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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

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    Get your first look at the map designed by the community of Battlefield 4. Battlefield 4′s community-designed map is a reality. DICE has recently updated CTE to include an early version of the map. It’s not fully textured as Westie is about to show you, but the layout is nearly finalised. Westie goes over the […]

  • Microsoft apologises for uploading misleading Witcher 3: Wild Hunt footage

    Xbox’s YouTube channel uploaded a video of The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt yesterday that was captured from the PC build. The most recent gameplay video for the The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt appeared on the Xbox YouTube channel and showed a quest from the game’s opening section. A few minutes after it had gone live, […]

  • Assassin’s Creed creator’s new game is Ancestors: The Humankind Odyssey

    Ancestors: The Humankind Odyssey is the game Assassin’s Creed creator Patrice Desilets has been working on. Patrice Desilets has just announced that the next game his indie studio Panache Digital Games is making is called Ancestors: The Humankind Odyssey. The announcement comes from Desilets’s keynote at the Reboot Develop event in Croatia. The trailer started […]

  • Bloodborne: Cathedral Ward closed door mystery solved

    The mystery of the locked door at the bottom of the Cathedral Ward in Bloodborne has been solved. Bloodborne, like earlier From Software games, is filled with doors that don’t open the first time you try them. Some will give you “locked” messages, others “does not open from this side”. Some of these will open […]

  • Assassin’s Creed creator Patrice Desilets is revealing his next game now [UPDATE: ended]

    Patrice Desilets, one of the original creators of Assassin’s Creed is hosting a presentation where he’s expected to talk about his next project. Patrice Desilets has emerged once again. This time he’s attending development conference in Croatia. Desilets is giving a live keynote and there’s a good chance we’re going to hear about his next […]

  • Destiny House of Wolves: everything you need to know about gear upgrades & The Reef

    Bungie revealed plenty of important details in last night’s Destiny stream. Let’s go over everything. Alex wants to make sure you don’t miss any of the information revealed yesterday. Most of it affects all Destiny players too, even those who don’t intend on buying House of Wolves. During the first stream, Bungie explained the armour […]

  • Mod-friendly Galactic Civilizations 3 will leave Steam Early Access in May

    Galactic Civilizations 3 will leave Steam Early Access next month for a full release, Stardok has announced. The developer called the game the “largest and most diverse strategy sandbox to date,” as players have a variety of tools such as diplomatic treaties to resource exchanges, and United Planets resolutions to hundreds of research directions for […]

  • Ys 6: The Ark of Napishtim is out next week on PC – here’s the pre-order trailer

    Ys 6: The Ark of Napishtim will be released next week on PC, and today, we have a pre-order trailer for you. The game will be made available on April 28 for $19.99/€17.99/£13.99 on GOG, the Humble Store and Steam. Along with improvements over the original PSP version, it will contain less backtracking, controller support […]

  • Destiny: House of Wolves – full gear set up to level 34 in PvP and PvE, upgrades, more

    The Destiny: House of Wolves livestream this afternoon was chock full of information. Read onward for our full report. According to Bungie, Petra Venj, who serves the Queen, is the main story agent who leads the player through the main series of quests. Players who complete bounties will be able to level up in her […]

  • Destiny: House of Wolves – watch the livestream right here

    Bungie will host a Destiny: House of Wolves livestream at 2pm EDT today, and you can watch it right here. Watch live video from Bungie on www.twitch.tv The stream will introduce the new social space, The Reef, as well as gear upgrade paths. House of Wolves contains new Strike missions, The Prison of Elders three-player […]

  • FIFA Ultimate Team: week of April 22 team includes Barcelona, Chelsea players

    This week’s FIFA 15 Team of the Week is now available for FIFA Ultimate Team players. Each team member, as with previous weeks, is selected base on the previous weekend’s matches. Here’s the list of players now available: Starting GK: Claudio Bravo – FC Barcelona (Spain) CB: Leonardo Bonucci – Juventus (Italy) CB: Ömer Toprak […]

  • Sony’s Spring Fever Sale winds down with Shovel Knight and Call of Duty discounts

    It’s the final week of Sony’s Spring Fever Sale which means more games have been added to the mix. Shovel Knight, which launches today is one offer, and the rest are all Cal of Duty titles. The Taken movie series is on sale as well. With Shovel Knight available today on PlayStation 3, PS4 and […]

