Bungie has at long last debuted their next project, Destiny. The debut comes in the form of a trailer documentary called a ViDoc under the name of Pathways out of Darkness.
The events of Destiny take place after the Earth has been destroyed along with the majority of the population by an unknown force. This ended Mans Golden Age. Just as Man faced its darkest moment, he was saved by a gigantic mysterious, floating sphere known only as the Traveller. No one knows where the Traveller came from, what it is or why it saved what was left of the Human race. As the years progress, Man has moved on and has sought to return from his near destruction. Destiny begins in the last remaining Human city that has been build directly beneath the Traveller.
Mans recuperation however will not be easy. Alien forces have set themselves on seeing Mans total annihilation and are drawing closer to the Last City. Players will be fighting to defend the city itself and Mans interest elsewhere in the galaxy.
Destiny in a nutshell is best explained as a first person shooter with MMO elements. Whilst the game requires a constant online connection to be played, Bungie confirmed that it is one hundred percent free of a subscription service. Also like an MMO, players will be cast straight into the game when they play it as there will be no main menu. For PS3 players, try to think of it as Infamous 2 with you being dropped into the game straight off the bat.
With Destiny, Bungie are aiming to take the project beyond the realm of being just a game and instead having Destiny as an entertainment property. What we’ve seen of this so far is that Destiny will be supported via IOS (No word of Android yet) and it’ll allow for players to be able to network with each other outside of the game through mobile devices. From the brief glimpse we saw in the trailer, players look like they’ll be able to interact with their friends who are playing the game. The “hows” of this are unknown at this point but it could be possible that players will be able to give their friends quests and objectives, give them supplies and cash. Whatever it is, it’s clear that Bungie are aiming beyond a standalone phone app but rather something that will compliment the overall experience. Bungie used the term “Destiny will find you wherever you are” which suggests a level of constant interaction with the project.
Gameplay will involve other such features such as customisation, questing and character class creation. According to Bungie, there will be three character classes that won’t all be gun based characters. The Traveller is able to give Man powers that he can then utilise to his advantage. This will also be factored into character customisation although we don’t yet know how exactly it will work. Being an open universe and not just a world, Destiny will encourage players to explore the depths of the universe and experience both the wonders and the horrors it has to offer. It is through this that players will have their own vessels capable of interstellar travel. The trailer opens with a shot of this. Again, its not yet clear just how space travel will play out. It could be like Mass Effect or it could be like something else entirely. What we do know is that spaceships will be fully customisable and that you’ll be able to get better ones as you rank up. Being able to customise a ship seems to let on that space travel will be more interactive but until we know more, its strictly confined to speculation.
You’ll notice in the trailer that we see a few brief glimpses of in engine footage and a brief few seconds of gameplay. Bungie have already confirmed that Destiny will be a cross platform release on the Xbox 360, PlayStation 3 and the next-generation systems from Sony and Microsoft. What we saw in the trailer looks like it’s current-gen gameplay. It looks pretty good but not good enough to be next-gen just yet. With Sony’s PlayStation Meeting airing next week, it may be the case that we see Bungie’s next-gen version of Destiny debuted on the PS4. The gameplay we saw looked to be part of a segment of players playing Destiny together and we also see some of the first person shooter elements of the game. Destiny is more of a shared world than anything else. Players will be able to play it by themselves or with friends. Whatever you wish to do, it looks like Bungie will be complementing both play styles. However, competitive multiplayer has been confirmed which with Bungie, is hardly a surprise. Again, the details in this department are scarce but we do know that it’s opt-in. You won’t be questing and you’ll fall victim to a random attack. Whilst Bungie haven’t said anything, it’ll probably be lobby based.
Bungie have confirmed Destiny as a console shooter which means that it definitely will not be coming to the PC. And whilst it’s going to be spanning four consoles from two manufacturers, it will not feature any form of cross platform play between the Xbox and the PlayStation through some sort of communal server. What is a possibility though is cross generation platform play through the Xbox 360 and the Xbox 720 and vice versa with the PlayStation 3 and PlayStation 4. At first the install bases on both systems will be relatively low, coupled with the obvious fact that for this level of ambition to work, Bungie need to get people playing Destiny. With this in mind, it’s entirely possible that cross generation platform play respective to console brands could be a feature.
Bungie split from Microsoft in 2007 after Halo 3 and signed on a ten year contract with Activision to get Destiny out of the door. Seeing as Activision are a mega corporation with bottomless pockets right now, it’s likely to be a good thing that Bungie have the Call of Duty publisher behind them. It’s clear that Bungie is reaching for ambitious heights here. It’s not so dissimilar from what CCP are doing with Eve Online and Dust 514 although for the long run, Destiny does seem to bigger for now. As part of this ten year contract with Activision, Destiny will be coming to the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 as a definite confirmation. In May last year, the first details of Destiny emerged during a trial concerning Activision and former Infinity Ward employees Vince Zampella and David West. Now whilst that contract was probably an early draft, it gave us details on the release plan for Destiny.
According to the contract, Destiny will release on the Xbox 360 in Fall 2013 with the PlayStation 3 version coming in Fall 2014, a year later. The later entries in the series will be coming to the next-generation consoles in four installments two years apart ala 2013, 2015, 2017 and 2019. In between the releases, Bungie will put out expansion packs known only as “Comet”.
Beyond this generous outflow of details, Bungie’s Destiny is a highly ambitious project and it’s most likely going to be so vast that information will have to be let out in parts. In other words, there is still so much we don’t know but Destiny certainly has potential to be the next big thing in gaming.
George Sinclair is an editor for Analog Addiction, the home of the latest news, reviews and previews. You can follow George on Twitter and his blog on IGN. Be sure to follow the official Analog Addiction Twitter.