First Look: Bungie’s ‘Destiny’

On Monday, XBox Live’s dashboard fed us a link to a vidoc about Bungie’s  new project, Destiny. The originators of the Halo universe have long been silent about what’s been brewing in their creative cauldrons, so I was excited to learn what Destiny was all about.

What, no PC?

What, no PC?

Destiny journeys forth from the pre-established reality that humanity has colonized other planets besides Mother Earth, enjoying a sort of second ‘Golden Age’ where the civilization’s progress is suddenly halted by an unknown force. Another mysterious entity, “The Traveler,” is the only reason any humans continue to breathe. Spherical in shape, the Traveler hovers over a struggling human city on Earth, apparently dead after having given itself to save us. Once the space program gets set up again, humanity attempts to check out the situation on their off-world colonies and find that other races have moved in and claimed space…and they’re not keen on sharing. There are guns, aliens, strategic decision-making and of course, the social tie-in with your friends. The vidoc discusses Bungie’s challenge to developing a universe where the player would want to play with his or her friends, preferably for 50+ hours at a time. Bungie has partnered with Activision for Destiny and heralds it as a ‘bold new action game set in a living world’ that will probably redefine the way we play games. There were nice shots of the Bungie office and the orchestra scoring the game, as well as some brief glimpses of gameplay, which seems to progress from an FPS point of view. At the end of the vidoc, an employee says that they never thought Halo was going to be as big as it was,and so now they’ve had to ask themselves ‘What could be bigger than Halo?’ Amazingly, this minute glace at game-play and graphics seems to be enough reason for Bungie to urge you to pre-order Destiny for the XBox 360 or PlayStation 3, with a footnote that it will be coming to next-gen platforms…just not in 2013. So you’d be pre-ordering now and getting it by maybe Spring 2014? Sounds legit…I guess?

Anyway, right as the vidoc started, I had a moment like “that music sounds like Halo, but I’ll bite and see what’s up.” And I won’t lie to you…my first thoughts about the story and first images were “This looks like what the Mass Effect universe would look like, post-Reaper war.” There’s even a piece of concept art available for gawking entitled “Citadel,” which pictures enemies and the human heroes (named Guardians) duking it out on the ground while a large structure hovers above them, its infrastructure obviously compromised.  I lol’ed hard at that.

Lol.

Lol.

And really, doesn’t it sound like a slightly AU Mass Effect? Check it out: Humanity lands among the stars and colonizes other worlds with little to no interference until alien races notice their advancement and administer the proverbial pimp slap, thus sending humanity tumbling down the ladder…once the surviving few claw their way out of the rubble and PTSD, they learn more about these races, one of which, the time-traveling robotic Vex, looks suspiciously like the Prometheans of Halo 4, just minus the orange cybernetic-like glow emanating from their bodies. No? Just me? Okay. You’ve got the ability to customize your Guardian character based on class (Titans, Warlocks, and Hunters) and you’re also able to harness the Traveler’s mysterious power as you take the fight right to the enemy, and do your duty to protect Earth and humanity. Anyway, once I got over that initial feeling of “I’ve played this before” and focused on the remaining bits of the vidoc, I found that I was cautiously optimistic about this title after all.

The concept art is pretty, and it too generates that same familiar feeling in me, with an image of what looks like a female Hunter class Guardian smacking of the Mass Effect Quarian design. You can see IGN’s complete run-through of the concept art for the visual, and also Forbes’ piece on the announcement. You will be able to play with your friends, coordinating with them via a companion app on the iOS platform about in-game activities such as content drops and new missions, which begs the question of whether or not Android users are also allowed to coordinate with friends (no, really…I’m not buying an iPhone  just to experience this game at its full social potential). Destiny, as Bungie has said, is not to be considered an MMO; rather, they’d prefer you use their newly coined terminology of “shared world shooter,” which I have to admit sounds pretty cool.  I mean, if it looks like a duck and quacks like a duck, then it’s an MMO but whatever, it’s their project so they can call it what they wish. Bungie’s stated that they will aim to implement distributed servers to help with all that global player traffic; you know, so events don’t unfold a la the Halo: Reach multiplayer experience, which will be a welcome fix for everyone. Bungie’s goal is that players add to the story as Destiny unfolds, teaming up with buddies to reclaim humanity’s lost worlds and uncover the mystery of the Traveler and just why the other races hate us so much. They’ve promised a high level of customization, for both armor and weapons, all of which can be done at The Last City (really, that’s what they’ve called it), which you return to throughout the game for some good old R&R. There is no word on specific character names or voice actors, but they did confirm that the score is co-authored by Paul McCartney…PAUL MCCARTNEY, you guys. That’s about the most exciting thing I’ve read so far. I just need to say again though….I just can’t help feeling as though I’ve played this already:

*cough*Ghost*cough*

*cough*Ghost*cough*

So, what are your thoughts? Will you be getting Halo: Commander Shepard Meets Master Chief Who Was Transformed Into A Guardian After The Reaper/First Contact War aka Destiny? I might…as additional details unfold. I just think it’s crazy to ask players to pre-order it without something as compelling as a release date attached. Then again, this is a part-Activision production here, so maybe once E3 is out of the way, we’ll see some indication of a date dropped.

And with that in mind, if you’re unable to watch Sony’s press conference today for what is assumed to be the next-gen PlayStation announcement, feel free to follow me on Twitter, where I’ll be live-tweeting it as it unfolds. I’m staying up way beyond my bedtime for this, so humour me and follow. 🙂

Until next time.

 

 

 

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