Destiny 2 (and former Halo) developer Bungie has announced a new game called Marathon at the May 2023 PlayStation Showcase. It will be a sci-fi themed, competitive multiplayer ‘extraction’ shooter, which suggests that its core gameplay will be seeking out valuable goods in teams, and getting out alive.
A striking teaser trailer for Marathon didn’t show any in-game footage, but instead set the tone for its neon-infused sci-fi world, which comes with a dose of early 1990s computer glitch aesthetic – which is very apt.
The reason is that Marathon is actually a return to one of the earliest games in Bungie’s development history, a first-person shooter trilogy for the
Released in 1994, it was a sci-fi shooter series revolving around stopping an alien invasion on a large colony ship (called, you guessed it – the Marathon), and saw two sequels, Durandal and Marathon Infinity released in 1995 and 1996 respectively.
The setting of Marathon (2024) also involves a large ship and a missing colony, though the approach to the game’s premise is decidedly different. Here’s the official description, per Bungie:
‘A massive ghost ship hangs in low orbit over a lost colony. The 30,000 souls who called this world home have disappeared without a trace. Strange signals hint at rumours of mysterious artifacts, long-dormant AI, and troves of untold riches. You are a cybernetic mercenary – a Runner – and your destination is Tau Ceti IV. You are one of many, working solo or with a crew, venturing into the unknown and facing the unimaginable in a fight for survival, for riches, for fame… and for infamy. Who among you will write their names across the stars?’
A mini-documentary released by Bungie reveals that the objects you extract will ‘make your character stronger’.
The game will involve deploying into ‘persistent zones’ where players will be unsure of what they’ll find. The goal is to combine Bungie’s penchant for inherently satisfying gunplay with a sense of ‘dangerous mystery,’ with a narrative arc that unfolds over the course of limited-time seasons.
It sounds like the achievements of one squad within the world of Marathon will also have a ripple effect for others who play, such as opening up access to a new zone. It also seems like there’ll be room for some mind games with other players – developers described sparring other teams, somewhat like DayZ or the Dark Zone areas in The Division.
As a competitive multiplayer experience first and foremost, Bungie also stated that the game would feature dedicated servers, disconnect recovery, and fog of war, as well as a dedicated team internally for security and anti-cheat measures. The game is currently heading toward its first Alpha build, and Bungie remarked that it would be a while before it showed more of the game.
Marathon will be released on PlayStation 5, Xbox Series X/S, and PC, with full cross-play and cross-save functionality planned.