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Destiny could be the next Call of Duty

Friday, 25th July 2014 09:09 GMT By Brenna Hillier

Destiny is standing by ready to step into Call of Duty’s shoes should the behemoth ever take a tumble.

destiny_2

Destiny is an MMO that doesn’t have a subscription, and that’s weird, because Destiny is a very expensive game.

Oh, it’s nothing near the $500 million figure Activision has been throwing around; the publisher might have spent that much on marketing by the time September comes around, but Bungie has said the game itself cost much, much less than that to make.

Nevertheless, it must have cost an absolute fortune. For one thing it’s been in the works since before Halo 3: ODST released in 2009, likely dating back to Bungie’s 2007 split with Microsoft. That’s a long time.

The production values are through the roof. The incredible graphics and sound, the A-list vocal talent, the cross-platform release, the massive beta: all of this costs approximately $TheEarth.

It’s not going to stop costing, either, because Destiny is an always-on MMO and that means tremendous ongoing server and development costs. According to the 2012-published contract between Activision and Bungie, Destiny is expected to produce three sequels and four expansion packs, releasing on alternate years.

Hey! Listen!

The Destiny beta has been opened to all comers.

If you have a PS3, PS4, Xbox 360 or Xbox One, and either PlayStation Plus or Xbox Live Gold, you can start playing right now.

That means the whole Bungie team is likely to be in full production at any given time. Normally triple-A development is cyclical, laying staff off when they’re not needed during particular stages of development, or relying on outsourcing and contractors. Destiny’s probably going to be in the works non-stop for at least six more years, judging by the original contract’s terms.

We know the contract has been superseded, because at least one major pertinent detail has changed: Destiny was pushed back one whole year. We have reason to believe the general shape of things is the same, though. In a recent interview, a senior Bungie staffer casually tossed around mention of Destiny 2 and Destiny 3. The promise of two expansion packs in digital content included with special editions confirms Activision and Bungie intend to continue developing content for Destiny 1.

That’s going to cost Activision huge amounts of money. Quality MMO development is hellishly expensive; Red 5 boss Mark Kern estimated that newbie content costs about $430,000 per hour of gameplay because players smash through it to get to end-game, where some hang around forever and many more trail off until the next expansion pops up. That’s why so many MMOs utilise small, regular content drops to keep subscribers on board.

Activision, one half of the massive twin publisher that runs World of Warcraft, could presumably call on Blizzard’s expertise to make a subscription MMO. It hasn’t, though – it’s backed Bungie’s vision of an MMO specifically designed for consoles, and since we’re all paying a network subscription, that means a monthly subscription is off the cards.

Instead, Destiny is going to rely solely on cover price to recoup its development costs – and hopefully pull in the fat profits suggested by that 2012 contract. That’s a tremendous risk in an era when even regular budget triple-A games need to sell about 5 million copies to meet profit targets.

Perhaps only Activision could contemplate taking on such an enormous project as this. The publisher has been paying for at least part of Destiny since it signed the team back in 2010, and its confidence in the team shows in the terms of the contract. The hype surrounding the beta suggests the quality of the product has lived up to Bungie’s compelling vision and Activision’s gamble.

Was it hubris or faith in Bungie that motivated Activision to back such an outrageously bold endeavour? I don’t think so. Because Activision has done this before, with Call of Duty.

call_of_duty_advanced_warfare

The next Call of Duty?

I never thought I’d ever seriously be writing the phrase “the next Call of Duty”. Call of Duty is a phenomenon. Apart from Grand Theft Auto, no gaming brand has as much international mainstream recognition. Every annual Call of Duty game since Modern Warfare 2 has sold tens of millions of copies. It outsells books, movies and CDs. It is the game bought by people who buy just one game a year. For many people, it just is video games.

But with Destiny, Activision is genuinely setting up a new Call of Duty: a franchises that produces a major release on a regular schedule, and sells gangbusters every single time.

Now that we’re in the PS4 and Xbox One generation, you can’t pop out a game every year and expect it to meet standards, which is why Activision has moved Call of Duty to a three-year development cycle, and Ubisoft Montreal rotates Assassin’s Creed through multiple studios. That’s why Destiny’s going to alternate sequels with major expansions; maybe even multiple expansions between sequels. But the comparison stands: just as you buy new Call of Duty every year, you’ll have new Destiny to buy every year.

