Destiny released to widely varying criticism with many complaints of a lackluster story and plot since its release in 2013. The title has recently gotten it’s biggest add-on yet — The Taken King. The DLC has not steadied the game’s place at all though with a barrage of complaints accompanying the massive sales numbers.
Up until now, Bungie has suggested that this trend of big DLC updates would continue as the game was expected to last as long as ten years. Bungie’s contract with Activision promised a ten-year span of dedicated work on the game and in multiple interviews Bungie suggested that they were prepared to continue working on the game for those years.
In an interview with the Guardian in 2014 the CO of Destiny, Pete Parsons said “We love to invest in universes. We did Halo for ten years we just didn’t have the benefit of knowing it would happen.”
Well, that plan isn’t quite what Bungie is thinking now according to Erik Osborne, Bungie’s community and marketing relations manager.
“It just became the narrative. I mean, I drive a Honda Civic. I don’t know shit about $500 million. A ten-year plan? It’s a ten-year partnership agreement. It has nothing to do with the development of the game proper. To think that somehow, before Destiny had shipped, we had some ten-year plan written down somewhere? It’s comical. We allowed the narrative to get constructed that Bungie is just a corporate entity and not a bunch of humans, a collection of people who are just trying to make a really great game.”
Though these comments directly contradict the expectations of Activision’s CEO, Eric Hirshberg when he spoke with Wired magazine in September, 2014.
“I think a lot of franchises get built game-to-game, or month-to-month — the moment really determines the momentum of the franchise… Bungie aren’t just thinking about the content that goes on the first disc; they’re thinking about a ten-year story.”
For those interested in the direction that Bungie will be going with their most recent FPS, a relatively unknown leak from an Italian Destiny blog displaying the expansion plans for Destiny has gained some traction since it first dropped in October.
The blurry photo shows some info that has already been confirmed/released like the Dark Below (released December 9th) and the House of Wolves (due March 10th) DLCs, but some unconfirmed addons are shown to be on their way as well.
The most notable aspect of the leak is a substantial expansion that will likely replace the current iteration of Destiny in stores. The expansion dubbed “Comet: Plague of Darkness” shows a massive collection of missions, strikes, PvP maps, and more. Story-wise we will likely see a more detailed exploration of the Hive or more specifically the Hive Ship.
Two smaller expansions — the continuation of the episodic addons Dark Below and House of Wolves are due after the Comet’s release and while no price point is known as of yet, it’s reasonable to expect a similar price as the former episodic addons — $19.99.
It sounds amazing on-paper and it’s not too bad as a finished product either, but Destiny lack of a core identity prevents the game from ever fully reaching the expectations so many people had for it.
It should be clear — Bungie and Activision did not totally drop the ball with Destiny. It is not a flop or a bust of a game, but with over $500 million invested in the title it’s reasonable to expect more.
A lot of what Bungie has attempted doesn’t fall off to dramatically at any point — in fact almost every aspect of the game is so close to being amazing. But that’s just it — so much of the game is close to greatness, but not quite there.
Here’s what went right and what went wrong, and the ultimate verdict on Destiny:
What went right?
Aesthetics The game looks beautiful. From the amazing expansive vistas, to the awesome lighting effects and small art details within each environment, everything about Destiny is begging to be explored and experienced. Right as your ghost first awakens you to the desolate Russian lands, the world is shown to be greater than any typical FPS.
What went wrong?
The linear world.
Despite these expansive landscapes that seemingly beg to be explored, Destiny’s free-roam gameplay is unfortunately hindered by invisible walls and repetitive pathways. While the game was broadcasted as an open and shared-world shooter, the progression of each mission is very clear and nothing comes as a surprise or a change of pace.
The other players that you encounter throughout each mission are far and infrequently occurring that make the world much less enjoyable for a solo player than it would be for a person who personally invites friends to play.
What went right?
The plot. The premise of the entire universe that Destiny occurs in and the lore of the world is certainly not what holds back the story in this game. The concepts are relatively basic, but it doesn’t need to be all too original or unique for a great story to be told. The Traveler is a great idea and the history of the human race is succinctly explained to build the base for an in-depth story. The races are varied enough to each have their own history and they all have the potential for their own great individual story lines –outside of humanity’s.
What went wrong?
The progression. The lack of exploration within the core ideas of the story and the lack of development into explaining what exactly got humanity up to the point of the game’s start creates a break in the potential immersion that could occur throughout Destiny. It initially seems as though they game’s writers wanted to have the game as mystery unraveling before you, but the mystery hardly unravels at all. Far too many characters are left undeveloped and too many branches of the story are left hidden.
While their is a clear foundation for something great, there is little progression into the intricacies that the world seems to set from the beginning. The game struggles to get players emotionally invested in the story.
What went right?
Great action-driven engine
The gameplay of Destiny may be the game’s strongest trait. There are clear ties to Halo, Bungie’s last franchise, right away. The experience is very clean and is hardly ever impeded by any substantial glitches or bugs. The combat is well balanced and the weapon variety is decent. A quick-transportation method in the Sparrow offers a great ability to keep the game moving and prevents too many dull points where nothing is quite happening. Players are consistently involved and never lulled while traversing each mission.
What went wrong?
No identity Destiny seems to try and take on as many game qualities as it can. Bungie incorporates many key aspects of a typical MMO in the FPS experience. An attempt is made to combining a well-made story FPS with a highly explorable MMO, but Bungie doesn’t quite succeed at reaching either of those aspirations. The MMO qualities of Destiny — loot drops, a home-base marketplace, class systems, and multiplayer missions are all excellent, but some key features of MMOs change what you would expect from any typical pace of action.
