Thursday, July 24, 2014

A Dance with 'Destiny'

Taking a break.  Image from PopMatters
This week on PopMatters I have a full dance card and Destiny’s name is penciled in on every line.

I’ve was fortunate to get into the recent Destiny beta and it’s been an interesting experience. I came off a bit cold on the game for reasons Jorge and I discussed on this week’s podcast. I think I’m still uncomfortable with wide tonal swings I experience while playing it.

It’s kind of like if the serious Halo storyline existed alongside the Red vs. Blue universe. One moment you’re hearing about how the golden age of humanity was enveloped by a creeping darkness and the next moment you’re seeing someone named “XxX420SmokezMadBluntzXxX” dance on top of a shop keeper’s table. There’s no hiding the MMO inspiration in Destiny and its coexistence with Bungie’s love of weird sci-fi mysticism is an odd pairing.

It makes me wonder if modern style dancing, whether thematically consistent or not, has just become a requisite feature in quest-based online games. I would hope that there’s something more to it later, but I have my doubts.

Really, the dancing is just a metaphor for the larger balance game Bungie is playing. Rather than separate the multiplayer and fan-driven quirks from the more stoic plot, they’re trying to integrate a sci-fi opera with a player-driven improv show. It’s a bold goal and I hope they’re successful. Unfortunately the beta left me feeling like I had two left feet.

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