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Bungie’s Emergent Destiny Revealed in New Video Documentary

The development studio behind Halo release a video revealing details of the forthcoming Destiny. Join us as we consider what it all might mean.
This article is over 11 years old and may contain outdated information

“The stories tell of a golden age long ago when our civilisation spanned the system. It was a bright and hopeful time, but it didn’t last. Something hit us, knocked us down and tried to stamp us out. No one knows exactly what, but we do know this: very few of us survived and those who did, owe their lives to the traveler.”

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This is the mysterious opening premise of a tantalising reveal trailer released by Halo developer Bungie. In the short video entitled “Official Destiny ViDoc: Pathways Out of Darkness”, a number of Bungie developers share thoughts and details of their new Destiny project which first came to light last November.

The Destiny Universe

The scene is set with a narrated account of a future where civilisation has fallen to an unknown aggressor, but the last vestiges of mankind are saved from extinction by a huge globe known as “the traveler”. The point at which players of Destiny join the story seems to be as humanity starts to recover and develops new technologies to begin the reclamation of their homeworld.

The animation in the video shows a post-apocalyptic world where technology and austerity collide. Environments can be seen that evoke Mad Max or Judge Dredd‘s Mega City One and the Cursed Earth beyond, but also forested mountains and ruins where nature has reclaimed the land.

Player characters seem very much a variation on the armoured bounty hunter/desert nomad variety, suggesting that gameplay might lean toward the familiar run-and-gun gameplay found in their Halo back catalogue, so perhaps more of an MMOFPS than an MMORPG? 

Also, spaceships feature (see screenshot below), although it is unclear what function they serve in gameplay terms. Will they simply provide transport, cut-scene fodder or something more central to the action?

Emergent Concepts

What is more intriguing is Bungie’s approach to the development of what seems quite clearly to be a massively multiplayer game. The video shows smartphone tools being developed using the Destiny IP, suggesting a degree of cross-platform interactivity, with evidence of character management and social networking facilities.

They seem to be focusing on building the framework for emergent game play. One developer voice-over explains;

“We’re building something alive. It has a nature that we don’t totally control. Things are going to happen that we don’t plan and that’s amazing.”

Bungie’s apparent desire to build a socially dynamic and self-sustaining player culture is strongly suggested by the following statement:

“One reason the game is so intriguing is that its reaching players in ways that we haven’t before. We really going to make a conscious effort to build an experience which is going to be meaningful for people. Like how do you keep a player going for fifty or a hundred hours over some number of months and to not just want to play the game but to want to play it with their friends.”

The project certainly seems ambitious, with one zealous developer exclaiming they “are blazing a ton of new trails.” 

New Ground?

The team behind the Halo series certainly have the chops to deliver an engaging action world, but will their attempt to deliver a sci-fi storyline-led experience in the MMO arena fare any better than Bioware’s Star Wars: The Old Republic by including emergent gameplay concepts as found in EVE Online?

“We’ve gone from continuing to make Halo games to doing something which certainly draws on our past experiences and plays to our strengths, but it’s new and exciting. It’s going to take on a life of its own.”

“We needed something that challenges and inspires all of us. Something that I think has enough ideas in it that will last us for the next ten years.”

As the video comes to a close and the Bungie developers describbe their vision, written statements underline their intent:

“A bold new action game set in a living world.” and “The ultimate adventure that unfolds over the next 10 years.”

Even though the official website specifics are still sparse, they’ve certainly got my interest.


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Author
Image of Mat Westhorpe
Mat Westhorpe
Broken paramedic and coffee-drinking Englishman whose favourite dumb animal is an oxymoron. After over a decade of humping and dumping the fat and the dead, my lower spine did things normally reserved for Rubik's cubes, bringing my career as a medical clinician to an unexpectedly early end. Fortunately, my real passion is in writing and given that I'm now highly qualified in the art of sitting down, I have the time to pursue it. Having blogged about video games (well, mostly EVE Online) for years, I hope to channel my enjoyment of wordcraft and my hobby of gaming into one handy new career that doesn't involve other people's vomit.