Destiny (video game)

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Destiny
Destiny box art.png
Video game box art
Developer(s) Bungie
Publisher(s) INT Activision

JP Sony Computer Entertainment

Artist(s) Christopher Barrett[1]
Writer(s) Joseph Staten
Composer(s)
Engine
  • In-house engine[3]
Platform(s)
Release date(s) INT September 9, 2014[4]

JP September 11, 2014
(PS4 & PS3)[5]

Genre(s) Action role-playing, first-person shooter
Mode(s) Multiplayer
Distribution Optical disc, download

Destiny is an online first-person shooter video game in a "mythic science fiction" setting.[6] It was developed by Bungie and published by Activision as part of a ten-year publishing deal.[7] The game was released on the PlayStation 3, PlayStation 4,[8] Xbox 360, and Xbox One[9] video game consoles on September 9, 2014.[4]

Gameplay[edit]

Destiny '​s style has been described as a first-person shooter that incorporates role-playing and massively multiplayer online game (MMO) elements, but Bungie has avoided defining Destiny as a traditional MMO game.[10] Instead, the game has been referred to as a "shared-world shooter,"[11] as it lacks many of the characteristics of a traditional MMO game. For instance, rather than players being able to see and interact with all other players in the game or on a particular server—as is the case in many conventional MMO games—Destiny includes on-the-fly matchmaking that allows players to see and interact only with other players with whom they are "matched" by the game.[10] Events may happen in-game that are not necessarily controlled or planned by the developer, which will help to create a dynamic developing experience for Bungie and a dynamic playing experience for gamers.

Character building[edit]

Destiny players are given the opportunity to create a character, known as a Guardian, choosing both a race and a class. The Guardians are divided into three distinct races: Humans, Awoken, and the Exo, though as of now the playable races are purely cosmetic and have no effect on the game mechanics of Destiny. Unlike choosing a race, choosing a class has a distinctive effect on how Destiny is played and on character development. Each class has two sub-classes, each containing a skill tree upgrading system to unlock and customize grenades, powerful melees and other abilities. The most effective ability of a sub-class is called a 'super', which is a specialised skill move that a Guardian can use in battle.[12]

Classes[edit]

Destiny features three major classes in addition to the three playable races. Each class comes with its own specific upgrades, perks, and special abilities that allow the player to finely tune their individual characters to provide a different play style.

Titan

Relying more on armor that can withstand The Darkness and its powerful array of weapons, the Titan can be referred to as "The Strong One" because of its appearance in armor and its subclass skill tree variants. The Titan has two sub-classes: Striker and Defender. The Striker can often be left alone to deal with his adversaries himself using a powerful array of grenades and melee variants. The Striker's Super, Fist of Havoc, allows the player to release a ground smash killing anything within its devastating range. The Defender is the defensive sub-class providing valuable support to their allies, although they are more than capable of fighting in difficult situations. The Super is a protective spherical shield described as the Ward of Dawn that protects allies inside of it, but comes at the cost of not being able to fire outwards at enemies from within.

Warlock

The Warlock class focuses primarily on recovery and will begin regaining their health and shield very quickly once they've stopped taking damage. The Warlock's two sub-classes are Voidwalker and Sunsinger. The Voidwalker subclass utilizes Void damage and their Super: Nova Bomb. Activating Nova Bomb launches an orb of Void at enemies and detonates on impact. The Sunsinger subclass utilizes Solar damage and their Super: Radiance. Activating Radiance makes the player's abilities (grenades and melee abilities) more potent and regenerates at a significantly faster rate. Warlocks with the right upgrade in the skill tree can also use their Sunsinger Super to revive themselves after death.

Hunter

The Hunter class is the quickest of the three classes, derived from its alignment with Agility. This class is focused primarily on run and gun style combat. The Hunter is able to seamlessly transition between melee and close quarters combat, which makes the hunter a very good choice for multiplayer in the Crucible game type.[13] The Hunter's two sub-classes are Gunslinger and Bladedancer. The Gunslinger uses Solar damage and their Super: Golden Gun. Activating Golden Gun summons a golden revolver that deals tremendous damage, at the cost of only having three rounds. Gunslingers are also the only subclass with skill tree upgrades that affect their weapons such as increased reload or stability with precision kills. The Bladedancer uses Arc damage and their Super: Arc Blade. Activating Arc Blade charges the player's knife with Arc Light and deals large amounts of damage over a short period of time. Bladedancers have a unique invisibility ability which allows them to almost completely disappear for a short amount of time. This can be activated by crouching and staying still for a short amount of time, during their super and/or when they use their melee modifier (depending on skill tree) and renders the AI enemies unable to see them. However, human opponents can still spot invisible Bladedancers easily in PvP because of their shimmering translucency distorting the enemy's view.

