Happy New Year! The New York Videogame Critics Circle’s first new feature of 2017 is The Timeline, a curated look at the historic highlights of a selected game. Here, we look at the ups and downs of Destiny from Bungie.
By Jeffrey Mizrahi
In 2010 around the time of Halo Reach’s release, Bungie began work on what would become “Destiny” and code named it “Paper Tiger.” Activision’s Bobby Kotick, a master negotiator, signed Bungie up for four games during the course of 10 years at a total cost of $500 million. The news staggered the game world.
“WoW in space”: First Leak
Bungie’s follow up to Halo is outed by a former employee. Describes it as a massively multiplayer online first person shooter called Destiny. Bungie confirms they are working on this title a few weeks later.
On the day of Halo 4’s release, more leaked info about Destiny from an internal blog post at Demonware talking about the game’s User Interface, gameplay and signature three-person co-op missions.
Pathways Out of Darkness: Destiny is Official!
In the first of a documentary series, Bungie’s reveals their ambitious new game, Destiny. In the video they show how the game will be much bigger than the traditional shooter. Mobile app integration, a “shared world shooter,” and the game’s story are the main focuses here.
Bungie and PlayStation
At the PlayStation 4 announcement event, Bungie shows off more in game footage of Destiny. They emphasize the connected nature of the game and how it goes hand in hand with the system. Exclusive content will come to the PlayStation system, shocking since Bungie’s last game, Halo, was Xbox exclusive.
First Gameplay Reveal
Bungie appeared at Sony’s E3 PlayStation Conference for their gameplay reveal. The mission began with three players entering a bunker, and forgoing a big ship flying in the opposite direction. This was an attempt to show off how open the world was that it can be played with dozens of players, just two close friends, or even solo.
Destiny Is Released!
After a successful public alpha and beta, Destiny is finally in the hands of players. Releasing on both last generation and current generation hardware, the game scored a 76 on Metacritic. Yet the more players dug into the game, the more exploits they found like the infamous “loot cave.” Players also came to the realization that the game wasn’t as much of a “shared world” as Bungie promised. Whatever its faults, people kept playing and playing and playing.
Expansion I: The Dark Below
The first DLC for Destiny is released bringing new guns, gear, mission, raid, and an increased level cap. Fans enjoyed the new expansion but felt it was very light on content. Receives a 63 on Metacritic.
Destiny Item Manager Released
A fan created, 3rd-party Google Chrome extension let players equip, compare, and move their items in a more seamless manner than Bungie’s system. This application works so well fans can’t imagine how they ever played Destiny without it.
Expansion II: House of Wolves
The second Destiny DLC includes all the things you would expect from Bungie (new weapons, armor, and mission). However, it forgoes including a new raid for a new co-op mode called Prison of Elders. Along with this wave-based game mode is a social space called The Reef where players can pick up missions and buy items from vendors. Also introduced with this content drop is Trials of Osiris, which is a 3 vs 3 limited timed multiplayer event. Fans also appreciate the smaller tweaks to the game such as more XP rewarded from Crucible matches. This expansion receives a 72 on Metacritic.
Activision Partners with Red Bull Offering Exclusive Destiny Missions
Select marked Red Bull cans offer Destiny players an XP boost, a cosmetic change for their sparrow, and perhaps worst of all for core gamers, an exclusive mission. Coming off of a positive response to their last DLC and a ton of hype for the next one, this promotion leaves a very sour taste in fans mouths (and not from the Red Bull). It’s Bull!
The Taken King
The biggest addition to Destiny since launch, The Taken King offers the most robust and refined campaign missions the game has to offer. Bungie also simplified the leveling system, making leveling up feel less “grindy” and more fun. Exotic items are easier to manage, vault space increases dramatically, and each class gains an all new sub-class. This expansion brings tons of newcomers and lapsed players back into the world of Destiny. The Taken King receives an 86 on Metacritic.
The Eververse Trading Company opens up and allows players to spend real world money on emotes. Bungie says this will help them create new game content that will be drip-fed to players throughout the year. Over time, this store expands and starts to sell exclusive sparrows as well as skins for exotic guns. ‘Boo’ on these particular microtransactions that cost extra bucks!
Supercut: the Messy Development of Destiny
Call it The Big Edit. Former Circle member Jason Schreier of Kotaku reports on how Destiny’s severe narrative issues came to be. According to Jason’s anonymous sources, Destiny’s story had a complete overhaul in the summer of 2013, months after the game was shown off to the public, and just a year before release. Entire story arcs were scrapped and re-purposed for DLC – like the Dreadnaught which wasn’t released until The Taken King, a year after the game launched. That whole plot point was supposed to make up the final third of Destiny’s original story. This was just one of the many story elements that were lost or toyed around with after the summer of 2013 Supercut.
The Joys of Rise of Iron
The last big expansion to Destiny shares a lot with its predecessor, The Taken King, in that it retools issues the game still had. And it brings an exciting and coherent story that the original game lacked. Along with a new raid, weapon, and armor, was a new social space called Felwinter Peak. Rise of Iron also brings back fan favorite weapons from Year One such as the “Gjallarhorn,” as well as an exotic quest that took the player back to the beginning of the game and rewarded them with a beefed up version of the first version. 72 on Metacritic.
Destiny 2 on PC?
Kotaku reports that sources have told them Destiny 2 will come out in 2017 and have PC support. They were told that it will feel like an all new game, and that Destiny 1 characters will not transfer over.
Jeffrey Mizrahi is one of the New York Videogame Critics Circle’s interns. He writes here frequently.