For a game that, so far, has been marketed on artistic vision and world design as much as storytelling concepts and, you know, gameplay, it's easy to imagine that a meticulous level of crafting and care went into the creation of each character in Bungie's grandiose MMO/RPG/FPS universe, Destiny.
A new trailer released by the developer posits just that. Unveiled during its GDC 2013 presentation this week, the video not only showcases the fearsome factions of aliens in Destiny threatening to extinguish human civilization, but also the noble collective of warriors -- the "Guardians of the City" -- that players will fight as to keep humanity's last vestiges alive.
But first, the bad guys. And drums. Strolling through its demonic dossier using concept art, early animation renderings and full-bodied character models, the walkthrough introduces us to the drone-like Vex, the four-armed Fallen, the ogrish Cabal and the nightmarishly rapacious Hive (an homage to Aliens?). We don't get to see how the characters interact with the world -- merely the ways in which they might clatter/dash/lumber/scamper toward us in combat -- but it's worth noting the diversity of appearances and fight styles that seem present within each species itself.
(As integral components to the mythos of the young, "persistently evolving" Destiny universe, Bungie filed for trademarks on the above factions earlier this month. The applications requested rights to the "marks" of Vex, Fallen, Cabal and Hive... but also Glimmer, a name whose significance to the game has yet to be revealed (not even a glimmer), but seeing where the other four have fallen likely represents an additional adversarial race.)
And of course, the menacing music shifts to rhapsodizing once the video reaches the heroes of Destiny -- the game's three playable human classes: Titan, Warlock and Hunter.
Bungie has loosely referenced the ability for players to customize the progression and general appearance of their characters -- a core tenet of any RPG (or part-RPG). Each class, however, does conform to its own unique template. The is Titan is humanity's tip of the spear, heavily armed and lavishly armored for the rigors of the front line. Warlocks carry a good deal of firepower as well but also avail themselves of magic. Hunters, meanwhile, are predicated on sniping and stealth, and as the video shows they appear to be equipped with a special optical device for viewing their surroundings.
As we noted in February after it was confirmed for the PlayStation 4, there are many unanswered questions surrounding Destiny. "The Traveler" isn't the only mystery looming overhead; how will Bungie distinguish the series from Halo? How will MMO and RPG elements expand what seems to be a first person shooter at its core? And where exactly does the announced multiplayer fit into to an ongoing, always-connected universe? The video presented during GDC offers an interesting look into the conception of its characters, and perhaps foreshadows more information surfacing out of the show in the coming days.
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Destiny is expected to release in 2014 on the Xbox 360, PS3, PS4, and other next-gen platforms.