Notice: This article will be constantly updated with new information given about Destiny on today, Sunday the 17th of February.
After months of speculation and leaks about Bungie's latest title, we finally get to hear from the guys who created Halo to see what they are going to do first within their contract with publisher Activision. We first got a teaser from Bungie themselves showing off a windmill on their website two years ago just after Reach had come out but while Activision and Electronic Arts were hashing out their lawsuit about the former Infinity Ward studio heads, more details started to trinkle out as a contract was revealed between Activision and Bungie that told us first details of Destiny. After watching the ViDoc (video documentary), here is what we now know of Bungie's next game.
If you didn't know that Bungie had a thing for the number seven, Bungie picked today to premiere the game because it is the seventh day of the week, on the seventh week of the year. As we have already known through leaked information from the last week, Destiny is coming to the PlayStation 3 & Xbox 360. The story goes as this: humanity was once a space-bearing race that controlled an entire system until an interplanetary apocalyptic event occured which almost destroyed all of human civilization. A large white mysterious sphere, known as the Traveler, that holds orbit above a certain spot on Earth takes hold over humanity's last city. Very few humans survive still but they have scathed together what was left of their society into one city. As human expansion past what seems to be prison walls, the Guardians find out that they are no longer alone on this planet. Check out the ViDoc below!
Update 1: According to multiple sources that attended the press event last week at Bungie's headquarters, there was absolutely no direct gameplay shown off but instead the gaming press was allowed to watch a video of game tester's impressionable faces, revealing some of what might have been on the TVs. There was only a bit of gameplay footage in the ViDoc that you can see above but no real in-game content was shown off and I don't think we'll see anything until E3. Before getting into the content I've found thus far, I wanted to take a quick quote from Polygon's breakdown, "Destiny is not Halo".
During previously mentioned press event, all of the staff particularly avoided using the term MMO but instead refered to gameplay while still using typical MMO lingo such as raids, etc. Earlier this morning, information leaked to NeoGaf from IGN's Spanish site showing off concept art and explaining more of what we could expect. While Bungie and Activision define the game as a shared-world shooter, the game will have an always connected to online interface meaning that if you were hoping to play this game for story elements by yourself you are out of luck. Fortunate to those cheap bastards, Bungie has confirmed that there won't be a seperate subscription fee for the game outside of what will be available for certain consoles. According to an information breakdown on GamingEverything.com, the game will be available for the Xbox 360, PlayStation 3 and "future generation technology". Obviously as most major outlets have inside information from Sony confirming that the PlayStation 4 will be announced on the 20th, we have reason to believe that the game will be not only available for Sony's next console but for Microsoft's whenever it becomes available.
Unlike most games, Bungie has said that Destiny won't feature a start menu but will thrust players into the game immediately every time you load up the game. Very few games have done this but depending if they let gamers know this could work out to help increase playtime instead of having to waiting around in pesky lobbies for every competitive encounter or something you want to jump into. Speaking of jumping into, the game will be featuring vehicles and spaceships. As far as what has been explained to Adam Sessler, you'll get the chance to explore our solar system on a spaceship but surely there will have to be limitations to what you can do.
The mysterious, white orb hovering above this human settlement has given humans advanced evolution capabilities as what could have been paraphrased from a Bungie employee. The breakdown of what that means is that the game will feature magic elements. Three classes have been revealed which are the hunter, warlock and titan. While the hunter could be a rouge, GamingEverything believes that it will most likely be a sniper class. The warlock will use magic primarily as the Titan could be a tank class. Because a magical space opera doesn't sound strange already, supposedly two different kinds of the enemies you'll encounter are time-travelling robots and space zombies. Take all of this information with a grain of salt though as waiting for confirmation is key.
Let's get into the business part of the reveal: I already mentioned that there won't be any monthly subscription fees but Activision plans on supporting the title for about a decade. How do you pull of this business model? There is one company that has done this kind of model before and has created one of the most popular MMO franchises: ArenaNet. Guild Wars 2 offers what I'd call a 'limited MMO experience' while keeping servers concise and organized yet offering the game for a certain price without forcing players to pay a monthly subscription fee. Could Destiny's gamers receive small updates for free but pay for expansions costing around $20 to $30 every six to 12 months? If Activision was going to spend all the money to exclusively have one of the industry's most popular developers create an expensive product, you wouldn't want to offer it for free or for a discounted price. Destiny isn't going to be cheap but how are they going to keep players interested while maintaining a logical business practice? Adam Sessler questioned that maybe Bungie would be looking a micro-transaction system to help boost sales of the game.
Update 2: At the beginning of the first update, I stated that multiple media outlets didn't get to see any gameplay. In the ViDoc, there was some aerial panning of in-game footage but it was barely anything as it was just teasing use for what we could anticipate. From the footage though, everything looked spectacular and we can expect that we'll see new footage within the next five months. There were a couple of extra clips that weren't shown in the ViDoc that Geoff Keighley used in his preview for GTTV.
IGN's Ryan McCaffrey teased last week that he would be putting together a FAQ and there are some simple points that might make things seem a little bit simpler to breakdown. As for cross-platform gameplay (between PS3 and Xbox 360), Bungie has ruled out that each console corporation will have its own servers but didn't clarify that potentially future consoles would connect with current generation consoles. Bungie has done this before though with Halo 2 being playable on the original Xbox and Xbox 360. Above you can see one of the vehicles, the Pike, that will be playable which has been compared to Halo's Ghost.
In the ViDoc, you can see that Bungie has worked to create social applications outside of the game to connect and remind players of new updates. This sort of technological pandering has already been compared to Facebook games with their friend list notifications. All I can say is that it's too early to have any judgment as the reveal was simply a pitch to the consumers. We'll keep you guys in the loop with updates and new information.