Big news dropped this morning. Thanks to some open documents from Activision’s on-going court case with West and Zampella, details have slipped on the publisher’s agreement with ex-Halo developer Bungie, revealing the studio’s ‘Destiny‘ project and much more.
Nicely summarised over on NeoGAF, Destiny is the code name of what is to be the first of four science fiction shooters to be published by Activision. Built as a massively multiplayer style series, games are expected to release in 2013, 2015, 2017, and 2019, the two year cycle stop-gapped by expansion packs to release in 2014, 2016, 2018, and 2020. Though all four main games will be retail, each will make use of digital content in the form of DLC, micro-transactions and the aforementioned expansion packs.
Likely due to a deal with Microsoft, the first Destiny title will release as a timed exclusive on the Xbox 360 around September next year and, lining up with rumours and projections, as an enhanced edition for Microsoft’s next generation system, listed in the documents as the Xbox 720. A PlayStation 3 release of Destiny may release in the early months of 2014. Following games will then target a simultaneous releases across Xbox 360, Xbox 720, PlayStation 4, and PC, though the contract notes that SKUs may be dropped based on projected sales and marketability.
On the business side of things, numerous clauses in the contract give Activision authority to cancel the four year game plan if the first Destiny title does not break five million sales within the first six months, or for any reason after the second expansion pack is released in 2016. Additionally, a US$2.5 million bonus to Bungie depends on the GameRanking’s average of Destiny after thirty days of release, Activision requiring a minimum review average of 90/100.
And that’s Destiny, arguably the first big spill of details for what will ultimately be a next generation franchise. As a side, the documents also confirm Bungie to have dedicated a small group of staff to work on a new Marathon game. Younger gamers may not be familiar with the title, but Marathon was a 1994 first person shooter developed by Bungie (their second title!), and many consider it part of the Halo universe. Whether or not a new Marathon sees the light of day is unknown at this point.