Features

Published on October 19th, 2016 | by Cactus

Destiny’s Major Problem

It’s without question that we consider Halo to be one of the most successful game series of all time; Since it’s initial release on the Xbox, the franchise has gone to span 3 console generations and 2 different developers. In 2010 when Bungie (the original developers) revealed that they would no longer be working with Microsoft, and thus making Halo as well, the greater gaming community lay in wait of the newest masterpiece Bungie would unveil. What we got was Destiny.

While its marketing may have lead you to believe the game would be the next coming of Christ, review scores spoke differently. Where Halo had a fresh take on the Sci-Fi genre, a grandiose story spanning thousands of years, with tens of characters all acting towards individual goals, Destiny was barren. The story, which had been hyped by advertisers was now seemingly missing. What appeared to be a solar system spanning epic was now a series of fetch quests and patrol missions, with seemingly no causation behind any of it. While Bungie’s signature of incredible console FPS gameplay remained, the games RPG elements suffered their own plethora of issues. When two-thirds of the way through a levelling system, the method of levelling up changes completely, it probably implies your game has some problems. But through all these trails, there still remained a myriad of people who attested that Destiny was, in fact, really good.

earth_1080p

‘So 2 years in, do either of you know what the Traveller actually is?’ ‘….um…no’

Last year the third expansion for Destiny, The Taken King, was released and fixed a majority of issues with the game. So many in fact that Activision, the games publisher, saw fit to release a new version of the game complete with the Taken Kings additions, as well as the two prior DLC. With the release of Rise of Iron (Destiny’s final expansion) causing the release of the new ‘Destiny: The Collection’, it raises a valuable question in the larger gaming world: is Destiny actually any good yet?

When boiled down, The Collection is really just ‘Destiny: Game of the Year Edition’, a collection of all the DLC onto the original game, which is normally used to extend the publishing life of a game by a few months. The difference here, unlike Fallout 4 or Borderlands,  is while copies of The Collection sell for $90, any Joe Schmoe can buy the Vanilla game for around $30 new. This implies that what is really for sale here is the new content. With Fallout 4 Game of the Year Edition, what you are getting is the game with some additions added to it. With Destiny, Activision is heavily emphasising that what you are really buying is expansions. In essence, Taken King and Rise of Iron are considered to have more worth than the actual game they are a part of. Let’s really consider this for a moment; this is like saying that Mothership Zeta or the Legendary Map Pack are more valuable assets to their respective publishers than Fallout 3 or Halo 3.

destiny_in_odst

Wait, does this mean that Destiny is actually a game played in the 26th century? Might explain some things.

For one, this raises a massive issue about games production and release. I would say that money scrounging aside, Destiny: The Collection is well worth your time. It’s what Destiny currently is and should be, and as one of the odd minority who actually likes Destiny, I would whole heartily recommend it. The issue is that quite clearly, Bungie released a game in 2014 that was incredibly unfinished, and Activision sent it to publication with this knowledge in mind. All of the problems previously described can really all come down to rushed design. When Bungie was bought by Activision, it seems the development goals towards the game had changed, and Bungie was rushed to meet the publication deadline. Then over the next few years, Bungie then set their team on finishing the rest of the game. This year we finally see the fruits of their efforts with a game that from a critical point of view I would give a 4 or a 5 out of 5. For one, the now game has a story and characters. While a lot of that information is purposefully obscured, some of it does exist in the game. Not only that but the stories of Taken King and House of Wolves are two of my favourite game stories to date. The real problem here is this: the publishers of the game seem to be exploiting the development team in order to gain higher sales. By releasing 3 physical copies of the game (Vanilla, Taken King Edition, and The Collection) and giving them all the same initial price, they show that they believe that Destiny is a product of diminishing returns and needs to be continually changed in order to garner further sales.

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Ok, maybe Vanilla Destiny graphics are a bit dated…

Dear reader, when I write an article, be it this one, one about E3, or one about a random game I forgot that I even owned, I attempt to make sure that whether you read it now or in 3 years, there will still be something of relevance in it. The article will still have an inherent ‘worth’, and maybe in 6 months time you will think about it again, and the ideas I expressed to you will still be interesting. Hell, you may even want to re-read it, because it was so pleasurable the first time. I don’t mean this in regards to solely my work, but to the works of thousands of others as well. This is reusable media. On the other side, you have something like a newspaper or a Let’s Play; something designed only to be used once and then moved on from; it’s disposable. You can tell a lot about a creator and their work depending on how it fits in those two groupings. The main difference from a creation point of view is that reusable media takes a lot longer to be produced but obviously is around longer. Typically, when I buy a game I like it to be reusable. Even if I never intend to play Doom (2106) again, I still like to know that I would get a good experience from it on return. The main problem with Destiny is that Activision is attempting to make us believe that it is a reusable product, but sell it as though it were disposable. By constantly devaluing the original and rereleasing it with new content, they ensure that no matter which version you buy originally, you will always have to buy something else to stay on top of the curve. While Destiny 1 may be over, but I highly suspect that Destiny 2 will include all that The Collection has and more, ensuring another purchase for Activision. This is similar to the way in which they sell a lot of their other series, such as Call of Duty and all EA Sports game.

This practice is extremely toxic for the gaming community, in regards to both developers and the playing public. By continually reworking and reselling the same product over and over, publishers hope to gain reliable sales. Instead what we have seen over the past few years is the steady decline in long lasting series. Call of Duty is now a shadow of its former self. Even the praised Advanced Warfare was a far cry from the quality Modern Warfare. The more a publisher attempts to wring out the same ideas, the faster they become stale, to their creators and those who play them. When it comes to Destiny, Activision hopes to circumvent this process by replacing the ‘new game a year’ model, with the World of Warcraft ‘Expansions model’. Instead what they are doing is slowly dividing and separating the Destiny player base by over-saturating the game with different, non-cohesive versions.

destiny-sparrow

Maybe if Activision made more games with speeder bikes we wouldn’t be in this mess! 

In regards to the actual game, for what it’s worth I think that it’s good. I think that Destiny is reusable and worth your time. I think that a copy of Vanilla Destiny is worth more than what it’s sold for and that Destiny: The Collection has some of the best shooter gameplay you can get on this console generation. But be warned, for the path of Destiny is one filled with greedy publishers. So when Destiny 2 comes out, wait for the Game of the Year Edition, it’ll be worth the wait.

For more insights into the world of gaming, read GameBug!

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