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Destiny: Bungie’s ‘little-big’ reveal leaves a sour taste

Monday, 18 February 2013 10:34 GMT By Dave Cook

Destiny, Bungie’s next ‘ten-year’ franchise was revealed last night, sparking enthusiasm and not a small amount of chagrin. Dave Cook calls for a reality check.

‘Shock and awe’ is king and transparency be damned, thanks to a methodically strategised, heavily-funded campaign of mystery and half-truths.

We’ve been seeing Bungie drop little hints about the next ten years of its new franchise for about a year. The Halo studio teased, so we were supposed to listen and get increasingly excited until the day Activision allowed open conversation on Destiny.

This is how the console industry works.

‘Shock and awe’ is king and transparency be damned, thanks to a methodically strategised, heavily-funded campaign of mystery and half-truths. The carrot and stick mentality is the norm. After yesterday’s Destiny reveal, the carrot seems slightly rotten.

Yesterday, a group of gaming press was corralled to Bungie’s studio in Seattle on Activision’s dollar to see the fruit of the developer’s labour – the grand plan for its next decade.

The atmosphere was thick with excitement on social networks and forums as gamers sat anxious, waiting to see what they’d been asked to anticipate for so long. First, a vidoc released, showing off some animated concept art followed by a few seconds of gameplay.

Bungie employees popped up every so often to wax lyrical about how incredible Destiny will be, and I have no reason to disbelieve them. What we know of the concept sounds brilliant, but here’s the problem: the concept itself hasn’t fully been established.

This was not a reveal.

Shock-tease

It was more teasing, more half-truths to add to the rumour pile. I was reminded of Nintendo’s half-reveal of the Wii U at E3 2011. Afterwards, the confused press spoke outside in sweltering LA sun, confused about what they’d just seen. What was it? How did it work? What can it do?

Without answering these questions, you can’t realistically claim you have revealed a product. The fundamentals are still muddied, the core pitch unclear. We know that Destiny requires an always-on internet connection, and that it takes place in an always-connected world.

So what is it? Is it an online RPG like Guild Wars 2, or is it a straight-up MMOFPS? Does it feature microtransactions? All of these key questions should have been answered, but they weren’t.

What did lend greater insight into Destiny’s world were the string of previews that came out after the initial video dropped. Talk of the last human city on Earth being bombarded by aliens, a sprawling world that can see squads of human-controlled players blasting off into orbit before travelling to mars and venus gave greater cause for excitement.

But given the general lack of detail, it’s little wonder gamers on forums and comment threads blasted the reveal as little more than show-boating. Some went further, blasting Bungie and Activision for creating a ‘shit’ game, for making online mandatory, and for creating something that just ‘looks like Halo.’

There’s little doubt in my mind that Destiny will be epic in scope, and will go on to be another solid franchise from Bungie, but by that token I think some gamers need to give themselves a shake.

It doesn’t just look like Halo. It’s an MMOFPS of sorts (seemingly), so of course it requires a net connection. Finally, no one’s seen enough of it to make a solid verdict on quality.

Activision and Bungie should have addressed this. We didn’t see enough of Destiny yesterday. There was no clear message. The event was merely the first drip in a year-long drip campaign being tacked on to a previous year of dripping. It’s true that it’s just a vocal minority of gamers which lashes out negatively in these instances, but surely, considering this was the first proper announcement event, we should at least know for certain what genre we’re looking at here?

We’re in the realms of cynicism, and that saddens me as a genuine fan of this intelligent, thought-provoking, entertaining and valid hobby. It’s true that both sides – Bungie’s weak reveal and the trash talking hate-mongers – should be wearing red faces this morning, but it’s time to admit that a “reveal” should be just that. Close-handedness treats everyone like suckers, and that’s never a solid policy.

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21 Comments

  1. Fin

    Yar this is how I felt.

    It was basically “these are our over-arcing design goals, we’re not telling you anything else”. I was surprised the previews were able to pad it out as much as they did.

    #1 2 years ago
  2. mojo

    its wow in shooter form

    #2 2 years ago
  3. Mike W

    yea it sure does.

