Destiny is calling. Are you ready?
You’d better be, because Bungie’s floodgates are starting to open and a trickle is about to become a stream of information heading your way from this week onwards, no doubt culminating in a veritable tsunami of goodies for you at E3 and beyond. Anyway, less talk, more action – let’s get this party started and get you guys checking out the brand new video from those kind folks over at Bungie.
Beneath the ruins of the Cosmodrome, in the shadow of an old colony ship, you’ve located the House of Devils’ lair where you will fight the Fallen, burn back the Hive, and clear a path to the many roads that lay ahead…
The tension emanating from rabid Bungie fans and their fellow gamers simply captivated by what they have been shown to date is palpable. Bungie have played a sure and steady hand since its jaw-dropping reveal at E3 in 2013, and in this day and age, that’s no small thing. It’s a shrewd and some might say assured, move.
Bungie had almost become a victim of its own success. The weight of the Halo franchise had become a burden. What could they do if they turned their hands to something different? What if they didn’t just think outside of the box, but they took what they had learned, kicked their way out and built themselves an entirely new box to play in?
They had spent the last decade forging the Halo series into an award-winning global entertainment phenomenon, and their pedigree goes back twenty-two years with such acclaimed titles as the Marathon Trilogy and the original two Myth games. Armed with the best talent, state-of-the-art technology, and the finest community on the planet, Bungie was silently preparing to make some bold and surprising moves and unleash their newest creation upon the world of gaming.
The first known reference to Destiny was noticed in Bungie’s 2009 game Halo 3: ODST in which a poster on a wall bore the legend: “Destiny Awaits” and showed a picture of the Earth with what we now know as “The Traveller” floating nearby. Though several vague statements by Bungie employees in interviews and presentations from 2010 through 2011 were interpreted to be about Destiny, the next overt references to Destiny were not shown until Bungie’s August 2011 20th anniversary documentary, “O Brave New World”, in which appeared several early environment renders, an environment editor named “Grognok”, and a brief shot of actors performing a scene with motion capture equipment. At that time, the game was still known by its original code name “Project Tiger” – a term used by Bungie co-founder Jason Jones when discussing the game back in August 2011.
“Destiny is the most ambitious game we have ever made, and it’s our chance to transform the way you experience a new Bungie universe,” said Harold Ryan, Bungie president. “From day one Destiny has been an incredibly bold vision that Activision shares with Bungie. Destiny is a massive universe that is populated by the players, and for that reason we need fans to get their hands on the game, fans all around the world. We can’t wait!”
Bungie’s ethos behind creating the universe of Destiny has seemingly been from the start: bigger, better, bolder, more – freeing themselves of the trappings of the Halo franchise in many ways. Of course, the comparisons here are easy to draw and maybe even understandable with its post-apocalyptic setting decimated by cataclysmic battles that will mean a swift and sure extinction if lost. But you can’t knock ’em for trying. And boy, are they really trying to get you on side – are you paying attention yet? If not, why not? What’s it going to take to get you on board?
Ensuring that there is a sense of urgency and something worth fighting for is what makes a gamer want to invest their time, energy and most importantly of all, their hard-earned cash into a franchise. To think of it as a virtual wolf in sheeps clothing (ie Halo on steroids) would be selling both it, and the hard work carried out by Bungie these past few years woefully short. If you’re a Halo fan, “come along for the ride!” seems to be the vibe Bungie extend to you and they’re embrace their old friends warmly and with open arms – but be warned, “Halo MMO” this ain’t.
The risk of “everything to win, and everything to lose” is an achingly-familiar age-old trope, not just of gaming and movies, but one that stretches back to tales of old like Homer’s Iliad – one of the oldest extant works of western literature that regails us with stories about great battles that were fought at the tipping point of war and strife, liberally sprinkled with prophesies of doomed or fruitful futures.
It’s here that we can draw an interesting parallel with Bungie and Destiny’s publisher Activision, both of whom have thrown an eye-watering amount of cash at a project planned to play out over the next 10 years. In contracts leaked back in 2012, it was revealed that Activision reserves the right to take over the Destiny property if Bungie fails to meet the stipulated requirements; however, I highly doubt that anyone over at Bungie HQ in Washington are losing any sleep over that happening – just consider for a moment the sheer groundswell of support and desire for information the title already has behind it before it’s even released.
Activision Publishing CEO Eric Hirshberg said: “We have no doubt Destiny is not only a great action game but also the next great entertainment property. That means we’re putting all our creative support, and all our expertise in creating blockbuster franchises, into a colossal Destiny Beta that we believe will set a new bar for the next generation of games. Fans have a lot to look forward to in 2014.”
Will Destiny change the gaming landscape overnight? No. Will it make the industry rethink how it approaches game development and create a paradigm shift with its self-proclaimed open/shared-world shooter? Most likely. The possibilities of pooling everything together under one roof is too tantalizing a prospect to pass up – both for gamers and the industry at large. However it all ties together and whatever the end result may be, gamers win. Destiny is coming and it’s not stopping any time soon.
So we’ll ask you again – are you ready, Guardian?
Let’s take a look at what we know of Destiny’s lore so far with this bite-sized breakdown…
Everything changed with the arrival of the Traveler. Long ago, it breathed new life into our system. Rain washed over Mars. Fresh air cleansed the skies over Venus. Soon after, humanity raced into the black, and colonized these newly remade worlds. It was a time of miracles – a great Golden Age.
It did not last. The Traveler had an ancient enemy. A powerful darkness that found us here on Earth, and nearly destroyed us. No one knows exactly what happened in those final moments, but we know this: we survived, and we owe our lives to the Traveler.
