Bungie, the studio behind the Halo series, is working on a new promising saga for quite some time, Destiny. This upcoming sci-fi series has been described as a hybrid MMO featuring role-playing and first-person shooter elements. However, the freshly released details regarding Destiny’s game modes points towards a completely different direction. The five-game modes appeal to originality and innovation but after a close analysis, I concluded that they’re simply masking a tough reality. So far, Destiny appears to be nothing more than a traditional MMO.
Destiny’s Genre: Identity Crisis?
The first thought to cross my mind while reading Destiny’s game modes was MMORPG, this game is going to be another traditional MMORPG. But I knew at first hand, that Destiny is not supposed to be anything remotely close to that. So, why in hell is a hybrid game going to feature traditional MMO/MMORPG game modes? To be honest, I’m not quite sure. I suppose it’s the power of retrogress or perhaps, Bungie’s creative department had a breakdown in the past few years. The third option would be related to identity crisis, since Destiny is a game that hasn’t found its own genre yet. The game is labeled as five different genres, it’s massive and multiplayer, it has plenty of action, it has a first-person shooter combat system, it allows role-playing and it’s definitely online. Add a bit of exploration and a few sports mini-games and Destiny will be the ultimate game of all genres. It’s not something totally impossibly but this is not the main focus here. What I mean is that Destiny has elements from so many genres that it can’t be defined. In fact, Bungie doesn’t even know how to define its own game:
Destiny, Bungie’s first new game since they parted ways with Microsoft, looks and sounds like a first-person shooter—even if they don’t like calling it that. But this isn’t an MMO, no, they don’t want us to call it that either, even if Destiny does take place in a big persistent world and borrows from other familiar MMO features.
So, the reason Destiny is going to feature traditional MMORPG features is because its genre amplitude is so large that basically anything could fit in without any controversial issues. That could have been a positive aspect in terms of innovation since there are no strict genre restrictions. Imagination and new technology could’ve been used in many new ways but instead, it seems Bungie decided to take the easy path and re-create features that we’ve all seen before.
Destiny Game Modes: Is There Anything New?
Destiny and originality don’t seem to get along too well. Even the story itself lacks a bit of enthusiasm. There it is. Another sci-fi post-apocalyptic story with five game modes placed under fancy names. It’s truly exciting when you hear about features like Strikes, Patrols or Skirmishes. But once you’ve discovered what each game mode does, I assure you there won’t be much excitement left.
There are four environmental game modes and one exclusively dedicated to PvP. The Patrol mode, allows players to complete innumerous undirected missions by free roaming across Destiny’s vast environments. It works a little like patrol and escort quests in most MMORPGs. The second game mode, the Campaign, is directly related to the storyline and it will offer you primary/lore missions. Every MMORPG has this game mode, as well as most online games. The Strike mode is a cooperative system that allows a few players to adventure together. It works like standard dungeons or group quests in the MMORPG world. After the group is assembled, players must defeat numerous trash mobs and a few bosses in order to complete the mission and acquire random loot. The last environmental mode is the Raid system, where players must gather extensive numbers to accomplish a certain large event. This is another super-explored feature in the MMORPG genre and it needs no further explanation.
And when you think originality can’t get any lower you get struck by Destiny’s PvP game mode, Skirmishes. This competitive mode will allow players to challenge each other in a structure battleground system. Certainly something we haven’t seen before, right? Which MMORPG doesn’t include such a basic PvP feature nowadays, excluding The Elder Scrolls Online? I mean, every game mode in Destiny is standard and stereotypical. There’s no innovation, the general concepts are more than exhausted and the promise of a truly hybrid game seems to be long gone with this traditional MMORPG game mode system. I’m not entirely sure how each mode will work in detail but from what Bungie presented, there’s hardly any space left for major news regarding the gameplay. Destiny is coming out this September and the game is mostly done. Therefore, I believe Destiny won’t be able to pull off something capable of diminishing the effects of this standard mediocre system that is ahead of us. I won’t say Destiny will become a failure but it surely won’t impress as expected.