The recently released Halo 4 marked two important turning points for the franchise: it was the first game in a proposed new trilogy of Halo games, and it marked 343 Industries taking over the games after the departure of original Halo developer Bungie. That game has earned largely positive reviews, suggesting we won’t be seeing the last of the Halo universe anytime soon. But what about Bungie? There have been rumors floating around about their next big project for a long time, but now the first solid details have leaked out…and the new project, Destiny, sounds kind of awesome.
An unidentified reader sent the folks over at IGN a gift basket filled with concept art and details about Destiny, and Bungie has since confirmed that they are indeed the real McCoy. Bungie says the documents were prepared by an advertising agency, and they include gorgeous concept art like this, of a giant, mysterious alien ship called “the Traveler.”
And here’s the synopsis:
Our story begins seven hundred years from now in the Last City on Earth, in a Solar System littered with the ruins of man’s Golden Age. A massive, mysterious alien ship hangs overhead like a second Moon. No one knows where it came from or what it’s here for, but only that it’s our protector. Meanwhile, strange, alien monsters creep in from the edge of the universe, determined to take Earth and the Last City. We are young ‘knights’ tasked with defending the remains of humanity, discovering the source of these monsters and – eventually – overcoming it.
There are still plenty of questions to be asked about Destiny, but it sounds like it should be right up the alley of many GFR readers, including myself. I was never really able to get into the Halo games — I’m more of a Mass Effect junkie — but this one has definitely got my attention. One of my favorite things about the genre of science fiction is mystery and the sense of wonder, so I’m a sucker for a giant, mysterious alien craft. (Probably also the reason why I’ve always had a soft spot for Star Trek IV.) The documents also say that Destiny will attempt “to create a universe as deep, tangible and relatable as that of the Star Wars franchise.”
The game is said to be premiering on the Xbox 360, as well as whatever the next-gen Xbox equivalent is, and coming to Playstation 3 (and 4) and PC at a later date. It’s not clear what the gameplay will be like, but Bungie’s comments about the game make it sound like it may be less “mature” than the Halo games, and is designed to be “fun and accessible to all.” This of course doesn’t mean it’s targeted at children or will be “watered down.” The Star Wars description is probably telling: those movies are loved by millions of adult fans who have grown up with them, but are also something kids can enjoy just as well. (We’ll just try to forget about the prequels.) As Bungie co-founder Jason Jones says, “Destiny is designed for your inner seven year old. We want to make it feel like a mythic adventure.”
One interesting note is that Destiny is described as being “social at its core,” and having “a world to explore with friends, both old and new.” That could certainly lend credence to the rumors that the game is an MMO of some sort, but the fact that it’s targeting Xbox 360 first is peculiar. Many MMOs have tried to figure out how to bring that type of game ot the Xbox 360 console, but so far nobody’s really pulled it off well. (DC Universe Online pulled it off well on the Playstation 3, however.) Perhaps they’ve finally figured out the right approach. On the other hand, it could just be a normal game with a multiplayer component of some sort. “Social at its core” could mean a lot of things.
We also don’t know anything about the gameplay yet. The Halo games were obviously straight-up shooters wrapped in a science fiction setting. Bungie’s comments and descriptions make me wonder if they aren’t trying something in the vein of BioWare’s Mass Effect games: traditional gameplay styles mixed with role-playing elements. Now that we’ve begun the long wait for whatever Mass Effect 4 will be, it would be great to get another richly realized SF universe to play around in during the mean time.
According to IGN, earlier info about Destiny suggested four games were being planned, to release in fall 2013, fall 2015, fall 2017, and fall 2019. So if Destiny does win over SF fans, it’s good to know we’ll have plenty to look forward to. You can see even more concept art over at IGN.