Destiny Unveiled: Details On Bungie’s “Shared World Shooter”
Bungie has returned from their three-year video game hiatus to show us a project so utterly ambitious, its success could mean changing the console shooter as we know it from here on out.
So, what is Destiny? Bungie likes to think of it as “mythic science fiction” in a massive, always-online world. But we’re not allowed to call it an MMOFPS, despite how fitting it sounds. The ingredients may all be there – gigantic open-world, instantaneous co-op, in-game currency to unlock better gear, the ability to embark on raids…But, no, MMO doesn’t fit the bill according to Bungie. Despite the need for persistent online-access, publisher Activision promises there’s no subscription fees, and Bungie claims the amount of players you’ll encounter has a controlled cap, shirking MMO standards. Bungie prefers to call it a “shared world shooter” (think Borderlands on a larger scale).
Players don the role of a Guardian, warriors tasked with protecting the last of human civilization. Drawing their power from the moon-shaped “Traveler” floating above Earth’s last city, Guardians can evoke class-specific skills to thin the alien onslaught attempting to bloody humanity. Three such classes were revealed: the Titan, a brute with a focus for guns, big ones; the Hunter, a lithe infiltrator with a knack for sneaking and a sure-shot sniper; and the Warlock, a mage imbued with the Traveler’s decidedly supernatural power.
When touching on the sheer scope of the game, Bungie revealed players will have to think big. Not only can you traverse amongst the ruins of Earth’s once-great cities – locations like the swamp infested Old Chicago and the “European Dead Zone” – but your exploits encompass the whole of our solar system with customizable spaceships bouncing you from planet to planet (while Bungie hinted at space combat, it was mum on whether or not we’d take control of our vessels).
Each locale offers you the chance to create your own “Legend,” a set of missions that compose a story molded by your actions. These Legends can be tackled by your lonesome or you can better your chances with Guardians you meet, randomly generated in your session seamlessly and unobtrusively (think Journey with a spot of the ol’ ultra violence). Bungie made it a point that Destiny’s story isn’t told, but found; players having to actively seek, or even shape, the narrative and lore through discovery and completed Legends. How that works is anyone’s guess since Bungie was far from clear on the subject.
And that same obscuring, self-perpetuated fog hides the rest of Bungie’s grand effort. We know to expect Destiny on both current and next-gen technology (PS3, Xbox 360, and whatever’s around the corner) but Bungie is dodgy about when, though they’re sure cross-platform online play is being ruled out. We get the general premise, and a bunch of conceptual art to boot, but the public hasn’t seen minute one of gameplay footage. This may only be the first reveal, but it seems the meatiest of details are purposely being withheld. Though, mission success if it was Bungie’s intention to make me crave more.
The general assumption was that we’d see Destiny release before the year’s out, but with critical information lacking and two of the four consoles it’s intended for still not public knowledge, it appears we’ll be waiting quite awhile yet before we experience this shared world shooter. From what we’ve seen and heard today, though, it looks worth the wait.