I think more than a few of us experienced a moment of panic two years ago upon hearing Bungie had saddled up with mega publisher Activision for the next decade. The Washington-based developer disembarked from Microsoft’s stable only three years prior and, despite retaining its independence, the idea of Bungie signing a long-term contract with a publisher currently in the midst of a very messy lawsuit made me nervous. Would they be treated right? Would they fall victim to the content annualization model promoted by Activision? Would they be forced to craft some bland, brown military shooter?
Activision’s lawsuit against former Infinity Ward founders and Call of Duty creators Jason West and Vince Zampella, though still ongoing, has finally provided the gaming industry something to talk about besides bad business practices. As part of the lawsuit, Activision recently unveiled documents pertaining to its publishing deal with Bungie, which lay out eight continuous years of releases for a new IP, currently referred to as Destiny.
The contract, which can be read in full on the LA Times website, outlines plans for Bungie’s next project. Four major retail releases will occur every other year, starting in 2013 and ending in 2019. During the intermittent years, Bungie will deliver four “major downloadable content expansion pack-type software” for each title beginning in 2014 and concluding in 2020, referred to as Comet. The deal also speaks to numerous additional content and payment options, including “subscriptions, downloadable content, value-added services and micro-transactions.”
If these plans seem overly regimented or too similar to Activision’s juggernaut series, Call of Duty, consider the intended genre. The documents describe Destiny as “sci-fantasy, action-shooter games.” Cited as massively multiplayer titles, Destiny will feature “client-based mission structures with persistent elements.” Rumors of a Bungie-developed MMO have been circulating for over a year now, but this is the first real confirmation of its existence. I’m not sure the game will strictly adhere to the MMO structure, but it won’t be your average sci-fantasy shooter.
The first Destiny title and its expansion are planned to be timed Xbox exclusives. The game will release in Fall 2013 for Xbox 360 as well as its successor, currently called Xbox 720. Afterwards, both Destiny #1 and Comet #1 have the option to migrate to Playstation 3 and Playstation 4 in Fall 2014. The second Destiny and Comet, however, are contracted to be “compatible with the Xbox 360, Xbox 720, and the Sony Playstation 4,” as well as Windows-compatible PCs.
Keep in mind that names and release dates for the successors to Xbox 360 and Playstation 3 have been not confirmed, so take all of this with a (believable but factually unreliable) grain of salt.
Another clause within the contract revealed that Bungie may be at work on a follow-up to their 1994 cult hit, Marathon. The LA Times reported that, under contract, Bungie could “devote no more than 5% of its staff to develop an action-shooter prototype dubbed Marathon.”
Finally, Bungie spoke out about Destiny on its official website Monday night, (sort of) confirming its existence.
“So, yeah. While we’re not ready to show you what we’ve been working on, we can reconfirm that we are hard at work on our new universe. We can’t wait for you to see it.
“See you starside in 2013.”
Source: LA Times