Destiny is Bungie's first big game launch following the massive success of Halo, and it's first multi-platform release after years of being exclusive to Xbox. It's also what the developer is describing as a "shared world shooter", where you'll be running around in the game with other players at all times, whether you're playing the story or not.
That has led some fans to worry that it means anti-social players will be able to spoil the experience for others by going around killing people who aren't intererested in competitive multiplayer. That won't happen, insists Bungie's community lead and writer Eric Osborne. "It's not emergent in the sense where if you're running through the world on your way to a destination or another activity, somebody can just force you into a PvP match," he told Eurogamer.
"You can't get ganked. You're always electing to jump into that activity. Some of the activities in the game will be rooted in the world itself, like, literally inside of the world itself, where you're going into a place. Others will be woven into the fabric of the story but will have a different entry point into that space. We want to make sure we're building scenarios where players can choose the activity they feel like they want to do right now, but also that it feels like it's part of the overall universe and it has consequence and meaning in the world."
Of course, with the Halo legacy behind it, this doesn't mean that Bungie is sidelining the traditional multiplayer matches. "Competitive multiplayer is a huge focus for the team," says Osborne. "We love it. We play it at launch weekly. We fight about it. We constantly go back and forth. The perspectives vary wildly inside the studio. But it's already got to the point where it's really fun and it's really about tweaking and iterating and playing it every day and finding that spot we think is unique but also feels familiar for those who are into competitive multiplayer that's skill-based."
Destiny launches next year for Xbox One, PlayStation 4, PC, Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3. The first playable beta is planned for early 2014.