There's a purely scientific reason why people keep taking their Guardians back into the world of Destiny.
Speaking at GDC 2015, Bungie's John Hopson discussed how the developer so carefully created a game meant to hook players and keep them coming back time after time. The answer? Behavioral game design, the study of linking behavioral psychology to the tasks and rewards in game and observing a person's reactions and behaviors once faced with them.
Three years before Destiny's release, Bungie began testing it with a large group of people. After hours of play and data collection, the developer discovered there were five different player types in Destiny:
  • Short Campaigners
  • Long Campaigners
  • Short Omnivores
  • Long Omnivores
  • The Specialist
Known for being the ones who would dabble in all types of content, Bungie focused on appealing to the so-called "omnivores" of the group.
GamesRadar reports that during this test, players were told to provide contextual feedback by using specially-mapped buttons assigned to different emotions. Players within the testing group had the option of admitting they were confused, frustrated, or happy, depending on how the last encounter had made them feel.
destiny behavioral design
Using his expertise in Behavioral Psychology, Hopson played a role in helping the team create something that would provide players with satisfying rewards after taking so many risks.

It turned out to be a successful approach for Bungie, as Destiny was one of the best-selling games of last year and the average player's time spent in-game comes out to about 77 hours.

To learn more, check out IGN's Destiny review or the Fireteam Chat podcast.

Cassidee is a freelance writer for various outlets around the web. You can chat with her about all things geeky on Twitter.

In This Article