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Bungie’s Marathon makes a 180 towards Apex Legends-style heroes

With a new game director at the helm, Bungie’s upcoming Marathon game has reportedly already made a major shift when it comes to characters.

Marathon heroes custom characters Apex Legends: A split image with a feminine character from Apex Legends with an fierce facial expression on the left side, and a synthetic-looking character from Marathon on the right, aiming a weapon.

While Bungie has been dedicated to the Destiny franchise for over a decade now, it’s finally branching out once more with Marathon, a sci-fi extraction shooter with way more style than it has any right to have. However, in a drastic shift from player-made custom characters, a new report claims that Bungie is focusing instead on a selectable cast of heroes akin to games like Apex Legends.

As revealed by inside sources speaking to IGN, Marathon’s direction has shifted under its new leadership – the game is now headed by Joe Ziegler of Valorant fame. According to IGN’s sources, the new PS5 game and new Xbox game is moving away from custom characters like you see in Destiny 2 and towards a cast of predefined characters.

Evidently, Ziegler’s work on Valorant, one of the best FPS games, has brought a fresh perspective and plenty of inspiration, as the competitive shooter also boasts a diverse roster of defined characters that each come with unique abilities. Likewise, it also follows the trend of many of the best multiplayer games over recent years, such as Overwatch, Rainbow Six Siege, and the aforementioned Apex Legends, which favor these more relatable and recognizable characters.

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With Bungie’s talent for storytelling, it was already clear that Marathon would have an evolving world and narrative, and this move towards a cast of heroes sets this in stone. We only hope that these characters are as unique and strongly defined as the competition – especially as Marathon allegedly failed to impress playtesters. So far, this change has been met with a lukewarm reception online, which is likely only to be swayed by seeing these heroes in action.

Alongside this design shift, it was also suggested by IGN sources that Bungie is focused on delivering the Marathon release date as soon as it can to get it out of the door. Why? Well, there are growing fears that more layoffs will follow after the delayed Destiny 2 The Final Shape release date arrives this summer. “Something will need to happen to curb costs unless The Final Shape does so well to cover the gap and people can move to Marathon,” explains one anonymous employee. Right now, “nothing adds up.”

With new leadership and a major shift in approach, we’re hoping Marathon will be one of the best games on PS5 and Xbox when it does eventually release. Though it’s clear that Bungie is under significant pressure to deliver.

Nevertheless, we’ve still got a long way to go until the battle royale-esque extraction shooter is in our hands, so there’s no better time to find out about Destiny 2’s connections to Marathon. In the meantime, we’ll be having a blast with this Borderlands-style roguelike and trying to navigate the many microtransaction hoops FF14 Xbox players have to jump through.