Activision, the company behind series such as Call of Duty and Skylanders, is preparing Destiny, their newest exclusive, for a Mars landing. Like their other franchises, this one will bring plenty of single and multiplayer action with seamless co-op on several different planetary landscapes advertised as a major draw. Anyone that played the past alpha was let loose on post-apocalyptic Russia to scavenge for supplies and fight the hoards, but it was only during a short period of their beta where gamers saw a glimpse of a Mars locale on a multiplayer map that offered a glance at a lost human settlement.
Destiny will be going to several planets with Mars and Earth being the preparatory teases for other awaiting areas of darkness. Mars itself will have different enemy types that Earth or any other planet; red deserts on the red planet are crawling with Vex—time-traveling robots and the Cabal—lumbering humanoid creatures. Their missions are unclear, but the main antagonist, The Darkness, may just have a hand in the destruction of the human colony on Mars. Guardians will be fighting through ruins of a once bustling city space that will serve as the main area for each Mars story, raid, and strike mission.
The beta preview of Mars showed off a scientific center that had both spacious areas and tight corridors that forced players to adapt mid-fight. Out of the eleven-day beta test, minus a day for maintenance on servers, their Mars map was only available for a couple hours as an advertised promotion, and those characters built through leveling and gear within the beta will not be transferred to the full game. With an official post, Bungie revealed that characters and vaults have been completely wiped for the retail release. Then came reassurance: “On September 9th, you can create a Guardian who will keep you company for a good, long time.”
Among the two expansions that Bungie, the same studio behind the original Halo trilogy, are working on for their project, the first has already been named The Dark Below. That name has been trademarked since last year and was assumed to be related to another Activision property, such as World of Warcraft or Diablo III, before it was revealed under a Bungie banner. The expansion is named so justly according to Bungie Director of Production Jonty Barnes: “We call it an expansion…it has one of all the activity types from Destiny.” He promised that there would be new gear, weapons, armor, and other pieces, but said some of the environments would be reused from the main game to “create spaces where people can get together and cooperate.”
Destiny, after all this preparation for Mars and beyond, will be coming to Xbox One, Playstation 4, Xbox 360, and Playstation 3 on Sept. 9. The Dark Below expansion currently is slated for a December release while the second, unnamed expansion is rumored for early next year. Destiny has already set the record for Gamestop preorders for any new IP, and Best Buy has had to turn away further preorders because of the large number of requests. Those looking for more information can visit the Destiny homepage.
By Myles Gann