It's hard to believe, but Bungie has found a way to get the entire gaming community talking about Destiny in 2015 like they were in 2014. The sci fi space opera has been the target of many a think piece, with everything from its bare bones story to its questionable quantity of content under scrutiny. There's one thing that was never really up for debate, though: the game is fun to play.
No surprise there, really. The famed Halo developer made a name for themselves in the industry by creating one of the most iconic franchises of the 3D first person shooter age. Destiny's gameplay is everything Halo had to offer - great gunplay, engaging level design, awesome vehicles, etc. - but turned up a notch, and seasoned with a healthy dose of MMORPG. That last part is probably the most important factor in Destiny's continued relevance. Yes it's immensely fun to play, but at it's core, it's designed to keep people turning on their consoles and reporting to the Tower or the Reef every day. Daily events, bounties, and repeatable quests all take their cues from some of the industry standard features of World of Warcraft, The Old Republic, and the like. Now Bungie plans to take it a step further with The Taken King.
The game has had it's share of high profile DLC, with two major expansions added since launch. The Dark Below and House of Wolves added new end game content, weapons, narrative, and more to the title, giving Guardians (as they're so called in the game) plenty of reasons to keep fighting the good fight. The Taken King plans to outshine all of that.
And it better, as the asking price of the expansion is double the price of the the first two. The last several weeks have been dedicated to assuring past, present, and future Destiny players that $40 is a worthwhile asking price. If not because of the wealth of new content and a complete overhaul of some key systems in the game, then at least because this is the closest thing were going to get to Destiny 2 any time soon. This expansion pack approach to the console shooter is one of the first of its kind, and all eyes will be on Bungie and Activision this month to see how this all shakes out. Should this prove lucrative, you may start seeing PC-style expansion packs replace full-fledged sequels with more frequency in the console space. With digital console marketplaces like Xbox Live and the PlayStation Network being more robust and capable than ever, this may have fate from the start.
We live in an age where sequels and annualization have become the hallmark of the AAA experience. We come to terms with the fact that every year were going to get a Call of Duty and an Assassin's Creed, regardless of how different the were from the previous year. Paying full price for what is essentially similar gameplay mechanics in a shiny new package has become something that we have accepted as unchangeable truth. On consoles especially, we've shrugged the idea off as the cost of the convenience of having a box attached to your TV dedicated only for playing games at a price much lower than a high end PC.
To PC gamers, though, a $40 box full of new content is par for the course. This demonstrates not only the wide openness of the PC as a distribution platform as a means to get all manner of degrees of content to the consumer, but the relative freedom of publishers to play with the values of that content without feeling the need to conform to preset standards. Activision might be selling you another block of DLC for $20 more than the others, or they might be selling you Destiny 2 for $20 cheaper. The success or failure of The Taken King could change the way we see sequels.
That said: It's Taken King day! Let's celebrate by watching trailers and getting uncontrollably hyped for the next phase of this space adventure.
Like this E3 Announcement Trailer
Or this hype piece from early August
How about this badass live action TV spot?
Or maybe a trailer that stars, well, you?
If you go Destiny's Legend of You website, and enter your PSN ID or Gamertag, it will find your characters, and feature them in a short trailer highlighting you accomplishments. Mine is here, and even though I'm not sure if these percentages are meaningful in anyway, I'm pretty glad Im not just Johnny Shank Smasher. I've done half decent work, at least.