Bungie’s Destiny awaits, but more than a few of us are deciding whether it’s their game or their fate that we’re waiting for.
But first, some background: Bungie parted ways with Microsoft in 2007 after years of sweet-Halo-lovemaking (Halo 3 was their last project while still being owned by Microsoft, though the two companies partnered together for Halo: ODST and Halo: Reach). The team effort resulted in the Xbox’s flagship title and kept both businesses prosperous for years.
Since it went independent, Bungie has grown. It increased its staff to 120 employees in 2009 and moved into bigger offices. It did well with the Halo series and was able to reinvest as a result. More recently, it signed a 10-year publishing deal with Activision in 2010 to really get things cooking.
However, now is time for the company to put up or shut up, so to speak. For many of these employees, Halo is all they’ve ever known. It was their baby for about a decade.
The good news is that Bungie announced Destiny and didn’t shy away from ambition. Destiny was portrayed to be a multi-platform, always-online game that, nonetheless, was less like a MMORPG and more like a giant, virtual co-op playground. There surely will be some PvP elements, but this type of game sounds like something we can’t really comprehend as of now. Call it a cosmic barrel of russian roulette: Bungie is going to make something so different that they will be made destitute or rich by it.
The game has been nothing short of ambitious, described as a “shared-world shooter” and a world where the events “may or may not be controlled by the developer.”
In other words, it’s something we’ve never seen before.
And while some might doubt Bungie’s ability to move on from Halo – often times the innovators of one decade become the foot-draggers in the next – this Destiny things feels just as fresh and industry-changing as Halo itself was so many years ago.
Even if the strategy fails, I think Bungie is making the right move. Swing for the fences, again. Too many game developers would go with the safe strategy and produce another cookie-cutter FPS, counting on their past success to buoy them into the next-generation consoles.
But by committing to a changing gaming industry, rather than sticking with the norm, Bungie shows it’s ready to tackle the complex features that gamers crave.
I believe in Bungie‘s Destiny. And so does Activision, apparently,
Activision‘s deal with Bungie is for four Destiny games over the life of the contract, with the first to be released in the third or fourth quarter of this year.