The Xbox Scorpio Needs A Killer App, And It Should Be A ‘Destiny’ Rival
When the Xbox Scorpio finally launches it needs a killer app. That app won’t be Crackdown 3 or Sea of Thieves, and it almost certainly won’t be a new Halo or Gears of War, as both those franchises had fairly recent launches.
Besides, Microsoft needs new IP in the shooter department. Their other exclusives or timed exclusives on the Xbox One, which ranged from quite good (Dead Rising 4, Titanfall) to pretty mediocre (ReCore, Quantum Break), failed to do leave a mark.
It’s certainly been great to see Microsoft offer up all these exclusives and timed exclusives, none have been franchise material. Those that have—Titanfall, Plants Vs. Zombies: Garden Warfare—have abandoned Xbox exclusivity for the sequels.
What Microsoft and the Xbox Scorpio need is a Destiny rival. They need a modern, innovative shooter that really hooks players, that’s steeped in story and lore to the point they need to hire novelists to do supplemental book franchises.
That’s Halo, you might say, but the Halo brand has faded. And besides, gamers expect a certain type of game from that franchise. What I’m arguing for here is something new and different without all the baggage of a decades-long series.
What Destiny does very well is play on the strengths of online multiplayer in all aspects of its gameplay. While Halo 5 had co-op in its campaign, that co-op always felt forced and a little annoying. I couldn’t just play the game by myself or choose to play with friends (like in Destiny.) Rather, I had to play with three AI companions when playing solo.
Halo also has a strict, linear campaign that’s wholly removed from its multiplayer; the genius of Destiny is blurring those lines and creating a “shared-world” shooter that’s not quite an MMO, but very nearly is.
I don’t think Microsoft should merely ape Destiny’s design, but they should seek to create a franchise that’s unique, exciting and addictive in the same vein as Destiny. A shared-world shooter that allows players to go solo or play with friends seamlessly. This could be sci-fi, modern warfare, steampunk, or some other genre/aesthetic, but it should be developed with franchise potential in mind.
Rather than focus just on creating outstanding visuals, the focus here should be on inputs and gameplay. Truly interesting AI, precise gunplay and addictive feedback loops. Couple that with some great level design (points at Titanfall 2) filled with puzzles, platforming and epic boss fights, and you have yourself an exclusive worth buying an Xbox over.
These are broadstrokes ideas, obviously, but something along these lines, with all the marketing and hype we saw with Destiny, could be a huge win for Microsoft. They have the money, they may as well spend it.
I’d only suggest that all that glitters is not gold, so hire some really good writers, artists and composers to make the game truly great. Competition is fierce in video games now. The times demand excellence at all costs.
(P.S. I know that Destiny is a cross-platform game that’s also on the Xbox One. I simply think that the Xbox has always been the premiere location for shooters, even cross-platform shooters, and that’s no longer the case.
Sony may not have an exclusive shooter franchise that rivals Halo either—Killzone doesn’t count—but Sony doesn’t depend on shooters like Microsoft has traditionally, focusing more on third-person action games like Uncharted and God of War.)