Marathon: Everything we know so far about Bungie's new FPS
Bungie is making a new Marathon game, and we can hardly believe it. Before Halo, there was the Marathon trilogy – three early first-person shooters which the studio developed between 1994 and 1996. 27 years later and Bungie is returning to the universe with an all-new multiplayer-focused installment.
Naturally, Bungie working outside of the boundaries of Destiny 2 has immediately made Marathon one of our most-anticipated the upcoming PS5 games. The new extraction shooter – where you'll work solo or in a crew of three to survive other players and a hostile planet – was unveiled at the PlayStation Showcase and there's loads of info to wrap your head around.
So keep reading to find everything you need to know about the new Marathon game, including confirmation on its multiplayer-only status, cross-play and cross-save support, and the first gameplay and setting details.
Marathon release date
Bungie is yet to set a Marathon release date. In fact, it sounds as if the game is still fairly early in development. Marathon's general manager Scott Taylor says, "there’s still a lot of work to do before launch or even before we’re ready to talk about the game in more detail," before adding that it's still too early to give a timeline on when more information will be coming. When Bungie does pull back the curtain in the future, it'll "be able to show you the gameplay and be much closer to launch."
Marathon will be released on PC, PS5, and Xbox Series X. While Sony acquired Bungie in 2022, the studio has committed to being a multi-game, multi-platform studio. As part of this commitment, the studio has confirmed that the new Marathon game will feature full cross-play and cross-save support.
What is Marathon?
Marathon is a new first-person shooter from Bungie, the creators of Halo and Destiny. This is the first completely new project from Bungie in over a decade, and it's distinct from the Marathon games that were released for Mac OS back in the '90s. Instead, this new Marathon game is set to be a PvP-focused extraction shooter, where you'll need to compete with other players for riches, renown, and survival in an ever-evolving world.
Is Marathon a sequel?
Bungie may be known for the Halo and Bungie franchises, but before all of that it was known for building a series of fantastic first-person shooters called Marathon – Apple Macintosh exclusive games which were released between 1994 and 1996. Christopher Barrett, game director for the new Marathon game, has confirmed that this PvP-focussed FPS is "not a direct sequel to the originals, but something that certainly belongs in the same universe." Barrett adds: "You don’t need to know anything about Marathon to understand or play this game, but if you do, we’ve made the experience with references and deep cuts you’ll recognize."
Marathon gameplay details
While Bungie is recognized as one of the key players behind the FPS genre's ascent on console, thanks in part to its work with Halo in the earliest years of Xbox Live, the studio has never made a focused player-versus-player experience. That will change with Marathon, where gameplay will be specifically focused around your ability to navigate encounters with other players out in the wilds of Tau Ceti IV – either running solo, or in crews of three.
You'll play as a Runner, venturing into the unknown areas of the planet to fight other players and AI-controlled enemies to secure loot and valuable resources, all of which you'll be able to reinvest into your character – should you survive long enough to extract, that is. While Bungie is yet to show the game in action, game director Christopher Barrett teases that Bungie wants "to make sure players have tons of strategic choices, both in terms of the gear available and their loadouts, but also on the ground in terms of tactical options, entrance and exfil points, and so on."
Barrett also teases that there will be a variety of ways to 'win' in Marathon, besides surviving, and that there will be a whole mess of intriguing survival systems to contend with. Speaking to Bungie's hopes to make the genre more approachable: "One of the ways we’re addressing this is by making the core fantasies of survival and extraction fun, clear, and easy to understand. We want people to quickly understand fundamentals like healing, or oxygen, or how to organize their gear. After all, if they get those things intuitively there’s much more room for tactical thinking and creativity. You know, it’s our job to create the fun and the fantasy, not the busy work and tedium."
Marathon will be multiplayer-only
Marathon will not feature a single-player campaign. Bungie is building Marathon with "the PVP experience as our foundation," although game director Christopher Barrett says that narrative is still a key pillar to the experience – beyond the story-driven stories that extraction shooters are so adept at generating. "The heart of Marathon’s gameplay experience is PvP but it isn’t the entire story. We’re building a rich, immersive world that will have ample opportunities for exploration and conflict – both against other players and AI-controlled enemies. Combine that with the different objectives and motivations that players will have for each run, as well as the narrative doors that can be unlocked as players discover things and accomplish tasks, and it creates this really rich palette of gameplay possibilities that will only continue to grow and evolve."
Marathon setting is Tau Ceti IV
Little is known about the Marathon setting right now, particularly as it's separate (although within the same universe) to the original Marathon games. But here's what we do know: the new Marathon game will take place on the mysterious planet of Tau Ceti IV. The world is deserted, abandoned by the 30,000 souls who once called it home, and as a Runner you'll have the chance to explore it all. There's also strange signals, long-dormant AI, and other mysteries to contend with.
"Players will engage solo or in crews of three, searching for mysterious alien artifacts, as well as for valuable loot and new weapons and gear that they can add to their collection, says game director Christopher Barrett, who also teases that the world will be "full of persistent, evolving zones, where players create their own journey with every run they take."
While we all wait for Marathon, why not jump into one of the best PS5 games – or check out one of the best FPS games that you can play right now.