Here's the backstory for Bungie's upcoming sci-fi RPG shooter Destiny, in a nutshell. Once upon a time a giant ball called the Traveler came to our solar system and made dusty old planets like Venus and Mars habitable for human beings, leading to a leap forward in space exploration and technology. Then the Traveler's enemy - a "powerful darkness" - caught up with it, which meant sad times for the people of Earth. Now the last remaining humans live in a city built in the shade of the Traveler.
You - yes, you! - are a Guardian charged with the protection of the City, and this job description comes with a big dose of power from the Traveler. You must defend the remnants of humanity, explore ancient ruins, discover the truth of the past and eventually become a legend to your people. You will accomplish most of this by shooting aliens in the face.
The official Destiny site contains details on the three classes of Guardian, which are pretty much the RPG standard. There's the Titan (warrior), a gun-loving descendent of those who first built the Wall. The second Guardian of choice is the Warlock (mage), who has mastered the "arcane energies" of the Traveler and is motivated by a search for further knowledge. Finally there's the Hunter (rogue), a former outlaw and fortune hunter whose old ways are about to change.
It looks like Bungie isn't planning on messing with the classics. Each class has its own set of unique skills and can use a wide variety of weapons. Since they all have their faces covered the Guardians can be a little tricky to tell apart at first glance, but as a rule Hunters wear hoods, Titans have additional armor plating and Warlocks wear robe-type garments. Helmets and clothing are nonetheless quite heavily customizable.
The official site now boasts a lot of new screenshots, concept art and images of both the Guardians and their enemies. Click the thumbnails below to take a look inside Bungie's new sci-fi world.
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Along with information on the heroes, Bungie's site also contains short biographies for the four main classes of bad guy:
- Fallen — Fallen are hardy creatures who can survive in a wide range of environments without heavy armor or complex modifications to their physiology. They travel light, hit hard, and are gone before you know it. Fallen may look like mere scavengers, but on closer inspection you will see hints of a splendid, sophisticated past, and the proud markings of their ancestral “Houses.”
- Hive — Hive manipulate the physical world in ways that we can only begin to imagine. The Hive have carved a kingdom deep into the lifeless core of the Moon, and it is there they remain, silent and buried among many dark and terrible secrets, a reminder of the tremendous power that brought forth the Collapse.
- Vex — Scattered reports indicate that the Vex appear to be mass-produced machine units, constructed of an unknown metal alloy resembling hammered brass. All attempts to communicate with them have failed. They are hostile. They are unrelenting. They are deadly.
- Cabal — Few Guardians have faced Cabal and lived to tell the tale. They are a professional military operation. On every front we have found them on the march, they have already dug in and ringed their installations with razor wire. Now, it seems they've turned their eyes towards us.
There's a fair bit of variety, insofar as bipedal, approximately humanoid, gun-wielding aliens can be varied, though each race has design aspects that look naggingly familiar. The Hive, for example, bear a resemblance to the Husks from Mass Effect, while the Vex look a lot like versions of the Geth with the head shape of the Independence Day aliens.
At least Destiny looks beautiful, even if it is dusting off a much-used metanarrative and sticking with a very selection traditional of RPG character classes. We're looking forward to playing it for ourselves and getting a feel for the different styles of combat.
Destiny releases September 9, 2014 for the PS3, PS4, Xbox 360, and Xbox One.