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Bungie returns to its roots with ‘Marathon’, a multiplayer shooter

Destiny 2 developer Bungie has announced its first new game in a decade, Marathon, a sci-fi competitive multiplayer 'extraction' shooter.
Marathon Bungie

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.

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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 Apple Macintosh, also called Marathon.

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’.

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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.

Edmond was the founding managing editor of GamesHub. He was also previously at GameSpot for 13 years, where he was the Australian Editor and an award-winning video producer. You can follow him @EdmondTran