Bellevue, Washington development studio Bungie, best known as the creator of the Halo franchise, has announced an extension of the alpha testing period for their upcoming title, Destiny. Described by publisher Activision as a “shared-world shooter,” the game combines elements of the first-person shooter and massively multiplayer genres in a persistent online world populated with dynamically-generated cooperative and competitive combat missions. While it was initially planned for the game’s servers to shut down in the interim period between its early alpha testing and the larger-scale public beta scheduled to begin on July 17, Bungie announced via Twitter that the alpha period was extended to allow for “dangerous experiments,” allowing players who already have access to the game to continue playing “at their own risk.”
Set in a futuristic world in which the appearance an interstellar object known as the Traveler caused Venus and Mars to be spontaneously terraformed, which in turn prompted an era of massive technological progress and exploration by the human race, Destiny takes place in a metropolis known only as the City – the last remnant of this era left standing after humanity was ravaged by hostile alien entities attracted by the power of the Traveler. Players take on the role of Guardians, elite soldiers whose job it is to safeguard the City by venturing beyond its walls to wage wars against the enemies of humanity as well as to search for information that might explain the origins and purpose of the Traveler.
Much like a typical MMO, players are presented with a choice between three classes, each of which fill a specific role in combat. Titans serve as heavily armed and armored front-line combatants, warlocks utilize arcane knowledge of the Traveler to construct incredible technologies and wield magical power, and hunters focus on high-impact hit-and-run tactics. While each class is designed to play in a manner familiar to any veteran of the action and FPS genres, the three varieties of Guardian each bring unique elements to the table in cooperative settings like traditional RPG classes.
Early reviews of the Destiny alpha have been largely hopeful and positive, with many critics praising the game’s depth and polish at such an early stage in development. Fan reaction to the alpha extension has been likewise positive, although this tune may change depending on just what kind of “dangerous experiments” Bungie has in store for its testers. At any rate, the additional testing is sure to help the developer iron out some kinks in the formula before the game is released to a wider testing audience in July.
Destiny is slated for release on September 9, 2014 on the Playstation 3, Playstation 4, Xbox 360, and Xbox One with a potential PC release at a later date still under consideration by Activision.