Touting a reported budget of $500 million and two of the biggest names in gaming attached to it in the form of Bungie and Activision, it’s small wonder that Destiny was riding the crest of a hyperbolic wave prior to its debut late last year. Still, the shared-world shooter persevered through its fair share of criticism in those formative days, with well-founded criticism bubbling to the surface that exposed the half-baked story, repetitive content not to mention the game’s admittedly slender leveling system.
Ironing out those kinks became paramount for Bungie in the months that followed, and the release of The Dark Below and House of Wolves helped alleviate the dearth of in-game content. All things considered, Destiny is beginning to find its groove. That’s not to say the galactic shooter is above reproach, certainly not; though considering how far it has come and how far it will likely go in the future, there’s reason to be excited.
At Ease, Guardians
And now, almost ten months since day zero and with Sony primed to cap off the opening day of E3 — Bethesda’s conference notwithstanding — Bungie’s title is quietly waiting in the wings as 2015’s heavy hitters prepare to compete for gaming supremacy, not to mention the new properties yet to be revealed.
Perhaps this lack of attention could act in Destiny and indeed Sony’s favor.
Now with Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End delayed until early 2016, it’s no secret that the platform holder is once again left longing for a marquee release to ship units across the crucial holiday period. And while the company’s roster of first-party studios will serve up surprises of their own, the importance of third-party games and Destiny in particular can’t be overstated.
Heck, Andrew House himself recently touched upon the PlayStation 4’s slate, stating that a “sparse” lineup for the remainder of 2015 has led to an “even greater emphasis on getting good third-party support.” Third-party support that may very well be top-lined by Bungie’s shooter.
First off, let’s remember that at E3 2014, Destiny was arguably one of the biggest titles in attendance, lighting up Sony’s press conference with its promise of next-gen shooting and melange of systems; the console MMO that would make a difference, as the fever-pitch hype proclaimed. It was here that we witnessed Activision’s close relationship with Sony itself, paving the way for a string of exclusive content across PlayStation platforms in the form of Crucible maps and Strike missions.
If House of Wolves is any indication, this affiliation will likely continue right up until Destiny’s one-year anniversary; an anniversary that could prove to be a defining point in Activision’s expansive ten-year timeline.
The Taken King
Much digital ink has been spilled concerning the publisher’s future-proofing measures, but one curious facet among the jet-black splurge is that of the September expansion. Originally labeled Comet: Plague of Darkness, a recent trademark points to the “major content release” making its bow under the guise of The Taken King.
Ever the advocate of grand and evocative monikers, Bungie’s latest expansion reportedly packs enough content to warrant a physical release — Destiny 1.5, if you will. Could this act as the studio’s E3 centrepiece?
Destiny E3 2015 - How E3 2015 Could Prove Crucial for the Franchise's Future
It’s merely conjecture at this stage, of course, and the developer is unlikely to divulge any official details until the curtain rises in the Los Angeles Convention Center. Still, capitalizing on the buzz surrounding House of Wolves is surely a priority for both Bungie and Activision. And if The Taken King heralds even half of the content promised — new subclasses, new weapons types, new PvP maps and no less than twelve story missions — Destiny’s third DLC could prove to be the long overdue motherload, comfortably eclipsing previous expansions and firing the shared-world shooter back into the spotlight.
On the other hand, Sony, a company that has secured its hold on the game’s mindshare from day one, has the chance to get in on the ground floor on what is shaping up to be Destiny’s biggest expansion to date.
Whether that comes in the form of more timed-exclusive content or early access remains to be seen; but there’s no question that the publisher will need a genre piece to lock horns with Halo 5: Guardians later in the year. Destiny, despite its age, still has plenty of gas left in the Sparrow.
Last year, “play it first, play it better” was tethered to practically every piece of marketing that Activision issued, and though Sony’s exclusivity deal is finite, the game’s sizeable PlayStation community is almost too big to ignore.
In fact, should the Japanese giant lock down a deal, said partnership could benefit Destiny just as much as it benefits Sony. It’s no secret that the game enjoyed ample breathing space when it debuted last year, before fending off stiff competition from Far Cry 4 and Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare. Now, twelve months later, the title could do with a platform such as E3 lest it lose its grasp on relevancy.
As Bungie’s half-billion dollar baby takes its determining steps toward becoming a juggernaut franchise, E3 2015 could prove instrumental in the title’s expansive blueprint.
As we alluded to earlier, though, longevity has and will remain a key hurdle for Destiny long into the future, particularly when you consider that budding Guardians are quite frankly chewing through content at breakneck speed. Prison of Elders, for instance, was bested in mere hours, while Trials of Osiris continues to be put to the test by the Destiny elite, with some players even gaining access to an area set on the sun-scorched plains of Mercury known as The Lighthouse.
Our Destiny Lies Above Us
It’s clear, then, that Bungie hopes to unfold its world with Earth and the Traveller at the hub — like one giant, galactic piece of origami. And I, for one, couldn’t be more excited. Yes, the shooter is not without its flaws, but nine months into its life cycle, it’s nigh time the industry quit denouncing the game for what it’s not, as opposed to appreciating it for what it is.
We’ll have all of the juicy details regarding Destiny’s future when E3 rolls around in a mere two weeks’ time. Only then will we have a better sense of the title’s immediate content slate and, in particular, what lies in store for September.
Above all else, for Activision, Destiny represents a marathon, not a sprint.
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