After watching the live demo of Destiny at Sony’s E3 Press Conference, and seeing various members of the Bungie development team join in on the action, one thing was clear: this game is ambitious. While Bungie doesn’t seem to want to compare Destiny‘s experience to an MMO, their multiplayer cooperative events instantly call to mind the type of epic battles (instances) seen in games like World of Warcraft.
And much like World of Warcraft, there is a significant financial backing behind Destiny, one that Activision believes sets a precedent for new IPs. Obviously, Activision would like to turn Destiny into a blockbuster franchise like Call of Duty, but that takes a substantial amount of money.
According to Activision CEO Eric Hirshberg, his company’s investment in Destiny is “probably one of the biggest investments in a new IP that’s ever been made in this industry.” Clearly, Hirshberg and Activision believe in the title’s potential — and Bungie’s loyal Halo fan base — to the point they were willing to make what Hirshberg calls “a sizeable investment.”
It didn’t take much convincing on Activision’s part, mind you, as the publisher was impressed by Bungie‘s vision from the get-go:
“First, let’s start with the vision. From the earliest days of sitting down with Bungie and hearing their vision for the game, it was a truly impressive and ambitious idea. To me, the best thing about it is that it has elements that are tremendously familiar as well as elements that are tremendously innovative. I think that’s a great combo…There are certain mechanics in this industry that people want to be able to pick up and play and immediately be having fun with. At the end of the day, it’s a first-person shooter by Bungie. Everyone who loved Halo is going to love Destiny.”
However, with Destiny being, at its core, a shooter, one has to wonder whether Activision would want to bring another triple-A FPS under their banner. After all, they have a pretty firm stranglehold on that market with Call of Duty.
In Hirshberg’s mind, though, Call of Duty and Destiny (if it becomes a franchise) can “peacefully coexist.” They each have their inherent appeals and rabid fan bases, and at the end of the day sales from both games go back to Activision.
“They’re very different games made by very different creative visionaries, I think that they can peacefully coexist with one another. I think that what Call of Duty has done, it’s done better than anybody. The multiplayer is a visceral, impactful, white-knuckle-ride experience. What Bungie has done, they have done better than anyone as well. The first-person shooter genre has shown tremendous staying power, as well as tremendous capacity in terms of the appetite people have for it. I think what we’ve seen is that if there are good games in this genre, people will show up to play them. But if you have to compete, it’s nice to compete with yourself.”
In a way, Destiny might be a contingency plan for Activision — a way to hedge their bets heading into the next generation of consoles. With Call of Duty showing signs it may have peaked, many gamers might be looking to other franchises for their FPS fix, and Destiny could potentially provide that fix.
Granted, Destiny‘s experience is markedly different from Call of Duty‘s — and is much more focused on the cooperative multiplayer experience (at least based on the E3 demo) — but we’ll have to wait and see how the presence of one Activision title impacts the other.
Do you think that Destiny will be one of the biggest IPs of this next generation? Can Destiny and Call of Duty peacefully coexist?
Destiny is set for a 2014 launch on the PS3, PS4, Xbox 360, and Xbox One.