Destiny: Most expensive video game ever made is to go on sale at midnight
The most expensive video game ever made will be available to gamers around the world from midnight tonight.
Destiny - with its budget of 500 million US dollars (£310 million) - has been developed by studio Bungie, maker of the Halo franchise, and published by Activision, publisher of Call Of Duty, so there is plenty of buzz surrounding the launch.
The game is set 700 years in the future, with Earth and humanity in the midst of a war with a mysterious entity called The Darkness and its various alien allies.
What makes it unique is not only the budget, but that it is trying to fuse together several different genres of video game into one playable universe.
While there is a main story mode, like other first-person shooter (FPS) games, a huge part of Destiny's appeal and mystery is found in the "shared world" aspect - online against other players.
Bungie president Harold Ryan said: "Destiny is the game we've always wanted to make. We've dreamt of this universe for years, so we couldn't be more thrilled to swing open the doors and let fans shape this experience as they tell their unique stories in the game. For us, the next generation of games is all about allowing players to collide and interact with each other as they take on epic, action-packed adventures all their own."
Destiny takes places within a single universe - containing every player - and gamers can meet up and interact with each other as they go about their missions.
Even once players have completed the central story mode, there will be a vast number of side missions to complete with friends and other gamers. In short, no one yet knows exactly how big the Destiny universe is.
The games industry is excited because of the unique format of the game, but believes the challenge lies in keeping interest when other big name titles are launched.
Dave Scarborough, features editor of Games TM, said: "There's no question that Destiny is one of the largest and most exciting entertainment launches of all time.
"Activision has invested hundreds of millions into Bungie's original shooter and, while the next few days will be crucial in telling whether the gamble has paid off, the proof will be whether gamers will want to stick around once the Call Of Dutys and Assassin's Creeds arrive later in the year."
Both franchises are due to launch new games this year.
Another concern in some quarters has been whether the Destiny servers can handle all its gamers at once. Other online launches in the past, including SimCity and Grand Theft Auto Online have been plagued with difficulties.
Those behind the game remain confident.
Eric Hirshberg, chief executive of Activision, believes that Destiny serves as a watershed moment for video games.
"Destiny has been a labour of love and a remarkable creative journey for everyone at Activision and Bungie," he said.
"We feel that we have the opportunity to launch something huge - not just into the gaming landscape, but the pop cultural landscape. Arriving at our launch day with this much support and enthusiasm from fans and retailers is downright exciting. Moments like this just don't come around very often."
Destiny has attracted huge amounts of interest, not only because of the large budget behind it, but also due to the range of gameplay that will be available. The vast array of upgrades on offer to characters will probably please role-playing game (RPG) fans.
Belfast Telegraph Digital