Destiny’s late 2014 launch is a good thing
A lot of people seemed a bit shocked that Destiny, Bungie’s highly anticipated game, isn’t releasing until September. “Spring 2014’ was attached to the game’s release after E3 somehow. Thankfully, that’s not going to be the case; the E3 build looked absolutely nowhere complete.
I recall a line from the Bungie staff on hand as they guided the crowd through a gameplay demo in the Activision booth. It was the final day of E3 and undoubtedly the team on stage had been doing the same old song and dance far too many times. “I’m tired of going here,” the developer said. “Instead, I want to go…over there.” The screen turned and looked over a large forest, an empty forest. Empty, though, only because it hadn’t been developed yet. We were told about the future of this promise, how the team was hard at work on making it come to life. But they weren’t there yet.
They were a far ways off.
Having to wait for an anticipated game sucks. Yet we all know of two tired and true sayings: “good things come to those who wait.” “Patience is a virtue.” There’s no denying that Destiny is an ambitious game. Bungie is thinking about the future: what the game will be like in a month, a year, even ten years. This type of thinking isn’t entirely common in game development. Yes, even for games that live off of multiplayer, their shelf lives can run rather short.
Call of Duty games get replaced either year. While Borderlands and Diablo may enjoy continued playtime, their worlds are static. MMORPGs, with an everchanging world and story, don’t think a decade into the future before releasing the game. While Blizzard may be planning the next few expansions to World of Warcraft, it’s hard to imagine them seeing the game become as popular as it did back when it released nine years ago. This planning for the future, this desire to make a living breathing online world that’s worth exploring on a daily, monthly, and yearly basis. This is a new concept to the FPS genre. Heck, this is arguably a new concept to gaming entirely. Sure, MMOs constantly change, but it doesn’t touch everyone unless certain parameters are met. Its change isn’t authentic.
Such ambition often requires plenty of labor. Such labor will require a lot of polish and fine-tuning. More and more high profile games aren’t afraid to release “when it’s ready.” BioShock Infinite, Grand Theft Auto V, The Last of Us and others haven’t been afraid to be delayed a month or two to ensure quality. Coincidentally, those releases allowed the games to release without competition (The Last of Us’ proximity to E3 notwithstanding). The same rings true for Destiny: it’s far away from the noise of Watch Dogs and Titanfall, yet releases before the thunder of the Holiday 2014 lineup. Destiny’s “surprise” September launch is a good thing. The wait won’t be easy, but as we all know, good things come to those who wait.