The first glaives in Destiny 2: The Witch Queen were “way too strong” and broke the game

The prototype glaives built for Destiny 2: The Witch Queen were “way too strong” to ever come to the live game, so Bungie had to rein them in over a long development cycle. 

A new trailer breaking down the history of the glaive explains how the new weapon type evolved during development. Bungie wanted to add a new weapon type in The Witch Queen and experimented with a range of ideas before finally settling on the first-person, melee-oriented but jack-of-all-trades tool that is the glaive. 

“It’s hard to find a new role that fits into that without breaking anything, but we throw stuff at the wall, see what sticks,” says producer Allison Kinzelman. “And we found that the glaive is sticky.” 

The glaive was so sticky, in fact, that it was super overpowered in Bungie’s playtesting. “They were way too strong,” as designer George Kokoris puts it. “And that’s a good thing, that’s a good problem to have.”

“We need to know how it’s gonna break things in addition to how it’s working, and the best way to do that is to send a whole bunch of people into a big map and go, ‘hey, try to kill each other in the most ridiculous, absurd ways you possibly can,'” Kinzelman adds. 

“You’re not really playtesting if nobody is being an insufferable little trash goblin,” Kokoris says. 

Getting glaives to a balanced but powerful state took a lot of legwork, Bungie says. It’s the only first-person melee weapon in Destiny 2, so it created some unique design challenges. Staff designer Chris Proctor noted “a designer dedicated just to the glaive for almost a year, six months animator time, a ton of engineering support,” and that’s without the trash goblin playtesting. 

Destiny 2 has a habit of launching new things in a slightly overpowered state (ahem, Stasis), and we know that glaives will have support from some artifact mods in the Season of the Risen, so we’re expecting these things to come in mighty handy in our fight against Savathun. 

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