There have been many incredible weapons throughout Destiny history. Some have achieved notoriety for their combat effectiveness or their striking beauty. A handful of them have earned legendary reputations for their unique traits or memorable histories. Then there is Gjallarhorn. The Exotic Rocket Launcher, introduced in the original Destiny, has become a hallmark for gamers since its debut in 2014.
As Bungie turns 30e anniversary in 2021, we’re celebrating it the only way we know how: by keeping the party going in Destiny 2 with our amazing community. As part of this celebration, we’re bringing Gjallarhorn back with a new Exotic Quest that will give players the option to add the Mighty Rocket Launcher to their arsenal.
While the Gjallarhorn of Destiny 2 will seem familiar to longtime fans, the team behind its comeback have included some fun twists that prove that even the old … um, wolves can learn new tricks. Recently, we caught up with the Destiny dev team to find out more about what happened in Gjallarhorn’s comeback.
“Gjallarhorn was one of the first exotics that really made you feel overpowered, especially against bosses,” said Brandon, designer of Bungie, who led the gameplay design during the weapon’s return in Destiny. 2. Asked about the weapon’s legacy, he added, “It was also incredibly elusive for players who hadn’t bought it from Xûr in the first few weeks of Destiny. [Editor’s note: “Why would I waste my heavy slot on an exotic rocket launcher?”]
Those who managed to wrest Gjallarhorn from the vendor were indeed lucky; most players have found it as a rare drop at the end of raids such as Crota’s End or Vault of Glass, among other sources. But even then it remained elusive and (as such things used to be) much sought after. As Brandon says, “Who didn’t scream out loud when they finally dropped the gun after months of grinding?” “
Bungie’s Mark Flieg, a senior artist who worked on visual effects (VFX) on Gjallarhorn in Destiny 2 as well as the original weapon in 2014, believes there are several reasons for its sacred reputation. This was one of the first Exotic weapons in the game, meaning there were far fewer other ‘hero assets’ to choose from (since you can only equip one Exotic at a time). It’s a beautiful weapon with a unique and regal look that sets it apart from the rest; and the ability to clear the playing field with just a few hits has made it a fun tool in your arsenal.
This ability to clean a room is due in large part to its intrinsic Wolfpack cartridges, where the fired cartridges shatter into multiple clusters of explosives pursuing their targets. As a result, a squad full of Guardians equipped with Gjally in the original Fate would make even the most bitter enemies tremble in fear.
For the weapon’s return in Destiny 2, the team has provided the Rocket Launcher with timely updates that make it just as effective. Lead designer Brandon said the goals were to maintain that sense of mastery that the original Gjallarhorn offered, while also giving it a twist to rival the exotic rocket launchers found in the modern sandbox.
“There was no question that the original Wolfpack Rounds perk was a crucial part of the weapon’s identity, so we kept it as an intrinsic perk in Destiny 2,” he said. “We also wanted to update the weapon by adding a new perk called Pack Hunter that would give it even more power when used in a squad.”
This new Pack Hunter perk is one of the best examples of how Bungie can update a weapon for the modern sandbox, while still retaining the original flair of a weapon. With Pack Hunter, Gjallarhorn extends the Wolfpack Rounds to Guardians within range who wield a non-exotic rocket launcher. Additionally, the Destiny 2 Gjallarhorn Catalyst improves the perk to create more Wolfpack turns when the initial turn receives a final hit, and also gives the weapon two turns in the mag.
“The Pack Hunter advantage came about when we thought about the player’s experience in the original Destiny,” said Brandon. “Often squad leaders would demand that everyone in the party have Gjallarhorn equipped for more difficult content like raiding, much to the dismay of players who did not yet have the weapon. I thought it would be fun to reverse that idea by making the perk only require one person to equip the weapon while still allowing everyone in the party to have “Gjallarhorn”.
Under the ice
The job of bringing Gjallarhorn into the modern era was a careful balance between the past and the present. As Bungie Staff Artist Matt Lichy puts it, “I wanted to try and keep the overall look that was designed in Destiny 1 as much as possible, but bring it up to the current quality standards we use now.”
Lichy said he referred to the weapon’s original textures (built by former Bungie artist Mark Van Haitsma) and updated it for the modern game’s higher geometry budgets and newer methods. of PBR shader (physical rendering). While the Destiny 2 Gjallarhorn has additional details on the weapon front and top cover, Lichy said the goal is to retain the iconic look of the original.
“Gun retaliation is what I would consider ‘iceberg assets’,” said VFX artist Mark Flieg. “The end product that players see is only a fraction of the work that goes into each.” So what was “the work hidden beneath the surface?”
“My main goal [was] to drive the design and provide players with feedback on their actions. If people are focusing on the VFX after the first shots, however, I’ve missed my mark – my intention is to help. to feel
True to its namesake – the mythical Nordic horn blown by Heimdall – Gjallarhorn is more than its iconic look; it also had to sound good. Bungie sound designer Noah Sitrin worked on making the wolf howl.
“We wanted the weapon to be as special and powerful as players remember when they first picked it up in D1,” Sitrin said. “We also wanted to distill the audio theme of the weapon and extend it to all the sounds it makes. This meant leaning heavily on the ornate, wolfish, and larger-than-life qualities of the Gjallarhorn. “
While much of the Gjallarhorn’s fundamental sounds – such as shooting and its associated explosions – are relatively unchanged from the original Destiny, some of the secondary sounds have been significantly improved. “I started from scratch on secondary sounds, like reloads, handling, and targeting, and built in a lot of character to make it feel like a finely crafted yet brutal weapon. We used a lot of heavy mechanical elements and animal growls turned into synth bass to give it that intense animal quality.
If you already think the Wolfpack Rounds perk is cool, wait and hear it. Sitrin explained: “A big part of the fun in this new Gjally is being able to share the Wolfpack Round advantage with your teammates. Initially, the only way to know if the advantage was active was the little grunt sound that sounds when teammates come within range. This indicator gets the job done, but we felt there was an opportunity to go for a stronger theme here.
“We thought, ‘What better way to let you know the wolf cartridges are active than to have everyone’s rocket launchers howl as they fire? This change was very well received in the playtesting and personally made me smile as soon as I made it work, so of course it had to stay.
A labor of love – that’s what Gjallarhorn’s return has been for the entire Bungie team. We can’t wait to see the Guardians take advantage of this reworked weapon and watch the videos of all those Wolfpack Rounds creating chaotic beauty across the solar system. Enemies of humanity, consider yourself warned!
30 yearse The anniversary pack is available now.