When Bungie pulled back the veil from Destiny this Sunday, the vastness and complexity of its futuristic, war-torn universe was palpable. From rebuilding Earth’s Last City under the shadow of the mysterious Traveler to branching back out across the galaxy and fighting deadly alien adversaries, it’s easy to imagine that Destiny – with its developer committed to a four-installment release plan through publisher Activision — will become a multi-platform staple of next-generation gaming.
Before it attempts to do so, however, Bungie wants to make sure that the game is palatable for all skill levels.
Speaking in an interview with Shack News, Bungie co-founder Jason Jones stressed that fully enjoying the Destiny experience boils down to one thing: basic shooter skills. Even in a game that considers itself part-RPG (players can choose between several distinct, upgradeable and customizable character classes) and part-MMO (Destiny revolves around a connected, always-online and always-evolving game world), anyone with a few hours of Call of Duty under their belt can thrive amongst the general populace:
“If you have the basic coordination to play a shooter, you can experience all Destiny has to offer. All core activities can be able to be enjoyed by a novice player, even as we we get into those complex six-player activities, like raids.”
In Jones’s opinion, creating such a rich universe — Bungie has been adamant about the fact that Destiny is their biggest undertaking ever — is all the more reason to consider every player’s basic needs. Of course, the world should be immersive, entertaining an consistently rewarding for players with highly developed abilities. But first and foremost it should be inviting, regardless of a gamer’s background or, apparently, emotional state of mind.
“We want everybody that wants to play to be able to play Destiny. We spent all this time building this great experience. Why should we do anything less?
“Destiny knows you’re tired, impatient, and distracted… [Players] don’t want to work hard, they don’t want to read, they don’t want to go on the internet to figure out our bull—-. They want to be entertained, they want to become heroes, they want to feel things they don’t feel in their everyday lives. So our core experience has to be delivered as simply and directly as possible.
“It’s easy to make a game accessible. What’s hard is keeping it interesting for your advanced players when you do that. We’re going to succeed, because we’re advanced players. We play our own game all the time. We’d go crazy if it was anything less than fun.”
The concept of accessibility can be hard sell to hardcore gamers; no one like to have their favorite features streamlined or watered down. Likely, that’s not the general direction Bungie intends to travel in; however balancing difficulty in a massive online universe like Destiny won’t be as simple as queuing up a menu screen in Halo’s single-player campaign and toggling from Easy (smooth sailing) to Legendary (suicidal). Everyone is playing in the same sandbox, and with Bungie confirming that even Destiny’s multiplayer won’t disconnect gamers from the core world, it will be interesting to see how different events and encounters will cater to each skill set.
Despite all of the myriad unknowns surrounding Destiny, however — multiplayer, specific gameplay scenarios, release date, release plan — a large contingent of gamers were no doubt sold on the game the minute it was announced (which could vary between Sunday, last October or Bungie’s clever Destiny Easter Egg in 2009’s Halo: ODST, depending on your interpretation of the word). Thankfully, Destiny pre-order options have appeared on the websites of Best Buy and GameStop for the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 versions of the game. Presently, they’re priced at $59.99, although we’re curious to see if that number doesn’t evolve for the Xbox 720 and PlayStation 4 as they inevitably join the roster.
Ranters, do you think Destiny can be enjoyable for all skill levels — both the hardcore RPG/MMO /FPS veteran and, in Jason Jones’s words, the “novice?”
Destiny will release on the Xbox 360, PS3, and unspecified next-generation platforms. It was originally believed to be targeting a late-2013 launch, but now appears slated for some period in 2014.
Follow Brian on Twitter @Brian_Sipple.