There’s no denying that, given their experience with the Halo franchise, developer Bungie knows multiplayer, both cooperative and competitive. Similarly, they have quite a bit of experience with creating huge sprawling, sci-fi worlds.
It is with those two ideas in mind that we bring more news regarding Destiny, Bungie‘s forthcoming multiplatform, multiplayer-focused title. Specifically, we have new details regarding the game’s seamless multiplayer interactions, on both the cooperative and competitive fronts.
While many games use a centralized server with a player limit to support multiplayer experiences, Bungie is going a different direction with Destiny. Instead, the developer is using what they are calling “mesh networking” to populate the game’s various play areas.
Using these mesh networks, players will always have companions to interact with regardless of where they are in the world of Destiny. In an ideal world, players will never encounter an area that feels empty.
“What happens is everybody in the world can play together. There aren’t these barriers that are in place. You’re all playing in one connected online world. When you’re moving from location to location you’re always going to have people to play with because there’s this huge population. You never have to go to an area of the world that’s deserted because there happens to be no one here on the server at this time.”
How Bungie plans to execute this seamless multiplayer experience isn’t entirely revealed, but, as Technical Director Chris Butcher explains, the next-gen consoles do a substantial amount of the legwork for Bungie.
“For us we’ve kind of said we want this game world to be able to work with millions of players online at once. And that means playing to the strengths of the consoles. Being able to use these very powerful machines to run a lot of the simulation. Being able to use the servers in a seamless fashion so that as you’re moving from place to place you’re switching networks with all of the different people that are around you. You’ve got a very high quality fast action gameplay experience. If you have all of these calculations taking place in a central server that’s one place in the world you can’t really have a fast action experience.”
However, although Bungie is playing to the strengths of the Xbox One and the PS4, that doesn’t mean the past-gen versions will be slouches either. As Butcher explains, Bungie has optimized the Destiny engine very well, to the point they can still generate a comparable experience on the Xbox 360 and PS3. Granted, they are using almost every ounce of those machines, but those gamers who have yet to upgrade to the next generation will be pleased to know their experience won’t be diminished.
While most of the talk regarding Destiny was focused on the game’s cooperative elements, there were also a few competitive multiplayer details revealed as well. For example, Butcher explains that although some players might be mismatched with stronger, or higher level, players, there will always be an incentive to finish a match. That might be in the form of better rewards or simple recognition that you can hold your own against higher level players.
“If you’re kind of in an underdog type of situation, then we make sure that we give you both the investment rewards, but also call out that you’re doing a really good job in this particular match. For example, when we play in the studio playtests there is always the guy that has the sniper rifle and likes to sit up high. So he’s getting a lot of kills and that’s really satisfying for you to take him down. Maybe you get three kills on him over the course of the match but it’s satisfying to you and the game rewards you for doing it because you’re an underdog in that situation.”
Ultimately, Bungie wants the competitive multiplayer matchmaking to keep things even, but if there are mis-matched opponents it’s nice to know there are still incentives to see the game through.
With one of the largest development teams on record, Destiny is poised to make a huge splash in September of this year. Yes, the game took some time to finally coalesce into something real — in fact, the game was at one point envisioned as a third person shooter — but what Bungie settled holds a ton of promise. But more importantly, the game is trying to push the boundaries of the multiplayer experience – to give players something that, if it works, will be practically seamless. We can’t wait for the beta, which hits Sony platforms first.
What do you think of Bungie’s approach to matchmaking in Destiny? Do you have any concerns?
Destiny releases September 9, 2014 for the PS3, PS4, Xbox 360, and Xbox One.
Source: Game Informer