When Bungie and Microsoft parted ways in 2007, very little changed between the two companies. The Halo developer continued, as they always had, to churn out Halo titles and Microsoft, presumably, continued to laugh manically and slowly stroke a black cat. But in 2010, Bungie signed a ten-year publishing agreement with Activision, and things finally began to change. 343 Industries took over the Halo franchise, and Bungie set their sights on something bigger.
However, the details of that project have been a little fuzzy. And, unfortunately, even after the developer released their mini-documentary over the weekend, the game's details still aren't exactly clear. We did get a chance to see some of the title's features in action, and it's definitely enough to stir up a bit of irrational excitement.
Unsurprisingly, Destiny's primary antagonist is a race of agitated aliens. Initially, players will find themselves on a futuristic version of Earth, though the entire planet has been leveled by the aliens, save one city.
This last remaining city on Earth only survived, and this is where it gets a little confusing, because a gigantic, spherical vessel called The Traveler intervened on humanity's behalf. Humanity's final outpost sits directly underneath the floating sphere, under the wings of The Traveler's protection. And, when our soldiers venture into the ruins of their former cities, the aliens are waiting.
From what we've seen, Destiny is massive, but Bungie wants to make sure that players know that this is not another MMO. As you play, the game will be in constant contact with the Destiny servers in order to populate the area with other players. These encounters won't be planned. They're meant to feel serendipitous and organic, which Bungie hopes will amplify player immersion. "These are living, open worlds with evolving stories, changing time of day…and every one is full of players," says Chris Butcher, Destiny's engineering lead. "Destiny is an always online experience, but it's not an MMO."
Social interaction is a huge part of Bungie’s vision for Destiny, and I'm not just talking about in-game interaction. The campaign can be played cooperatively, if that sounds interesting, but it’s certainly not expected. Bungie also plans to implement a collection of social hubs, trading centers, and places to gamble away your hard-earned cash.
Destiny's most impressive feature, for my money, is Bungie's long-term commitment to the franchise. The developer says that the storyline and universe will evolve over the next ten years. I'm assuming that this will involve a stream of sequels and DLC packs, but the details are a little fuzzy, unsurprisingly.
So far, Destiny has been confirmed for Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3, but considering Bungie's long-term commitment, I have a feeling they’ll tack on a couple of next-gen consoles very soon. Though, PC and Wii U players might be left in the lurch.
The documentary also showed off web-based and mobile apps for loudout customization and sending/receiving invitations.
We're still not exactly sure what the gameplay is going to be like, but it's probably safe to assume that it will have some similarities to the silky-smooth Halo gameplay that Bungie has been perfecting for the last thirteen years.
Either way, it's easy to be excited for Destiny. But we'll probably have to wait until E3 to get any more concrete specifics.
Date: February 18, 2013