Product design teardown of the “Destiny” video game

From the moment I first saw the Destiny beta, from the UI to the art direction and even the main ‘feel’ of the game, I knew there was something distinctly different about its game design. So props to the design blog Betterment for laying out some of the biggest hooks Bungie’s epic first person shooter/MMO have to offer. As many reviewers have noted, even with a severe lack of content and repetitive mission nature, there’s something supremely addictive about its gameplay. To quote Betterment author Jason Amunwa:

Destiny uses multiple systems to tease our brain’s pleasure center with anticipation of a reward, combined with activating our nucleus accumbens by making the reward variable at every level. It’s essentially commandeering players’ anticipation – whether it’s getting loot, exchanging Engrams, or what-have-you – and using it as an itch to motivate just one more play.

Our feeble brains’ pleasure centers never stood a chance.