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'Destiny: The Taken King' Combines 3 Different Video Game Genres


If summer is for Hollywood blockbusters, fall is when the video game industry brings out its big guns, and big swords and even gods.


UNIDENTIFIED NARRATOR: All actions have consequences...


UNIDENTIFIED NARRATOR: ...And ours have angered a god.

CORNISH: That's the trailer for "Destiny: The Taken King." It's a massive expansion of the online sci-fi game launched last year by Bungie, which originally developed "Halo" games, and it's been hotly anticipated by gamers. Paul Tassi writes about gaming and technology for Forbes. He's here to talk about it.

Welcome to the program.

PAUL TASSI: Hey, thanks for having me.

CORNISH: So for those of us who are not avid gamers - basics of the plot (laughter) for "Destiny?"

TASSI: Basics of the plot. The plot is, essentially, you're a guardian who is an armored hero with a gun who is tasked with defending the solar system. And you fly to Mars, Venus, Earth and the moon. And there are a bunch of alien races that are invading and trying to kill the last survivors of Earth so you have to kill them back, essentially (laughter).

CORNISH: So it sounds like fun. It also is pretty complicated, right? I mean, I know you've written that there's a lot of appeal to the way the game is built.

TASSI: Yeah, it is. And on consoles, there's kind of pretty much never been anything like it 'cause it combines three different genres that normally are not all three of them mashed together. It's a first-person shooter, called an FPS. That means you're walking around in first-person mode shooting enemies. That's combined with an MMO, which is a multiplayer massive online game, where a bunch of people - hundreds - are thrown in a world together and they cooperate, they fight against each other, they explore big, open spaces. And then finally there's the RPG element, which is a role-playing game, meaning that you invest time into your character to build it up and acquire new gear and get new abilities and stuff like that. So all three of those have combined, and you've got a lot of different fans from each genre to come and enjoy "Destiny."

CORNISH: How big is the community around "Destiny?"

TASSI: It's hard to pin down exact size numbers, but last I read, there was I think 20 million "Destiny" accounts made. That doesn't necessarily mean there's 20 million players 'cause you can have a few accounts, but it's a very significant amount.

CORNISH: So people have a love-hate relationship with this game, right? It's actually divisive.

TASSI: Yeah, it is. People love the way it plays, but they're not as much a fan of the story and some of the decisions that Bungie makes during development.

CORNISH: Now, this expansion includes some new missions, more characters - and I understand you've been (laughter) up most of the day playing. What's your review?

TASSI: Yeah, I woke up I think at about 5:30 a.m. 'cause it went live at around 4 a.m. It's going to be a little while before I can form a full review because it's just - it's too much stuff to be gotten done it. But my first impressions of it are very positive. Bungie's been listening to fans and adding things that they want to see and creating a lot more ways to engage players and keep them playing.

CORNISH: Still, they are preparing for, I understand, 10 years of plot.


CORNISH: Are you ready for that?

TASSI: I think so. It's a big investment, but it kind of encourages you to keep playing the game as is because you know you're kind of just putting in the time for something that's going to last a while.

CORNISH: Paul, you're a contributor at Forbes and you work from home. Do I need to say - to use, like, air quotes there when I say work from home today? I mean, are you basically (laughter) playing games today?

TASSI: That's always the debate, is, if I'm playing games, is that technically working? But I don't know. I mean, it gets - it means I have a good job where I can do something enjoyable yet still have it count for work, too. (Laughter).

CORNISH: Paul Tassi. He writes about gaming and technology for Forbes.

Thanks so much and happy gaming.

TASSI: Thank you. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

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