After much speculation and intrigue, Bungie has today revealed their latest game, Destiny.The game has no release date yet but will launch for PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360, as well as “future generation technology”. Bungie has revealed a large amount of information in regards to how this new game will play, and what we can expect to see from this ambitious new project. Destiny is a “shared world shooter”, a social and co-operative game drawing from aspects of an MMO (but is not one itself, as stressed by the developers), requiring no subscription, only a constant online connection. It will seamlessly search for players in the vicinity exploring, completing the same mission and incorporate them into the world, allowing chance meetings, partnerships and help in missions, battles and goals. The game will also support lobbies with friends and direct invites, but focuses more on a living and thriving online universe filled with happenstance and action. You can play the entire game solo however also. Non-combat based social hubs also exist, where players can relax and engage in competitive activities against one another.
As stated, Bungie developers have stressed that this game is not an MMO. Engineering lead Chris Butcher has said, “These are living, open worlds with evolving stories, changing time of day…and every one is full of players. Destiny is an always online experience, but it’s not an MMO.” The idea of using MMO elements in this game is clever, it will allow for a social experience without as much of an emphasis on guilds and organised raids, all the action will unfold differently depending on when you’re online and who you meet. The matchmaking is reminiscent of the 2012 game “Journey” where every time you come across another player you are intrigued and curious, and the newly forged ‘partnership’ can turn the tide of the game, lasting for many missions or simply vanishing into the world as quietly as they had appeared.
Now onto the storyline. The human race has been reduced to a single city after the ‘golden age’ in which humans took to the stars rapidly, with vast technological expertise. They were hit by a so far unidentified enemy, reducing them to almost nothing, saved only by the ‘Traveller”, a large sphere hovering just above the earth. The last of humanity live below the Traveller, in the last city. As they begin to rebuild and branch out they find that their old planets are now occupied by strange new creatures and forces, and now must defend the last hope of humanity, the city, from extinction. The player is a ‘guardian’, a powerful human able to wield some of the Traveller’s power. Rather than like in Bungie’s previous title Halo, the humans aren’t a dominant force in the universe. The universe is designed to be scary and imposing for the last of the humans, with imposing aliens fortresses and environments like the citadel. Bungie’s new graphics engine will also help to shape the atmosphere of the game, with increased lighting and graphical capabilities to change how worlds are perceived by the player.
The player, as a guardian, can play as one of several different classes. The three confirmed so far are the Hunter, the Warlock and the Titan. Players will create and customize their own character, gaining new armor and weapons throughout the game. They will have their own personalized character in this huge galaxy. The tower, the players home, will serve as a hub for the character, where you can gear up your guardian and organize adventures and lobbies of friends. You will also be able to buy and customize vehicles and star-ships, and space combat has been hinted at but not confirmed. The developers have said they want the characters and universe, however dark and imposing to create a sense of hope for the players. “At its core, Destiny is a hopeful world. It’s a place worth spending time in. It’s a place worth fighting for.” says the story lead, Joe Staten. The world and game design here is aimed at keeping players invested week after week, month after month with new goals, rewards and content to experience.
The mission and game structure featured in Destiny will be open and in contrast to the multiplayer co-operative play for the main storyline the game will also feature competitive multiplayer modes, with credits and rewards being universal across the story and competitive parts. Even with a strong and expansive storyline the game will feature a variety of side missions and activities, from exploration to bounty hunting, all awarding the player with rewards and credits. All these missions and sections are playable with friends via direct invite and you locale will be populated with other online players that may tag along on your quest with you.
Destiny represents an ambitious and brave new step into the future of gaming, and will incorporate Destiny not only on home consoles but on iOS and Android devices, laptops and handhelds such as the vita to keep the player connected into the universe of Destiny. It’s large scale universe, bold new steps to change the first person shooter genre, and the seamless incorporation of single player and multiplayer are incredibly exciting and hopefully we see some more of this game in action in the near future. Bungie’s reveal seems to have excited many fans of Halo and Sci-fi already, and only time will tell whether they are capable of realising the dream that is Destiny.
Bungie’s full ViDoc is below: