Rather than being lost in its predecessor’s shadow, Destiny aims to one-up Halo in just about every way.
Destiny, the next project from the creators of the massively popular Halo franchise, has some awfully big shoes to fill. The developers at Bungie are rising to the challenge of matching and even surpassing the success of their previous games, and that means learning some valuable lessons from the past. The design of Destiny seeks to directly improve on Halo in a number of ways, from co-op immersion to player choice.
“In the same way we’re making your heroic story, your legend, that carries over into the cinematics,” says design director Joe Staten. “So if you’re playing in a co-op way, we’re not going to do that crappy thing that happened in the old Halo games where, if you’re playing co-op, you don’t show up … you’re not the primary role.” This should serve as a relief to all the Player Twos who get booted off-screen whenever it’s time for important things to happen.
Master Chief was a pivotal character in Halo lore, but players themselves were never asked to make decisions more complex than weapon loadouts – another thing Staten wants to improve on. “Pulling a history into the world was extremely important,” he says, “something you felt you were fighting for, the civilization that was once yours that’s fallen, that’s trying to recover. But it also goes to player choice, too, and not just choices you’d get in a Halo game, the moment to moment of how I’m going to take apart this encounter, what’s my combat toolset?” Destiny brings a radically different set of questions to the table, as well as tactical choices. “What kind of character do I want to be in the world? Do I want to be a man or do I want to be a woman? That’s a choice we never gave someone in the Halo series.”
None of this is to say that the moment to moment choices in Destiny are getting any less attention. We’ve seen four distinct races of hostile aliens, each with a variety of enemy types for players to battle. “Way more characters than we had in the Halo games,” Staten continues. “I think with all our systems, most of them are brand new from the ground up, and that includes our AI and the way we script character behavior. Our goal is definitely to give people as diverse a combat experience as possible. Hopefully we’re able to pull that off.”
Destiny will touch down on current and next-gen consoles when it’s complete, though there’s no scheduled release window as of yet.