Home Gaming Destiny – Bungie’s brave new world finally revealed

Destiny – Bungie’s brave new world finally revealed

15 min read

This is your Destiny

If there is one thing that the gaming industry does well, it’s crafting out adventures with elements inspired from other games. Without Batman: Arkham Asylum we wouldn’t have a gritty successor such as Sleeping Dogs, or if Gran Turismo had never popped up, hyper realistic racing games would still be a pipe dream to enthusiasts. Over a decade ago, Bungie got the ball rolling with their console shooter Halo. It set a new benchmark back then for a genre largely seen as the domain of PC gamers. Years later and with a successful franchise behind them, Bungie is looking to recapture that spark of a new and exciting universe. A universe that they’ve named…Destiny.

It was a cold day in Seattle when we got ushered into Bungie Studios. It’s an old movie house packed to the brim with mementos from the past, and a working environment all geared towards one game: Destiny. Sitting down, Bungie and Activision representatives talked the assembled journalists through the upcoming project. And it might just be another evolution for the house of Halo when they finally release this game. Here’s what we learnt;


Bungie isn’t straying too far from their recent science fiction roots with Destiny, but they’re looking to once again craft a universe that has its own distinct atmosphere and history. “It’s been couple of years now, dodging questions”, said Activision Publishing CEO Eric Hirschberg at the press event. “The next great game for Bungie is ambitious in scope, innovative in tone. It’s the only kind of game that Bungie could create.

Very few games can transcend their medium and genre, but Destiny is one of those rare games. It belongs to a genre that we couldn’t quite pin down. There are FPS elements and a sandbox open world, but we’d be underselling the game if we described it as one of those. Destiny is more a shared-world shooter with wide boundaries.

The world is always shared.

While Bungie isn’t ready to just slap any old label on a project that they’ve been slaving away on for six years now, they are comfortable to let the game be known as a mythic science-fiction western. Judging by the art work shown, the brief glimpses of gameplay highlighted and the various talks given, it’s a genre that suits the project rather well.

Wanna play with my gun?

There’s a dash of influences present here, from a hostile galaxy teaming with all manner of cosmic horrors and threats that could have easily been at home in Warhammer 40 000, through to showdowns with hulking armour-clad abominations on the surface of Mars. Between these missions though, players will have a chance to take stock and team up back at their home-base, the sanctuary city where the massive sphere of the Traveller now rests above, as they discover their heritage and grow over the course of the game.

“It’s more than a game, it’s a world”, Hirschberg continued to say. At that point, the obvious question in the room though, was how much extra such a persistent online world cost us after retail. Much like what other games in the Activision stable do on the more Blizzard side. To which Hirschberg responded:

There are absolutely no plans to charge a subscription fee for Destiny.


So who is the face of Destiny? The Halo franchise had Master Chief in that role, a mysterious faceless hero who shot first and asked questions later. That’s not the case in Destiny however. The hero, is you. “We’re doing something big”, said co-director Jason Jones. “What comes next? What do we point it at? We revolutionized the FPS genre with Halo. With Destiny, we’re going to turn the genre on its head again.

If you enjoy console FPS games, Destiny will be the best one that you ever play. It’s a new universe to build and grow your own character, and legend. A co-operative social experience.

Hammering in that co-operative idea, Jones explained that Destiny was designed to be a game that encourages people to team up and play alongside one another.”Life is more fun with other people around”, Jones said. “We’ve put a big investment into co-op, for Destiny”. On the other side though, Bungie is aware that a majority of players are looking to have a solo experience, and Destiny will allow for them to explore on their own. Because after all, no one should force you to explore the dark side of the moon with StuMuffin69 if you don’t want to.

An industrial garden

“We’re all storytellers”, Design Director Joe Staten said as he took the stage to showcase the personal narrative structure of the game.

We wanted to build a world where any story is possible . Stories that matter, stories that endure and earn a big audience, told by us. The legends of Destiny won’t be told by us, they’ll be told by the players. These will be personal legends built from shared adventures, where the hero is you.

Destiny is also aiming to be a game that can be enjoyed by any skill level, and is designed to be inviting to newcomers and rewarding to veterans. At this point, Staten described a scenario of the game, where his Warlock player character decided to jet off towards Mars, in his own personal space ship. Having honed his Traveller inherited skills on the frontier of our home planet, Jones described his abilities as being the equivalent of “hitting someone in the face with a piece of the sun”.

Captain, I don't think we are going to make it

Joining him on his Mars quest, Staten picked up his fellow brother in space-arms, a Guardian Titan controlled by Jones who looked “like he had a long list of asses to kick, and was running late”. Together, the two of them set off for the red planet, to explore the lost ruins of an old Human civilization. “My adventures take me all over the solar system”, Staten added.

