Destiny: The Taken King (otherwise known as Destiny 1.5) has been causing something of a stir in the gaming community. Simultaneously angering and exciting players the expansion that launches almost exactly a year after Destiny first arrived is going to be game-changing in every sense of the word.
Destiny: The Taken King pits players up against a god-like foe Oryx.
To try and understand why, it’s important to look at how Destiny has evolved as a game since launch.
Released in September 2014, Destiny set out with one single goal: to gain players and then somehow keep them for up to two years. To do this it needed to form a relationship with millions of players around the world. Effectively, it wanted you to start ‘dating’ it.
Well on the first date Destiny wasn’t exactly great at table conversation but ultimately you forgave it in favour of the fact that after dinner it took you to a bar and gave you more shots than you knew existed.
Then there was the second date, and this time Destiny played on its strengths. It did less talking, instead it invited you to a trendy mate’s party where the music was slightly repetitive but you didn’t mind because you invited your own mates and ultimately at the end of it you got a cheeky snog.
Finally there was the all-important third date. This is where things took a hit. Why? Because what Destiny did was take you shopping. “Life isn’t all about the stuff you own” you said, but still Destiny insisted on taking you to designer shops where you’d begrudgingly come to the conclusion that in today’s world, material things really do ‘level you up’ in life.
Well we’re now past that awkward third date and Bungie knows that if it’s going to get a fourth, it needs to get those shots back out, make you breakfast in the morning and then spend the day in the park walking and yes, talking.
Enter The Taken King, a date night so crucial that it has the potential to completely re-write the last three dates and replace them with one night of great chat, all the shots and a party so good that you’re now refusing future party invites because ultimately they just won’t be as good.
Materialism is great, sure, but wouldn’t it be even better if materialism came as a reward of life experiences? Well The Taken King will do just that.
Gone is Destiny‘s bizarre practise of only letting you progress past level 20 by getting gear. Instead this is all about the fun times, primarily the focus being that the more fun times you have, the higher your level will get. Experience-based levelling is now standard all the way from levels 1-40.
Next up is Destiny‘s chat. If we’re honest it wasn’t great. Table conversation is important so if you end up leaving the restaurant remembering more about how shit the wallpaper was then clearly something went horribly wrong.
Well The Taken King is fixing that as well by replacing Game of Thrones star Peter Dinklage as the voice of lead character ‘Ghost’.
‘Ghost’ is one of the key characters in Destiny.
Having been criticised for his wooden delivery (hardly fair when you see some of the script), Bungie has replaced him with video game veteran Nolan North, a man who knows how to squeeze every last drop of emotion from some words on a page.
This is a no half measures affair though – not only is North recording new dialogue but he’s actually replacing all the dialogue that Dinklage recorded for the original game as well.
Actor Peter Dinklage portrayed ‘Ghost’ in the original Destiny game.
Harsh? Maybe, but it’s a move that’s necessary if Destiny wants to maintain an emotional bond between its players and their characters. No one would have listened to the Harry Potter audiobooks if they’d originally been read by Marvin the Paranoid Android.
While my already thin date analogy could be stretched further with the weapon changes that are taking place I think I’ll leave it there.
The fact is that whether they like it or not, The Taken King is Destiny‘s much-needed ‘reset’ button. Destiny was always really good, but this has the potential to make it great. This could be the date that ticks all the boxes.