Has thinking outside the box taken Bungie outside the realm of success?
From time to time the video game industry goes through a renaissance period. It happened with the likes of Super Mario on the NES, just as it did later with the advent of the CD-Rom and the PlayStation. When it came time to take the first person shooter to a whole new level (which had never been seen on the consoles before) Halo proved to be our guiding light. Now, the folks behind the hugely successful sci-fi hit has once again ventured to blaze a trail and go where no man has gone before (that one was for you Willie).
But has their drive for change led them so far from the path they’re lost in the wildness?
If you remember just a few months back, the nature of exactly what Destiny was was still a complete mystery. Rumors circulated that Bungie had something big in the works, but no real clear indications were present. While we assumed it would likely be some kind of shooter, none of us could quite put our fingers on it. This was due in part to the design team touting a mysterious new direction they planned to take their upcoming project. In the days and weeks since, we’ve finally learned what they had in mind. Destiny looks to take the traditional FPS and turn it on its ear. The standard run-‘n-gun style gameplay is still present, but with it comes a completely foreign element.
Of course I’m referring to the new role-playing mechanic.
Although some perhaps thought this would be just a tacked on addition, it appears its roots reach all the way down into the core fundamentals of the game. Touting the now live beta for the Xbox One (following the previously released version found on the PS4), here is what the staff of the Xbox Wire had to say hyping its arrival, “The role-playing elements of Destiny will be evident to you immediately. Players are given a choice of Titan, Hunter, and Warlock classes, each of which has its own specific set of skills and progression trees…This is a shooter in which your avatar becomes very much your own to develop and understand over time, and later-level upgrades ensure that it will be worth the effort to acquire them (and show them off).”
In some ways I’m a little worried. I truly feel that Destiny could be considered the spiritual successor to the original Halo series, even more than the actual sequels of Halo four and five by 343. Everything about Destiny screams Bungie and their unique style (which they use to craft worlds all their own). However; I’ve never been huge into role-playing myself. I have to image I’m not the only shooter fan who’s still trying to wrap his head around where I’ll fit into this picture. Will the role-playing element fit like a well-worn glove, or prove to be an alien concept to my battle tested FPS brain? I’d like to think I’m open minded enough to give anything a try, as I can see Bungie is attempting to progress the genre forward with a hard shove. I’m just trepidations that others like me will find it a bit too far removed from our comfort zone and what a title like this really should be.
Actually, let’s talk about that last line there. What I said about “…what it really should be” kind of struck me once I read it back. All any game should be is fun. Plain and simple. It doesn’t really matter what form the fun comes in, as long as it arrives right? So I suppose what I’m saying is, no matter if it’s a point and click adventure or a vast new take on an old standard (as Destiny looks to be) enjoying the experience takes precedent over everything else. Will this end up being the doorway that leads my gaming brethren to explore other titles with a similar role-playing/MMO flair? Who knows! What I do know is I’m looking forward to Destiny and all it has to offer. It could truly be the most innovative title of this generation!
If nothing else, it promises to be one of a kind, that’s for sure (even if it does ultimately overreach).