Bungie's next project, another first-person shooter, is anything but a rehash of Halo. The comparisons end with space, armor and Bungie's love of circles. From there you are looking at an open-world adventure game with more RPG and MMO elements and less of the linear shooter playstyle we've come to expect from FPS games.
The game takes place throughout the solar system, far in the future. Humanity has been devistated by an unknown force, but, a mysterious orb known as The Traveler is responsible for saving us. What is left of humanity now lives in the last safe city built below the gigantic orb floating only a few miles overhead. Eventually humanity has rebuilt and begins to venture back out into the world, only to discover our planet is overrun with a variety of deadly creatures. Players will create characters known as Guardians and will possess some of The Traveler's power (perhaps offering a chance to use a type of magic?).
Players will be able to create their own character, from a variety of classes. Only three classes have been revealed so far: the Hunter, the Warlock, and the Titan, but it sounds like much more is in store. Equipment and weapons will be as varied as you would expect in an RPG like game, and though Bungie was short on specifics, it sounds as if players will have access to own their own vehicles and space ships. A variety of enemies looks to be in the works as well, though only a handful have been mentioned so far: robots, warlocks, spider creatures, a rhino-looking race, and zombies.
The entire solar system will be your playground in an open world playstyle, but here comes the MMO element: Bungie is calling their game a "Shared World Shooter". It won't have everything you would expect in an MMO and they aren't calling the game that. What it will have is a shared universe. The amount of players you have to "share" the gameworld with will be limited, they don't what to create a world cluttered with hundreds of players packed into a city. You also don't have to worry about a random player deciding to pick a fight with you, battles will be optional. But you could be adventuring with a friend, co-op style, for a particular raid and a random player might show up and offer assistance, even asking the go along for the mission. Afterward, you can all go your own way and continue on single player style if desired.
The game will also be "persistent". Time will pass by, weather will change, other players can effect the world, and you can bump into other players in the middle of their own missions that may not be interested in you at all. Bungie will not be requiring subscriptions for this to work, but the game will be required to always be online. Social apps are also planned to interact with friends and the game when you aren't on your console.
Yes, we did say console. There are no plans for this game to come to PC. But the odd thing is that Activision has said the game will launch on the XBox360 and Playstation 3, even though it won't launch until after the next-gen consoles are on the shelves. Bungie has also developed a new set of game engines, six years in the making, to power Destiny, so it would seem the next gen consoles would be the best target for a powerful new engine and not hamper the game with old tech compatibility. I suppose it's not actually odd, it's a decision made for financial reasons, but definitely seems like the game won't be capable of all it could be until the next volume comes out years later and leaves the old-gen consoles behind.
Bungie started off their presentation with a look at what they called their "seven pillars": An interesting world you want to spend time in, it has to be fun, offering rewards gamers care about, a new and unexpected experience every night, a shared world with other people, accessible to all skill levels, and enjoyable even for the tired, impatient and distracted. They guided the development of Destiny. But at the end of the day, only the bones of the game were offered up and no real meat. A lot of questions are still unanswered: What does actual gameplay look like? How will space travel work? How will the plot work when you have to share your heroes story with others? How will the various social interactions work? There is still a long road ahead of them, hopefully we'll get answers to some of those questions soon.