Hello! As you may already have seen elsewhere, we in the press have had no prior access to Bungie's online shooter Destiny before its global launch date tomorrow. There was no review event, and though review copies have been sent out, they're useless until the servers are turned on.
As a result, we won't have a review to share with you today or tomorrow. And please bear with us, because we want to test the game thoroughly before publishing our verdict. How long our review will take exactly, we're not sure - that will become apparent as we play the game this week. But we're not going to rush it.
The decision not to allow early reviews appears to have been Bungie's, and the developer's reasoning is explained by spokesman DeeJ in the latest weekly update on Bungie.net. In short, Bungie argues that the game can't be experienced to the full unless it's running on fully populated servers.
"After thousands of internal playtests, an internal Alpha, and a public Beta, we've learned that Destiny isn't Destiny without the most crucial component to our living, social world: You... We explored several options to populate the world for reviewers. Our team estimates it would take thousands of gamers to ensure each potential public space in Destiny would be populated - that every activity would be accessible at all hours of the day and night. Where on Earth would we be able to find thousands of gamers?
"The answer, again, is you. So, reviews of Destiny will wait for your arrival... We fully anticipate seeing day one reviews from folks who decide to kick the tires, but don't have the time or patience to take our ride for a nice, long road trip. Some of you might wait to pick up a copy until you read the final verdict from your most trusted review house. We're okay with that. We've created something we're proud of."
We're okay with that too. Our policy is not to finalise reviews of always-online games until after we've played them on live, fully populated servers, under the same conditions as players. (Earlier this year, we provided a launch review of Titanfall, without score, from a review event, which we later updated and added a score to after live testing.) So Bungie's decision not to allow early reviews of its game tallies with our own feelings about best practice for online game reviews. We've been reviewing massively multiplayer games and other online PC games in this way for years; Bungie's stablemate Blizzard has a similar policy, arguing that its games simply don't exist in final form until their servers are open to the public.
So our review will be ready, as they say, when it's ready. That said, a few of us are going to be playing the game this week, so look out for early impressions very soon, as well as live streams and more.
And take a moment to rejoice - because video games are back in season!