What exactly is Destiny? Right now, it's hard to say, but everything we do know points to it being something very, very special indeed. Bungie, the developer who created Halo, hasn't created an all-new world since we took our first steps on that fantastical ring planet on the original Xbox well over a decade ago - a decade that was shaped by the developer as it defined console shooting, and went on to redefine it with subsequent Halo games. It's probably worth paying attention to this one, then.
Bungie was snatched away from Microsoft, and from the Halo series, by Activision a couple of years back. Halo 4 proved that the series it left behind is in good hands, but now it's the really exciting part - seeing what exactly it is that Bungie can conjure up when given free creative reign.
The result's strange, fleeting and hard to pin down, and Bungie's unwilling to talk in any concrete terms about what exactly Destiny is, instead indulging in talk of a grander philosophy, and of a wider connected universe and social experience. Which all really obscures the fact that, like Halo, this is essentially going to be about shooting other people in the face.
There's a mythology behind Destiny that'll be familiar to anyone who's ever dipped their toes into the mystical fiction of Halo. Human civilization once occupied the entire solar system in a golden age, before being wiped out by a strange force. Something called The Traveller, an entity that sits in a sphere floating above the Earth, steps in to save humanity at the last moment, and stays to protect the few that are left behind after the devastation.
As humanity starts to get back on its feet, it begins to explore the wastelands that lay beyond the last city on Earth, while hostile forces still lash up against the city walls. And that's where you come in as a Guardian, playing a part in the wider story as you start to explore, and to fight back.
World of Halo
From that central city, which acts like a central hub, you're free to team up and explore the wider world, and the wider worlds as you take flight and reach out to other corners of the Solar System. It's a persistent world that you'll explore, and you'll be able to level up your character and equip them with kit you find and purchase on your travels.
If you think that all sounds very much like an MMO, well, it does - although Bungie's not so keen to make those comparisons. There's a class system - Bungie has mentioned Titans, the vanilla soldier, as well as Warlocks, the magic wielders in Destiny's world - as well as raids, quests and, most importantly, plenty of loot.
An FPS MMO?
But Destiny is still a first-person shooter, and not only that, it's a first-person shooter made by Bungie, proven masters at the art of gunplay. It's a broad, epic game that takes in all of the talent associated with Halo - including rightly adored composer Marty O'Donnell - and backs it up with the grand ambition and scope not seen outside of the likes of World of Warcraft.
There's still plenty more to discover about Destiny, and there are so many questions yet to be answered. How does its world fit together, how do its players interact and how does it work as a single-player or competitive multiplayer game? And when is it even out? There was hope of a 2013 release, though that's since been dashed by Activision.