Did Bungie Misrepresent Destiny?

Could one make the argument that Bungie misrepresented Destiny? Did the marketing indicate a different kind of game?

Most of the major critics have weighed in by now, and the Destiny review scores are disappointing: A 6 from GameSpot and Polygon, a 7.8 from IGN, 3 out of 5s from Giant Bomb and The Escapist, etc. We here at GameSkinny gave Destiny an 8 out of 10.

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Many gamers also seem disappointed in the final product, as they’re unimpressed with the core gameplay – which many deem to be overly repetitive and lacking in variety – and don’t believe their expectations were met.

Then again, you’ve got a very large and vocal group of fans who love the game. The two groups in question are at definite odds; one really seems to despise the other. One could argue that those who are having fun, who are more than satisfied with the result, weren’t misled by Bungie and Activision’s marketing, while the critics held Destiny to that standard.

Perhaps the biggest complaint revolves around the single-player action

There are two clear similarities among critics who are obviously disappointed with the game: First, the aforementioned repetition and lack of diversity in the overall gameplay, and second, the complete letdown of a storyline. Now, this is perhaps where we could say the developers purposely misrepresented the game. When the project was first revealed, Bungie went out of their way to tell anyone who would listen that it’s not just about the multiplayer. They said several times there would be a robust, engaging story and if one desired, one could play the entire game solo.

The latter point isn’t entirely untrue. You can certainly go through the game by yourself and never join up with other players. However, I think we all know that such a game isn’t really designed for that, and you’ll get the most out of it by participating in multiplayer. Furthermore, as the game was designed with multiplayer at its core – a fact Bungie seemed to want to avoid – that story was destined to fall well shy.

I’m not saying Bungie or Activision ever flat-out lied. I’m just saying they tried to say Destiny would be more of an all-encompassing jack-of-all-trades that would satisfy every type of gamer. And that isn’t true.

Hype can have an impact on both gamers AND developers

It’s possible that Bungie was only trying to put out the fires. It was an all-too-common question after the initial unveiling: Would it actually have a story? Could you really play it by yourself and still enjoy a full experience? In answering such questions, Bungie had no choice but to adopt a more promotional tone, as opposed to a more candid one. At least, I assume they had no choice. However, had they just come clean and said, “yes, this game is designed with multiplayer entertainment in mind, and that will be the focal point, as opposed to a story-driven narrative,” I think review scores would’ve been higher, and this controversy wouldn’t exist.

At its core, Destiny is a multiplayer shooter. That’s really what it is. And you know, it’s pretty darn good for what it is. Sure, there’s some repetition and lack of variety but that’s sort of par for the course for the genre. I mean, it’s not like there has been a heck of a lot of innovation in the Call of Duty multiplayer component and everyone loved it, time and time again. I really think Bungie gave shooter fans precisely what they wanted. All I’m suggesting is that they tried to prove to other gamers that Destiny would appeal to them.

That’s where they lost a lot of gamers, I think.

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A gaming journalism veteran of 14 years, a confirmed gamer for over 30 years, and a lover of fine literature and ridiculously sweet desserts.