  • Drivers for Xbox controllers, voice messages, more features available in Xbox One preview

    Microsoft has announced new features coming to Xbox One and the Xbox App on Windows 10 through the preview program this month. Some of the new features have been requested by the community for both Xbox One and Xbox One SmartGlass. Here’s what to expect, straight from the horse’s mouth: Xbox on Windows 10 Game […]

  • Total War: Warhammer has been announced for PC, Mac, SteamOS

    Total War: Warhammer has been announced after previous teases from The Creative Assembly touched upon it. The game will contain “gigantic monsters, flying creatures, legendary heroes and storms of magical power.” It is also the first in a trilogy which includes two additional standalone titles and extra content packs. It will feature thousands of warriors […]

  • This video for The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt features a quest from the prologue

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  • Limited public beta for The Elder Scrolls Online kicks off tomorrow on consoles

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  • Dying Light debuts in second place on Media Create charts

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  • Lord of Magna: Maiden Heaven will release in the west this June

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  • This Overlord video teases four new faces of evil

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  • GTA movie will star Daniel Radcliffe as Rockstar’s Sam Houser, the BBC confirms

    The GTA movie Game Changer will star Daniel Radcliffe as Rockstar co-founder and president Sam Houser, theBBC has confirmed. The BBC also confirmed Bill Paxton will play Jack Thompson, a role Paxton already confirmed last week when speaking with Deadline. Here’s the synopsis per the BBC: “Conceived for an adult audience, this special 90-minute drama […]

  • Take a look at Etrian Odyssey 2 Untold’s Classic Mode

    Etrian Odyssey 2 Untold’s Classic Mode has received a trailer today. Etrian Odyssey 2 Untold will come with two modes, Classic and Story. Classic Mode was trailered today and in it, you’ll get to make your party by choosing from 13 classes. You’ll be able to customise them too using the character creation tool. Revamped […]

  • Shovel Knight: Plague of Shadows to come with new challenge mode

    Shovel Knight’s upcoming expansion Plague of Shadows will bring with it a new challenge mode. Shovel Knight developer Yacht Club Games has revealed the challenge mode, one of the new additions coming to the game with the free Plague of Shadows expansion. “Are you more into digging than distillation? Already have your Feats book long […]

  • Nvidia releases complete graphical guide for GTA 5

    Those with GeForce cards will be happy to know that Nvidia has released a comprehensive graphical tweaks guide for GTA 5. Nvidia usually produces graphical guides for the big AAA games, and GTA 5 is no different. Their guides offer in-depth coverage of each in-game setting, how much they affect framerate, if they can be […]

  • Cthulhu voodoo: why Bloodborne is the best Lovecraftian game

    Sherif Said tackles Bloodborne’s links to Lovecraftian horror, explaining why you should face the madness and immerse yourself in its lore. Spoilers inside. No other game could commit to its themes so religiously without feeling the need to compromise its vision and veer towards accessibility. Bloodborne stands tall above any game that dares attach itself […]

  • WWE 2K15 is coming to PC this year

    WWE 2K15 will make its way to PC this spring. WWE announced that WWE 2K15 will make its debut on PC in the spring. The game will be based on the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One versions, both of which came out in November. MyCareer and 2K Showaces modes are included, as well as all […]

  • GTA 5 PC: new mod adds snow to GTA Online

    If you’re looking to get some snow in your GTA Online, someone figured out a way. Modder ECB2 created a mod that works with GTA Online on PC. The mod is called “Snow in GTA Online” and it does what it says on the tin. YouTube channel imperfectplayers captured a video showing it in action. […]

  • Deals with Gold: Call of Duty edition

    Xbox Live Deals with Gold for the week of April 20 are now live with mostly Call of Duty games. Various Call of Duty games are on sale on Xbox One and Xbox 360 through Xbox Live this week. Indie games Never Alone and We Are Doomed managed to sneak in as well. With the […]

  • Mortal Kombat X: PSN sign in problems fixed in new patch

    Patch 1.03 is now live for Mortal Kombat X and it brings an end to the aggravating sing in issue encountered by some users on PS4. Mortal Kombat X 1.03 patch has been released. The patch fixes bug CE-34878-0, which affected the PlayStation 4 version. The bug caused users to have to log in and […]