    #3 2 years ago
  4. bitsnark

    What we got yesterday is EXACTLY what I imagine Bungie used to sell Activision on publishing the thing; which is to say, it sounded like bulleted Powerpoint presentation with loads of buzzery thrown in for added effect.

    As far as getting gameplay footage goes, Bungie are in an awkward spot as they can’t really show the game at its best until the next-gen consoles get their time in the sun.

    I do agree with the majority of sensible-headed folks though; this was a hugely undercooked reveal which left us with many more unanswered questions than what we started with.

    #4 2 years ago
  5. mistermogul

    “Afterwards, the confused press spoke outside in sweltering LA sun”

    Very confusing considering they were in Seattle!

    #5 2 years ago
  6. Dave Cook

    @5 Re-read that line again please :)

    #6 2 years ago
  7. mistermogul

    @6 – Oops! I hate Mondays!

    Apologies…

    #7 2 years ago
  8. ArcticMonkey

    I like Bungie, always enjoyed the Halo games, but this “reveal” left me completely underwhelmed. I thought, like most of you, we’d get a story trailer and gameplay videos. What we got was what felt like a bigger, sanctioned run of screenshot leaks.

    I like to see Bungie trying something new and I’m still looking forward to an actual reveal but here are my potential red flags for Destiny.

    1. Always online. A seemingly foreign concept for many console owners. Until we think about the millions of gamers, and there are millions, who buy COD or Battlefield for JUST multiplayer. They’ve already spent years with a mandatory connection… But like me, I bet most of you are more into games for the single player experience? Then the pitfalls would be the stability of Destiny’s servers, and just how many in the larger US market aren’t connected to broadband? Limiting Destiny’s market penetration.

    2. There seems to a focus on the casual. I’m paraphrasing, but someone at Bungie said “The easy part will be making it accessible to beginners and veterans alike, the hard part will be keeping the more experienced playes engaged” In other words the “core gamer”, us. With less focus on a deep story and challenging gameplay, will it still be attractive to us? Maybe, but if it leans too causal maybe not for long. This is supposed to be a generational franchise, lasting ten years.

    3. Next gen consoles will undoubtedly continue us down the path of the monetization/F2P/microtransactions New world order of gaming. How much content will they lock us out of? If any. Sans a monthly sub fee Activision WILL take advantage of this business model. Will it be too invasive?

    I’m looking forward to learning more about destiny, it has the potential to be one of the next gen’s true monoliths of gaming, and a groundbreaking franchise, the concerns are valid tho.

    #8 2 years ago
  9. Butcher8

    The amount of info was underwhelming but considering Halo revolutionised shooters forever, it’s hard not to get excited at the type of game they are making, I for one am very excited, albeit I want to see alot more (which is the idea I’m sure!).

    #9 2 years ago
  10. The_Red

    I am kinda surprised. I’ve always felt bad about these “reveals” but I don’t Destiny was any worse than the rest. They are always about showboating and they are always annoyingly vague.

    According to the previews, the game has SINGLE PLAYER and CO-OP! So when you reveal that your SINGEPLAYER-enabledgame requires constant online connection while everything else is shrouded in mystery, of crouse there are going to be negative reactions. Heck, I’ve already lost interest in the game (Thanks to the said always online) and I still don’t know what the hell is this going on inside the game.

    #10 2 years ago
  11. Erthazus

    So you saw a game or not, Dave?

    A lot of journalists say that they were told that this game was amazing and that’s it, but Geoff Keighley said in the interview on GT that he saw the game in trailers without shooting and stuff.

    #11 2 years ago
  12. mojo

    there are ingame shots erth

    http://i.imgur.com/tjK9BKu.png
    http://i.imgur.com/D8CdqVZ.png

    nothing special.

    #12 2 years ago
  13. karma

    Its bound to feature microtransactions or some equivalent to unlock parts of the game. That certainty along with the ‘I don’t see how this is any different to any other MMO’ and the fact it requires an always connected internet, even to play single player put me right off. Also its from Activision and has a ten year plan. I can easily see this becoming Acti’s new main ‘milk it until it keels over and dies’ franchise. I shudder to think how much i’ll hate this game in 5-6 years, just like I do CoD right now. Saying your gonna be around for that length of time is exactly what I dont want to hear. I want new experiences, not the same one for ten years running.

