The first big, AAA release of the Fall season - and the most pre-ordered new IP in video game history - is a tile belonging to Destiny, the brand new franchise from Bungie. With a game this big, it's typically expected that reviews will hit a day or so before release, but Bungie is doing something a little risky: embargoing reviews until the world gets its hands on the game come launch day. That's usually seen as a cause for concern, but according to the developer, the move was made because... Destiny isn't really Destiny without thousands of people playing it.
In a post on the studio's site, Bungie explained that after the Destiny Alpha and Beta, it became clear that the players are the "most crucial component" of the game's massive world. Without them, Bungie believes, Destiny would only be a pale imitation of what they've been working on for several years.
"From the beginning, we set out to make Destiny feel like more than bits on a drive. We wanted to build a place for players to visit – a place filled with luminous life. Without a vibrant population for the last safe city on Earth, and Guardians roaming the wild frontiers, Destiny is a shadow of what it should be. That’s not how we wanted to submit for review.
So, sure, you could just play the story missions, a bit of the competitive multiplayer, then play co-op with friends while quoting Guardians of the Galaxy or spotting "Moon Wizards." But that would still mean missing out on the random interactions with thousands of other players that are embracing the most MMO-esque elements of the experience.
The developer also noted that reviewers who only try it out and don't stick around for a while are expected, as well as those that prefer to read a review before committing. In both scenarios, Bungie says they're fine with it, because they're proud of the game they set out to make.
"For us, this is a first – a new experience. It’s a bit of a risk, too. We fully anticipate seeing day one reviews from folks who decide to kick the tires, but don’t have the time or patience to take our ride for a nice, long road trip. Some of you might wait to pick up a copy until you read the final verdict from your most trusted review house. We’re okay with that. We’ve created something we’re proud of."
"So, reviews of Destiny will wait for your arrival. On day one, you’ll be rubbing elbows with the pageant judges, so look sharp. Who knows, you may end up on one of their live streams. They may end up on one of yours, too!"
There's a bunch of additional info contained within the post (it's a lengthy one) ranging from Bungie Community goodies and end game content, to life in Destiny after level 20. Those picking up the game tomorrow (or midnight for the most eager among you) should give the full thing a read; it's perfect reading material heading into the full game.
Will you be picking up a copy of Destiny as soon as possible, or are you going to wait until reviewers get a chance to highlight the game's strengths and drawbacks?
Destiny launches September 9, 2014 for Xbox 360, Xbox One, PS3 and PS4.