Orange or red can represent Mars, green is for Venus, that really familiar colour association, but also people just have a relationship with the moon that they don't with some made-up world. So yes, whether it was just colours or impressions that we have of these planets because we're so familiar with them, we were drawn to our solar system.
Did you worry that would be confining in some way?
Well, unless one planet shows up some day for some strange reason. There are always strange things that can happen in our solar system. But beyond the strange and fantastical, we think our solar system is pretty incredible. We're all space junkies at Bungie, but I think I said in my talk, with every new image from Mars rovers or the stuff the Cassini probe is sending back, it's pretty incredible stuff, and we think that even without making things up, there are some pretty neat things that we can go and see in our solar system.
Did you ever consider not doing a sci-fi FPS?
No, we thought of a good handful of other genres as well. We've had a pretty long pre-production period and we explored everything from straight-up fantasy to something a little bit more modern to many, many other things as well.
Ultimately we gravitated towards this mix of science fiction and fantasy because it gave us this freedom - you saw small things like the prevalence of cloth in the game, a lot of characters have capes or cloaks and the combatants have cloth as well. Fantasy brings us this texture that we can wrap around sci-fi, which is really appealing, especially if you're an artist who's just been stuck making straight up space armour for ten years. A bit of cloth is very refreshing.
I can imagine that would be liberating. You're revealed very little about the factions - I'm not sure you've even referred to them as factions - and yet people are assigning themselves to them already. Was that something you engineered?
Well I think we're very fortunate to have voracious fans and fans that think deeply about - even if you only give them a little they will think deeply about what you give them. I think whether it's been the faction logos we've shown on T-shirts or more recently, I don't know if you've been following this, but we started to seed out some really short-form fiction. Take a look at that, it's been these passages from a source they haven't identified yet.
So for us it's really been, we'll give them simple artistic things like the faction logos and then we'll also give them deeper things so that if they were to completely understand the fiction we just sent out they'd understand a great deal about our universe. But of course it's mysteriously written and it's not very clear necessarily what it is, but I think we try to do both, give them things that are very basic and open to a lot of interpretation, and things that highly specific but a little bit confusing or confounding when you first encounter it, and then let them make their own judgements about it and draw their own conclusions from it.
A lot of the fun of talking to your community at an early stage is leaving it open-ended, letting them ask the questions, letting them fill in the blanks, and have fun with it.
Would you go as far as to say that identifying with a faction now will have consequences in the game?
Probably the best thing to say right now is the factions that we've released, they are real factions in the game, so if you find yourself drawn to one of them artistically or the name, you'll definitely have opportunities in the game to, I'd say, heighten these associations.