    #13 2 years ago
  14. salarta

    I haven’t really been paying attention to Destiny, but I don’t think we can call it a “shit” game. It’s a brand new IP, just starting out, with little information to go on. It might be different if it was dealing with an already established IP and some portion of what was revealed went completely against the nature of that IP, but this is something completely new. There’s none of that to judge on.

    I haven’t read many of the accusations, but the one I see is complaints about always being online. If it’s always online because it’s an MMO environment, that’s fine. It’s a different matter if there’s a distinct story mode primarily focused on single player. If that’s the case, then much like with Assassin’s Creed II, requiring a constant internet connection is stupid beyond belief.

    #14 2 years ago
  15. manamana

    Could be like in Dark Souls, where other players invade your world, which also requires you to be online when playing.

    #15 2 years ago
  16. salarta

    @15: The difference is that with Dark Souls, you’re not REQUIRED to be online. The game isn’t set up in such a way where you can’t play it if you have no internet connection. You would miss out on all the fun and useful features, but you can play the whole game offline.

    #16 2 years ago
  17. The_Red

    @15
    Except Dark Souls and Demon’s Souls require an always online connection and are unique action RPGs instead of a shooter.

    #17 2 years ago
  18. salarta

    @17: … No they don’t. I played and beat both games, I know you can play them offline. The default is online, but if you are not connected to the internet with the device, then before you start the game, you will get a prompt both informing you that you are offline and asking if you wish to play in Offline Mode.

    At least, that’s what both games do on PS3. I haven’t played Dark Souls on 360 or PC, so those might force you to play online. Dark Souls on PS3 and Demon’s Souls can be played offline.

    #18 2 years ago
  19. manamana

    Of course the Souls series can be played offline. I wasn’t answering to#14. I was just guessing what kind of approach Bungiie will take, when its not titled as an MMO. Don’t get upset salarta, be brave ;-)

    #19 2 years ago
  20. salarta

    @19: Ah, sorry for the misunderstanding. :)

    #20 2 years ago
  21. DevilsAdvocate

    The “reveal” was definitely more of a tease. There was a total of maybe 5-15 seconds of in game footage that revealed very little except sprint animation. It’s rather disappointing to see a company we as a community expect so much of reveal so little to the gaming world. It appeared to be more of a “hype nudge” than anything else.

    On the other hand, I have a very large amount of respect for Bungie as a developer. They seem to be more like gamers than corporate employees which is good, and always come off as enthusiastic about what they do and ambitious about what they’re doing. The “behind the scenes” stuff that was shown in their reveal looked excellent, and I am fully prepared for Destiny to revolutionize gaming just as Halo did before it.

    #21 2 years ago

Comments are now closed on this article.

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  • Bloodborne: this is what happens when you have 40 Insight

    Insight is one of the currencies in Bloodborne, but it’s also a mechanic that affects the gameplay. There are MASSIVE SPOILERS below, so turn back now or one of Bloodborne’s gameplay mechanics will be SPOILED for you. Just like Blood Echoes in Bloodborne, Insight is used to purchase certain items from vendors in the game. […]

  • Phase two of Xbox One April update brings voice messages, dedicated servers for party chat, more

    The second phase of the April update for Xbox One is now open to members of the Preview programme and and it looks like there are even more features in store. Phase one of Xbox One’s April firmware update started a few days ago with improvements to party chat and achievements notifications. Today, phase two […]

  • GTA 5′s graphical “downgrade” is a bug, will be fixed in upcoming patch

    As of patch 1.8 for GTA 5 on PlayStation 4 and Xbox One, a few graphical issues have cropped up leading some to believe there has been a stealth downgrade to the game’s overall graphics. Over the past couple of days, Reddit went nuts over a video showing what appears to be a downgrade to […]

  • Destiny: Xur location and inventory for March 27, 28 – MIDA Multi-Tool edition

    Xur: Agent of the Nine has arrived at The Tower in Destiny to rid you of your Strange Coins. Xur: Agent of the Nine has once again made it to Destiny’s Tower to sell you Exotic weapons and gear in exchange for Strange Coins and Motes of Light. For this weekend, Xur can be found […]

