by Joseph Leray
According to an interview in the most recent issue of Edge Magazine, Bungie has been finding inspiration in games "Borderlands" during development of their quasi-online, maybe-MMO shooter "Destiny."
“We are absolutely doing things that would be familiar if you’ve played any kind of open-world game,” said creative lead Joe Staten. “We would be idiots if we didn’t look at an awesome game like 'Borderlands' and ask, ‘What are they doing well and how can we try to hit that same ball?’"
"I have never played a game where I have such a great attachment to my gun as I do in 'Borderlands.'"
I'm not sure that I would call "Borderlands" an open-world game -- Pandora is really more cut into admittedly sprawling zones -- but it's hard not hard to draw comparisons between both games' heavy focus on team-building and customization.
The "Halo" developers want to push those aspects even further, though: Bungie has shied away from calling "Destiny" an massively multiplayer online game, but it's clear that a large part of the appeal hinges on the fact that the game's sci-fi world is populated by other players.
“When we look at a game like that, we look at the things they’re doing well and also at opportunities they might have missed that we can capitalize on," Staten continued. "You can party up with a group of people and then go around with that group, but never in 'Borderlands' are you going to collide with a group of other people doing it too."
"We don’t do that just once or twice in the game, we do that all the time, everywhere. You see other people on the horizon, hear gunfire over a hill and see space magic flying behind some trees, and you know… there are other people out here."
An 11-minute walkthrough from E3 shows how a random multiplayer skirmish might work and gives player a look one of "Destiny"'s unique pieces of loot: a "Thunderlord" rifle. With that in mind, the "Borderlands" comparison seems apt, at least in structure and design if not in tone.
I was never a huge "Halo" player, so I'll be the first to admit that I more-or-less ignored "Destiny" as another entry in a long list of sci-fi shooters. As the media machine spins up to full tilt, though, its cavernous engine gobbling up untold amounts of trailers, screenshots, and soundbites, it's hard not to get sucked in: shooting at bloodthirsty aliens never gets old, even when you do it with strangers.
"Destiny" will be available next year for Xbox 360, Xbox One, PlayStation 3, and PlayStation 4.
Joseph Leray is a freelance writer from Nashville. Follow him on Twitter