Activision has copped a lot of flack for its increasingly narrow property catalogue, but with Call of Duty and Skylanders under its belt, the publisher knows how to launch and nurture a long-lived, regularly lucrative franchise.

Activision has copped a lot of flack for its increasingly narrow property catalogue, and I can’t say I’m a fan of pushing the games industry to favour a small number of breathtakingly expensive tentpole hits, thereby of necessity reducing diversity and innovation. But with Call of Duty and Skylanders under its belt, Activision knows how to launch and nurture a long-lived, regularly lucrative franchise.

A fantasy inspired MMO shooter, Destiny is different enough from Call of Duty that I don’t expect it to cannibalise the military shooter’s sales. What interests me is that it doesn’t have to; unless Advanced Warfare reverses the trend, there’s a possibility Call of Duty’s sales may be tapering off on their own.

Should the juggernaut fall, Activision’s not going to be caught scurrying to turn a profit off Skylanders alone; Destiny is perfectly positioned to be the next Call of Duty.

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25 Comments

  1. Aullah

    “Destiny could be the next Call of Duty”

    You mean so blend and so overhyped for no real reason that the community hates it? I think you got taht right.

    #1 5 months ago
  2. undermyrules

    I had doubts but now i know that Activision is using thier 500mil buget to buy out gaming sites to hype already overhyped game…this shit is really fucking anoying

    #2 5 months ago
  3. The_Red

    Really? A 4th super positive, over-hyped Destiny article?

    What about getting a different view point? Or how about discussion between 2 staff members with different opinions. No? Just over hyping Destiny to a point that looks like advertorial?

    Come on Brenna, you are better than this :(
    This is a sad day for VG247.

    #3 5 months ago
  4. FabioPal

    Oh my….

    #4 5 months ago
  5. Legendaryboss

    You’re clearly just fishing for traffic now, Pat hinted at it.

    Destiny is not going to be the next COD nor is it positioned to be nor will it do COD numbers. Come August the hype for Advanced Warfare will be in full motion.

    #5 5 months ago
  6. Neq

    This is f… unbelievable… VG247 what is happening to you?

    You got agreement with Activision to hype the game before it’s launch? Great! But please be decent enough to call it “Month with Destiny – prepared with the support of Activision / Bungie”.

    I didn’t agree with people bitching around under last article but this… this is pure nonsense. You prove them all right.

    Kind regards,

    Neq…

    #6 5 months ago
  7. BrownBanana

    This is really embarassing. The 4th. extremely positive article in … what … four days? The 3rd article smelled of advertisement. This one reeks of it.

    I cannot take this site seriously any more.

    #7 5 months ago
  8. lubu

    unprofessional ? your not even amateurs. shitty site, enjoy your ads money by activision and enjoy shitting and insulting your fans. lesbos

    #8 5 months ago
  9. M. K.

    Now I’m confused. I thought it is true next gen, but now it is call of duty?

    #9 5 months ago
  10. polygem

    @Legendaryboss

    maybe this year but this is a ten year project. it will be huge and judged by the beta that would be deserved.

    unfortunately you always look at these scenarios with a very short term perspective, are quick to judge, calling 2 year old systems dead, writing them off as failures, looking at things from only one side.

    i wouldn´t bet on your prediction. in fact, as long as you have been on this page you have always been proven wrong again and again.

    i don´t think this will change with your destiny analysis.

    #10 5 months ago
  11. NotPanthro

    destiny is propbably one of the best games i have ever played ever and that is because it takes call of duty (my favourite game of all time) and puts it in space like halo (my other favourite game of all time) and puts them in one.

    i hope they add killstreaks like cod in multiplayer so i can rain hell down on the newb fags once i get a 25 killstreak (which i get often due to my modded rapid fire controller with camo paint on it)

    anyway also glad it isnt coming to pc since it would liekly spoil the game for people like it does with other games. having something on pc aswell always leaves a bad taste in my mouth that around the world 4 of the remaining pc gamers left are playing the same game it sort of makes me feel sick to my stomach really, anyway hope it gets kept exclusive where it belongs and hope many pc gamers make lots and lots of petitions so i can see those filthy beggars beg for something that wont be there ever.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cg76d6HrHnI

    #11 5 months ago
  12. polygem

    by the way guys. i think the staff just likes the game. i thought that pat was bought by sony when the vita launched back in the days :D he praised the shit out of that thing, in bold, colourful words he said how it is the best thing ever…in retrospective i think that he just enjoyed the vita a lot and wanted to share that. not more. not less.

    stop the drama. this game is damn good. some people are deeply in love with it because it pushes all the right buttons for them. i can understand that. i feel the same. if you don´t that´s completely fine but it doesn´t mean that there´s a conspiracy going on.

