The makers of the highly anticipated console video game "Destiny" want you to take a tour of the moon -- at least, their version of it -- using Google Street View technology.
Their "Planet View" website lets viewers to take tours of the moon, Venus and Mars as well as see the planets as they exist in the world of "Destiny" -- a post-apocalyptic universe in which the solar system's planets have been colonized.
The site, created using Google's open programming interface for Street View, is part of a much larger campaign for the would-be blockbuster franchise from Bungie, the developer known for "Halo." MDC's 72andSunny created Planet View along with some of the game's live action trailers, the first of which was directed by Jon Favreau and released all the way back in May 2013.
Tim Ellis, chief marketing officer at "Destiny" publisher Activision, said it's the first time anyone has used Street View in this capacity. But one of the key things that drives gamers' interests in games before their release is the ability to learn about the game in advance, Mr. Ellis said. "As we've developed this game to understand what really is exciting about it, we found the top purchase intent reasons are the opportunity to explore the universe and learning about the things you can do in the game," he said.
Activision is counting on "Destiny" being a blockbuster, hoping that it will be the company's next billion-dollar game following the "Call of Duty" and "Skylanders" series. The company put $500 million behind "Destiny," including marketing, development and packaging costs.
Activision began running TV spots created by the Ant Farm on Aug. 21, with more to follow around the game's introduction on Sept. 9. Mr. Ellis declined to detail how much was spent on marketing.
As other developers and publishers have done with various games, Activision and Bungie released a beta version of "Destiny" in July, but only for two weeks and for a limited swath of the game. Planet View, Mr. Ellis said, is also a limited slice of the game, but it allows users to explore without actually playing, illustrating what players can do and showing the game's narrative, lore and characters on each planet.
"One of the most compelling aspects of 'Destiny' is its familiarity," said 72andSunny Chief Creative Officer Glenn Cole, in an email. "You get to play on the Moon, Mars, Venus -- tangible places that capture people's imaginations. So we made it even more familiar by allowing people to explore these planets (and the Destiny mythology) the same way we virtually explore our own planet, with Google Maps."
Activision also has a Newsweek special issue dedicated to "Destiny" coming out today. The company did not pay Newsweek for the coverage, Mr. Ellis said. Gamers who buy it will pay, though: The cover price is $10.99.