At today’s PlayStation Showcase, Bungie announced a new sci-fi PvP extraction shooter called Marathon for PlayStation 5, Xbox Series X|S, and PC. If that name sounds familiar to you, it’s because Marathon was first released in December of 1994 for the Apple Macintosh, and was the first game in a trilogy that concluded in 1996. The IP has been mostly dormant since then, outside of some source code dumps from Bungie, but they have now revived it as a sleek cyberpunk multiplayer shooter with striking art direction and a focus on competitive, emergent gameplay. Which is to say there will be no single-player campaign of any kind in Marathon.
In a PlayStation Blog post following the announcement, Bungie said players do not have to be caught up on Marathon lore, but that there will be nods and deep cuts that fans of those older games will appreciate. The game is set in the same universe as the original titles, but is also something entirely new that will stand on its own. Bungie says that players’ actions will affect the story and shape the overall narrative direction of the game. In a development documentary shared after the reveal, the studio gave an example of how this will work – describing a scenario where a group of players may get an opportunity to unlock an entirely new part of the map for players all across the world by discovering an unknown artifact or completing a challenge. This is very much a live service game and as such, its lore and narrative will unfold over each passing season – likely years upon years of content, if Destiny’s deep lore is any sort of barometer.
All we got today was a dreaded cinematic trailer, but this was easily one of my favorite games of the entire PlayStation Showcase. The art direction and music in the trailer were superb, and, of course, Bungie is a legendary studio that demands our attention when they do something new. They were not ready to give any further details today – including a release window – but did say that the next time we hear from them it will be to show off gameplay. In the aforementioned behind-the-scenes video they reveal that the project is almost in its alpha phase, so if I had to guess, this is sounding like a late 2024 release at the earliest.