Daily Reaction: Happy Birthday Destiny! Bungie’s Shooter Turns 5

PS4

As many of you may know, Destiny is a game that has completely redefined the last five years of my life. Today, September 9, 2019, marks the fifth anniversary of the original game’s release, a momentous occasion that reshaped the face of gaming not just for the millions of people who fell in love with Destiny, but for developers and the future of other games as well.

Before I dive in, I want to acknowledge a few other notable things that share a birthday with Destiny, notably Crash Bandicoot (1996), the Sega Dreamcast (1999), and The Beatles: Rock Band (2009). Have a piece of cake (or a whole cake) for all of them today. Mmmm, funfetti and cream cheese frosting…

As a PlayStation gamer, I’d missed out on the Bungie phenomenon that was Halo, so when I heard that Bungie was working on a multiplatform game, you bet I was interested. Destiny was officially announced at the PS4 announcement in February 2013, only a few months after I started writing for PlayStation LifeStyle. It’d be another year and a half before the game was ultimately released but I followed the game closely during this time.

The Destiny Alpha took place just days after the conclusion of E3 2014, and the Beta just over a month later. Due to my coverage (read: obsession) with Destiny up to this point, I was selected to review the game when it originally launched. Just ahead of the official launch on September 9, I received my physical copy of the game in the mail. Weird to think that used to be the norm. Nowadays, 99% of publishers and developers will just provide digital codes. Due to the early release, I was able to hop in one day early, getting a head start on September 8, where I spent more than ten hours engrossed in that world. Over the next three years, I would spend a more than 1200 hours playing Destiny.

A lot has changed since September 9, 2014. Destiny as a franchise has essentially spanned the entire life of a console generation. Destiny 2 released September 6, 2017 (which has given me another 2000+ hours over the last two years, for a total of more than 3200 hours in five years. That’s 133+ days of playtime).We’re now entering Destiny 2’s third year—and the Destiny franchise’s sixth year—and as we reflect on the past for this game we love, the future in the fight against the darkness has never looked brighter.

For PSLS, I’ve covered every Destiny release and bit of news, from reviewing the very first expansions to this universe, to reading and overanalyzing Luke Smith’s novels of words about lessons learned. I’ve been to the studio multiple times, met and spoken with the passionate developers behind this game, and had my own fair share of criticisms for elements that just didn’t work for me. But Destiny’s never felt like a job to me. It’s a passion. And outside of “work”(trust me, those 3200 hours played are not all billable hours at this point), Destiny has also created countless memories for me.

Bungie Activision split bungie publishing destiny

I’ve made a ton of new friends through Destiny. It’s a huge way I keep in touch with some friends both long distance and close to home. It’s been something I’ve been able to bond with my wife over. In fact, we originally bought her our second Glacier White Destiny PS4 so that we could play together. Destiny is home. It’s comfort food. It’s a place I can come back to reliably and comfortably. It’s been with me through every event in my life for the past five years. Destiny is a hang out on a Friday night. And a Saturday. And probably a bit of Sunday too. I’ll probably get in a few Crucible matches on a Wednesday too, for good measure. You go to the bar on a Friday night, I run a Raid, or Iron Banner, or grind for the latest pinnacle weapon or Triumphs.

Aside from my own personal memories made with Destiny, however, Bungie’s MMO shooter is just a damn good game. The shooting and movement is second-to-none, there’s an incredible and passionate community, and the endgame, though it’s had its ups and downs, has kept players engaged far beyond that of most other traditional games.

Every game touted as a “Destiny-killer” never really manages the same kind of panache as the Bungie original, though tons of games have cribbed UI/UX and certain design decisions from Destiny, oft times for the better of their own game. Some of Bungie’s creative design decisions have permeated the rest of the industry in ways that might not be recognizable, but trust me, its invisible influence is definitely felt. Bungie’s own designs often come from looking at what’s currently working in the industry and adapting, so the studio becomes an essential part of growing and evolving gaming as a whole. Just look at their unique take on the whole free-to-play/Seasonal battle pass model. That constant iteration has made Destiny special from well before day one.

Destiny 2 season pass battle pass seasonal updates

Destiny isn’t just another game. It’s the little moments and the experiences we’ve had throughout. It’s the “you had to be there” stories over the years, from the Loot Cave to Laser Tag Weekend, to just missing that jump and failing Flawless Raider for the fifth time in one weekend. People often try to quantify Destiny by the amount of money spent on it, or by saying they’ll “wait for the complete edition,” but they miss every memory in between that makes Destiny what it truly is moment to moment. It’s also engaging with the game beyond the game; obsessing over lore, engaging in conversations with the community on Reddit and other forums, and the fact that I can literally go for two weeks and wear a different Destiny shirt every day. It’s being on a camping trip and finding cell reception just so that I can preorder the Grimoire Anthology the moment they are available.

I could wax poetic for words and hours about Destiny (and if you follow me work here on the site, you know that for a fact). From Suros Regime (I think that was my first Exotic gun) to Menagerie. From grinding 2500 underpowered Iron Banner kills in one week for an emblem to remembering when Sepiks Prime was the biggest threat us level 8 Guardians had to deal with. It’s been an incredible journey so far, and there’s still so much more to come. Happy birthday Destiny. Here’s to five more amazing years.


Daily Reaction reacts daily to the video game industry. Have suggestions for the column or subjects you’d like us to react to? Let me know in the comments below and be sure to check out previous Daily Reactions for more dives beyond the headlines.

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