By this point you could fill several galleries with the amount of concept art that Bungie has released for Destiny, but these images are so pretty that it’s difficult to get tired of them. If anything, they only serve to increase the demand for less concept and more finished product, and unfortunately the best concept art in the world can’t guarantee a good game. After all, a single brush-stroke in one of these drawings takes an awful lot of coding to recreate in an interactive 3D game environment.

Gameplay details are still a little hazy at this point, but we know that Destiny is a sci-fi shooter with very strong RPG elements and a social, co-op campaign that runs alongside the single-player game. Bungie assures their potential customers that their new IP will be accessible for players of all skill levels, meaning that it could potentially be a good introduction to gaming for those who have never held a gamepad (or rested their fingers gently upon WASD in readiness) before. Everything about it seems to scream ‘sandbox’, to the point that it’ll be almost disappointing if players end up being forced down a linear path after all the promise of brand new worlds to explore.

Destiny still doesn’t have a release date, but Bungie continues to be very open about sharing concept art and renders for it, and are even starting to share modest amounts of gameplay footage and actual screenshots. Here is the latest collection of wallpapers from the official website, which give a closer look at the worlds, creatures and characters that players can expect to encounter when the game finally hits shelves.

Conceptually, Destiny sounds similar to the Mass Effect trilogy and to Bungie’s current biggest hit franchise, Halo. The story, which sets up the player as a hero rising up from the ruins of a once-great civilization to be mankind’s one true defense against an alien threat, is a pretty broad and familiar meta-narrative  but that’s not too much of a worry since some of the best games out there have had very basic premises.

The playable classes pretty much boil down to the standard Wizard-Warrior-Rogue triad, which suggests that Bungie has taken the “don’t fix what isn’t broken” approach for this potentially risky IP launch. Studio writer Joseph Staten has also said that no single class will be inherently better than the other and therefore choosing a class will be as simple as, “Bam. I’m going to be a robot.

One notable highlight about the character design is that, as far as we’ve seen, nearly all of the characters wear some kind of helmet or breathing apparatus, suggesting that the war which nearly annihilated all life on Earth also managed to mess up the atmosphere, though one of the concept art wallpapers shows a pet white tiger unmasked and breathing the air comfortably. The Titans pictured with a simple air-filtering masks might be the first look we’ve had at actual human faces in Destiny.

Destiny concept art

The developers certainly aren’t short on ambition or – thankfully – resources. Bungie has a ten-year plan for this new franchise and it will be their first release on next-generation consoles, so they’ve said that they’re throwing more or less everything they have into it. Talk of monetization – potentially including microtransactions or season passes – has suggested that Bungie – and publisher Activision – is going to do everything they can to turn Destiny into a reliable and ongoing earner. The game will also be always-online, even in single-player, which might make gamers with an unreliable broadband connection a bit wary of investing in it.

Destiny could go either way in terms of quality, but let’s pray that it’s as awesome as it looks – if only for the sake of having something new to obsess over.

Destiny has no release date, but is targeting the PS3, Xbox 360, PS4, and presumably the next Xbox.

Source: Bungie (via Xbox Magazine)