As part of their Bungie Day festivities this week, the former Halo developer unleashed a ton of new details regarding their upcoming shooter Destiny. Bungie confirmed three Collector’s Editions (two retail and one digital) for the game, showed off some new screenshots and gameplay trailers, and even answered some lingering fan questions.
Additionally, Bungie confirmed the full timeline for Destiny‘s upcoming beta test, which is slated to begin later this month. Now we know not only for how long the test will run, but also when each platform will get its chance to explore this new MMO-esque shooter
As we previously reported, the Destiny beta will kick off in earnest on July 17th at 10am PST for gamers on PlayStation platforms. Then, on July 23rd, the beta will open up to all platform holders — i.e. Xbox 360 and Xbox One gamers get in on the action — and will run until July 27th at 11:59 PST.
There are two things to note about the beta: first, only pre-order holders are guaranteed access into the test, but Bungie does promise there will be other ways to enter. In fact, they have been releasing beta codes through their Twitter, but those are going very fast.
Second, the beta has a few additional dates of note. On July 21st, the online experience will go offline for a full 24 hours for scheduled maintenance. And on July 26th players are encouraged to hop online in order to both stress test the servers and earn an exclusive in-game emblem.
With almost a full two weeks of potential online action, this upcoming beta test, much like the prior alpha test, could help convince gamers of Destiny‘s value. Unfortunately, with the only guarantee for entry being a pre-order purchase, that almost renders the whole idea of the beta mute.
Unless Bungie starts handing out codes hand over fist, they won’t really be convincing anyone but fans that their early purchase was or wasn’t worth it. And based on our experience with the alpha, this is a game that is hard to understand without playing. It’s only once you go hands-on with Destiny for a couple hours that the game truly starts to “make sense.”
In other important video game date news, Microsoft has announced a release date for Project Spark, their upcoming game creation platform. Project Spark will launch on October 7th for Xbox One and PC gamers (with Windows 8.1 installed).
Microsoft is calling the Xbox One disc edition (digital if you want PC) the “Project Spark Starter Pack;” it will retail for $39.99 and, among other add-ons and features, will include:
- The first sci-fi pack, “Galaxies First Content”
- The warrior champion Sir Haakon “Hawk” the Knight
- “Champions Quest: Void Storm,” the first episode in a campaign adventure
While Project Spark may have caught our eye at E3 2013, it’s hard not to imagine this game getting lost among the big October releases. In fact, there are three high profile, triple-A titles — Middle-earth: Shadow of Mordor, Dragon Age: Inquisition, and Alien: Isolation — hitting on the exact day Project Spark releases.
Obviously, Project Spark is a completely different game, and could stand out as a clever bit of counterprogramming, but chances are the game will fly under most people’s radar. Which is a shame because if done right, the game could be something special.
What do you hope to see from the beta that wasn’t in the alpha? Do you think Project Spark will be able to stand out among the deluge of October releases?
Destiny releases September 9, 2014 for PS3, PS4, Xbox 360, and Xbox One. Project Spark releases October 7, 2014 for Windows 8.1 and the Xbox One.
Follow Anthony on Twitter @ANTaormina