Destiny is an online-only first-person shooter video game developed by Bungie and published by Activision. Destiny marked Bungie’s first new console franchise since the Halo series, and it is the first game in a ten-year agreement between Bungie and Activision. Set in a “mythic science fiction” world, the game features a multiplayer “shared-world” environment with elements of role-playing games. Activities in Destiny are divided among player versus environment (PvE) and player versus player (PvP) game types. In addition to normal story missions, PvE features three-player “strikes” and six-player raids. A free roam patrol mode is also available for each planet and features public events. PvP features objective-based modes, as well as traditional deathmatch game modes.
Players take on the role of a Guardian, defenders of Earth’s last safe city as they wield a power called Light to protect the City from different alien races. Guardians are tasked with reviving a celestial being called the Traveler, while journeying to different planets to investigate and destroy the alien threats before humanity is completely wiped out. Since launch, Bungie has released four expansion packs furthering the story, adding new content and missions, and new PvP modes. Year One of Destiny featured two small expansions, The Dark Below in December 2014 and House of Wolves in May 2015. A third, larger expansion, The Taken King, was released in September 2015 and marked the beginning of Year Two, changing much of the core gameplay. In December 2015, Destiny shifted to an event-based model, featuring more limited-time events. A new, large expansion called Rise of Iron was released in September 2016, beginning Year Three, and a full sequel to Destiny will be released in 2017.
Upon its release, Destiny received mixed to positive reviews with criticism centered mostly around the game’s storyline and post-campaign content. The game was praised for maintaining lineage from the Halo franchise, particularly in regards to its competitive experiences. On day one of its release, it sold over US$500 million at retail, making it the biggest new franchise launch of all time. It was GamesRadar’s 2014 Game of the Year and it received the BAFTA Award for Best Game at the 2014 British Academy Video Games Awards.
Destiny’s style has been described as a first-person shooter that incorporates role-playing and massively multiplayer online game (MMO) elements, but Bungie has avoided defining Destiny as a traditional MMO game. Instead, the game has been referred to as a “shared-world shooter,” as it lacks many of the characteristics of a traditional MMO game. For instance, rather than players being able to communicate with all other players in the game or on a particular server — as is the case in many conventional MMO games — Destiny includes on-the-fly matchmaking that allows players to communicate only with other players with whom they are “matched” by the game. To communicate with other players in the game world, players must use their respective console’s messaging system. Time-limited events and modes are also occasionally added or featured in-game. Activities in Destiny are divided among player versus environment (PvE) and player versus player (PvP) game types across the Cosmodrome and the Plaguelands (added with Rise of Iron) on Earth, its Moon, Venus, and Mars. There are also PvP maps for Mars’s moon Phobos and the planet Mercury. A social space on Mercury was added with the House of Wolves expansion, but requires players to go undefeated in the Trials of Osiris Crucible mode in order to access it. Another PvE area, a massive ship called the Dreadnaught that is situated in the rings of Saturn, and two PvE missions on Phobos were added with The Taken King expansion.