Bungie’s Destiny is actually now available for preorder, but before you jump the gun, let’s get to know more about the game, shall we?
Last week Bungie hosted journalists at its Bellevue, Washington office, where information about the new game was divulged.
We’ve gathered the best bits from around the web and placed them here for your quenching pleasure:
When Jason Jones, Bungie co-founder and Halo mastermind who’s also notoriously camera-shy, who hasn’t given an interview to a single outlet in over a decade, broke his phobia of the press to introduce Bungie’s next big thing, you know they mean business.
Pillars of Success
Bungie’s Destiny is built on 7 pillars and, according to the developer famously highly obsessed with the lucky number, “every piece of code and every piece of art must justify these pillars or they get thrown out.”
“This pillar really influenced us early in development,” Jones said, who’s been laboring away on the game for the past six years when it was still just a concept coming to life. The rest of the team he says, captured the vision and dived in headfirst back in 2009, after the completion of Halo: Reach.
Pillar #1: A World Players Want to Be In
“This pillar really influenced us early in development,” Jones said, noting that Destiny has already been a six-year odyssey for him, while the rest of Bungie started to get in on the action in 2009 and jumped fully on board after Halo: Reach shipped in September of 2010. “Is this world cool? Do I want to stay here? Do I want to learn more about it?”
That world is a post-apocalyptic earth. Humanity has been nearly wiped out, but saved by the extraterrestrial protection of The Traveler, a gigantic white globe that now floats claustrophobically close above the planet’s last safe city – a place where humanity’s greatest minds have come together. Over time, humans have regained their technological mojo and again taken to exploring the stars of our own galaxy: Mars, Venus, the Moon, etc. Except now various forms of alien life seek to stamp out humanity once and for all, and it’s up to you as a Guardian to help stop them and keep earth safe.
Though Destiny’s actual plot is likened to a series of novels that will each house self-contained stories over the course of the franchise’s planned decade-long lifecycle, Bungie narrative director Joseph Staten noted, “One lesson that’s critical is that the most important stories we tell aren’t going to be told by us. They’re going to be told by players – their personal legends built from shared adventures.”
Pillar #2: A Bunch of Fun Things to Do
Staten proceeded to tell a story about a possible gameplay scenario in Destiny, in which Staten’s Warlock class character and Jones’s Vanguard (Staten explained that every Guardian wields some of the Traveler’s power: “You can call it magic, I guess.”) head off on an adventure together.
You’re at the Tower, a reinforced monolith that serves as your home. Here you can socialize, gear up, or group up and then aim for the stars – literally. Many other players mill about. Some you may know, some you may not. Some are making plans for adventure, but others may simply be watching the sunset – a worthwhile endeavor thanks to the spectacle of Destiny’s new engine, which pairs real-time dynamic lighting with global illumination for some truly spectacular vistas (one of the few things I actually did get to see with my own eyes).
Jones is a higher-level player, and as such has better gear, including an impressive sleek, black spaceship that makes Staten’s smaller, simpler vessel look like, in his own joking words, a “Space Corolla.” Ships will serve various purposes. Only a Scout class was specifically mentioned, though it was implied that space combat will factor into Destiny as well.
Whooshing to Mars, the pair finds “the bones of a lost human civilization.” It’s “an ancient city,” Staten detailed. “Buried in sand. The precious remains of a golden age.” Here to prevent you from reaching any of the literal gold that’s rumored to lie beneath the ruins of the Dust Palace are the Sand Eaters, a group of massive, armored rhino-esque creatures known as the Cabal.
A shootout soon turns ugly for Staten’s Warlock and Jones’s Vanguard. Fortunately, a mysterious female player – rocking a Hunter class – speeds in on the very Ghost-like Pike vehicle and helps turn the tide thanks to her unique weapon, dubbed “The Fate of All Fools.” The battle was won thanks to invisible, behind-the-scenes matchmaking that linked the players – think of it as the next evolutionary phase of Bungie’s groundbreaking hopper technology that served as the online backbone for every Halo game starting with 2.
“Every time you run into another player, it’s amazing,” Staten exclaimed. “It just doesn’t happen in other shooters.”
The two of them are now three, and the trio plumbs the depths of the Dust Palace, reaches Charlemagne’s Vault, and Staten scores a new pistol. Like the Huntress’s sidearm, it too has a custom name: “Thorn,” a fitting description for a 45-caliber hand cannon. With this outing complete, the Hunter leaves just as quickly and quietly as she arrived.
“And just like that,” Staten explained. “The Dust Palace becomes part of my story. The breadth and depth of Destiny’s world encourages me to find my own adventures.
Pillar #3: Rewards Players Care About
Jones explained how the game will have “a lot of great things to earn, find, and make,” reiterating that “everything you do in Destiny earns rewards.” Besides unique weapons, every piece of your kit will be your own, from your helmet to your cape to your armor pieces to your face. Their goal, he said, is to keep players coming back “day after day, week after week, month after month, [and] year after year.”
Pillar #4: A New Experience Every Night
“Imagine you could spend an hour and accomplish something,” Jones mused. Bungie aims to have emergent activity, where “you get distracted from doing the thing you meant to do when you logged on.” Furthermore, Jones expressed hope that “every time you sit down to play Destiny you have a different experience than last time.”
The word “raids” – a term MMORPG fans know well – was used at one point during the presentation, suggesting large group scenarios as well as solo and smaller-party endeavors. Bungie says they’ll have “an activity for every mood.”
As an extension of this pillar’s concept, Destiny will have no main menu. Instead, it just lives and you’re always in it when you boot the game up.
Pillar #5: Shared With Other People
Though all of the Bungie representatives on hand made sure to emphasize that there’s plenty of fun to be had in Destiny by yourself, they made repeated efforts to nudge my thinking in a more socially minded direction.
“Everything that’s fun to do is more fun to do with your friends,” Jones mused. Naturally, of course, there will also be a fully featured competitive multiplayer mode, though neither Jones nor anyone else from Bungie was willing to offer even a hint about any details just yet. Well, other than the fact that you won’t be forced to engage in player-vs.-player combat unless you explicitly desire to.
Pillar #6: Enjoyable By All Skill Levels
He also made a point to emphasize that Destiny seeks to appease everyone from shooter neophytes to hardcore FPS players. “All core activities can be enjoyed by a novice player,” Jones promised. That, he intimated, is not hard. “What’s hard is keeping it interesting for your advanced players.”
Pillar #7: Enjoyable by the Impatient and Distracted
Destiny is alive whether you’re in it or not. But you’re busy can’t live there 24/7. To that end, a Destiny mobile phone app – shown as a prerecorded iOS demo this time – illustrated how the game could send you updates about new quests and what your friends are up to. Bungie also teased that you may be able to use the mobile connection to affect your friends’ games, but declined to provide any additional details.
Within the game proper, Jones said they know that players “don’t want to work hard, they don’t want to read, and they don’t’ want to go to the Internet to figure out our bullshit.” In other words, they understand that what they’re making is escapist entertainment.
“This has led us to a huge investment in [user interface],” Jones explained. Clearly, Bungie has a story to tell and information to convey, but they don’t want to bog you down with any of it.
Content from IGN’s Destiny exposé.