Halo creators bringing new MMO-style shooter to PC
A document made public as part of the ongoing Activision/Infinity Ward legal proceedings has revealed that Bungie - the studio behind the Halo games - is due to release some of its upcoming games on PC.
According to Bungie's contract with Activision, the studio is due to release four games in the 'Destiny' series between 2013 and 2019, with a DLC series running until 2020. Destiny is described as a 'massively multiplayer-style sci-fantasy action-shooter'.
The first game, due in 2013, is planned for release on Xbox 360 and 'Xbox 720' - or whatever Microsoft decide to call their next console - with PS3 to potentially follow in 2014. What's interesting from our perspective is that the second game is due to arrive on PC. This suggests that Destiny isn't an MMO in the traditional sense. While the various iterations in the franchise could conceivably be expansion packs for one persistent game, the shift in platform suggests a series of full games instead.
The MMO aspect of the game is described as 'client-based mission structures with persisent elements'. That suggests co-op play with online ranking or character progression rather than one big online world, but we won't know for sure until the game is formally revealed.
The contract is an interesting document. It's rare that we see a developer's relationship with a publisher laid bare, and it's even less common to know what to expect from a studio almost a decade in advance.
A few particular stipulations stand out. Bungie are mandated to provide Activision with 'a list of all hidden content and so-called "easter eggs"' prior to the certification of each game. Bungie are well known for burying all sorts of secrets in their games, from jokes to hidden ciphers - hopefully full disclosure won't prevent them from having fun.
Bungie are also promised a bonus of $2.5m if the first Destiny game receives an average review score of 90. According to the LA Times report, The attorney for ex-Infinity Ward bosses West and Zampella has argued that the bonuses granted to studios like Bungie are greater than the ones his clients agreed to, and that their relatively smaller take entitled them to greater control over their franchise. West and Zampella's damages claim for unfair dismissal has now grown to $1bn.
You can read the document in full over at the LA Times.