Bungie and Activision Unveil Destiny

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Destiny, Bunge’s “shared-world shooter” was unveiled February 17th to a select group of journalist at Bungie’s headquarters in Bellevue Washington. The game is to be published under Activision and Bungie’s ten year long contract, of which Destiny is to be a major part as it has been alluded that it will be continually expanded during the decade long partnership.

This is what I expected Bungie's HQ to look like after getting all of that Activision money in the publishing deal.

This is what I expected Bungie’s HQ to look like after getting all of that Activision money in the publishing deal.

Destiny is one part Journey, two parts Planetside or Dust 514, and a splash of Halo. The game is set in the far future, with humanity having retreated mainly to one mega city at the North Pole under the protection of a giant floating orb that has given humanity access to magical powers. It’s up to the players to reclaim humanity’s lost legacy amongst the solar system.

All hail the giant floating orb!

Today’s weather; cloudy with a 100% chance of floating orb.

It’s important to note that Bungie and Activision carefully avoided words like magic, MMO, and RPG, although it is painfully obvious that this game has the trappings of all three. During the conference representatives are quoted to have used common MMO terms such as “raid”, “party”, and the three main player archetypes seem to mirror the traditional “fighter”, “rouge”, and “wizard” setup.

The rouge, wizard, and fighter respectively.

The rouge, wizard, and fighter respectively.

The main difference is that movement between zones, servers, and groups are all supposed to be “seamless”. You could be off shooting baddies in an area when a player just flys by on their hover bike and blasts a foe about to kill you. The developers also claim that whole worlds can be explored, and eventually players will be able to go to all of the planets in the solar system.

Live the good life on the off world colonies!

Live the good life on the off world colonies!

Something was conspicuously missing during the showing, however. Gameplay. With all of these high and mighty claims of endless adventure, no actual game footage was displayed. Bungie and Activision did show player reactions to gameplay, but images of said gameplay were blurred out. Jeff Gerstmann of Giant Bomb claimed that this was extra suspicious because Bungie employees that he knew reacted with surprise when he told them the panel had not been shown any working footage of the game.

This looks really awesome, but what would have really been great is to see it in action.

This looks really awesome, but what would have really been great is to see it in action.

Another interesting and unorthodox quirk of Destiny’s development is the emphasis on music. Much of the soundtrack design seems to have been done before the game proper was built. Paul McCartney of Beetles fame has teamed up with Bungie’s Marty O’Donnell on its development. What has been created of the soundtrack so far has been piped into the lavish development center, to get the team in the mood.

I wonder if Sir McCartney has dibs on the guild name "Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band?"

I wonder if Sir McCartney has dibs on the guild name “Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band?”

So will Destiny live up to the hype? Only time will tell, and it may be a little while off before we know as it is not expected to be released any sooner than Q2 2014. The game has been announced for the Sony Playstation 3 and Xbox 360, which is also odd considering that by that time PlayStation 4 and Microsoft’s new offerings should be available. It is slated to be a “console” shooter, but many online desperately want a PC release, although the sentiment given off by Bungie and Activision seems to say that it isn’t in the cards for now.