Plot and setting[edit]

The setting follows a prosperous period of exploration, peace, and technological advancement known as the Golden Age.[14] In a universe where humans have spread out and colonized planets in the Solar System, an event known as "the Collapse" saw the mysterious dissolution of these colonies, the end of the Golden Age, and mankind teetering on the brink of extinction. The only known survivors of the Collapse are those living on Earth, who were saved by "the Traveler," a white, spherical celestial body whose appearance centuries before had enabled humans to reach the stars.[15] The Traveler now hovers above the last safe city on Earth, and its presence allows the Guardians—the defenders of the City—the ability to wield an unknown power, only referred to as "The Light."

Upon mankind's first attempt to repopulate and reconstruct after the Collapse, it is discovered that hostile alien races have occupied mankind's former colonies and civilizations, and are now encroaching upon the City. Throughout the game, players have to combat aggressive aliens who have occupied the Solar System. There are four separate races in the game, each occupying different planets. The Fallen are an insectoid race of nomadic pirates who scavenge ruined settlements on Earth, the Moon, and Venus for resources. The Hive are a macabre race of ancient aliens who have created massive underground settlements beneath Earth and the Moon's surface. The Vex are semi-organic androids who are attempting to seize control of Venus and Mars by turning them into their machines, which they have already done to Mercury. Finally, the Cabal are a military-industrial empire of massive amphibians who have established massive fortifications on Mars. Every race utilizes different strategies and weapons in combat. The Fallen possess cloaking and short-range teleportation technologies to increase their mobility. The Hive use superior numbers to overwhelm their opponents in close quarters while more elite units attack from a distance. The Vex utilize hard-light shields and teleport units of infantry into the battlefield en-masse. The Cabal rely on heavy armor, ballistic shields, and jump packs to combat players. All of these races are hostile towards each other, as they can often be observed attacking one another in-game for territorial dominance. The player takes on the role of a Guardian, and is tasked with reviving the Traveler while investigating and destroying the alien threats before humanity is completely wiped out. Destiny centers on the journey of the Guardians, the last defenders of humanity, set to protect Earth's last city.

Development[edit]

Technology[edit]

Destiny incorporates a new game engine that allows global illumination and real-time dynamic lighting to occur together in cohesion. In addition, Bungie's goal is that Destiny will natively render graphics at 1080p on both the Xbox One and PlayStation 4.[16] An innovation in Bungie's "hopper" technology, which has been the backbone for Halo '​s matchmaking system, will allow better player matchmaking in order to create a more natural experience in either cooperative or competitive multiplayer modes.[17]

Design[edit]

In designing the playable classes, Bungie was inspired by different sources of science fiction. Hunters are a reconnaissance class meant to be reminiscent of the classic bounty hunter. Bungie cites as influences Star Wars '​s Han Solo and classic characters from old Western films such as Clint Eastwood's Man with No Name. Warlocks combine weapons with special powers from "the Traveler," and are meant to be a form of "space wizard." The Warlock class is influenced by the Star Wars series's Jedi Knights, The Lord of the Rings series's Gandalf, and The Matrix series's Morpheus. Titans, which favor heavy weapons and melee attacks and are intended to be reminiscent of the classic "future soldier," were inspired by Bungie's own Master Chief from Halo, Stormtroopers from Star Wars, and other "space marines" from science fiction.[18] Players are accompanied by Ghost, a robot AI voiced by Peter Dinklage.[19]

Reveal[edit]

The first known reference to Destiny was shown in Bungie's 2009 game Halo 3: ODST, in which a sign on a wall read "Destiny Awaits" and showed a picture of Earth with a mysterious orb floating nearby.[20] Though several vague statements by Bungie employees in interviews and presentations from 2010 through 2011 were interpreted to be Destiny references, the next overt references to Destiny were not shown until Bungie's August 2011 20th anniversary documentary, O Brave New World, in which appeared several early environment renders, an environment editor named "Grognok," and a brief shot of actors performing a scene with motion capture equipment.[21] At that time, the game was still known by its original code name Project Tiger, a term used by Bungie co-founder Jason Jones when discussing the game in August 2011.[22] The game later became known by its working title Destiny.

On May 21, 2012, a publishing contract between Bungie and Activision was published by the Los Angeles Times. The contract originally had been entered into evidence under seal in Activision's lawsuit against former Infinity Ward employees Jason West and Vincent Zampella, but was later unsealed by the judge in that case.[23][24] The contract outlined an agreement between Bungie and Activision to develop and publish, respectively, four Destiny games, with the first to be released in the second or third quarter of 2014.

