More Early Reveals For Bungie's Destiny

Leaks seem to be de rigeur for Bungie's new game, codenamed and possibly titled Destiny. First, court documents relating to legal disputes involving new publisher Activision revealed some of the general parameters of the game and the intended products, platforms and publishing schedules.

Now, apparently a third party employee forgot a flash drive at a restaurant, and supplied the gaming press with a few more documents and a few pieces of what appears to be concept art. In response, Bungie appeared to acknowledge the leak as legitimate, and replied with a bit of concept art of their own.

Since the leaked images have all been watermarked from hell to breakfast so that sites like IGN can stop other sites from stealing their "found footage" so to speak, I'm only going to take a close look at the shot Bungie actually wanted us to see, as well as the text quoted by some of the leak stories, and only describe the other images to try and back up some interpretation of the text or the official image. If you really need to see those other images, I'm sure the Internet will find a way to accede to your wishes.

Between the official image and the quoted portions of the text, it's possible to build up a few tentative ideas about what to expect from Destiny, and the kinds of ideas and themes the new game might share with past Bungie works.

Let It Snow

Snow levels seem to hold a special place with Bungie. Sure, other games, like Lost Planet, might have more of it by volume (at least the first game) but some of the most iconic Bungie levels have taken place against a backdrop of snow, with the footprints of each enemy and ally alike betrayed as they besmirch the ground's frosty white blanket. The Bagrada level from the first Myth game, which was included in the free demo. Assault on the Control Room from Halo 1, where you drive your first Scorpion tank. Marathon didn't have snow, but it did have water, slime and lava, so we'll forgive it.

So it's not that shocking that this official image is a snowscape. Some other elements in the image are a bit surprising, though.

Thing What Kicks

[image:3530 align=right hspace=5 vspace=5 size=small]The large object in the background appears to be some sort of armored beast. At first glance it might seem to be mechanical, as the top and rear two thirds appear to be metal plated, but the front left of the object is a rather organic-appearing leg, so it's possible this is a large alien animal, perhaps something like a Brumak in Gears of War. The object's nose, apparantly adorned with what might be some sort of sensory stalks, also features what looks like two eyes on the same side of the head. It shares this trait with the humanoid in the foreground, who appears human except for having more than the usual number of eyes-- four visible in this case. The foreground figure resembles somewhat a dressed Pfhor fighter from Marathon, except for the number of eyes. Despite their name, Pfhor have three major eyes on the front of the face. The background object sort of resembles, to my eyes, a fusion of Marathon's large, lumbering Hulks and it's looming, zeppelin-like Juggernauts. Halo's own Hunters themselves appeared to be a limb-shortened version of Marathon's own armored Hunters, while Grunts were limb-shortened versions of Pfhor fighters, even down to the bright color-coding.

Don't Shake The Light Bulb

While the Monitors may be left behind in the Halo franchise, continued by 343 Industries, it would appear as if the Destiny universe also has some floaty things in it. Whether they're suitable for kicking asses or just talking to is difficult to say, but it does appear as if in the background of this shot, there's a floating grey sphere hovering nearby a humanoid trudging through the snow. One can only speculate as to whether he (or she) is as dangerous or as helpful as 343 Guilty Spark.

Knights Defending The Remains Of Humanity

The most often quoted bit of text from the leak contains the following:

Our story begins seven hundred years from now in the Last City on Earth, in a Solar System littered with the ruins of man's Golden Age. A massive, mysterious alien ship hangs overhead like a second Moon. No one knows where it came from or what it's here for, but only that it's our protector. Meanwhile, strange, alien monsters creep in from the edge of the universe, determined to take Earth and the Last City. We are young 'knights' tasked with defending the remains of humanity, discovering the source of these monsters and - eventually - overcoming it.

The use of the pronoun "we" here, and the plural term "knights" certainly does distinguish Destiny from Bungie's last two first-person offerings, Marathon and Halo. Marathon featured the player as the enigmatic Marathon security officer, later revealed to be the supposedly last surviving battleroid, a kind of military cyborg made from the bodies of dead soldiers. Halo's Master Chief, like nearly all Spartan IIs, was abducted as a child, but he is introduced to us as the last surviving Spartan, although in later offerings the Spartan program expands to include Spartan IIIs and Spartan IVs, and the novels and the Reach game shows us other Spartans in action.

Whether Destiny turns out to be an MMO or something MMO-like, however, it does appear to have both a social focus and the built-in assumption that whatever the player's role in this new universe is, we are not alone. Somewhere in the heavens... they are waiting.