SAN FRANCISCO: Armies of players joined the virtual fray during a test run of online play for a “Destiny” video game poised to make a blockbuster debut later this year.
The number of players topped 4.6 million, making it the “biggest beta” test for a new-generation console title and the largest test run ever for a new video game franchise, according to a statement Wednesday from Activision Publishing chief executive Eric Hirshberg.
The new science fiction shooter title by the studio known for global hit “Halo” is set for official release in early September, but the test run provided tastes of the game’s major features.
“We were totally blown away by the number of people who played the beta,” said Bungie Studios chief operating officer Pete Parsons.
“We surpassed even our own goals and the feedback was invaluable.”
The test of “Destiny” online multiplayer engagement launched on PlayStation consoles in mid-July and hit Xbox systems a week later.
Activision boasted that, by the time the beta program closed Sunday night, the number of players who took part hit 4,638,937.
“Destiny” will be officially released on September 9 for play on PlayStation 4 and Xbox One consoles as well as their predecessors, the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3.
Along with encouraging orders of the game, beta play provided a chance to test online systems allowing groups of people to challenge one another in the science fiction world.
“Hosting a beta at this scale is an incredible feat, so we’re thrilled to see the phenomenal response,” Hirshberg said.
The game’s creator’s are touting it as “the next evolution in interactive entertainment and an epic adventure.”
“Destiny” puts players in the role of guardians of the last city on Earth, with enemies to battle, special powers to wield, and planets to explore.
The game is priced at $60, but special edition versions promising added perks and higher prices are being offered.
Console processing power and Internet capabilities have been taken advantage of to create “an unprecedented combination” of play options from spontaneous cooperative online skirmishes to immersive solo action.
Microsoft bought US-based Bungie in 2000 and the studio came out with “Halo” games that scored as a blockbuster franchise exclusively playable on Xbox.
Bungie later split from Microsoft and went on to align itself with Activision Blizzard, the publisher behind “Call of Duty” and other hit franchises.