  • Destiny vault space upgrade will have enough room for every Exotic

    Destiny is finally getting the vault space upgrade players have been begging for almost since launch week. Destiny players can currently use vault space to store 20 pieces of amour, 20 weapons and 20 general item stacks. In the latest Bungle Weekly Update, the developer revealed that as of patch 1.1.2, due before House of […]

  • Half-Life 2: Update mod applies some sparkle to the original title

    Half-Life 2: Update will be available tomorrow, and thanks to the modding community, those who own the vanilla version of the game can apply a visual update to the 2004 title. The comparison video shows you the differences between the original version, and the version with Half-Life 2: Update applied. Here’s what the mod includes: […]

  • Neverwinter MMO can now be pre-downloaded on Xbox One

    You can now pre-download the free-to-play Neverwinter MMO on Xbox One. The game launches on March 31, but you will still need an Xbox Live Gold account to play it. Based on the Dungeons & Dragons franchise, the game can be downloaded from the Xbox Store.

  • Destiny of Spirits will go offline starting next month

    Sony will be ending service for Destiny of Spirits starting next month, Sony has announced. The free-to-play Destiny of Spirits was released in late March 2014 on Vita, and tasked players with collecting supernatural forces appropriate to their geographical location, and then trading them with others online. Gravity Rush spirits were added to the game […]

  • MotoGP 15 is out this spring on PC, last and current-gen consoles

    MotoGP 15 will be released in June on PC, PlayStation 3, PS4, Xbox 360 and Xbox One, Milestone has announced. Bike, rider and team customization are part of the latest release in the franchise, along with time-trials and enhanced career options. The game features over 20 bike models divided into three classes: MotoGP, Moto 2 […]

  • Cities: Skylines players should check out Nakatomi Plaza and Wayne Enterprises

    Nakatomi Plaza and Wayne Enterprises can now be yours in Cities: Skylines. Die Hard fans will be familiar with Nakatomi Plaza. Those who have never watched the first film and live in Los Angeles know it by its real-life name, FOX Plaza. It was created by Enos Shenk and is available through Steamworks. Those who […]

  • Call of Duty franchise has sold 175M copies, players have thrown 300B grenades

    With the Call of Duty Championship kicking off tomorrow, Activision has sent over a series infographic full of interesting figures such as the number of copies sold over 10 years and how many grenades players have tossed. According to the stats below, the Call of Duty franchise has sold 175 million copies across all platforms […]

  • Save up to 75% on select SEGA games on Steam this weekend

    SEGA has put many of its games on sale through Steam this weekend and the firm has also announced Eastside Hockey Manager is now available through Early Access. The sale runs through March 30. The entire Total War, Company of Heroes and Dawn of War back catalogs are discounted 75% and all associated DLC is […]

  • Batman: Arkham Knight PC confirmed as digital download-only in UK

    Batman: Arkham Knight will indeed be a download-only title on PC in the UK, Warner Bros. has confirmed to VG247. Batman: Arkham Knight will be available as both a physical and digital release for PS4, Xbox One and PC in North America and Europe. Again, in the UK, the PC version will be “available as […]

  • Rainbow Six Siege release date set for October per GameStop Italy – report

    GameStop Italy may have let the release date for Rainbow Six Siege slip if a recent listing is accurate. According to the listing, the game will release on October 16. While this could be a placeholder date, October 16 is a Friday in the UK, the usual day new releases land at retail. The release […]

  • Watch the $1 million Call of Duty Championship right here

    The The Call of Duty Championship takes place this weekend, and you can watch all the action as it unfolds right here. The event takes place in Los Angeles tomorrow March 27 and runs through March 29, and the livestreams are below. 32 teams from five continents and 11 countries will be competing in Call […]

  • Battlefield Hardline: Battlefest kicks off this weekend with Double XP

    A new season of Battlefest kicks off this weekend, and starting today, you will earn Double XP in Battlefield Hardline. Battlefest for Hardline is similar to the event held for Battlefield 4 last year. For the entire month of April and into May, in-game events and competitions will be held by the developers and player […]

