Retrospective – Destiny, the Past and the Future

Retrospective – Destiny, the Past and the Future

I play a lot of video games; as a past-time it’s one of my favourite hobbies. Sure, it can cost a bit sometimes and Lord knows I’ve gotten more bitter over the years when it comes to some of the idiotic things that can happen in the industry. (not that I regret knowing this stuff; I’d rather that than being naive) To that effect I wanted to write about one particular phenomenon that has occurred for the past few years; my constant return to a little game called Destiny.

Published by Activision and created by Bungie (responsible for the critically acclaimed Halo series) Destiny is a ‘shared world’ first person shooter on the current generation consoles. For the past 2 years it has been a fairly constant part of my game playing experience. Though not for the reasons that it should be, I feel.

I first heard about Destiny in 2013, when browsing on the computer for upcoming games. What was shown in a trailer at the time was a exciting and vibrant game set in a science fiction universe. What was shown made me very excited indeed; I greatly enjoy my science fiction and this blog should be testament to how much I value good stories.

It’s not that video games aren’t capable of telling good stories; we’re currently in an age which saw the release of games like Portal, Journey and The Last of Us. And Bungie’s old pet project Halo still enjoys moderate success to this day. Naturally, I trusted Bungie to fulfil on that promise given.

Perhaps I should expand; Destiny’s world is the Solar System many centuries in the future, where humanity has been elevated to space travel by a being known only as the Traveller. Using a power known only as the Light, human development accelerated to space travel, longer lifespans, sentient robots and more. But then an extra-terrestrial force colloquially known as the Darkness. (and make up of a myriad of alien armies) We are driven to one last city on Earth defended by the Traveller’s Light and a group of warriors known as the Guardians. (one of whom you play as) It’s then up to you and other Guardians to push back against the Darkness and reclaim the Solar System.

Sounds great right? Well it certainly did to me, and with trailer after trailer painting such a great picture (in addition to some brilliant music – I’ve even got the soundtrack) I was looking forward to it’s release in September 2014.

You can probably guess where this is going by this stage right? I mean, if I didn’t build it up this much and then add a twist you’d be disappointed… much like my reaction to Destiny.

Destiny was… well… disappointing at launch. Oh, I bought the game and enjoyed it initially, finding a lot to like in the gameplay and the atmosphere on offer. But then I had a few questions once I got a few hours in.

This great story that was promised essentially just a vague backdrop with no real explanations for any of the stuff that was happening throughout. The main characters kept saying in the main story that they “could explain” but decide not to because there is apparently “no time” to do so. As you can imagine, this was particularly annoying indeed. There was no reason to keep going if there was no indication as to why I should keep playing this game.

Image belongs to Activision Publishing Inc. and Bungie, Inc.

And that wasn’t the only problem; the distinct lack of things to do was also an issue. The main story campaign was only around 6 hours long and only a few extra missions whether cooperative or multiplayer. And though I have played multiplayer a few times, I’ve never particularly enjoyed it. (owing to my lacking skills in that regard)

After a few months playing the game, and then finding out that there was some content that was locked off unless you bought an ‘expansion pass’ I soon found myself leaving Destiny for a good while. I didn’t feel betrayed, just disappointed in how things turned out. I can definitely say that the experience was enlightening and that it made me wiser, so that’s something I suppose.

I still kept track of Destiny mind, I watched other people playing the new content (mostly a group called Achievement Hunter as I find their videos funny to watch) but by the start of 2015 I was drawn to other games, and was busy with university work.

Then a new expansion was announced: The Taken King. A new add on for Destiny that promised to fix Destiny’s problems. I was cynical obviously, but there was a bundle that included all of Destiny’s content up to that point, though I believe that they did get into trouble about that prior to release.

Added to that, I found a group of people I could play with online on Destiny; my friends from uni. And yes, I liked the Taken King expansion, though it didn’t quite fix the inherent problems which I’d had with the original game. Still, there was a proper story to follow this time, Nathan Fillion from Firefly was in it and activities in Destiny seemed more… fulfilling this time around. I guess I can attribute this more to having a group I could play with this time around.

So this time, I stuck around, played Destiny for a lot longer, and continue to do so, with the release of the new add on Rise of Iron. Though this time I feel it’s more as part of a routine rather than as part of a rising interest.

And that’s that really, my interest in Destiny these days can be compared to that of the likes of Friends and murder mystery TV programmes that I like; it’ll neither disappoint me or delight me at this stage, it just Is. I play Destiny now when I just need something mundane to play and doesn’t require much thought.

And that’s kind of disheartening, because I do really like Destiny’s setting and would have enjoyed it if it just didn’t have so many things wrong with it. Still, if rumours are anything to go by, Destiny 2 will be released this year. I hope that it’ll be good, but by this stage it’s more of a cautious hope.

I just hope that it’s enough. Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m off to play Horizon Zero Dawn, which is pretty damn good.

Image belongs to Sony Interactive Entertainment and Guerrilla Games

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