What is the Marathon? Bungie’s Destiny 2 sequel, explained | Digital Trends

This week’s PlayStation Showcase presented many surprises, from Square Enixs Foam stars fully Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater remake. The biggest shock, however, came when the Bungies logo appeared on screen. The developer has focused solely on the Destiny series for the last decade, so any new announcement would be significant news. For a moment, the sci-fi trailer felt like a teaser for Destiny 3. The truth would be much more surprising when we see the title of the game: Marathon.

Marathon – Trailer Announcement | Games for PS5 and PC

Your reaction to that revelation was probably very different depending on your age. For younger gamers who only know Bungie as the studio behind it halo AND Destiny, it might look like a new IP. But for those who grew up as PC gamers in the ’90s, it was a triumphant return for an important piece of first-person shooter history. However, the new version of Marathon it appears to be nothing like its predecessors, so it might as well be a new series entirely. Here’s what you need to know about Bungie’s classic series and the whole new direction its modern revival is heading in.

What is the Marathon?

Marathon may not be as well known a shooter franchise as Destiny OR Wolfenstein, but it’s just as important to the history of the genre in its own way. While Bungie wouldn’t become a household name among gamers until 2001 Halo: Combat Evolvedthe studio had made games much earlier, starting with a simple one pong called clone Gnop! in 1990. The developer would experiment with classic Mac OS games in the early 1990s, testing the waters with multiplayer and shooter titles.

He would get his first real success in 1994 with a futuristic first person shooter called Marathon. The sci-fi title puts players in control of a security guard aboard a spacecraft called UESC Marathon, who is on a mission to populate a new planet. Aliens attack the ship and players are paired with an AI called Leela who helps them navigate a labyrinth of corridors. It was a surprisingly narrative-rich experience for gaming at the time, with the story delivered through logs scattered around the ship. Coincidentally, it would be launched the same year as System shocka very similar shooter that would pave the way for the genre.


Its gameplay was typical of shooters of the time, from which it took many design cues Destiny. The series’ most unique innovation, however, came in the form of its multiplayer mode. Marathon it featured a fairly standard deathmatch mode, but would bring something new to the table in the form of maps. While other shooters at the time tended to set battles in single-player campaign stages only, Bungie created smaller maps that were custom-built for multiplayer. This would earn some buzz in the game and set the stage for Bungie to become a leader in the multiplayer shooter space.

It would immediately follow that momentum with a sequel a year later: Marathon 2: Durandal. The main single-player mode would expand on its predecessor with a deeper story and new setting, but the biggest innovation would come from its multiplayer. It would feature six different modes, which were far more ambitious than most shooters of the time. These modes would include the co-op campaign, King of the Hill, Tag, and Kill the Man With the Ball. Infinity Marathonthe third and final game in the trilogy, would include all of this a year later and introduce a level editor tool called Forge.

If you are familiar with haloyou can probably see why Marathon it was important at this point. In many ways, it set the stage for everything Bungie would do with the Halo series. His narrative, about an AI-driven hero fighting an alien war, shares a lot of DNA with Master Chief’s story and all multiplayer features in Marathon they would become the same spinning paper clips halo in a sensation. You do not understand halo without Marathonwhich means you can’t do without the last two decades of first-person shooters Marathon. The genre simply doesn’t exist in its current form without it.

So what is the new Marathon?

With all that history behind it, a throwback to the Marathon the franchise is a big deal on paper. It could signal that Bungie is once again poised to change the shooter genre. However, the upcoming revival may not look anything like those old games, which makes it a bit of a strange project.

Marathon is a multiplayer PVP mining game. While we’ve yet to see gameplay, Bungie has delved into the project in a six-minute video explaining how it ties into the series. Multiple teams of three players, controlling cybernetic mercenaries called Runners, are dropped on the planet Tau Ceti IV, a location central to the original games. The goal is to search the hostile planet for artifacts and weapons that seem to carry over to subsequent runs in some way. The goal is to collect as many artifacts as possible and safely mine them with them to win a round, although teams can kill each other and try to steal the loot.

Marathon – Official behind the scenes interview video

While there’s ostensibly no single-player campaign, Bungie stresses that the narrative is a big part of the game. However, it’s unclear whether he’s using the term to discuss scripted stories or emergent gameplay narratives that emerge during unpredictable rounds. The developer mentions that there will be seasons, a format that Destiny 2 currently uses and that the story will somehow take place during that time. The only vague example he gave was the idea of ​​a player placing an alien key on an altar which opens up a new area for all other players.

There also seems to be an emphasis on fashion. Bungie notes that players will have ways to express themselves visually and describes Runners as stylish. We can probably expect a similar approach to Destiny here, where players can equip and customize equipment.


Details are scarce other than that. Bungie is still working on getting the game to its alpha state and won’t be revealing any further details or showcasing gameplay during that time. Looks like we won’t really be seeing it again until it’s close to release. What we do know, however, is that it’s coming to PlayStation 5, Xbox Series X/S, and PC and will support full crossplay and cross-saves. This detail is surprising considering this is the first game released by the developer since being acquired by Sony.

While the new version of Marathon sounds radically different from its predecessor, seems spiritually related in a few key ways. The setting and the world are shared, but the connection is more philosophical. Bungie is looking to continue that short but important history of multiplayer innovation. Considering the company’s track record, there’s plenty of good reason to be excited about what Marathon has to offer.

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