Bungie has emphasized that the universe of Destiny will be “alive”. Events may happen in-game that are not necessarily controlled or planned by the developer, which will help to create a dynamic developing experience for Bungie and a dynamic playing experience for gamers. The game’s style has been described as a first-person shooter that will incorporate 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 see and interact with all other players in the game or on a particular server—as is the case in many conventional MMO games—Destiny will include on-the-fly matchmaking that will allow players to see and interact only with other players with whom they are “matched” by the game.
Destiny will incorporate a new game engine that allows global illuminations and real-time dynamic lighting to occur together. An innovation in Bungie’s “hopper” technology, which has been the backbone for Halo’s matchmaking system, will allow better player matchmaking in order to create a more natural experience in either cooperative or competitive multiplayer modes.
Destiny is set seven hundred years into the future in a post-apocalyptic setting following a prosperous period of exploration, peace and technological advancement known as the Golden Age. In a universe where humans have spread out and colonized planets in the Solar System, an event known as “the Collapse” saw the mysterious dissolution of these colonies, the end of the Golden Age, and mankind teetering on the brink of extinction. The only known survivors of the Collapse are those living on Earth, who were saved by “the Traveller”, a white, spherical celestial body whose appearance centuries before had enabled humans to reach the stars. The Traveller now hovers above the last remaining human city, and its presence allows the “Guardians of the City”—the last defenders of the human race—the ability to wield an unknown power, only referred to as “The Light”.
Upon mankind’s first attempt to repopulate and reconstruct after the Collapse, it is discovered that hostile alien races have occupied mankind’s former colonies and civilizations and are now encroaching upon the City. The player takes on the role of a Guardian of the City, and is tasked with investigating and destroying these threats before humanity is completely wiped out.
Destiny will center around the journey of the Guardians, the last defenders of humanity, set to protect Earth’s last city. Guardians will be divided into three distinct races: Humans, Awoken, and Exo. Humans are described as being relatable, tough, and uncomplicated. Bungie drew its inspiration for the Human race from military, professional athletes, and action heroes. Awoken, described as exotic, beautiful, and mysterious, were inspired by fictional depictions of elves, vampires, ghosts, and angels. Exo are described as being sinister, powerful, and tireless. Exo were inspired by the undead, Halo’s Master Chief, and the titular character of The Terminator. The playable races will be purely cosmetic and will have no effect on the game mechanics of Destiny.
Players will also be able to choose a “class” to go alongside their race. There are three classes available to players in Destiny: Hunters, Warlocks, and Titans. Hunters are a reconnaissance-based class meant to be reminiscent of the classic “bounty hunter.” Bungie cites as influences Star Wars’s Han Solo and classic characters from old Western films such as Clint Eastwood’s Man with No Name. Warlocks combine weapons with special powers from “the Traveler”, and are meant to be a form of “space wizard”. The Warlock class is influenced by the Star Wars series’ Jedi Knights, The Lord of the Rings series’ Gandalf, and The Matrix series’ Morpheus. Titans, which favor heavy weapons and melee attacks and are intended to be reminiscent of the classic “future soldier”, were inspired by Bungie’s own Halo Master Chief, Stormtroopers from Star Wars, and other “space marines” from science fiction.