Destiny, which will be published by Activision, aims not only surpass Halo in cultural mindspace, but will be the equal of Star Wars, The Lord of the Rings and Harry Potter.
Parsons expressed, "We like to tell big stories and we want people to put the Destiny universe on the same shelf they put Lord of the Rings, Harry Potter or Star Wars; we've already seen they do that with Halo. We were extremely proud of what we achieved with Halo... I'm pretty convinced we are going to do it again with Destiny in a way that maybe even Halo never achieved before," adding "What excites me is a number of years ago we talked with Activision and Activision believed in that vision, and that's why we like this partnership so much; these guys know big entertainment as well. They prove it over and over again."
The studio still is focusing on a game, not an icon, however, and it's the gameplay that will make Destiny a hit.
"If they happen in a way that's exciting and helps propel the universe forward, I think that's great. But it's not the ambition and it's not something we set out to do. The thing we set out to do is to build an entertainment universe that people want to be a part of and continue to invest in," Parsons stated "And we didn't think of entertainment in the Halo world either - it was never something that we set out to do. Now, do we think it's exciting if we can help increase people's experience and investment in that universe? Yeah I think that's great. We have a number of talented friends who do more than make games and if there's an opportunity there that helps better the universe or propel it forward, that's awesome."
Destiny is a Bungie game through and through. Parsons says that the developer didn't reach back to Halo for inspiration - it went all the way back to the popular Mac OS shooter Marathon, and it's those two games' DNA that are in Destiny."I would say it looks very Bungie-esque," he notes, "I mean that sincerely. We made Marathon before we made Halo; that's almost 20 years of making games, and when you look at our games I sure as hell hope that they have a Bungie look to them. Bungie created Halo, not the other way around. We love action games, we love the shooter mechanic. We're ambitious; we were ambitious and we brought people online with Marathon... And we successfully brought a shooter to the console and changed the way people played, and we changed it again when we brought out Halo 2 and made it online. And much of the code that was in Xbox Live at the time was code that we collaborated on with the Xbox Live team.
"And we did it again with Bungie.net in terms of bringing people together outside the game. And we did it with user created content for Halo 3. We have every intention on defining what the next generation of shooters look like - that it has a Bungie aesthetic to it to me is exactly what we want to be doing. What's different though is we're taking a huge, for us very logical, leap forward. We are saying, 'How do we take the core mechanic that we're known for, add to it elements like how do you use space magic, how you put deep server-side investment into that while retaining the visceral simulation of a shooter, and then how do we put that into a persistent world?' Those are big challenges that we're taking on, and how do you make all of that super complicated matchmaking happen completely under the surface?"
However, Parsons stresses Destiny is not an MMO - it's just a shooter that happens to be massively multiplayer in a huge world to explore. Bungie designed it that way.
"So when you think about the public space, we think less about MMO attributes and more about stringing together storytelling. Here are a whole bunch of people moving from one place to another but for a moment in time we all come together and say 'hey should we take down the enemies together?' I could just sit there and people watch. I don't need to join in, or I can join and get a reward for it. So for us, it's about how do we bring people together? How do we move social more to the center of what we've done? And I would argue we've been trying to do that for a long time, but the technology and learning wasn't there," he reassured.