players the opportunity to play with one set of characters on all platforms they use. Naively it seems like we should give players a dropdown box with a platform list and a button to make this their primary and cross-platform account. This is how it looked in the Carnival version:
But there were many more things to consider – what are the side effects of cross-saving? What happens to existing characters on accounts that I no longer have access to? What if I bought silver on these accounts? What if I bought different extensions on different platforms? What if I haven’t migrated my Blizzard account to Steam yet? Can this system be exploited? Are there features that are only available for certain platforms?
We wanted to build something that feels easy to use, but also addresses all of these concerns that players might have, which is a monstrous task, and one that required many iterations of designs between dozens of small teams and hundreds of playtest person-hours to get right . We made something with little to no reference examples (at the time we designed it) and it had to work flawlessly on day one, especially since some of our requests are being resolved by players mistakenly choosing the wrong primary account for 90 days would not be able to fix the problem.
After completing the project we met to do an autopsy with everyone involved to record the successes and failures and what we would like to continue or change in the future. We talked about a lot of things, but I think the main reason the group worked so well together was because we were all so caught up in the idea of creating something fundamentally nascent, a new spark of originality in our corner of the universe . There was a kind of magic that kept us all on the same page with the same goals of working as a unit to create this thing that was really new that was actually going to put a dent in the universe and I think we made it.
Jake Lauer, 2013-