If you have ever tried to observe Destiny over the past six years, you probably wonder how the franchise is still alive and thriving. "How has a franchise that has gone down and up three times still successful?" I think the answer lies in James Cameron's Avatar.
I got my idea after thinking about
The relevant part of that video to this post is that James Cameron dedicated an immense amount of his budget to pre-production. His idea was to create a truly alien species by mixing cultures from all around the world. You might have heard that linguists were hired to create the Na'vi language used in the film. But what's lesser known is that there's a rich, deep lore behind everything in the film and that the Avatar fandom has collated. James Cameron also hired ethnomusicologists to create a new, unique form of music just for his film. (The end result… didn't work out as well as it could have. If you want to learn more watch the video.) All of this work is the reason Disney wants to push out Avatar sequels despite the general public… not really caring about the franchise anymore.
So how does all of this relate to Destiny? Bungie has also spent an immense amount of time and money to flesh out their vision of Destiny, and that work is still being payed off six years later. From what I understand reading the Destiny chapter of Jason Schrier's Blood, Sweat, and Pixels, Destiny has actually been in the works since production of Halo 3 wrapped up. As with all games, I'd recommend reading about the history of the franchise's development. But, once again, what is important to understand now is that Bungie spent all of that time and money developing a franchise no other studio could replicate. The gunplay of Destiny is immaculate. A
was developed to create the identity Destiny's soundscape would build off of. The original Destiny 1 Grimoire is actually a collection of stories written by a former Bungie writer who left before the release of Destiny 1. Despite a loot system that frankly has been forever broken since the launch of the game, all of that pre-production is work still paying off six years into the franchise's history. Destiny's soundtrack is a rich, diverse soundscape that never fails to impress expansion after expansion. Storylines such as the genesis of the Awoken race or the true nature of
Light and Dark are just now being fleshed out.
And, about the loot. I'm not going to sugarcoat and just say that progression in Destiny has been anything less than broken. But I still believe that the immense amount of effort spent in creating the franchise is the only way Bungie has been able to flesh out Destiny's progression to a usable and profitable state. You only need to look at the competitors to Destiny and see that making a good, action MMO/looter shooter is really, really, hard. As Destiny 2's director put it, developing Destiny is a constant, never-ending struggle between the identity of action game (FPS) and RPG. Getting the satisfaction of great gunplay a la Halo while trying the pull off the power fantasy of progression from a traditional RPG is nigh near impossible. Even though Destiny will probably never reach some player's expectations of a FPS World of Warcraft, Bungie have been more successful at achieving that vision than any other studio.
And, ultimately, all of this work has created a franchise that is simply too big to fail. With a diverse, global community made up of millions of active players, Destiny can never be killed. Despite progression falling under some people's expectations, subcommunities of PvP'ers, lore fanatics, speedrunners, and the rest of the gamut will keep on playing Destiny.
All of this has led me to wonder: is there any other video game franchises that have gone under intensive pre-production? I'll be watching the responses below.
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