  • Don’t forget: the GTA 5 PC pre-order bonus cutoff is March 31

    Just a friendly reminder to those planning on purchasing GTA 5 for PC: you have until March 31 to pre-order if you want all the bonuses on offer. Those who pre-order will be handed $1 million in-game cash plus a bonus $300,000. It is split between GTA 5 and GTA Online: $500,000 for Grand Theft […]

  • Games with Gold offers doubled for April – six games instead of three

    Microsoft’s April Games with Gold collection is being doubled. For the month Xbox Live Gold members will receive six instead of three games free. Here’s what’s on offer: Pool Nation FX: Available all month on Xbox One Child of Light: Available all month on Xbox One Gears of War: Judgment: Available from April 1-15 on […]

  • Pokemon players can grab a code for Shiny Charizard at GAME in April

    Pokemon Omega Ruby and Alpha Sapphire players along with Pokemon X and Y owners can grab a free, rare Shiny Charizard from April 3 at one of GAME’s 320 stores in the UK. The redeemable codes for the character will be made available upon request and no purchase is necessary. Those who pop into one […]

  • F1 2015 will arrive on PC, PS4 and Xbox One in June, includes Mexico circuit

    Codemasters has announced its F1 franchise will make its series debut on PlayStation 4 and Xbox One this June with the release of F1 2015. The game was developed using a new engine and contains improved handling and physics for all vehicles and parts attached. This includes: engine, transmission, aerodynamics, fuel tank, force feedback, suspension […]

  • Mortal Kombat X video confirms Liu Kang as playable character

    Liu Kang has been confirmed as a playable character in Mortal Kombat X in the latest video. You’ll also notice Bo’ Rai Cho in there as well. In the Shaolin trailer above you also get a look at Kung Lao and Kung Jin who is new to the series. Apparently, Raiden’s past champions of the […]

  • Short teaser for Star Wars: Battlefront shows the Battle of Hoth

    A short teaser for Star Wars: Battlefront has been posted by EA on Twitter. Well, that speeder isn't going anywhere. Can someone give us a lift to @SW_Celebration http://t.co/srEVrAA0zl #SWCA https://t.co/4W4LG8myke — EAStarWars (@EAStarWars) March 25, 2015 The teaser shows vehicles which we could be using in the game, but it mainly shows the snowy landscape […]

  • Pillars of Eternity releases today – get all the review scores here

    Pillars of Eternity, which still stands as the second most-funded video game on Kickstarter, finally releases today. It’s also getting some rather positive reviews scores, which we’ve rounded up for you. The isometric, party-based RPG from Obsidian Entertainment was one of the first video game projects to take to Kickstarter, and hit its $1.1 million […]

  • Take an in-depth look at Evolve’s Behemoth monster and four new hunters

    Evolve’s fourth monster, the Behemoth, as well as the four new hunters are shown off in new gameplay video. Evolve’s latest gameplay trailer gives everyone a good look at each of the four new hunters and the massive Behemoth monster. The hunters can be bought either separately or though the hunting pass, while the monster […]

  • PS4 firmware update 2.50 causing issues with Killzone: Shadow Fall

    The suspend/resume feature in PlayStation 4′s 2.50 firmware update is causing some issues with Killzone: Shadow Fall. Killzone: Shadow Fall developer Guerrilla has said that the game is experiencing some issues in some instance where the suspend/resume feature is used. The timing of when players put the game in suspend mode does have an effect, […]

  • Bungie on Destiny matchmaking: “We believe there’s no substitute for a pre-made team”

    Crazy though this may seem, it’s possible that Destiny shipped according to plan. History points to community as a crucial component, far from the contingency that many now suspect. Paul Davies spoke to Bungie for clarity. “The community always engineers the best solutions for bringing players together. While Matchmaking is a great resource for introducing […]

  • Bloodborne works with suspend/resume, but only offline

    PlayStation 4′s newly-added suspend/resume feature works with Bloodborne as you’d expect, but only while offline. PlayStation 4 received the long-awaited suspend/resume feature today as part of firmware 2.50, and people are starting to test it out with various games. Bloodborne does work with the feature, but only if you play offline. Playing online is arguably […]

  • This is what Crossy Road looks like in first-person

    Crossy Road is fun and addictive. But in first-person, it’s mostly frightening. YouTube user Andy Front Films likes Crossy Road so much he decided to show off what it would look like in first-person. If crossing roads quickly and watching around for cars and trains, all of this as the camera chases you felt intense […]

