Five Reasons Destiny Has Already Won Game of the Year

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PlayStation owners have been clamoring for a Bungie-made game for more than a decade. The developer of Micorosoft’s Halo series, Bungie has been seen as a one-trick pony for quite some time. That stereotype will soon be proven wrong, and PlayStation owners will be able to debunk it themselves, when the Destiny release date rolls around on Sept. 9.

The hype for Destiny is running at a clip that even a years-old franchise would love to have. Having concluded a successful beta and negotiated a sweet glacier white PS4 bundle with Sony, there’s little doubt Destiny will set sales and multiplayer records in spite of being a brand-new IP.

Destiny will undoubtedly end 2014 as a game-of-the-year contender. To some gamers, Bungie’s new franchise may have already been penciled-in for that honor. Such decisions won’t be made until December or even January, of course, but here are five reasons Destiny has already won Game of the Year in the minds of thousands, if not millions, of gamers.

1) Destiny will out-Halo Halo. The irony of Microsoft releasing Halo: The Master Chief Collection in November is not lost on us, nor should it be lost on anyone who owns an Xbox One. Bungie is responsible for creating the main reason Microsoft’s first Xbox sold well, and it remains the Xbox platform’s highest-profile series. The studio could very well be responsible for the Xbox One’s best-selling game in 2014 as well — even though it’ll also appear on PS3 and PS4.

The Master Chief Collection will sell well, there’s little question about that. But it’s still a remastered collection of games we’ve already played, whereas Bungie’s latest game, Destiny, is completely fresh. Games have evolved since “Combat Evolved,” and Destiny is a prime example of Bungie’s evolution along with them. Sure, certain elements in Destiny borrow from Bungie’s Halo history. That much was clear in the Destiny beta. But the overall experience is fresh and new, and its multiplayer elements could very well prove more popular than Halo’s.

2) Destiny is an “MMO Light” — without the Monthly Fee. So yeah, about those multiplayer elements. Console gamers who haven’t experienced a massively multiplayer game will find themselves amazed by Destiny. Although Destiny’s seamless “campaign to co-op to competitive multiplayer (and back again)” experience has been seen before on multiple racing games, it’s not been accomplished flawlessly in the shooter landscape. Destiny hopes to change that.

The fact that this “MMO light” experience is coming to consoles without the normal monthly MMO fee is nothing short of astounding. Frankly, The Elder Scrolls Online had better watch out. Skyrim is my favorite game of all time, and I was prepared for TESO to assume that crown. Then the Destiny beta hit, I loved every minute of it, and I was physically distraught when Bungie shut down the beta servers. All of that multiplayer interaction, co-op missioning and open-world freedom, but without the monthly fee? Sign me up twice — and millions of other gamers along the way.

3) 4.6 Million Beta Players Can’t be Wrong. Hype is hype, and when this many people play a beta you know you’ve got something special. To be fair, Bungie opened the Destiny beta to everyone with an Internet connection, not just Xbox Live Gold or PlayStation Plus subscribers, which dramatically increased the number of people who could experience Destiny for themselves. With that said, it allowed Bungie both to test the game’s servers and to get a little direct-marketing campaign going for a few days.

Though it’s not a foregone conclusion, games of the year often strongly correlate to top-selling titles. There were already millions of pre-orders for Destiny, and the beta’s excellence only added to that number. Top sales plus top quality plus crazy hype always equals a fast-track to game of the year contention.

4) It’s a Radical New Franchise Surrounded by Sequels and Iterations. There are plenty of awesome games in the Q3 and Q4 pipeline, but some of the best are “old favorites.” Dragon Age Inquisition. Assassin’s Creed: Unity. Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare. Far Cry 4. All great games coming soon, but all parts of an existing IP. Only Sunset Overdrive, The Evil Within, The Crew and Drive Club stand out as must-have original franchises at this point, yet as excellent as they may be none of them realistically has a shot at Game of the Year.

Likewise, the aforementioned Halo: The Master Chief Collection is a big collection with millions of fans already built-in. I, for one, am looking very forward to it. But compilations are generally reserved for games that are already game of the year editions; they don’t normally win GOTY on their own. As massive as it may be, Destiny isn’t a compilation. It’s its own glorious beast.

5) Gamers have short memories. Excellent though they may be, Titanfall and Watch Dogs seem too far in the rear-view mirror to overcome the accolades machine of Destiny. People have a way of forgetting Spring when end-of-the-year awards roll around. Even summertime games like Watch Dogs can get lost in the Q3 and Q4 deluge. Unless a game’s a massive commercial hit — which Titanfall didn’t achieve, though not necessarily through any fault of its own — it’s probably going to be overlooked. Everyone expected Titanfall to be the second coming of Call of Duty, but for several reasons it didn’t quite hit the mark. Watch Dogs was great in its own right too, but if all things are equal in quality and sales, the most recent/familiar almost always wins. Destiny will certainly have recency in its favor.

So is all of this to say I think Destiny being named Game of the Year is a foregone conclusion? No. I admit that it’s one of my most-anticipated games of the year, something I didn’t really realize until experiencing the beta, but that doesn’t mean it’ll go home with the proverbial gold. Does it stand a strong chance? Absolutely, for the reasons above and I’m sure several others.

What do you think? Does Destiny have “Game of the Year” written all over it? Or are there other games that stand a better chance of excelling in gameplay, sales, hype and longevity? Share your thoughts, and your feedback on the above five points, in the comments section below.

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