This is a brief preview of the new game Destiny produced by Bungie (Halo, Myth) and set for a 2014 release by publisher Activision. Undoubtedly more information will come in during the coming day and so I opt to update this post instead of creating new one. So stay tuned.
It is hard to believe that for Bungie, Inc. that there was a life before Halo. Actually, they had already established a minor reputation for storytelling with their two Myth games and later on with the cyberpunk shooter Oni. Their reputation was firmly established in 2001 when they released Halo: Combat Evolved for the original Xbox, a game that redefined first-person gameplay and graphics on a console. It also saved Microsoft from losing that round of the console wars and as such the game not only spawned many sequels but Bungie was also bought out by Microsoft to act as a first-party developer. Since 2007 Bungie has been on its own again so it was only a matter of time before they would try to develop something new besides Halo.
In a world of Mass Effect and Elder Scrolls the Halo franchise suddenly feels a bit dusty. With their new game ‘Destiny’ Bungie is trying to build on its knowledge and reputation gained with Halo while keeping their competition firmly in their sights, and they just might have what it takes to usher in another paradigm shift in gaming. Below is a trailer for the game. It doesn’t show actual gameplay but it does contain CGI based on the game engine which along with the artwork gives an impression of what to expect.
Here is the official trailer for ‘Destiny’…
Destiny is first-person shooter with role-playing elements set in an open world (sandbox world). So far that sounds little different from Mass Effect, Elder Scrolls or a slew of other games. In this case it is a persistent online open world, meaning that the game is a MMO that can be played either in single player style or in co-op. There is no word yet whether it is possible to interact with other players in single player mode or that the world of Destiny consists solely of AI characters. From the footage above we do see how you can team up with other people using a iOS companion app but it doesn’t show anything like a server chat-room. The game doesn’t require a monthly subscription so you can just buy the game off the shelves and play for as much as you like, but I do expect that a whole system of optional extra’s will be implemented.
Though Bungie have so far not released any in-game screenshots or footage there are already some concerns that I have with the gameplay. I fear that the focus will be too much on action with the RPG-elements relegated to merely structuring the game. As such, even though it is an open world game you will still be led through checkpoints at which more content will become available. This was the case with The Elder Scrolls 4, whenever you had a more powerful sword or bow so did the enemy. That Destiny is an online world has me wondering how the interaction between gamers works, will we all be boarding the derelict Cassini spacecraft to fight the aliens? With games such as this there is often an inflation of promises and expectations beforehand that are rarely fulfilled by the final game (with the exception of Elder Scrolls 5 and Half Life 2).
As for the world of Destiny itself. So far there is a brief premise that shows what to expect….
Humanity is in decline. Where humankind once colonized the stars, Earth was eventually devastated by an event known only as “the Collapse”, which reduced the population to a fraction of what it once was. Humanity would have been wiped out altogether were it not for the sudden and mysterious appearance of “the Traveler”, an enormous spherical construct that floats over the last remaining human city and has allowed mankind to consolidate and avert their own extinction. However, hostile forces have appeared at the fringes of the once-great human empire and are steadily encroaching on Earth. The player takes on the role of a Guardian of the City and is tasked with investigating the threat before it wipes all traces of mankind from the universe.
The above premise does read a bit like the dust-cover of a generic sci-fi space-opera but as it is early days it’s all you can expect. We will have to wait for E3 2013 before we will learn the nitty gritty of Bungie’s Destiny. However, a few background details have emerged relating to the game’s antagonist. Three races have so far been announced. They are ‘The Fallen’ who are insect like zombies, there are time-travelling robots called ‘The Vex’ and the rhino-like creatures known as ‘The Cabal’. So far it looks like you won’t be able to play any of them but it can’t be ruled out. Bungie has announced you can play as either one of three classes; Titan, Hunter and Warlock. The last class has the ability to use magic that is provided by ‘The Traveler’, a mysterious sphere that saved humanity from the previous onslaught of aliens. You as a gamer, play the role of Guardian whose objective is to stop the invading aliens and save humanity.
As must be obvious by now is that the player can reach other planets and destinations in the Solar System. In the trailer you can see spacecraft but it is unclear if you can fly them yourselves (point and aim) or that you travel to locations with the use of a cut-screen. In the trailer there is also a brief scene of something that looks a like a portal of some sorts, it is unclear whether this is a time-portal or a teleportation device. Bungie has promised that you can use vehicles for travel and combat. It would strange if you couldn’t, but it is unclear how large the world of Destiny is.
The release date for Destiny is set somewhere in 2014. That is probably a shame for Activision as they were hoping to cash in with the Christmas holiday season. Destiny is scheduled to be released on PS3 and Xbox-360. No word yet on a Windows PC release or Nintendo Wii U for that matter.
PS, there is this odd rumor that Paul McCartney is making the soundtrack. Though with the help of Bungie’s own Marty O’Donnell and Mike Salvatore.
More on Destiny as it comes in…