    #12 5 months ago
  13. ManuOtaku

    Yes, it could be, it has the proper things to do it, i hope does, not because i hate COD, no, i like COD, but i want to see great well stablished developers with new ips that have their vision and beliefs, doing as well as the strong old franchises of the industry. This in order to have more games like this, because it will be possible. Bungie i wish for your success with destiny, the industry destiny awaits.

    #13 5 months ago
  14. SpacemanSpliffz

    I think the title was supposed to read “DOOM is going to be the next Call of Duty”

    Destiny is the next HALO.

    #14 5 months ago
  15. bradk825

    I think what I am reading in the comments is “If a game is great you are not supposed to say so.” I find it quite funny, because we read articles here that make you wonder if the VG247 staff even enjoys video games anymore and everyone complains in the comments, and then when there’s an editorial about how great a game is that really impressed them, that’s a big problem too.

    If this new IP turns out to be as awesome as the beta makes it seem, as awesome as the investment by Activision makes it seem, or as awesome as Brenna makes it seem, it’ll be good for the industry. New IP is few and far between right now. We’ve all been complaining about that. Yet when something new comes out like Watch Dogs, Destiny or Titanfall everyone bitches that it’s just overhyped.

    Are you just trying to avoid getting your hopes up that gaming can ever be as imaginative and exciting as it has in the past?

    #15 5 months ago
  16. bradk825

    On topic: The above editorial states that Activision seems to have COD-like plans for Destiny. I think the evidence supports that. The investment is huge, which makes it every bit the gamble Brenna says it is, and they have already set up a schedule.

    It’s also great for Bungie to have regular work. The only thing that concerns me is how long they’ll enjoy working on a scheduled release plan. They didn’t want to be controlled by MS anymore and MS let them out, acquired Halo and started getting 343 to work on it. How long before Bungie gets bored with Destiny and wants out again, but is in an ironclad contract with Activision (the only kind of contract Activision knows how to write)?

    #16 5 months ago
  17. undermyrules

    @NotPanthro how much they pay you for saying that fanboy?

    #17 5 months ago
  18. Legendaryboss

    @NotPanthro Charming.

    #18 5 months ago
  19. polygem

    @Legendaryboss

    by the way. your “friend” uncharted2007 uses the same avatar than you on youtube. funny coincidence isn´t it?

    dude stand up for who you are. stop playing stupid games.

    seriously….unbelieveable…

    #19 5 months ago
  20. polygem

    @polygem
    sorry i meant “ass you”, yep, with two “s”

    #20 5 months ago
  21. polygem

    NEXT IRON BANNER LIVE. RIGHT NOW!

    #21 5 months ago
  22. tracyis300

    @undermyrules I was going to say the same thing. lol

    #22 5 months ago
  23. OlderGamer

    I would like to know, and I am being genuine, wtf is wrong with the community here?

    I get that things have changed and have a different feel. The new site roll out was bumpy to say the least. And I do honestly believe that the site needs to find an identity going forward. However.

    However it isn’t that bad. Not as bad as a lot of you are making it out to be.

    Newsflash folks, articles get written and posted in the hopes of generating traffic and clicks. That is the way the internet works. Not like Pat and crew somehow came up with that as a new formula all by themselves. It has always worked that way and will continue to do so.

    Here is my over simplified take:

    The culture has been changing and the gaming world is late to figure that out. And not just culture. The gender gap decreases each year. And the definition of what is a “gamer” has been changing. Collectivly this is a big deal and has a huge impact on the gaming community. Every year millions of gamers turn ten(but this demographic has been playing as many mobile games as console ones). And each year the average age of a gamer increases. And as it does it will become more jaded. Their attitude will change. Their apatite to consume the same old type of game will change. I do not want cod or halo or asscred or forza or fable or uncharted and so on. Not because they are bad games but because I have played the living shit out of those games. And as I and others in my demographic stop playing those games, other that are discovering that franchise for the first time are wide eyed excited and eating it up. The trouble with some segments of the industry is that they are not recognizing some of these(and again over simplified examples) shifts.

