There have been many superb weapons all through Future’s historical past. Some have achieved notoriety for his or her effectiveness in fight or their startling magnificence. A handful have earned legendary reputations for his or her distinctive traits or memorable backstory. Then there’s Gjallarhorn. The Unique Rocket Launcher, launched within the authentic Future, has develop into a trademark for gamers since its debut in 2014.
As Bungie celebrates its 30th anniversary in 2021, we’re celebrating in the one approach we all know how: By persevering with the occasion in Future 2 with our superb group. As a part of that celebration, we’re bringing again Gjallarhorn with a brand new Unique quest that can grant gamers the chance so as to add the highly effective Rocket Launcher to their arsenal.
Whereas the Gjallarhorn of Future 2 will really feel acquainted to long-time followers, the workforce behind its return have included some enjoyable twists that show that even outdated… ahem, wolves might be taught new methods. Just lately we caught up with the Future improvement workforce to be taught extra about what went into the return of Gjallarhorn.
Legacy of Growth
“Gjallarhorn was one of many first Exotics that basically made you are feeling overpowered, particularly towards bosses,” mentioned Bungie designer Brandon, who led the gameplay design on the weapon’s return to Future 2. When requested in regards to the legacy of the weapon he added, “It was additionally extremely elusive for gamers that didn’t purchase it from Xûr within the early weeks of Future.” [Editor’s note: “Why would I waste my heavy slot on an exotic rocket launcher?”]
Those that managed to snag Gjallarhorn from the seller have been fortunate certainly; most gamers discovered it as a uncommon drop on the finish of raids reminiscent of Crota’s Finish or Vault of Glass, amongst different sources. However even then, it remained elusive and (as such issues are wont to be) extremely wanted. As Brandon places it, “Who didn’t scream out loud after they lastly received the weapon to drop after months of grinding?”
Bungie’s Mark Flieg, a senior artist who labored on the visible results (VFX) on Gjallarhorn in Future 2 in addition to on the unique weapon in 2014, thinks there are a number of causes for its hallowed fame. “It was one of many first Unique weapons within the sport, that means there have been far fewer different ‘hero property’ to select from (since you’ll be able to solely equip one Unique at a time). It’s an attractive weapon with a singular and regal look that set it other than the others; and the power to clear the enjoying subject with a couple of photographs made it a enjoyable device in your arsenal.”
That capability to clear a room is thanks in no small half to its intrinsic Wolfpack Rounds, the place rounds fired splinter into a number of clusters of explosives monitoring down their targets. In consequence, a fireteam stuffed with Gjally-equipped Guardians within the authentic Future would trigger even the staunchest foes to cower in concern.
For the weapon’s return in Future 2, the workforce gave the Rocket Launcher some well timed updates that make it simply as efficient. Lead designer Brandon mentioned the objectives have been to take care of that feeling of being overpowered that the unique Gjallarhorn supplied, whereas additionally giving it a contact as much as compete with the Unique Rocket Launchers discovered within the fashionable sandbox.
“There was no query that the Wolfpack Rounds perk from the unique was an important a part of the weapon’s id, so we saved it because the intrinsic perk in Future 2,” he mentioned. “We additionally needed to replace the weapon by including a brand new perk known as Pack Hunter which might give it much more energy when utilizing it in a fireteam.”
That new Pack Hunter perk is without doubt one of the prime examples of how Bungie can replace a weapon for the fashionable sandbox, whereas nonetheless sustaining a weapon’s authentic aptitude. With Pack Hunter, Gjallarhorn extends the Wolfpack Rounds to Guardians in vary who’re wielding a non-Unique Rocket Launcher. As well as, the Future 2 Gjallarhorn catalyst enhances the perk to create extra Wolfpack Rounds when the preliminary spherical will get a closing blow, and in addition provides the weapon two rounds within the magazine.
“The Pack Hunter perk happened after we have been excited about the participant expertise within the authentic Future,” Brandon mentioned. “Typically fireteam leaders would require that everybody within the group have Gjallarhorn outfitted for tougher content material reminiscent of raids, a lot to the dismay of gamers that didn’t have the weapon but. I assumed it will be enjoyable to show that concept on its head by making the perk require solely a single individual to have the weapon outfitted whereas nonetheless permitting everybody within the group to ‘have’ Gjallarhorn.”
Beneath the Ice
The work of bringing Gjallarhorn into the fashionable age was a cautious stability of previous and current. As Bungie workers artist Matt Lichy says, “I needed to attempt to hold the general look that was crafted again in Future 1 as a lot as potential however deliver it as much as the present high quality requirements that we use now.”
Lichy mentioned he referred to the unique textures of the weapon (constructed by former Bungie artist Mark Van Haitsma) and up to date it for the fashionable sport’s greater geometry budgets and new PBR (physically-based rendering) shader strategies. Although the Future 2 Gjallarhorn does have some extra element to the entrance of the weapon and its higher cowling, Lichy mentioned the objective was to take care of the long-lasting look of the unique.
“Weapon reprisals are what I’d think about ‘iceberg property,’” mentioned VFX artist Mark Flieg. “The ultimate product that gamers see represents solely a fraction of the work that goes into every one.” So what, then, was the “work hidden beneath the floor?”
“My major focus [was] to drive the design and supply gamers suggestions to their actions. If individuals are specializing in the VFX after the primary few photographs, nevertheless, I’ve missed my mark – my intention is that will help you really feel your photographs, with out taking away from the motion.”
True to its namesake – the legendary Norse horn blown by Heimdall – Gjallarhorn is extra than simply its iconic look; it wanted to sound nice too. Bungie sound designer Noah Sitrin labored on making the wolf howl.
“We needed to make the weapon really feel as particular and highly effective as gamers keep in mind after they first received ahold of it in D1,” Sitrin mentioned. “We additionally needed to distill the weapon’s audio theme and unfold it throughout each sound it makes. This meant leaning closely into the ornate, wolfish, and larger-than-life qualities of the Gjallarhorn.”
Whereas a lot of Gjallarhorn’s basic sounds – reminiscent of firing and its related explosions – are comparatively unchanged from the unique Future, a number of the secondary sounds have been considerably upgraded. “I began from scratch on secondary sounds, reminiscent of reloads, dealing with, and focusing on and packed a variety of character in to make it really feel like a finely crafted, however brutal weapon. We used loads of heavy mechanical components, and animal growls morphed with synthesized basses to offer it that intense, animalistic high quality.”
In the event you already assume the Wolfpack Rounds perk is cool, simply wait till you hear it. Sitrin defined, “A giant a part of the enjoyable on this new Gjally is having the ability to share the Wolfpack Spherical perk along with your teammates. Initially, the one approach you could possibly inform if the perk was lively was the quick growly sound that performs when teammates get in vary. This indicator will get the job accomplished, however we felt that there was a possibility to go for some stronger theming right here.
“We thought, ‘What higher strategy to let you already know wolfpack rounds are lively than for everybody’s Rocket Launchers to howl as they fireplace?’ This variation was very well acquired in playtests, and personally made me smile as quickly as I received it working, so in fact it needed to keep.”
A labor of affection – that’s what the return of Gjallarhorn has been for your complete workforce at Bungie. We look ahead to seeing Guardians take pleasure in this reprised weapon and watching the movies of all these Wolfpack Rounds creating chaotic magnificence throughout the photo voltaic system. Enemies of humanity, think about your self warned!
Bungie’s 30th Anniversary Pack is out there now.