Bungie's multi-platform Halo follow-up is only a few weeks away from release following a hugely successful public beta played by over 4.6 million people.
There has been enormous pressure on Bungie but it seems that Destiny is guaranteed to be a success come 9 September. That said there are still a number of questions in need of answering, and at Gamescom I put a few of them to Bungie Community Manager Eric Osborne.
IBTimes UK (IBT): I'll kick things off with a simple question: Is Destiny better than Halo?
Eric Osbourne (EO): "Our goal at Bungie is the set the bar higher than what we've done in the past so it's a different game, a different universe, made by a much larger team so we want to be ambitious, we want to go after bigger and better experiences, that's our goal."
IBT: Is Destiny indicative of where you wanted to take the Halo franchise before the split from Microsoft?
EO: "When Jason [Jones, Bungie co-founder] first went off and started wondering about ideas during the ODST / Halo Reach era - so that small team was off in a pre-concept phase – his goal was really to think about what kind of experiences in the shooter genre didn't really exist.
"What could he build with this really big team, what could he point them at next, and so we wanted to do something action driven, explore fantasy, explore sci-fi and really ended up coming up with a bunch of design pillars to support Destiny. Really this is what we believe the next version of first person shooters should be."
IBT: Will additional post-release content be primarily PVP-based or story-based?
EO: "It's all of the above. Like the core game we want to see what we can bring to players in terms of expansion packs that are holistic. We want them to have story, we want them to have a theme, we want them to have co-op experiences, competitive experiences, we want them to have weapons and armour and gear. So we want to give players freshness across the board.
"It's a big opportunity for us. In the past we did a pretty good job in Halo supporting the competitive multiplayer community – we were really proud of that - but we left a lot on the table for people. We saw people who continued to play campaign pretty much ad infinitum but we never really gave them anything for that. That's because we didn't have the technology, the foresight or the team to support it.
"With Destiny we attack that aggressively from the beginning."
IBT: Destiny has been called a '10-year project'. Does this mean the standard DLC followed by standalone sequels model or will this game serve as a foundation with add-ons of varying size released for years to come?
EO: "Really it's a little bit of both. We have a lot of runway and a lot of plans, but our goal right now is to get Destiny 1 out for 9 September, we do have some concrete short-term plans but we're going to be flexible. The market will dictate, the community will dictate some of our decision making. We want to have a defined plan, a blueprint to go off, but we're also not cocky enough to believe that we can see ten years into the future. The 'ten year plan' is much more about the ability and confidence to say that...
"In the past on Halo we had a whiteboard with an airplane on it and we'd draw flames on the back of a plane as we came to the end of the project. And out the back of the plane we'd eject all these features which we didn't have time to make. People would lament, they'd go to the board and be like 'Oh man, here's this thing that I really loved and we're just abandoning it.'
"With Destiny we wanted to say to ourselves 'let's not do that'. Let's take these plans and incubate that, put it on the backburner, let's give ourselves the ability and flexibility to continue to build and grow and change over time."
IBT: You guys are renowned for multiplayer and yet The Crucible aspect of the beta was met with a somewhat tepid reaction. To me it felt more vanilla than what we've come to expect from Bungie. How does the full multiplayer experience build on what was in the Beta? How much did we not see?
EO: "Well it was actually just one mode out of the game, four maps. We did throw Iron Banner out too. To challenge the tepid reaction, I was actually looking at the data earlier today and people played an absolute metric ton of it. We're able to look at player activities, what they play, how many hours they commit to it and the number of people who played it was pretty humbling.
"We're definitely not doing a Halo rehash but we wanted to inject some throwback, you know, arena and skill-based multiplayer where map control is really important, team work is really important, vehicle control and all of that. In the final game we'll have a number of additional modes, new maps.
IBT: Will we see more unique modes like races or oddball?
EO: "It's definitely something our team is interested in. Step one for us was to get a really competent game up and running, making sure it was meeting our expectations and all the modes players demand from their shooters. In the future who knows, we'll be having a lot of fun and there's plenty of opportunity for us to do new stuff."
Destiny will be released on 9 September.