    Don’t try and sell me Titanfall. I think it is CoD with mechs. I have ZERO passion or interest in that game. It has no SP or Co-Op campaign. It has little to no level up system. It doesn’t have armor to craft. I can’t make weapons. The online combat is shallow, it is all twitch based old school arena. The maps are too small. The teams are too small. I don’t like it. It feels like several steps backwards to me as far as fps evolution goes. I would rather play Unreal from the early 2000s. But really I would rather play a FPS that moves the fps genera forward and offers more.

    But that is just me. No wait, it really isn’t just me. There are millions of other gamers(maybe in their 30s, 40s, 50s+) that would highly agree with what I just wrote. Just like there are millions of other gamers(likely younger) that would strongly disagree. But they aren’t burnt out to death on some of this stuff the way I am. Or maybe they simply have different tastes.

    But my point here(and I am microscoping just one game as an example), is that if you as a game website try and sell me on Titanfall, then bugger off. I am not interested. The same could be said for almost all established franchises. And that is the ugly word right there franchises. Yuck. But TF is a new IP? Right and has barrowed so much from the studios past work that it feels like, well CoD with Mechs. Could easily make the same statement about Bungie and Destiny. There are times(too many for my liking, esp PVP), where destiny feels a lot like playing Halo. And here we go again. Backlash from people that don’t want to play another haloesque game. Go up a couple paragraphs and rinse and repeat.

    So what the hell can a website do? A game website at that.

    Of course Destiny is going to get coverage. Just like Titanfall. Just like the new AssCred, Uncharted, Halo, CoD and so on. It is their focus as a game site to deliver stories based on the game industry.

    Opinion pieces? Yeah they happen. Everywhere. Not just here on VG247. And the big name game releases are going to get a lot of coverage. And here is a flash for you(and me) maybe we aren’t repersentitive of the entire gaming public? Just maybe other people have different interests and opinions. That is healthy and normal. Also as a person, a gamer every one of the staff can also have their own opinion. And so long as Pat(or Matt) or whomever is signing off on what gets posted oks something, it should get posted. Even if that means that everyone on staff loves the same damn game.

    Btw, I like Destiny too. I worry about the amount of content vs the price. And I think the PVP is the weakest offering in the game. But I am strongly considering preordering the game. I have spent money on much worse.

    I would never want to drive people from this site. I love these guys. However if you just can’t fucking stand the content or the way it is being presented, then leave for awhile. Maybe write Pat some constructive critics. But if you don’t like it(as they say) don’t let the door hit you in the ass on the way out. Think about how absurd it is to bitch about what you are calling click bait articles, and then: clicking on them and posting about it, hence adding to the click counts. Crazy.

    I have been here 5 or 6 years or some such thing. There are times when it has been a bumpy ride. Imo, the site needs to bring back some simplicity to the lay out. It needs to feature the no gone forums. It needs full time moderation. And yes, maybe it needs different staff to focus on different demographics and theme their posts to that(get an energetic youngster to talk up Titanfall) and (get a jaded old bastard to write from that jaded old bastard point of view). Understand that the gaming audience is fucking huge and constantly changing. No one view will cover them all. Like I said to Matt, define your identity, define your targeted audience, and write to it. You can serve more then one demographic, but in doing that you will need to change from what your offering now. It needs tighter structure. Just my two cents, wtf do I know?

    Even tho I don’t visit with the same frequency or intensity that I used to, I still come here almost everyday. And I have turned down three offers to migrate to other sites(one as staff). This is just a hobby for me. I am a gamer.

    Just a last thought, if there was a healthy community they would be debating the marrets of the games between themselves instead of lashing out at the site or the staff for the coverage of said game. Foster community folks, it is in their backs that your site is carried. Always has been.

    #23 5 months ago
  24. ps4fanboy

    Instead of being an unbiased gaming journalism site, vg247 is promoting Destiny. It’s pretty much obvious since your main page features 4 featured articles on Destiny, Activision sure has paid a lot money (millions) on such shoddy marketing. Shame.

    #24 5 months ago
  25. nonamegamer93

    @OlderGamer well said well said i agree and from the perspective of the younger crowd (early 20′s) that games should evolve further along but i feel the real thing wrong with the games isn’t the game design in itself its the big corporations holding back the game in hopes of making more profits or stopping innovation for a fear of too much risk any ways just one gamer’s opinion.

    #25 5 months ago

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