Bungie’s Destiny – The Persistent Sandbox Shooter We’ve All Been Waiting For

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Destiny is set to be a game unlike any other before it.  Bungie claims promises that this is a game that only their studio can pull off.  Destiny is going to be a first-person shooter set in a persistent open-world sandbox;  Bungie calls it a “shared-world shooter” and it sounds amazing.

Destiny takes place in the distant future after humanity has long since colonized the far reaches of space.  Humankind is all but extinct at this point due to an attack by an unknown source.  The only reason there were any survivors at all was due to an entity called the Traveler, an enormous sphere (think small moon) that now hangs directly above the Earth where it sacrificed itself to save humanity.  The humans rebuild under its protection and eventually venture out to reclaim their homes only to discover they are not alone.  Many different species of aliens now reside where the humans once called home and they want to eliminate humans for good.

Bungie has stated that there has been a huge emphasis on social and cooperative play since day one.  Destiny is set up to be constantly matchmaking you with other players in the background so you’ll consistently run into other people during play.  A good comparison was made by Destructoid in their preview write-up.  They mentioned that the cooperative play seems to be a lot like Journey in that you’ll constantly come across players during your travels that can potentially aid you in ways you’ll be eternally thankful for.  The design director for the game recalled a mission he experienced with another player where the two of them were getting their collective behinds handed to them; out of nowhere, another random player came along on a hoverbike and saved them from utter destruction.  That’s pretty awesome!

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Six-player co-op play will be in at the very least, but Bungie won’t state how many more players you can group with or how many can be seen on-screen at once.  Also, like it was previously stated, social online play is a big factor.  Bungie will also be releasing an iOS App for Destiny that will allow you to see stats, connect with other players, and receive notifications of things to do within the game.

Bungie/Activision flat-out said that Destiny is not an MMO, but the one draw back for some people is going to be the fact that it will be an always-online game.  That means that even if you choose to play by yourself, you will be required to have an internet connection, and possibly XBL Gold for the 360, just to play.  For most people, that won’t be an issue since a lot of players are online anyways; I do imagine that it will still alienate a good amount of potential players though.

Destiny has apparently been in development since 2009 and one thing Bungie has focused on is “creating a connected and cooperative world that players want to be in” according to Destructoid.  They have designed the game to be appealing to all sorts of player types and skill levels.

In terms of development technology, Bungie has worked tirelessly to redesign and improve upon their networking tech.  With matchmaking happening behind the scenes at all times, it’s pertinent that it be fluid and seamless to give the best experience possible.  One thing that will be interesting to see though will be how Bungie handles servers.  Will players have to choose from multiple servers upon game startup or will players all be based on a single server a la EVE Online?  Hopefully they’ll have an option to turn off the matchmaking to appease players with an “other-players-screw-up-my-game-by-being-stupid” mindset.

They were initially hoping for a 2013 release and now it looks like it won’t come out until 2014.  I believe that if anyone can pull off a game like Destiny it’ll definitely be the fine folks at Bungie.  They made huge innovations with Halo and I think they’re fully capable of redefining the genre once more.  This is definitely a game to keep an eye on!

Source and pictures: Destructoid

The author of this article was Justin Champion.

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Next-Gen Xbox (Durango) to Require Internet Connection, No Used Game Functionality

A source held by EDGE Magazine has confirmed that the next-gen Xbox’s rumored specs are accurate.  These specs include “an AMD eight-core x64 1.6 GHz CPU, a D3D11.x 800MHz graphics solution and 8GB of DDR3 RAM.”  The hard drive capacity is unknown for now, but it’s speculated that “Microsoft’s extended commitment to online delivery suggests that it will be the largest unit it has put inside a console to date.”

EDGE is claiming that their inside source is saying that the next-gen Xbox games will be on 50GB Blu-ray discs; it’s also believed that these discs will ship with a one-use activation code that will have no use past the first redemption.  What would this mean for the average consumer?  No more used games would be functional on such a console!

We have already begun to see a similar model when it comes to the online component of console games.  Quite a few big budget games are packaged with an online multiplayer activation code these days.

Development sources have told EDGE that Sony’s console unit architecture is more preferable.  Apparently, development studios working with the next-gen Xbox are being forced to work with a more oppressive operating system compared to Sony.  If Sony doesn’t follow suit with game activation codes, they are going to have numerous advantages going in to the next-gen market.

Hopefully, the one-use activation codes are just speculation and never come to fruition.  Something like that would be devastating to stores like GameStop and services such as Gamefly (both of which rely heavily on the used game market.)

EDIT:  Forbes has reported that, because of the article published by EDGE, GameStop shares took a 6.8% dive at a loss of $1.81 per share.  They also stated that used game sales account for 28% of GameStop’s overall sales and 48% of their gross profits.

For more information, please visit the good guys over at Kotaku and EDGE!