For the creative director of surefire blockbuster shooter "Destiny," associating with Bungie's previous standout "Halo" isn't enough -- he's looking at two more recent hits for inspiration.
And some fitting choices have been made, as "Destiny" adopts the type of go-anywhere, do anything, get in all sorts of unpredictable trouble as seen in the "Far Cry" and "Borderlands" games.
"We are absolutely doing things that would be familiar if you've played any kind of open-world game," creative lead Joe Staten told Edge Magazine, name-dropping "Far Cry" in the process, a franchise that has become a curious mix of high-concept metanarrative and emergent gameplay systems, adept at creating moments where players never know what's going to happen next.
"We would be idiots if we didn't look at an awesome game like 'Borderlands' and ask, ‘What are they doing well and how can we try to hit that same ball?' I have never played a game where I have such a great attachment to my gun as I do in 'Borderlands,'" continued Staten.
And that attachment's an even greater achievement considering that "Borderlands" prides itself on chucking almost endless weapon variants at its players.
The series made a splash in 2009, with a fresh art style and a neat line in shooting, looting and smartmouthed hooting that established an enthusiastic fanbase.
A sequel, released in 2012, was notable for expanding on the first's ambitions, optimizing multiplayer access, delivering tons of optional cosmetic upgrades and several sizable storyline expansions, while toying with players' psychological reward mechanisms by introducing several conventions lifted from lucrative free-to-play online adventures, potentially road-testing a rumored "BorderWorlds" MMO.
But where might Washington-based Bungie take "Destiny" players that "Borderlands" and its ilk didn't, wouldn't or couldn't?
"You can party up with a group of people and then go around with that group, but never in 'Borderlands' are you going to collide with a group of other people doing it too," suggests Staten.
"We don't do that just once or twice in [Destiny], we do that all the time, everywhere. You see other people on the horizon, hear gunfire over a hill and see space magic flying behind some trees."
That online component, that magic mix, calls to mind older online shooters such as "Tribes" and "PlanetSide," both of which have modern counterparts in "Tribes: Ascend" and "PlanetSide 2," as well as a spiritual successor in "FireFall."
And that's the arena that "Destiny" will be stepping into when it launches sometime in 2014, on PlayStations 3 and 4, Xbox 360, Xbox One and, hopefully, PC.