Easily one of the most anticipated games of this year, Destiny is the first new game from Bungie, the developer that created the Halo series, since the studio stepped away from Microsoft. Set to be published by Activision, Interest has been high ever since May of last year, when court documents made public shows that Bungie was developing four new "sci-fi action shooter games" set to come out in 2013, 2015, 2017, and 2019. Destiny was also initially slated by industry analysts to be an MMO, but a recent reveal events have shown that it's slightly different to that.
Activision and Bungie say the best way to describe their new IP is a 'persistent world shooter'. While it has certain things in common with an MMO - gargantuan environments, timed events, the necessity for an always-on internet connection - there is no subscription fee required to play the game and its agency is far more immediate. This is easily the biggest shooter created thus far; in terms of size it leaves games the size of Borderlands 2 in the dust and in terms of ambition, it promises to be one of the most groundbreaking games ever created.
Destiny is set in the far distant future after a horrfiic war brought the human race to the brink of extinction. Before the war, humankind basked in a glorious inter-galactic Golden Age where its colonies spanned the further reaches of space. As humans pushed out into the cosmos they encountered more alien life foms and not all of them were friendly.
When Destiny begins, much of the history of the war has been lost in the annals of time. The identity of the genocidal aggressor who almost wiped out humankind is no longer known. All the remnants of Earth know are there are very few humans left, and the ones who are left owe their existence to The Traveller, a giant spherical alien ship hovering in the Earth's orbit.
Players take on the role of soldier charged with the protection of what's left of the human race called A Guardian. These soldiers protect the last remaining city of mankind that is situated just beneath The Traveller. They also come in varying classes and all of them use technology from The Traveller in their armour, weapons and vehicles.
Players can also choose between three different races: Humans, Awoken and Exo. The former need really no introduction, although Bungie says that each Guardian is in peak physical condition. Awoken are apparently inspired by mythical creatures such as elves and angels, being elegant, mysterious and exotic. The Exo are described as powerful and tireless.
Destiny's E3 hands-off demo was the first time that the press and the world at large had seen Bungie's new IP in action. During that time, it was revealed that the core experience is that of a First Person Shooter (FPS), with class-based levelling and vehicle based combat tossed in for good measure.
The class a player chooses seems to have some bearing on their gameplay experience as each of them have different weapons, armours and special attributes. Hunters are a scout-based class, who hunt down enemies of mankind. Titans are the tank class; they have heavy weapons and heavy armour. FInally, Warlocks combine weapons and Traveller tech, making them the equivalent of sci-fi sorcerers. Each class has its own talent tree as do many of the weapons.
Bungie have made every effort to impress on players that Destiny has been built from the ground up to be a co-op experience. The developer says that Destiny is best enjoyed by players who team up and create their own experiences. Not only is the game more fun when played with friends, but it gives players more options of attack when they encounter enemies. Each enemy players take out will invariably drop loot in the form of weapons, armour and tech.
The E3 demo also revealed that Destiny will contain set piece encounters - as revealed by the players in this video running into an enemy called a Devil Walker at the end.
Bungie hasn't said how many players will be allowed to to team up at any given time, and details are sketchy at this time as to how Destiny will accomodate lone wolf player types. Bungie have, however, said that there are contingencies in place to prevent players continually griefing one another, although they've not gone into any great detail about what they are yet.
Destiny: Environments & Graphics
The first concrete details about the game were leaked online last year to gaming website IGN. The leak included story details and concept art in a document, which Bungie confirmed to IGN was being prepared by an advertising agency.
The document said: "Our story begins seven hundred years from now in the Last City on Earth, in a Solar System littered with the ruins of man’s Golden Age. A massive, mysterious alien ship hangs overhead like a second Moon. No one knows where it came from or what it’s here for, but only that it’s our protector. Meanwhile, strange, alien monsters creep in from the edge of the universe, determined to take Earth and the Last City. We are young ‘knights’ tasked with defending the remains of humanity, discovering the source of these monsters and – eventually – overcoming it.” The massive alien ship is referred to elsewhere in the document as “the Traveler.”
Bungie's stated intention with Destiny is to "create a universe as deep, tangible and relatable as that of the Star Wars franchise".
“Destiny is designed for your inner seven year old,” says Bungie co-founder Jason Jones. “We want to make it feel like a mythic adventure.”
Since then, more pictures and screen shots have been made available to the public, showcasing the depth and breadth of Destiny's visual presentation. Bungie are going for an old-world-style of science fiction, where hi-tech weaponary, architecture and vehicles rub shoulders with rustic aesthetic and vista that speak of a dilapidated empire.
Destiny: Release Date
Destiny has no release date as yet, although Activision and Bungie have confirmed it will be out early next year. Right now, it's confirmed for Xbox One, PS4, PS3 and Xbox 360. When asked whether it would land on PC, Bungie simply responded with 'watch this space".