  • GTA 5 PC: new patch fixes Windows Media Player issue, getting stuck in the clouds

    GTA 5 has received a new patch on PC to fix issues caused by the lack of Windows Media Player and getting stuck between online matches. Patch 335.1 is now available to all owners of GTA 5 on PC. The strange issue that affected those who didn’t have Windows Media Player installed, has been fixed. […]

  • Halo 3: ODST and Relic remake come to The Master Chief Collection in May

    Halo 3: ODST and Halo 2′s Relic map remake are coming to Halo: The Master Chief Collection next month. 343 Industries has announced that Halo: The Master Chief Collection owners will get Halo 3: ODST campaign and the Relic remake in the next content update, due in May. And as promised, the April update has […]

  • Rockstar says Social Club wasn’t hacked, account details leaked from other websites

    Following a number of reports from users who had their Social Club accounts hijacked, Rockstar has confirmed that the service has not been hacked. Over the last couple of days, a few users on Reddit and Rockstar Twitter support started reporting getting kicked out of their GTA Online sessions and seeing an error telling them […]

  • That Destiny: House of Wolves teaser is packed with new intel, Reef reveal at 11.00am PST today

    The new Destiny: House of Wolves social space was revealed more fully than you might believe in today’s teaser. A teaser for a Destiny: House of Wolves’ new social space went live earlier to advertise today’s full reveal. But resident Destiny expert Arekkz went over the teaser with his very fine-toothed comb and turned up […]

  • Star Wars Battlefront content not shaped by DLC plans, says producer

    Star Wars Battlefront may have DLC on the cards already, but DICE hasn’t built the game with extra content in mind, apparently. Star Wars Battlefront releases on November 17, and then on December 8, before the launch of the new movie, it’ll receive a slab of tie-in DLC. This early, pre-meditated content drop is a […]

  • We’ll finally get a look at Sniper: Ghost Warrior 3 at E3 in June

    CI Games will show off Sniper: Ghost Warrior 3 at E3 in June, according to the event’s official website. The Lords of the Fallen developer confirmed the game was in the works back in December as a AAA “production effort”. It is set during a modern day conflict in Eastern Europe and players will be […]

  • Ultima 7 Complete, Wing Commander 3, others added to Humble Origin Bundle 2

    The Humble Origin Bundle 2 has been updated with four more titles. The new titles are for Windows only and are SimCity 2000, Wing Commander 3: Heart of the Tiger, Wing Commander 4: The Price of Freedom and Ultima 7: The Complete Edition. All can be yours if you pay above the current average, which […]

  • Don’t Starve Together has been updated to inlcude Reign of Giants expansion

    Don’t Starve Together has been updated and now includes “the vast majority” of the Reign of Giants content. Players who currently own Don’t Starve on Steam will get Don’t Starve Together for free when it exits Early-Access. During Early-Access, current owners of Don’t Starve get 2 copies of Don’t Starve Together through the Frontier Pack […]

  • Xbox Live Gold Members can play NBA 2K15 for free this weekend

    NBA 2K15 is free to play this weekend on Xbox Live for Gold Members in celebration of the NBA Playoffs. All Gold Members can play the basketball game for free starting at noon PDT April 24 through 12.01am Monday, April 27. Should you decide you want to purchase the game, your progress will carry over […]

  • Trine 3: The Artifacts of Power hits Steam Early Access and is 10% off

    Trine 3: The Artifacts of Power has finally arrived on Steam Early Access and until April 28, you can knock 10% off the list price. After that, the title will run you $19.99/€19.99/£14.99. There’s also a three-pack available if you want to buy some friends a gift. It will run you $44.99 with the 10% […]

  • You can now grab Killing Floor 2 through Steam Early Access

    Killing Floor 2 is now available through Steam Early Access. Players who purchase Killing Floor 2 during Early Access for $29.99/₤19.99/€26.99 will given free content which carries over to the full release and even more content upon release. The Early Access version of the game contains the following, per Tripwire: Three non-linear levels – The […]

  • Destiny: House of Wolves livestream will reveal The Reef social space tomorrow

    A Destiny Twitch stream will take place tomorrow and provide a sneak peek at the House of Wolves expansion. The stream takes place at 11am PDT/2pm EDT tomorrow and will show The Reef social space along with a look at new Vendors. House of Wolves contains new Strike missions, The Prison of Elders three-player arena […]