Today on Kotaku Splitscreen, we’ve got a very special guest: Destiny: The Taken King director Luke Smith.

Smith, who briefly wrote for this very website before he took a job at Bungie back in 2007, is responsible for much of the vision behind year two of Destiny, which everyone agrees is way better than year one. Smith was nice enough to sit down with me and Kirk for an hour to talk all things Destiny—good and bad.

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You can watch the YouTube version of this week’s podcast, which is audio-only, right here:

And you can subscribe on iTunes and download the audio version right here.

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(Episode one, in which Kirk and I talk Metal Gear and Final Fantasy VI, is here.)

For those of you who can’t or don’t want to listen to the podcast, I’ve summarized a few of the highlights (although you really should listen to it!):

  • “Our hope this year is with The Taken King we’ve shed a little light on the potential of a game in the Destiny universe,” Smith says.
  • The Taken King was in development for longer than people think—it actually started months before the first game. Even before vanilla Destiny came out, Smith says, they were looking at ways to make the story better, improve missions, and so on.
  • They knew from the beginning that Destiny’s original leveling system was flawed. “When that went out the door, we were not thrilled with it.”
  • Just Wednesday, players discovered a rad new secret hidden inside one of the story missions. How much new Destiny content have we not discovered yet? “There’s more! There’s some cool stuff coming for a bunch of the activities...”
  • Trials of Osiris is coming back this fall—they’re overhauling both the reward system and the matchmaking system to “make that 9-0 more prestigious, make it more difficult to achieve.” Smith hints that teams might be matched up based on how well they’re doing.
  • We asked about Bungie leaving year-one players behind. “I think we didn’t do a good job of explaining that ahead of time... We also haven’t done a great job of explaining what is content that players own and what’s programmed content—things that are subject to change.”
  • The super-grindy Crucible quest line is something they’re discussing—they want to address it but they don’t know when or how they’ll do it.
  • He says they’re happy with early data on primary weapon balance in Crucible, but acknowledges that shotguns are going to need little more work.
  • Reforging is going to come back in some form or another.
  • Luke enjoys our descriptions of Destiny.
  • Luke refuses to play Trials with us and stream on Kotaku. :(

Subscribe to Kotaku Splitscreen on iTunes here.

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Thanks to Luke Smith for taking the time to talk to us. If you’ve got any questions you’d like us to answer during our next episode, leave a comment or send an email to splitscreen@kotaku.com.

You can reach the author of this post at jason@kotaku.com or on Twitter at @jasonschreier.