Bungie is known for making shooters, creating countless in-game guns over the years. In the Halo series, weapons had simple names: assault rifle, battle rifle, magnum. The most creatively named weapon in the first Halo was the Needler, and it only took a cursory glance at the gun to figure out how Bungie came up with that one.
On the flip side, the Destiny franchise features names for weapons with references like Izanagi’s Burden, Parcel of Stardust, or Vision of Confluence.
To help cement our own Destiny 2 weapon mad libs, Polygon spoke to Bungie general manager Mark Noseworthy and franchise director Luke Smith about how the hell Bungie named the 600+ guns in Destiny 2.
“There isn’t really a good style guide on what is and is not a Destiny weapon name,” said Smith. “But the origin of it really came from this old one note page that [chief creative officer] Jason Jones and [game director] Chris Barrett and a couple of other folks like [narrative designer] Eric Raab contributed to and sort of built an initial library. There’s just a feel to them.”
Bungie’s studio doesn’t have a randomizer or magic 8-ball for naming weapons. Each one is hand-crafted by Bungie writers and developers, including Luke Smith. But some names are a bit too much for Destiny, and don’t play well in its sillier universe.
“I think there’s some of the Bungie irreverence there,” said Noseworthy. “If it gets too serious, it’s too hard sci-fi, doesn’t feel enough tongue-in-cheek. That’s going too vanilla.”
Smith agreed. “The name Fatebringer, when I wrote it, still felt a little edgy when you had stuff like The Comedian that was going to be released or was in the pipe at the time,” said Smith. “The irreverence is an important part of it. There was a period where a writer really enjoyed the punniness of some weapons. So we had some weapon puns for an era.”
The studio confirmed there is almost no rhyme or reason to why it names Destiny’s guns the way it does. It’s all up to what the current writers’ fancy. But Smith commented that naming weapons is one of his favorite things to do while working on Destiny games.
The weapon names have only gotten stranger and longer since the original Destiny. Based on Smith’s description of the studio’s rather fluid approach to naming weapons, it can only get weirder from here.