Bungie Had Comedians Write for Destiny’s Script and Didn’t Use Their Work
Bungie originally signed on comedians David Cross and Brian Posehn to write Ghost's dialogue for Destiny and most likely tossed out every entertaining line they wrote.
In an interview with IGN, comedian David Cross explained that he and Brian Posehn supposedly spent a "couple of days" revamping and rewriting Destiny's emotionless and underwhelming script. In particular, the two spent time trying to write witty dialogue for Ghost, whose monotone, jargon-filled performance was done by an unenthusiastic Peter Dinklage. Posehn is an actor, musician, writer, comedian and voice actor known for his roles in The Devil's Rejects, Mission Hill and The Sarah Silverman Program. Cross was in Arrested Development, Scary Movie 2 and the Kung Fu Panda series. Perhaps Bungie didn't want to have any comparisons between Destiny and Borderland's amusing and whimsical Claptrap, as they didn't use pretty much anything Cross and Posehn had written.
Here's what Cross had to say about writing for Destiny:
Brian Posehn and I got asked and jumped at the chance. We were flown up to Bellevue, Washington to do a punch-up on the Ghost character in Destiny about a year ago. We were both very excited about it. They did not use a single, solitary thing that we wrote, which is a shame because we wrote some stuff that – you know, we’re gamers, and they… – I would imagine somebody somewhere said, 'We can’t inject this levity or humour into it.'
But it’s a shame because I’ve played Destiny quite a bit. I haven’t played since I’ve been over here and working on Bob and David, but you know when it came out I was way into it and way excited about it, and when you’re at an hour 20 of that thing, it’s like the Ghost is kind of monotone saying this thing, 'We must get over the ridge. That’s the cabal – we’ve got to defeat him.' Whatever, it’s boring as s---, and I speak for myself and Brian, and I know thousands if not millions of other gamers would be like 'It would be nice to have a joke or something in there.' You think we’re going to f--- with the tone? But it was very exciting to go up there and get paid to play a video game a year before it came out.
Cross and Posehn apparently wrote a lot of one-liners and self-reverential things. I guess Destiny's script was originally intended to be entertaining at one point or another. Despite having a star-studded cast, ranging from Peter Dinklage, Bill Nighy, Lauren Cohan, Brandon O'Neil, Gina Torres, Nathan Fillion and Lennie James, no one at Bungie was able to take a step back and say, "OK, here's the talent, now why isn't any of the narrative actually good?"
Destiny's lead writer, Joseph Staten, left the company a year before the game launched (and it shows). Furthermore Bungie writer Joshua Rubin left the studio a month before Destiny launched to join Telltale Games (though the game was likely finished for the most part by then). Bungie recently hired Guild Wars 2 writer John Ryan as the game's new loremaster, but the damage is already done. The bored delivery of Dinklage throughout all your adventures mixed with plethora of jargon in the dialogue with zero context clues as to what any of it means just left players out in the darkness, pun intended. Whoever at Bungie decided to put all of Destiny's important terms and vocab in the Grimoire Cards, which can only be read from the Destiny app or on its official website, should be fired (you'd think they'd patch those in-game already) — why would I want to visit a website just to define the terminology or learn the lore of the game? Shouldn't the game itself present these things? Mass Effect did just fine with an in-game codex, and Bungie could've used those underutilized actors in Destiny's cast to help explain some of its nonsensical plot and script. Instead, we had famous voices acting as mere shopkeepers.