Initially, claims made by Activision Blizzard CEO Robert Kotick suggested that the total investment in Destiny would be around $500 million; It was subsequently stated by Bungie's COO Pete Parsons in an interview that the game's development cost is not even close to $500 million, saying, "For marketing you'd have to ask Activision people, but for development costs, not anything close to $500 million.".[25] Activision subsequently confirmed the $500 million dollar figure, stating that up front infrastructure costs and investment in the game's engine were included, and could be amortized over the life of the IP [26]

The first public details of Destiny were leaked in November 2012, revealing concept art and plot details.[27] Bungie supplemented the leak with the release of further details, whilst expressing regret that details of an upcoming video game had once again been revealed before their planned release.[28] In describing Destiny, Bungie's lead writer Joseph Staten stated that the studio was approaching the game with the intention of "building a universe" that would "take on a life of its own."[29] Further information became available in February 2013, when Bungie released a video documentary revealing information on Destiny and some of the core ideas behind the game, including the company's "seven pillars" philosophy, identifying the seven underlying elements of the early development process that they adopted to make the game appeal to as wide an audience as possible,[14][30] with particular emphasis on making the game accessible to casual, novice gamers and dedicated fans of the genre alike.[6] The game was first confirmed to be released on PlayStation 3 and PlayStation 4 at the PlayStation 4 reveal event on February 20, 2013. Bungie also revealed that both the PS3 and PS4 versions will receive exclusive content. They later confirmed that the game will be released on Xbox 360 and Xbox One.[31]

Also revealed were plans to incorporate social media into Destiny, allowing players to remain connected to one another even when offline. With the in-game universe being in a state of perpetual change, Bungie is exploring the potential of using a mobile phone application to update players about new quests and inform them as to what their friends are doing in-game.[6]

On May 24, 2013, A decision was made to sign the game for Sony. Originally a Microsoft exclusive, Marketing director Tim James contacted Sony Corporation for a cross platform compatibility contract, along with a game license for disk production.

On October 1, 2013, Bungie and Activision announced that players who pre-order Destiny on any platform at select retailers will receive an exclusive nine-digit code to gain access to the beta version of the game. Additional beta codes were also sent out randomly on social networking sites Facebook and Twitter during the week starting on October 20.[32] A total figure of 4,638,937 unique players participated in the game's beta, according to Activision.[33]

On March 20, 2014, it was announced that Bungie would use Faceware's motion capture technology on Destiny.[34] On April 11, 2014, Bungie terminated the employment of its long-time composer and audio director, Martin O'Donnell.[35] Initially fans were concerned that the absence of Martin O'Donnell would affect the in-game music of Destiny; however, Pete Parsons of Bungie later confirmed that Destiny '​s music was already complete and that O'Donnell's absence would have no effect on the development nearing its completion.[36]

At E3 2014 on June 9, Bungie announced an alpha version of the game for PS4, which was open from June 12 to 16.[37] On June 17, 2014, Sony Computer Entertainment announced that Destiny will be released exclusively for the PlayStation 3 and PlayStation 4 in Japan, meaning that the game won't be released on the Xbox 360 and Xbox One in that country.[38] On June 26, 2014, Bungie confirmed that Destiny was rated "T for Teen" by the ESRB for violence and animated blood instead of a "M for Mature" rating.

A public beta version of the game was released on PlayStation consoles on July 17 and Xbox consoles on July 22. Before the beta closed on July 27, it attracted around 4.6 million players.[39][40] During Sony Computer Entertainment's Gamescom 2014 press conference on August 12, 2014, Bungie announced that the first expansion pack for Destiny, titled The Dark Below, would be released in December 2014.[41] On August 23, 2014, Bungie and Activision confirmed that Destiny had gone gold.[42]

On September 2, 2014, Activision revealed that an exclusive item would be available for those who bought Destiny and pre-ordered Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare.[43] On September 5, 2014, Sony Computer Entertainment announced and released a trailer about an exclusive mission for the PlayStation 3 and PlayStation 4 versions. The Xbox 360 and Xbox One versions will receive the mission sometime in late 2015.[44] That same day, publisher Activision announced that those who buy the PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 versions digitally will be able to download their respective next-gen version at no additional charge.[45] The offer will be available until January 15, 2015.[46]

Soundtrack[edit]

Destiny Original Soundtrack
Soundtrack album by Michael Salvatori, C Paul Johnson, Martin O'Donnell, Paul McCartney, Skye Lewin, and Stan LePard
Released September 26, 2014 (2014-09-26)
Genre Classical
Orchestral
Ambient
Video game soundtrack
Length 2:18:48
Label Bungie Music Publishing

Destiny Original Soundtrack is the official soundtrack for the video game, composed by Michael Salvatori, C Paul Johnson, Martin O'Donnell, Skye Lewin, and Stan LePard, with contributions and input from British musician Paul McCartney. Released digitally via iTunes on September 26, 2014, the soundtrack contains 44 instrumental songs from the game.[47][48] The soundtrack marked Martin O'Donnell's final work for Bungie, after years of composing for the Halo franchise, as well as several games before that. In addition, McCartney wrote and recorded an original song inspired by the game.[49][50][51]