Sexy and violent

Of course, like much of the solar system where Destiny takes place, Mars was less than inviting to the duo. Attacked by a group that Staten called “Sand-Eaters”, the Cabal Exclusion zone had the pair pinned down until they received some help from a third warrior, The Hunter. “And then in this co-op fight to the death, she showed up out of nowhere” Staten said.

A Hunter with exotic gear, she joins the fight with her trusty gun at her side, the Fate Of All Fools. So after that fight, we invite her to the group and become a team of three.

It’s not exactly clear yet as to how player invites will work, as Bungie has described Destiny as having minimal menus and a completely new User Interface, one that throws out the cluttered HUDS of today for something more streamlined. But nevertheless, this Hunter has the opportunity to join the group, through some sort of system that Bungie is keeping secret. Raiding the depths of the Martian ruins, the trio soon finds themselves tasked with recovering a piece of sentient machine AI, that goes by the name of Charlemagne.

Incredible lighting effects

Fighting their way past more hulking Sand-Eaters, Staten and his crew eventually recover the AI piece, and reward themselves with the one driving force that binds all players in such online games: Loot.

While the Guardian and the Titan get their own custom weapons, Staten receives Thorn, a “hand cannon that glows like stardust”. And with that, the Guardian and Hunter take their leave, with places to go and asses to kick. That was just a small idea of what to expect in Destiny, as players explore the entire solar system.

It’s a hopeful world, a world worth fighting for.


And in that world worth fighting for, is a world worth also shooting to pieces. Bungie isn’t straying too far from their FPS roots. “Destiny is a First person shooter, first and foremost”, Said Activision CEO Eric Hirschberg. “But it’s also the next logical step in the genre. Pete Parsons added to that, saying that Destiny is “The next evolution in first-person shooters, in persistent online play”.

A little bit of StarWars 1313?

But Destiny is clearly a game that has been greatly influenced by other genres to become a “mythic Science Fiction game”, Although one other aspect of it that was glossed over, was space travel. Players will get to customise their own ships during their journey, ships with which to explore the solar system. But will those ships also be fully armed and operational, much like the fighter jets were in the final Bungie Halo game, Reach?

“We’re not talking about that”, Parsons said.

Click here to see what they will talk about

Last Updated: February 17, 2013

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  1. Mathias

    February 17, 2013 at 20:34

    I haven’t seen any of the videos yet, but it sounds really ambitious. I’m open to large scale online FPSs, sandboxes or not. Planetside 2 taught me that they can be really fun.

    BUT.. It’s none other than Activision, so I don’t know. One might hope that they’ve been learning from Microsoft’s previous work with Bungie, where you don’t need nothing more than a couple of DLCs and good multiplayer to cash in a franchise (I’m leaving Halo Wars out of it, just because).


  2. Xelus

    February 17, 2013 at 21:07

    For some reason, I can’t help but have this big question mark over Bungie, will this game actually make it onto a pc platform or will this be yet another console exclusive game?


  3. Gavin Mannion

    February 17, 2013 at 21:28

    It’s a massive ask for any studio… the idea is obviously brilliant but is it even possible?


    • Valshen

      February 17, 2013 at 23:30

      The scope seems to be mind-boggling. I hope they can pull this off…


  4. Gareth Lagesse

    February 17, 2013 at 22:33

    Fantastic report, Darryn! I’m in love with his game already; the scope, the artwork, the passion, the score and the atmosphere are all something that I’ve never really thought that a studio would bother risking for a single title.

    So, I’m guessing that the PC version will be out a year later – well, hoping is more like it. 😛


  5. Valshen

    February 17, 2013 at 23:31

    The concept art really makes me think of Star Wars all the time. Count me in as excited! RAWWWR


  6. Osiris Fox

    February 18, 2013 at 03:03

    Hmmm… sounds a bit like the Planetside 2 Model. Which, if we’re going to be honest… is the pioneer of the future of FPS gaming.


  7. Uberutang

    February 18, 2013 at 07:48

    Looks cool. Nice blend of Planetside and Mass Effect.

    Hopefully they go PC market where this would really shine.


  8. Jonah Cash

    February 18, 2013 at 08:08

    If they pull this off……. Count me in!!!

    Well done Darryn!! Great article!!


  9. Andre116

    February 18, 2013 at 08:16

    Ok, Bungie, you got my attention. I like the whole Star Wars/Mass Effect/post apocalyptic vibe that I’m getting.


  10. OVG

    February 18, 2013 at 08:29

    The concept art is giving me a giant nerd boner.


  11. Nicholas Rowan

    February 18, 2013 at 08:55

    Wow. Looks epic, I’m sold.


  12. Darth_Clericus_The_Ultimate

    February 18, 2013 at 09:00



  13. DarkWave

    February 18, 2013 at 09:16

    Im a kid again 🙂


  14. Purple_Dragon

    February 18, 2013 at 14:23

    I stopped getting excited after reading “online FPS”….


  15. Bertie Henery

    February 11, 2014 at 17:04

    Mass effect rehash?


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