Halo. Marathon. Oni. What do those all have in common? All three are games developed by Bungie. Each one of them was a big, groundbreaking game at the time of it’s initial release, and all are still relevant today. Bungie isn’t a mediocre studio, that puts out a few good games, and one that may be a classic. Bungie has a history of innovation, and they have a history of making games that are huge.
Destiny, the studios next game, will follow this trend. We can’t stop that. Bungie has put their entire company into innovation mode, and yesterday, we got to see the fruits of their labor. We got our first look at Destiny, and it was nothing short of stellar. True, we didn’t see a lot of it – but we saw enough. For me, at any rate, what I saw was enough to convince me to buy the game.
The concept art on it’s own is all the convincing many people will need. While it is certainly reminiscent of Halo – sweeping, outdoor environments that are rendered with near perfection – this is no way a bad thing. Say what you will about Halo, but you cannot deny that it’s environments were stellar. The environments range from sunny, outdoor grasslands to the barren surface of the moon to lush jungles to destroyed relics of society.
The fact that Bungie has managed to pack such a wide variety of environments into a shooter is an unprecedented triumph. Few games that aren’t MMOs or RPGs include such a wide variety of environments.
Aside from the fact that the screenshots so such stellar environments – which I’ve just raved about for three paragraphs – the concept art and screenshots reveal quite a bit more about the next big game. We have been given some plot outlines, but the visuals really give us a feel for the world that we’re going to find ourselves immersed in for hours, and the stories that will be forged within that world.
Evidently, Destiny takes place in a post apocalyptic society. We sort of already knew that, since Bungie had told us that humanity had all but been extinguished. And now, with The Traveler hanging in the sky above Earth’s last city, the planet is little more than desolate ruins. the setting is, then, post apocalyptic.
I can think of only a few other games that have tried to pull a post apocalypse theme on us, and those are the two Darksiders and any game that has to do with zombies. It could be argued that other games are post apocalyptic, but Destiny’s screen shots are basically saying “Here, look at this post apocalyptic world we’ve made for you!”
It’s a theme – perhaps even a genre – that has thrived for years in comics, books, movies, and TV shows. So why shouldn’t it thrive in video games? Why shouldn’t we be able to actually live it, rather than simply watch it unfold or read about it?
And, from what we’ve heard, we will be living in Destiny. I look forward to the days when I’m checking my phone in class not because my JV Basketball team has been chatting on Whatsapp, but because Destiny’s story has, yet again, evolved. I get the sense that the game will really feel organic. You could go as far as to classify it as an MMO – considering that you can run across other players at almost any time in the game.
Yes, you will always need to be connected to internet to play Destiny. Bungie has said that the experience will be just as enjoyable for those who play solo as for those who play in groups, but with a game like Destiny, why the hell would you play alone? You could come across a group of Guardians in a battle with a group of the Vex. Before I get into the scenario itself, it must be said that the Vex, those things you see below, are time traveling robots. Is there any game that has ever done that before? And if there is, why am I not aware of it?
Anyways, though the Vex have not been confirmed as antagonists in the game, the screens certainly make them look that way. Now, this group of Guardians are actually other players. And you can join them in their quest, whatever that quest may be. You could, of course, attack them.
That feature will give the game an organic feel – a feel that is hard to find anywhere else. Unlike many other games, it will actually feel like you inhabit the world that Bungie has created for you. That organic feel is part of why Destiny will be the next big game. Because it creates a new experience, one that most console gamers will almost never be able to experience anywhere else.
With Bungie, innovation is the name of the game. In addition to creating a world that the player wants to be a part of, they’re creating a world that gamers haven’t really experienced for. Sure, the game will probably play similar to Halo. That isn’t a problem, really, especially since it will be given a little tweaking for sure.
Bungie recently gave seven pillars of Destiny, one of which was that every time you play, you will find a new experience, and everything you do will make you feel as if you’ve accomplished something. The feeling of accomplishment won’t be hard to do, but a new experience every time? That seems impossible, does it not?
Well, it isn’t. There are two reasons for that, at least that I’ve identified. First of all, Destiny’s plot won’t be told in a conventional manner – it will constantly be evolving. Sure, there will probably be a main story type thing, but the evolving story will add a lot. Again, this is innovation at it’s finest. This is a bold game developer stepping out of their comfort zone, and, as a result, stepping up their game.
The second is what you see above. Now, I know I’ve discussed the environments a lot. What you see above, you may mistake for a desert with a military outpost being the only structures for miles. That certainly sounds like it could provide an interesting experience, but what that image actually is will provide a much more interesting experience.
Because, you see, that wind scorched desert in the picture above? That would be Mars. Yup. Mars. The red planet will be open for exploration in Destiny – though it will be protected by it’s own guardians. The image above is Mars’ exclusion zone, which is protected by the Cabal. Really, I cannot wait to see what the “exclusion zone” is.
“So what, it has Mars. You can travel to two planets.” Yes, you can travel to two planets. But that’s not all. The image below? Yes, it’s a massive hole – one that we only know is called Hellmouth – but it’s a massive hole on the Moon. So there’s yet another celestial body that you will be given access to in Destiny.
Then there’s Jupiter, Venus, Saturn, etc. Essentially, Destiny will give you access to our solar system. It’s all there for you to explore. This has a clear byproduct: space combat. We got a taste of what Bungie could do in that department in Halo: Reach, and it was one of the game’s best moments.
The variety of environments – and, indeed, planets – coupled with the ever-evolving story means that new experiences are guaranteed every time you play Destiny. That, my friends, is innovation.
In a gaming industry dominated by repetitive, boring games that follow the same formula and game developers that are too scared to take a risk, Destiny is a breath of fresh air. It’s a completely new IP, and one that Bungie is pouring everything they have into. The extreme levels of innovation, especially since, knowing Bungie, it will all work, are what the gaming industry needs. And that, my friends, is why Destiny is the next big game, and the one that we will all be playing when it comes out.