Why are you reading this? Why aren’t you playing Activision’s Destiny – the biggest baddest bestest shooter that ever big-bad-best-shot – right now? Have you been watching the live streams of the game that are floating around the ‘Net? I bet you have, since clearly you don’t already own it. Clearly you’re not engaged with the gaming zeitgeist and are culturally barren. We can’t review it yet, because… well, because it’s a game that requires a bit of time to critically assess, and because we’re in the same boat as you.
Also, there’s one review copy and it’s totally not going to me and I’m totally not miff about it. Activision’s Destiny isn’t an MMO but a shared-world shooter, which means that if you shoot something, someone else will cry about it. But who cares about that? We need to write something about Activistion’s Destiny. It’s launched today, didn’t you know? Unless you’re a True Gamer and got your copy early and changed the servers to Australia so you could stream about your experience and tell everyone that they should totally wait for your review, the one you’re working on in between having so much fun playing right now HOLY SHIT DID YOU SEE THAT WOWZERS.
Feeling left out? Don’t worry, you’re just… responsible. That’s it. Discerning. You’ve probably decided that perhaps you know better than all these people having a good time at launch, these people who’ve jumped into Activision’s Destiny‘s world while it still rests in the fires of player agency: red-hot, malleable, ready to be forged in everyone’s own image. Did we mention that your actions shape the events of the world going forward? That thing you shot and the person that cried about it, they’ll have historical resonance later on. People will remember those tears. It’ll be spoken of in hushed and reverent tones over the course of the ten-year life cycle that’s planned for the game(s).
Of course, someone’s already finished the game in the time it took you to read this. I guess you could join in once all the hard work’s been done. Reading about the greatness of others, instead of aiming for greatness. You might say you’re awaiting greatness when Greatness Awaits™. A straggler in time, one willing to drift with the current rather than shape their
Activision’s Destiny destiny. Or perhaps you’re a PC gamer, but no-one cares about those. Can your PC play Destiny at 1080p and 30 frames per second? Of course it can’t, since it hasn’t been released for the personal computer platform yet. Check and mate, master race.
This isn’t a slam on Activision’s Destiny. Have you seen the ads scattered around this website? Of course it’s not a slam. It’s just that we need to get all this playing out of the way so that we can
get all those hits while everyone’s really eager to be participating in a shared social event prepare a thorough review. The one you should be waiting for but let’s not kid ourselves, you probably already pre-ordered it. Don’t worry, in six months gaming outlets will have opinion pieces that tell you how it was actually a somewhat mediocre co-op shooter with RPG-lite elements with retread alien tropes at best and you’ll wonder what anyone saw in it, although the next DLC expansion is sure to reinvigorate the series. Those opinion pieces will have different authors to the ones who reviewed it because they didn’t get it at launch when it mattered.
What I’m saying is, maybe in the hullabaloo leading up to the launch of one of the most expensive games ever made, we’ve jumped the gun. It’s clear that professional outlets have passionate writers who have been awaiting Destiny as much as the rest of us. That’s great; it’s good to be enthusiastic about a medium you’re covering. But consider the impact you have. Consider, for a moment, whether these live streams and in-progress reviews really serve a valuable purpose; whether you’re actually informing your readers or merely entertaining them.
That’s fine too, but know the difference. There’s caveats abound at the moment, but I wonder if it’s enough. Destiny had an extensive beta, one which I think gave people an adequate taste of it such that we don’t have another SimCity debacle on our hands. But you’ve waited this long, and the game and its progeny are going to be around for a long time. It’s a deep game, and it’s going to take a while to plumb its depths.
Destiny awaits. It ain’t going anywhere.