In our darkest days, Humans, Exos, and Awoken found the Traveler where it made its last stand, low above Earth, silent and immobile. We built the City – our last – within its protective veil, fighting countless wars to keep its peace. From that dark age, Guardians were born.
Now, a new era has begun, and the only hope for our future lies in unlocking the greatest mysteries of our past. You are a Guardian of the last safe city on Earth, able to wield some of the Traveler’s incredible power. You are taking this mantle just as a new day dawns. Titans, Hunters, and Warlocks have finally returned to our long-lost worlds, only to find out we are not alone.
Defend the last safe City on Earth.
Defeat our enemies.
Explore the ancient ruins of our solar system.
Discover all that we have lost.
• Titan – The first Titans built the Wall, and bravely gave their lives to defend it. Now, you stand in the same place, steadfast and sure. Our enemies are deadly and merciless, but so are you. You hail from a line of legendary heroes and your strength and skill will be needed to shatter their ranks.
• Warlock – Warlocks have long studied the Traveler, mastering some of its arcane energies. Its true purpose still remains a great mystery, but discovering truth has always driven you into the unknown. Now, our enemies stand between you and your greatest discovery – the secrets of the Golden Age.
• Hunter – Hunters once prowled the wilderness and wastelands, taking big risks for even bigger rewards. Making your own luck has always meant bending the rules. But you are no outlaw, at least, not anymore, and your unique brand of daring and ingenuity will be needed now more than ever.
• Earth – Our home. After the Darkness swept over us, we found the Traveler where it made its last stand. Beneath, we built The City – our last – within its protective aura. From here, Guardians stand watch, defend our civilization, and strike out into the wild frontiers of Earth – and beyond – to reclaim our lost worlds.
• Moon – Like Earth, the ruins of humanity’s former glory can be found scattered across the familiar lunar surface. Recent exploration attempts have been repulsed, reporting increased enemy activity, and even strange tectonic phenomenon. The City has since classified the Moon as a “Forbidden Zone,” open only to our most brave and experienced Guardians.
• Venus – Venus was once the site of great discovery – a paradise. Now, it is a monument to all that we have lost. The old stories say we built an academy dedicated to learning and research on the shore of a wondrous sea, and that the waters themselves boiled and rose up to shatter the coast, washing away all that we had built.
• Mars – What little we know of Mars may as well be a myth. We built a massive metropolis in the red dust. The Darkness swept nearly all of it away; the sand itself claimed the rest. No one knows what remains of our lost age, now buried beneath the dunes.
• Gjallarhorn – Gjallarhorn is an exotic heavy rocket launcher that has as much style as it has punch – that is to say, a lot. Not much more is known about this weapon, as it was shown only briefly during the gameplay demo, as a photo at the Bungie booth at E3 2013. Gjallarhorn fires rockets which deploy secondary sentries at the site of impact, devastating enemies that come by afterward. The weapon sports an ornate design with multiple decorative wolves emblazoned along its exterior, the most prominent of which protrudes from the front.
• Thunderlord – Thunderlord. A beast to be reckoned with! This was demonstrated in Bungie’s E3 2013 gameplay demo. The weapon crackles with visible bolts of electricity and at higher levels, uses electro-static rounds. Thunderlord has several perks and advancements which are unlocked with Glimmer, weapon kits, and talent points. Though several perks were visible during Bungie’s gameplay demo at E3 in 2013, only a few were shown by name:
- Gathering Storm: With every kill, the fury of the weapon builds, granting bonus damage for a limited time.
- Full Force: Tear through targets with a high rate of overpenetration.
- Rolling Thunder: Burn through your enemies with thunderous rounds that will both penetrate and detonate.
- Ammunition: Increase your ammo capacity, shoot longer without reloading.
• Closing Time Closing Time is an exotic sniper rifle. Bungie Art Lead Tom Doyle has described Closing Time’s history as being a weapon originally “owned by a group of survivalists operating on the new frontier.” Closing Time is interesting because its rendering uses everything in Destiny’s Umbra 3 software engine’s upgraded palette. According to Doyle, “Dave Stammel really wanted to push our new shader system with this weapon. We have as many different materials as possible on this asset: gunmetal, plasteel, wood, plastic, and ghillie netting. It showcases the rendering strength and diversity of our new engine.” Closing Time also camouflages the player’s entire body whenever the player is zoomed in.
• Red Death – Red Death is an exotic pulse rifle. Red Death offers a number of additional perks some of which trigger more frequently during competitive multiplayer. One of this weapon’s upgrades includes the ability to regenerate health at an increased rate.
• Fallen – Fallen are hardy creatures who can survive in a wide range of environments without heavy armor or complex modifications to their physiology. They travel light, hit hard, and are gone before you know it. Fallen may look like mere scavengers, but on closer inspection you will see hints of a splendid, sophisticated past, and the proud markings of their ancestral “Houses.”
• Hive – Hive manipulate the physical world in ways that we can only begin to imagine. The Hive have carved a kingdom deep into the lifeless core of the Moon, and it is there they remain, silent and buried among many dark and terrible secrets, a reminder of the tremendous power that brought forth the Collapse.
• Vex – Scattered reports indicate that the Vex appear to be mass-produced machine units, constructed of an unknown metal alloy resembling hammered brass. All attempts to communicate with them have failed. They are hostile. They are unrelenting. They are deadly.
• Cabal – Few Guardians have faced Cabal and lived to tell the tale. They are a professional military operation. On every front we have found them on the march, they have already dug in and ringed their installations with razor wire. Now, it seems they’ve turned their eyes towards us.
Destiny will be available worldwide September 9th 2014 for Playstation 4, Xbox One, Playstation 3 and Xbox 360.
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