  • Take a small behind-the-scenes peek at Mass Effect 4

    BioWare cinematic director Ken Thain has given us a very slim look behind the scenes at some motion capture work from the upcoming Mass Effect game. The upcoming Mass Effect game, whether it ends up being called Mass Effect 4 or not, will most definitely incorporate some form of motion capture work. How do we […]

  • Borderlands: The Handsome Collection – 8GB day one patch on PS4, 16GB on Xbox One

    Day one patches for Borderlands: The Handsome Collection are pretty hefty. Both the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One versions of Borderlands: The Handsome Collection require players to download lots of gigabytes to make the experience as smooth as possible. The PlayStation 4 version has an 8.31GB day one patch. The Xbox One version however has […]

  • Get a PlayStation 4 with Bloodborne and The Last of Us for $435

    If you’ve been waiting for the perfect game to get to buy a PlayStation 4, there’s no better time than the present. Amazon is offering a good PlayStation 4 bundle at the moment. For $434.99, you get a PlayStation 4 console, The Last of Us, and Bloodborne. The Last of Us is of course the […]

  • Upcoming Battlefield Hardline patch to nerf the K10, buff battle rifles

    Battlefield Hardline’s first patch will focus on weapon balance and a few changes have been proposed. Battlefield Hardline lead multiplayer designer Thaddeus Sasser posted a few of the balance changes that the team is considering for the next patch. K10: reduce bullet damage to 33 Saiga and PTR: reduce recoil to bring more in line […]

  • Call of Duty: Black Ops 3 and a new Resident Evil game coming this year, according to research firm

    According to digital games analyst SuperData, a new Resident Evil game is due this fall and that this year’s Call of Duty is Black Ops 3. In its latest report on digital console games, research and analytics firm SuperData revealed that a new Resident Evil is coming this fall. “We anticipate this month’s downturn to […]

  • Bloodborne: you can add gestures to your messages

    As players get deeper into Bloodborne, they keep uncovering so many of its little new additions, including this one. Bloodborne, like all of the Souls games before it, allows players to leave messages for other players. These messages could be used to point players towards impending doom, treasure, or just be sarcastic and witty. What […]

  • PlayStation 4 firmware update 2.50 is now live

    PlayStation 4 firmware update version 2.50 has started rolling out. Reports are coming in saying that Yukimura, PlayStation 4′s firmware 2.50 has been made available to download. The update is clocking in at just 245mb, so get downloading. 2.50 brings with it many new additions, including the suspend/resume feature, backup and restore, accessibility options and […]

  • Harley Quinn DLC for Batman: Arkham Knight is a prequel

    Batman: Arkham Knight’s Harley Quinn pre-order DLC is set before the events of the main game, according to Amazon’s description. Today we learned a few details about the pre-order DLC for Batman: Arkham Knight, namely the Harley Quinn one. According to the description on Amazon, the DLC takes place in the lead-up to the events […]

  • Bloodborne Vicar Amelia summon mystery solved

    Bloodborne players unable to summon near Vicar Amelia: here’s your solution. Bloodborne’s secrets are unfolding by the hour as clever players piece together From Software’s cunning design. Yesterday we reported problems summoning in the Cathedral Ward, before the Vicar Amelia boss fight. It turns out this isn’t a bug – or if it is, it’s […]

  • Steven Spielberg will direct film adaption of Ready Player One

    Steven Spielberg will direct the film adaption of the sci-fi, virtual world, video game themed novel Ready Player One by Ernest Cline. Warner Bros. bought the rights to the film in June 2010 and hired screenwriter Zak Penn to rewrite the previous draft written by Eric Eason, according to Deadline. The book takes place in […]

  • Bloodborne players with PS4 headsets shouldn’t forget about the custom audio

    Here’s a friendly reminder for Bloodborne players with PS4 headsets: be sure to download the Headset Companion App from the PlayStation store if you haven’t already. As previously reported, the game supports a custom Bloodborne audio mode which can be uploaded. It contains custom audio created by developers specifically tuned to enhance the audio. This […]