Any way you spin it, $500M is a lot of money.
A budget of this magnitude is completely unprecedented. In fact, the only game that even came close to this $500M budget was "Grand Theft Auto V", which came in around $265M, just over half of "Destiny"'s budget. And that was for an established franchise. The same is true for the four runner-ups: "Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2" at $200M, "Star Wars: The Old Republic" also at $200M, "Final Fantasy VII" at $145M, and "Max Payne 3" at $105M.
So what is it about "Destiny" that has Activision ready to shell out really big bucks?
At this point, it's hard telling. While much of the budget is going towards marketing the game, the developers have said that they want "Destiny" to be a game that stands the test of time, the kind of game that players can come back to and experience over and over.
The world of "Destiny" is going to be expansive, with many destinations and variations on the gameplay. The trailer footage that's been released thus far doesn't give us much in the way of specifics, but it does draw up some notable comparisons. The characters, ships and weapons are reminiscent of BioWare's hit "Mass Effect" trilogy. The barren, dystopian landscape might remind some of Gearbox Software's "Borderlands". And the vast, open landscape draws relatively obvious comparisons to Bethesda's "Skyrim".
Everything that's been released regarding "Destiny" thus far makes one thing clear: this game is a massive undertaking and is likely to be a new kind of open world gaming that will keep developing over the next decade, and if Activision's financial vote of confidence is anything to go by, it's going to be spectacular.