As many of you have done, I’ve followed the development and process behind making Destiny with much anticipation; ever since I saw that first video detailing exactly what it was Bungie was planning. I didn’t bother worrying or debating about what type of game it was going to be. Was it an FPS? Was it an MMO? Was it an action game? Was it an RPG with FPS elements? These and other concerns never bothered me, but I was very surprised to see how much of a fuss was made by many people over exactly what it was they were going to be playing come September 9th.
For most of the life of video games they have been defined by their genre. Call of Duty is an FPS, Gran Turismo is a racing game, Tomb Raider is a third person action game, Elder Scrolls is an RPG, ARMA is a military sim, etc. This is still engrained in the media and most of the websites that we all read.
As humans we like categories, and we like to pigeon hole things into specific genres. It’s just what we do as a species, and something that I don’t think can ever be really changed about ourselves. However, one game that did bridge the gap between two different genres was Borderlands. Here was a game that had all the classic hallmarks of a shooter but also the loot hunting, character upgrading, and XP gathering elements of an RPG.
Here was a game that seemed to transcend genre types and in my opinion was much more fun because of this fact. I mean, who doesn’t want to earn XP for the things that they shoot and kill, and who doesn’t want to upgrade their gun, armour, ship, or special ability? Admittedly it is difficult to make a game that shares many traits of other genres, but Borderlands shows that it can be done, and it can be done well.
Destiny is what it is
In my opinion Bungie made a mistake by referring to Destiny as a shared world shooter. It obviously is a shared world shooter, but it is also a lot of other things as well. It is an RPG, in that you can earn experience and upgrade your character. It is role playing because you assume the identity of someone who you create. It is an FPS because that is the main point of the game; to go out there, kill aliens with awesome weapons and take back what once belonged to humanity. It is an exploration game because of the huge expanses of wilderness that are just waiting for you to traverse. It is a sci-fi action game because of the extraterrestrial worlds you can visit. It is an MMO because of the numerous real people you will run into during your quests. It is a single player game because of your own unique story, yet it is also a multiplayer game in every traditional sense of the word. And lastly, it is a social game because of the people you will meet and the impact they will have on your game, for good or for bad.
I think with this new generation of hardware, and the maturity and the expertise that the developers now have with the old hardware, that we have reached a point where genre boundaries will become less and less of a issue. You want a racing game that allows your character to progress and earn rewards? You got it. You want an action game to reward you for deep exploration and searching every nook and cranny for collectables? No problem. You want a simple space shooter that has worldwide online leaderboards and is free to play? It’s there for you.
Lastly, we want a game that you can be played for a decade, that has a deep and intricate story, that has a character that you can call your own, that will grow with you and progress, that has loot that brings out the most extreme virtual greed, that has both single player and multiplayer components, that has vastly differing locales and areas to seek out, that has a vibrant and thriving online community, all from a developer that has a track record of reinventing the wheel and producing groundbreaking titles?
In Destiny, I think that game may finally have arrived.