Early in Destiny '​s development, O'Donnell was contacted by Pete Parsons (current Chief Operating Officer of Bungie), and was asked to begin writing music for the game. At the time, Destiny was still in its infancy, as it lacked any gameplay material for O'Donnell to score music to, so instead, O'Donnell began creating music based solely on the games ideas, stories, and artwork.[52] By February 17, 2013, over 50 minutes of the soundtrack had already been recorded with a 106-piece orchestra at Abbey Road Studios in London.[53] O'Donnell gave the early pieces of music to Bungie in hopes that they would foster inspiration within the development team.[54]

Unlike the Halo series, where pieces of music were only 2–3 minutes long, Martin has stated that the soundtrack for Destiny has no time restrictions, with the pieces clocking in "as long as they need to be."[53] O'Donnell collaborated with Paul McCartney on the soundtrack for the better part of two years, as they traded ideas, melody samples and themes back and forth.[55] On April 11, 2014, Martin O'Donnell was dismissed without cause by the board of directors at Bungie.[35] This caused concern as to whether this would affect the game; however, Pete Parsons stated that O'Donnell's work on the game had been completed before his dismissal and would appear in the final product.[56]

Reception[edit]

Critical reception[edit]

Reception
Aggregate scores
Aggregator Score
GameRankings (XONE) 78.55%[57]
(PS4) 76.83%[58]
Metacritic (PS4) 76/100[59]
(XONE) 75/100[60]
Review scores
Publication Score
Computer and Video Games 8/10[61]
Eurogamer 8/10[62]
Game Informer 8.75/10[63]
GamesRadar 4.5/5 stars[64]
GameSpot 6/10[65]
GameTrailers 8/10[66]
Giant Bomb 3/5 stars[67]
Joystiq 4/5 stars[68]
Official Xbox Magazine 8/10[69]
Polygon 6/10[70]
Hardcore Gamer 4/5[72]

Destiny received generally positive reviews. Aggregating review websites GameRankings and Metacritic gave the Xbox One version 78.55% based on 10 reviews and 75/100 based on 11 reviews[57][60] and the PlayStation 4 version 76.83% based on 64 reviews and 76/100 based on 95 reviews.[58][59] Bungie halted pre-release reviews due to the fact that they felt the game should be graded only when its social aspects were operative and populated with "thousands of gamers" in order to give a proper assessment.[73]

GameSpot described the game as "a multiplayer shooter that cobbles together elements of massively multiplayer games but overlooks the lessons developers of such games learned many years ago"; however, the game's competitive multiplayer modes were praised for carrying on Bungie's expertise from the Halo franchise with well-designed maps.[65] GameTrailers gave a generally positive review, but also criticized the weak story and uninspired game locations. However, they did praise the graphics as well as the rush the combat can provide the player.[66]

Destiny was heavily criticized for its lack of story content with many pointing to the disjointed narrative and shallow plot implementation.[citation needed] Bungie has since acknowledged that the story was lacking in some respects and will seek to rectify some of the issues with the first expansion to the game "The Dark Below" which will focus on giving more background on the universe.[74] This lack of story also was hit on in the game's lack of end game content. Despite very huge claims that the end game will be great, the delivery was very lackluster in comparison.[75] Discovery of locations known as "loot caves" allowed players to get high level content without having to play missions repeatedly, known as grinding, to get the resources or other in game items to acquire the high level gear. They have both since been shut down, but their legacy—mainly directed at the lack of endgame content—lingers.[76] The release/activation of Destiny's first raid "The Vault of Glass" brought more problems and some hilarious results.[77][78] This also invited more commentary on Destiny's lack of endgame content apart from grinding by repeated mission playing, using bounties, strikes, and PvP combat. The raid is considered one of the hardest points of Destiny, but it also presents multiple problems with a buggy boss, lack of matchmaking, and loot issues.[79] A general lack of cohesive communication between players was also criticized, with Game Informer calling it, "downplayed and difficult".[80]

Sales[edit]

On September 10, 2014, Activision claimed that Destiny was the most successful new gaming franchise launch of all time, as the game shipped more than US$500 million to retail stores and first-parties worldwide.[81] As of September 17, 2014, there have been over 11 million gameplay sessions within North America.[82] It was also the biggest software launch for the PlayStation 4 since holiday 2013.[83] On November 4, 2014, Activision Publishing CEO Eric Hirshberg revealed that the game has 9.5 million registered players.[84]

Destiny sold 91,277 physical retail copies on PS4 and 49,503 retail copies on PS3 within the first week of release in Japan, placing second and third place respectively within the Japanese software sales charts for that particular week.[85]

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