THE 'MYTHIC SCI-FI' WORLD OF DESTINY [1/?]
This Week in Science Fiction
Summer is upon us, friends — the air is dense, the sun is scorching, and the reasons to remain inside are stacking up higher each and every day. However, if you’re the type to enjoy ‘weather’ and ‘sunshine’, you might’ve been away from your computer just long enough to miss these bits of news that were floating around the web this past week.
- Warner Bros. has wisely sought the help of Bioshock writer Ken Levine to pen the remake of Logan’s Run. Insisting that he won’t be diverting his attention from his home at Irrational Games, the Logan’s Run remake is said to be a “passion project” for Levine, and I for one am absolutely thrilled to see such a talented writer revitalizing this compelling and thrilling dystopian tale.
- The newest season of everyone’s favorite sci-fi sitcom, Futurama, premiered last night on Comedy Central with an hour long episode and a new one set to air each Wednesday at 10pm EST. Strap in for some rollicking good times with your favorite interstellar delivery crew, folks. Who knows how much longer they’ll be around?
- News of the latest Star Wars films has been scarce, and fans are grasping at any news regarding the franchise that comes their way. Enter: the casting call. An agency in the UK has begun scouting for actors to star in the upcoming Episode VII. The character descriptions are as follows:
- A young man aged between 20 and 25, witty and smart, fit but not classically handsome.
- Man in late twenties, also fit, but this one is handsome and confident.
- Late teenage girl, independent, good sense of humour, also… physically fit.
- Second young female, also late teens, tough, smart and physically fit.
- Man in his forties, obviously physically fit, this one is a military type.
- A man of around thirty or so, this one is an intellectual type.
- Finally, a guy aged around seventy, strong opinions and tough.
George Lucas did make mention that we’d be seeing some of the old gang this go ‘round, but it seems anything other than that is pure speculation at this point, stay tuned for any further developments.
Destiny Unveiled: Details On Bungie’s “Shared World Shooter”
Bungie has returned from their three-year video game hiatus to show us a project so utterly ambitious, its success could mean changing the console shooter as we know it from here on out.
So, what is Destiny? Bungie likes to think of it as “mythic science fiction” in a massive, always-online world. But we’re not allowed to call it an MMOFPS, despite how fitting it sounds. The ingredients may all be there — gigantic open-world, instantaneous co-op, in-game currency to unlock better gear, the ability to embark on raids…But, no, MMO doesn’t fit the bill according to Bungie. Despite the need for persistent online-access, publisher Activision promises there’s no subscription fees, and Bungie claims the amount of players you’ll encounter has a controlled cap, shirking MMO standards.Bungie prefers to call it a “shared world shooter” (think Borderlands on a larger scale).
Players don the role of a Guardian, warriors tasked with protecting the last of human civilization. Drawing their power from the moon-shaped “Traveler” floating above Earth’s last city, Guardians can evoke class-specific skills to thin the alien onslaught attempting to bloody humanity. Three such classes were revealed: the Titan, a brute with a focus for guns, big ones; the Hunter, a lithe infiltrator with a knack for sneaking and a sure-shot sniper; and the Warlock, a mage imbued with the Traveler’s decidedly supernatural power.
When touching on the sheer scope of the game, Bungie revealed players will have to think big. Not only can you traverse amongst the ruins of Earth’s once-great cities — locations like the swamp infested Old Chicago and the “European Dead Zone” — but your exploits encompass the whole of our solar system with customizable spaceships bouncing you from planet to planet (while Bungie hinted at space combat, it was mum on whether or not we’d take control of our vessels).
Each locale offers you the chance to create your own “Legend,” a set of missions that compose a story molded by your actions. These Legends can be tackled by your lonesome or you can better your chances with Guardians you meet, randomly generated in your session seamlessly and unobtrusively (think Journey with a spot of the ol’ ultra violence). Bungie made it a point that Destiny’s story isn’t told, but found; players having to actively seek, or even shape, the narrative and lore through discovery and completed Legends. How that works is anyone’s guess since Bungie was far from clear on the subject.
And that same obscuring, self-perpetuated fog hides the rest of Bungie’s grand effort. We know to expect Destiny on both current and next-gen technology (PS3, Xbox 360, and whatever’s around the corner) but Bungie is dodgy about when, though they’re sure cross-platform online play is being ruled out. We get the general premise, and a bunch of conceptual art to boot, but the public hasn’t seen minute one of gameplay footage. This may only be the first reveal, but it seems the meatiest of details are purposely being withheld. Though, mission success if it was Bungie’s intention to make me crave more.
The general assumption was that we’d see Destiny release before the year’s out, but with critical information lacking and two of the four consoles it’s intended for still not public knowledge, it appears we’ll be waiting quite awhile yet before we experience this shared world shooter. From what we’ve seen and heard today, though, it looks worth the wait.
Star Trek (PC/PS3/X360 - April 23rd, 2013)
As you can see, the Namco Bandai published bro-op shooter based around J.J. Abram’s updated revival of the Star Trek universe has received an official date. Whew. It took almost everything I fucking had not to write “is phasing into stores this Spring.” Literally everything.
Usually, a game adapted from a movie license would earn a hearty shrug from me (especially when its box art is this grotesquely hard on the eyes), but I can’t deny I’m interested to see what developer Digital Extremes manages to do with the property. Their work on The Darkness II, which released all the way back in February, resonated strongly enough to slip into the number ten slot on my Top Picks of 2012 list.
If Digital Extremes can muster up as much devotion and creativity as they put forth into adapting The Darkness comics, then Star Trek is going to turn some heads when it drops next year, abysmal box art and all (look at this two-toned Photoshop nightmare again; if Kirk isn’t channeling Zoolander here than I’m changing my prescription).
Microsoft Patents Holodeck Technology
We heard tell a few months back that Kinect sensors were being used to replicate holograms for medical professionals and the like, but now it seems that Microsoft has deemed us mortals worthy enough for their state-of-the-art laser technology, having filed a patent on a device which could simulate a virtual environment right in your own living room.
Rumors have been circulating that the latest Kinect hardware will come in the form of 3D glasses, tentatively titled Fortaleza, which would be able to recognize and give impressions of three-dimensional objects in your environment. The glasses are purportedly intuitive enough to tell which way you’re looking and generate simulation based on the wearer’s movements. In conjunction with a 3D depth camera mounted on your television, the senors use infrared light patterns to turn your living room into an entirely alien environment.
To quote the patent:
"Interactive media experiences, such as video games, are commonly delivered by a high quality, high resolution display. Such displays are typically the only source of visual content, so that the media experience is bounded by the bezel of the display. … Even when focused on the display, the user may perceive architectural and decorative features of the room the display is in via the user’s peripheral vision. Such features are typically out of context with respect to the displayed image, muting the entertainment potential of the media experience. … Further, because some entertainment experiences engage the user’s situational awareness (e.g., in experiences like the video game scenario described above), the ability to perceive motion and identify objects in the peripheral environment (i.e., in a region outside of the high resolution display) may intensify the entertainment experience.
In short, this patent is aiming to make your game play much more immersive, to the point of simulated reality. If this is any indication regarding the specs on the latest edition of the Xbox 720, Microsoft fanboys had best hold on to their hats. These advancements coming with the latest wave of next-gen consoles almost seems too far-fetched to be real, but I’ll believe it when I playing it.
SDCC Exclusive Dark Horse Lithographs by Anthony Palumbo