Destiny pulls together the best of gaming tradition to create something entirely new. Get used to it: you're all going to be involved.
Activision knows what's required to succeed in the modern premium games space, and it's leading with an adventure the likes of which we have never seen before. Destiny is the real next-gen.
I'm not sure what I was expecting from Destiny. Borderlands in space, most likely, as had been many others, but after playing the beta I think that'd be doing it a gross disservice. Destiny is both the present and the future of console gaming, a Theory of Everything which seeks to explain, finally, how existing genre strands are to be pulled together in this generation to create whole worlds derived from the best, refined elements of all gaming science.
Destiny's triumph is its ambiguity. Despite best efforts to explain it away as just another shooter, or a shiny Halo, or a Guild Wars child, or Diablo, it is, in fact, none of these things because it's all of them. It's something else. It's first-person and third-person; MMO and single-player; FPS, adventure and RPG. Bungie has coated Destiny's confluence with a UI so slick you can barely see the joins, but there they all are. Destiny is new-gen.
The driving factor behind its progressiveness isn't new console hardware, but rather the realities of the modern premium games market. Big games now need big life-spans, and Destiny is designed to be around forever, on every platform, and to keep you and your friends invested from the first day to the last. It has one of the best shooter mechanics ever created coupled with all the greatest elements from every other core genre. You can dance, just as you can in MMOs. You upgrade just as you do in RPGs, and, of course, you level. We have some top-end story-telling and what have to be the most incredible visuals ever seen on console. The skies alone are worth the purchase.
Destiny's irrepressible modernity even renders that unnecessary: it's free. You can play it now for nothing up to level eight. Destiny's "beta" is a phenomenon, sucking up a large portion of our traffic in the last few weeks, and pointing to a steel-hard success for Activision later this year. Throw criticism at it all day if you must, but don't believe you're fooling anyone. You're going to buy it because it's going to be massive. And it's going to be massive because it's the most successful genre fusion yet seen, parceled in graphics so spectacular you'd have to employ climate change denial levels of obstinance to stay away. Everyone's going to play it. That's the point.
Because while there's no obstacle to old-gen players getting on board in 2014, Destiny is going to be around for a long time. Whether you're in now, or this Christmas, or next year, Destiny will be a next-gen pillar because it truly is a new concept. Destiny hasn't abandoned the past, but it has moved beyond it, and your rendezvous with it is inevitable. Activision knows what's required to succeed in the modern premium games space, and it's leading with an adventure the likes of which we have never seen before. Destiny is the real next-gen.
Be sure to check out our Destiny beta guide to get all the info on the test's secrets, classes, pastimes and more. Destiny releases for PS4, Xbox One, PS3 and Xbox 360 on September 9.