While devoted Destiny players are no strangers to developer Bungie’s love of surprise puzzles, Destiny 2’s recently solved Corridors of Time quest proved to be one of the most confounding and mystifying challenges to hit the series yet. With the puzzle officially solved, Bungie finally shed some light on the inspiration behind the quest.
In a This Week At Bungie blog post, developers revealed that Corridors of Time was directly inspired by Cube, a cult-classic horror film from 1997 that was directed by Vincenzo Natali, (Splice, In the Tall Grass). Bungie’s dev team explained how the puzzle takes after the film’s titular structure, a gigantic maze of rooms filled with traps. Explaining the quest’s seemingly endless “rabbit hole”-like structure, the dev team goes on to cite Alice in Wonderland and The Matrix as other guiding inspirations.
Cube may sound like a left-field source of inspiration at first, but upon further reflection, it’s surprising that no one made the connection sooner. In Cube, five strangers wake up in an empty, square room with each side leading to nearly identical rooms. They soon discover (the hard way) that they’re trapped in a deadly maze, and begin overanalyzing every detail around them to find a way out.
Compare that to the Corridors of Time quest, which launched unannounced as part of a routine weekly reset and quickly drove the Destiny community to the brink of madness, with streamers working full time to exhaustively document every new detail
Destiny’s development team broke down their design process, explaining that they aimed to create a large-scale, shared community experience. But Bungie didn’t simply want to make something to be solved by whoever happened to be online when the secret launched. Instead, they aimed to craft a longer puzzle that would give all players a chance to contribute to the solution. Making good on that goal, the quest’s first step took 19 hours of real-time gameplay to solve, while the full solution took just under a week to materialize.
In hindsight, the Corridors of Time’s design is a bit reminiscent of Cube 2: Hypercube’s white, glowing walls (though, for everyone’s sake, the similarities end there). The structural comparisons are clear, but there’s a lot that Bungie gets right and wrong about Cube in its approach to community puzzle design. The Corridors of Time quest nails the film’s feeling of overwhelming mystery, inspiring the community to work together to strategically share intel rather than brute force its way to the correct path.
The quest is perhaps less successful when it comes down to the puzzle itself, which required players to tediously run through identical rooms for hours. In Cube, a wrong move means death in an unpredictable fashion. In the Corridors of Time, a wrong turn means turning around and doing the same thing again until you’ve done it right. It’s a comparatively low-stakes process, which wasn’t helped by the quest’s anticlimactic reward: An exotic weapon quest that had previously been revealed via Season of Dawn’s road map.
The Destiny community is still coming down from the experience, which has sparked some disappointment from players expecting a special reward for their efforts. But whether or not the destination was worthwhile, Bungie appears to have succeeded in creating a memorable mystery that rewarded its community’s ability to work together in the face of a seemingly unsolvable challenge.
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