Here we have a unique sibling rivalry, where noogies are replaced by plasma grenades.
The world of FPS has been a mainstay of gaming for years. From the earliest days on PC, we’ve been fragging our asses off in those late night multiplayer sessions. At one time, the mouse and keyboard were synonymous with the word headshot. Then in the early 2000’s, a new-fangled system by Microsoft set out to change all that. A game called Halo turned everything upside down and, dare I say, made first person shooters on the consoles what they are today. Games like Call of Duty and Battlefield owe a lot to the trailblazer that is Master Chief, as he made thumbsticks and shoulder buttons the new norm for the genre.
Bungie, the studio behind the epic franchise, now brings us its first big follow-up after leaving the umbrella of Microsoft. Destiny is a game that keeps the familiar sci-fi feel of the original Halo series, while also hoping to bring us something completely different. As the September release date steams towards us, those within the walls of the Bungie studios are working diligently to craft a truly unique experience. As important as their roots are, many within the company feel it’s important for them to bring something new to the table. In their weekly update, Bungie called it a challenge to “…break new ground in your imagination….Our goal is to change the way you think about all the games you play. We want to redefine what you come to expect when you have a weapon in your hands…”
But in their quest to once again revolutionize, do they run the risk of becoming “New Coke?”
If you’re not familiar with my work, I’m a Halo die hard. So when Bungie tells me they are going to once again evolve, I’m willing to give them the benefit of the doubt. However, as Destiny is yet an unknown property, I do think the importance of grounding it to some degree is worth mentioning. As the old saying goes, “Dance with the one that brought you.” Moving too far away from the elements they know (ones they perfected for Halo in the first place) is probably not a great idea. Ideally, their goal should be to retain certain key aspects from their repertoire, while once again shoving the genre forward. For example, one of the many things that made Halo appealing in the eyes of casual and hardcore fans alike was its accessibility. It was simplistic to a degree that gamers with little FPS experience could enjoy, while offering enough to satisfy veterans. It was a well-oiled machine in every way that only got better over the years.
If anything, that is my biggest gripe about Halo (and a word of warning for Destiny). As series' like Call of Duty and Battlefield became more popular, Halo felt as if it had to compete in the bells and whistles department. This led to more load out options and additional abilities that I feel overly complicated things at times, and took the fun factor down a bit. Granted, I know I have to get used to this type of play style (as it’s never going away), but I just hope that Bungie realizes there is such a thing as a step to far.
Can Destiny truly push the genre into its next stage of evolution without losing the core values of what made its predecessor great? That’s my hope. I have faith.