Throughout the game the placement of enemies and where players engage in combat are incredibly off-setting. Re-encountering enemies in the same scripted areas is par-for-the-course in almost any MMO, but experiencing the same in a world that attempts to be so story driven is one of the biggest aspects of the game that breaks any immersion.
Because each level is re-explored with multiple missions there is little the game does to shake things up. While the story of the game tries to alter the gameplay as you face a greater variety of enemies later in the game, it still doesn’t change the predictable cadance that the combat follows.
What went right?
The Soundtrack While it isn’t quite as iconic as Halo: Combat Evolved, the soundtrack of Destiny does a valiant job in setting the mood and intended tone of the game. Anyone who has played the game should be able to recognize the soundtrack. Marty O’Donnell’s work is clearly heard though, and it’s similarities to Halo are very prominent.
What went wrong?
The voice acting It may just be a carry over from the writing and creative direction the game attempts, but the voice acting is another immersion-breaking aspect of Destiny. The speaker, ghost, and the Queen of the Reef all speak in such a bland and PG style. It may be the Activision was looking to ensure a T-rating, but their is a noticeable lack of expressive or believable emotion in almost anything that is said.
The PvP multiplayer of Destiny is another bright spot. The maps are well-balanced and offer a great mix of close-range and long-range combat. All players being given their own custom loadouts and classes allow for players to play the way they see fit. The weapon-armed vehicles along with your personal Sparrow offer great outside options besides standard on-foot firefights.
The only grievance that could really be filed against the multiplayer is the lack of gamemodes. While the core modes like deathmatch, control, and free-for-all are included, the unique and fun-focused modes from Halo’s franchise (like Infection, SWAT, and juggernaut) seem like they could fit well within the Destiny multiplayer as well.
Destiny has the aura of something absolutely amazing, but with every positive comes some type of negative that holds the game back. It presses to be so much and shows incredible aspirations of greatness, but a conservative approach and an overly-cautious avoidance of being too heavily any one genre prevents it from reaching the potential it had.
It certainly isn’t a neccesarily bad game. It is definitely a lot of fun — especially when played with friends, but with so much initially presented Destiny leaves much more to be desired. An excellent marketing team and a highly regarded developer like Bungie created a lot of hype to live up to, and though Destiny didn’t quite live up to it the quality of the game is still respectable.
For those that are still holding off purchasing either the Xbox One or Playstation 4, Bungie is giving fans an opportunity to easily transfer over their Destiny experience to the new generation.
While some gamers are still holding on to their Xbox 360s or Playstation 3s, they’ll now be able to bring at least one game with them over to the new consoles. Bungie will be giving all buyers of the digital version of Destiny on the Xbox 360 or PS3 the ability to upgrade their game to the new generation for a limited time.
Whether you buy just the base game, the limited edition, or the Ghost edition, you’ll be given the same rendition when you upgrade while all your in-game possessions, stats, and character progression completely transfer over as well.
Even after you transfer to the new console, you’ll still be able to play your game on the previous gen console with no draw-backs.
Bungie and Activision are preparing for a massive blockbuster with Destiny, and their incredible popularity gives them the ability to give fans what is essentially two copies of the game next week as the game releases (September 9th).
The power of Google street view comes to Destiny giving players the ability to explore the surfaces of the Solar System.
Nearly everyone knows of Google maps and how users are able to get up close to almost any destination on Earth. Bungie is taking advantage of this tech to do something no videogame has quite done before.
Players can get a first person perspective of the cities, backdrop, and structures of any of the planets within the future of our solar system to give a greater depth to the Destiny universe.
Fan can unlock hidden treasure scattered throughout the worlds and learn detailed info about the environments fans will soon be able to adventure within.
The treasure itself is fun to uncover, but viewing the beautiful skyboxes and landscapes of Mars and Venus make the web application well worth checking out.
Bungie showcases Destiny’s vast diversity of environments with their latest gameplay trailer.
From the deserts of Mars, to the stormy chaos on Venus, to the ice-covered world of Europa, Destiny has a variety of settings that can bring an immense amount of immersion and awe to the landscapes and massive structures within them.
Bungie’s history with dazzling skyboxes looks to live on as well. In the developer’s original franchise, Halo, the skies were always highlighted by the Halo ring that brought a clear realization of the grand scale of the universe.
Now in Destiny players will notice the planets, stars, and storms displayed beautifully above the firefights and battles heroes engage in. The resources now available to Bungie allow them to more easily allude to the magnitude of Destiny’s universe.
The combat looks to be sharp and exciting as well. The special abilities presented in the new gameplay trailer shows how players can take advantage of their strength as they grow and level their character.
Destiny will be releasing September 9th on Xbox One, Xbox 360, Playstation 4, and Playstation 3.
Bungie’s reveal of each planet continues and the excitement for Destiny stays high. Their latest trailer showcases a dark and mystic world that will surely hold some secrets.
The primary enemy players will encounter on and beneath the stormy and jungle covered surface of Venus will be a time-traveling partly-robotic alien species — the Vex.
The Vex’s appear to be simple mindless killing machines that have to dominate human civilization and the environment they settled in seems perfect for that. Venus was once home to a great deal of significant scientific discoveries in Destiny’s universe.
Maybe players will be able to uncover answers to the mysteries regarding the Vex species and their background during their adventures on Venus, but until the release of the game details on their story will rightfully remain obscure.
Destiny will be available on Xbox One, Xbox 360, Playstation 4, and Playstation 3 on September 9th.