Prior to Halo’s initial launch for the original Xbox all the way back in 2001, the game and its development studio, Bungie, had to put up with a fairly large number of skeptics questioning the feasibility of adequately translating a modern first-person shooter onto current-gen consoles (or perhaps more significantly, console controllers). Needless to say, Halo’s success erased any doubts as to the long term success of the FPS genre on modern consoles, and paved the way for today’s console FPSes to boot. In 2014, Bungie is faced with a different sort of challenge—to ensure their next game, Destiny, doesn’t just warrant dismissal as a next-gen Halo, but instead can stand on its own two feet and carve out its own niche in gaming history.
This week, Bungie released a plethora of information on Destiny, including the above gameplay trailer of a team dropped into Old Russia. What have we learned? Well the game certainly continues to look fantastic. Developing a next-gen MMO presents its fair share of challenges, and the scope of the game itself looks to be immense, both in regard to the playable environments and the fact that the game spans an entire solar system. Bungie is no stranger to tight gameplay mechanics and beautiful settings and there will likely be no devolution in that respect. Destiny has a 10 year content plan, meaning Bungie intends to devote serious resources to fostering and bolstering its community.
This is also Bungie’s first time developing a multi-platform title—the game will launch for all major consoles and according to the studio, a PC version may be discussed at some point down the road as well. For the benefit of gamers who first purchase the game on last-gen hardware (PS3 and Xbox 360), Bungie will support cross-generational saves, meaning a last-gen save game will port smoothly onto a next-gen console, should you choose to upgrade.
As for those pesky Halo comparisons… well, Bungie isn’t shying away from the fact that they are influenced by their past, and nor should they, given just how successful that past has been. Gameplay videos reveal a look and feel in environments and combat that will certainly seem familiar to Halo veterans, and there are similarities in the story and scope. But ultimately, if the worst thing that ends up being said about Destiny is that it’s a next-gen Halo - well, how bad is that, really?
Destiny launches September 9 for Xbox 360/One and PS3/4.
In other gaming news this week, Evolve—the spiritual successor to Left 4 Dead—continues to look amazing, BioWare’s Dragon Age: Inquisition box art is officially gender-neutral, the Mass Effect trilogy goes next-gen, a new Mario Kart 8 trailer hits, and more. Read on!
- Indie surreal desert horror game Grave, which blends elements of Minecraft and Alan Wake in a desert setting, met its funding goals on Kickstarter this week. This means we could see this potentially cool new open-world shooter sometime next year.
- In related news, the first DLC for the critically acclaimed survivor horror game Outlast, titled Whistleblower, launches on May 6 for PC and PS4.
- As has been noted by many a gamer, BioWare made a deliberate choice to make the box art for Dragon Age: Inquisition gender-neutral to better represent the diversity of character selection. Props.
- Assassin’s Creed Unity may feature 4-player co-op, a feature which would be a breath of fresh air to the franchise. In other AC news, Australian director Justin Kurzel is on board to direct Michael Fassbender in the Assassin’s Creed movie.
- Evolve - the next project from Turtle Rock Studios, creators of Left 4 Dead—looks poised to have a significant impact on how we play multiplayer games. To get a better sense of how a standard Evolve match might play out, check out the interactive trailer below, which allows you to switch POVs to view each of the game’s character classes.
- Earlier this week, a New Mexico landfill excavation turned up hundreds of copies of Atari’s critically panned game E.T., thus proving right one of gaming’s urban legends—that Atari literally buried the game in mass quantities in 1983 after being unable to decide what to do with all the unsold copies.
- A remastered hi-def version of the Mass Effect trilogy will likely be hitting next-gen consoles in the near future.
- The mysterious Naughty Dog exodus continues, as this week lead character artist Michael Knowland left the company for reasons unknown.
- It looks like Mario Kart 8 will be delivering on the nostalgia factor in spades. Check out the latest trailer and relive your childhood in HD.
- Super Smash Bros is scheduled to launch for the 3DS and Wii U later this year, and according to creator Masahiro Sakurai, the game will feature a revamped ranking system that takes the stress out of striving to be at the top of the rankings—rather, the focus is on your relative position, evaluating how far you are from the bottom than from the top, presumably to help maintain competitiveness without making learning players self-conscious.
- Finally, actor Bob Hoskins passed away this week at the age of 71. RIP, Mario.