SIVA is a plague of self-assembling, self-replicating nanotechnology that was created during humanity’s Golden Age. The Iron Lords hoped to use it to better humanity, but the corruption was too violent to be contained, and their quest ended in the downfall of many of humanity’s mightiest heroes. Now, centuries later, the Fallen House of Devils has uncovered this mysterious substance in the depths beneath the Cosmodrome, and this nanotechnology is corrupting them – turning them into deadly machine gods. The universe is in need of a Guardian brave enough to take down this new threat and seal it away forever. Come meet your new foe: The Devil Splicers.
Once Bungie settled on the story for Rise of Iron, the team knew that they had to craft a new set of enemies for players to fight throughout the Rise of Iron campaign. With the Taken King, the team had put together a new race of enemies by pulling creatures from all of Destiny’s existing enemy factions. However, for Rise of Iron, Bungie thought it would be more interesting to transform a single faction into a new enemy.
“Story-wise, the Fallen fit,” senior designer Matt Findley. “The House of Devils are scavengers and each House is really trying to get better than the other and advance themselves. They’re also declining, being pushed into the corner of this new solar system. As scavengers, it makes a lot of sense for them to stumble on this. SIVA doesn’t have its own agenda or anything, but it is an aggressive nanite that allows its users to be transformed. Some of the last instructions given to it were ‘Defend and Protect,’ so it’s got this aggressive, militaristic feel, and the Fallen themselves are like, ‘Oh, we want that, and we want to be stronger and better.’ The Fallen are also controlling it to be more aggressive.”
Bungie felt that there were good gameplay reasons to choose the Fallen as well. For example, the Fallen are a highly diverse race of enemies, and have a bit more variety than some of Destiny’s other races. The Fallen also have a wider arsenal of weapons, which allowed Bungie to experiment with a wider mix of new enemy weapons and combat behaviors.
The Fallen redesign for the Devil Splicers isn’t as dramatic as the Taken featured in The Taken King, but players will notice that the Devil Splicers look a bit more aggressive than standard Fallen. The SIVA nanotechnology has transformed this nomadic race of four-armed aliens into cybernetic warriors. In many cases, several of the Fallen soldiers’ limbs have been replaced with robotic prosthetics – the Dreg even have peg legs. Other Fallen are draped with red SIVA tendrils or robotic pyramid heads. Even the Fallen weapons have gotten an overhaul.
“Where you see a lot of the soft curves in the Fallen weapons, we now have a lot harsher curves,” says Findley. “The projectiles themselves are flying faster. With some of the weapons, it’s like, ‘oh why shoot once when you can shoot three times!’ The way the weapons behave, they fire a lot faster, keeping these things in balance with the rest of the game, but just visually your experience should be that these weapons are more aggressive. Even in death, there’s aggression, so occasionally there is this seeking-ball-of-death that will come out of their heads when you kill them.”
To help further demonstrate the difference between regular Fallen and this new class of Devil Splicer, we asked Findley to break down some of the biggest changes being made to a few of the Fallen enemies.
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