I know, I know… that’s a pretty sensational headline isn’t it? I didn’t just whip that up in a cheap attempt to get your attention. Okay… maybe I did a little. In all seriousness though, I really do believe that Destiny has within it the power to heavily influence where this generation of consoles will go. Games of this generation are about to change and I believe that this title will serve as a blueprint for where things will go.
There’s no denying that military first person shooters dominated the last generation. The FPS genre has been around for decades but it came to completely dominate and influence the previous generation thanks to the Call of Duty franchise. Yes, Halo made FPS games viable on consoles but CoD made them mainstream.
As big as the genre has become, there’s no way that it can maintain that momentum into the current generation. People are slowly becoming disinterested in CoD and want something fresh. Perhaps Advanced Warfare will give that franchise the shot in the arm that it needs, but I don’t see that single game being able to sustain it for long. If we go by how the video game industry has evolved, it’s inevitable that CoD and similar games will lose their place at the top of the food chain. This is also a rule of nature. Natural selection says that nothing remains at the top forever and this is true of Military FPS games as well.
So what could possibly overtake military FPS games? This is something I’ve been thinking about for a few years now. It has to be something that has a strong online component since this is the feature that people expect from their games now. It also has to allow for a wide variety of people to enjoy it; people who want to play for either 20 minutes or 20 hours. It also had to be an existing genre.
I realized that MMOs fit all of the criteria that the next big thing needs to have. They have millions of people playing them, they are extremely deep but can be played in small bursts, and it’s an established genre whose time in the sun is overdue. Seeing how popular that MMOs like DC Universe Online and Final Fantasy XIV have become on consoles, it became apparent to me that MMOs would be the next big thing.
Destiny was announced and it seemed like the people at Bungie had been reading my mind the entire time. It contained all of the elements I felt were necessary for the next big game to have. I played it during E3 and got to spend a ridiculous amount of time shooting aliens in the face during the beta stage. While playing it I could see that, not only would this game be a monster in terms of success, but that it signaled the beginning of a new era of gaming.
The MMO aspect is going to be the main draw for sure and the thing that we’ll see a lot of games adopt. The tropes of the genre, the massive communities, leveling up, and most importantly, the loot system, are all things that people have experience with… but mostly on the PC. This is mostly new ground to console owners and will instantly hook them. I can vouch for this since I’m a person who doesn’t have much experience with MMOs. The loot aspect of the game made me turn into a crack-fiend and I know it will do the same for a lot of others.
The addictive nature of MMOs is something that we can see trickle over into other games for sure. To some extent, Call of Duty had this with their perk system and how it gave players rewards for either doing a lot of killing or a lot dying. Loot has made its way to other games already (Darksiders II for example) but I see it becoming a big draw for other titles if Destiny becomes huge. Let’s not forget the endgame content that is sure to keep making gamers play in order to find the rarest loot AND weapons.
Destiny is taking full advantage of the “always online” model that some other games have adopted (MMOs count in this). It always being online gives the game a sense of feeling dynamic and exciting. This could trickle over into other titles. Call of Duty could potentially have a game with a persistent war that’s ever changing. Games like Mass Effect and even Gears of War could also have persistent online worlds for players to get fully immersed in. This is something that Destiny could definitely influence other games to do.
The other thing I see Destiny influencing is genre-blending. This game is both FPS and MMO (though it definitely leans more towards the latter). We can see other genres thrown on top of the MMO core. Third person action adventure games and Third Person Shooters would be a natural fit for this. A fully exploreable world with platforming elements in it would be pretty cool; think Tomb Raider but with hundreds of other players around you. Genre-blending will happen for sure as developers try to see which combinations work best.
The other thing, for good or ill, that Destiny will influence this generation is the sheer amount of money that will be put into games. This is a title which cost $500 million to produce, with half of that going into advertising. If Destiny blows up like I think it will then we could potentially see a video games arms race to have the biggest budget possible. This could easily backfire though if the games fail to connect with audiences. Companies that decide to throw that kind of money at a game or franchise need to tread carefully. However, there is much to gain from having such a gargantuan budget so don’t be surprised if the big dogs (EA, Ubisoft, Sony, Microsoft) try to create their own generation defining franchise.
I predict that Destiny will be a huge success. Although it takes elements that we’ve seen in the past, it mixes them into something unique and “next-gen.” Other developers will see the success of the game and try to replicate that with their own “Destiny.” This game will take the already popular MMO core formula and truly bring it to the masses. I could be wrong about this and something else might come to dominate this generation but I doubt it. Destiny has the right pieces in place for success and others will follow in its footsteps.
Don’t forget to check out our collaborative editorial, “Destiny Will be the Biggest Game of the Year.”