When Bungie finally revealed its long-developing "Destiny" Sunday, many believed a solid release date was within reach. Leaked pre-order materials posted online the day before pointed to a Oct. 6 release. That's not the case according to an Activision press release sent out Monday.
"Activision reiterated that although Bungie's amazing new world was revealed today, Activision has not included the launch in its 2013 outlook and there should be no speculation or expectation of a different result," the release states.
The publisher's fiscal calendar ends at Dec. 13, 2013, so "Destiny" is certainly not hitting this calendar year. Documents released during Activision's trial against former Infinity Ward heads Jason West and Vince Zampella originally outlined a fall 2013 release date with subsequent titles coming every other year. That contract has obviously been altered.
What little actual gameplay Bungie did show in its unveiling vidoc Sunday looked rough. Though the notoriously reclusive studio has been hard at work on its latest universe since 2009, it appears to be a massive undertaking with MMO-like properties, including a persistent online world. The ambitious nature of the project would certainly dictate a fairly lengthy development process.
But the development time might not be the sole reason Activision opted to "delay" Bungie's upcoming shooter. Arvind Bhatia, an analyst with Sterne Agee, believes that Activision didn't want to cannibalize its "Call of Duty" juggernaut.
"We believe 'Destiny' will likely launch sufficiently away from the next 'Call of Duty' to minimize cannibalization," Bhatia said Tuesday. "They will be smart about the timing so as not to cannibalize 'CoD' sales."
Activision announced a new "Call of Duty" title is coming this fall, to no one's surprise. It would make sense for the publisher to not want to drop both high-profile shooters within a month of each other. But it wouldn't be Activision's first time doing such. It released "James Bond 007: Blood Stone" and "Goldeneye: 007" within a week of "Call of Duty: Black Ops." Bhatia believes Activision sees a much more prosperous future in "Destiny" than it does in the James Bond license.
"It could be a billion dollar franchise," he said.