Bungie has emphasized that the universe of Destiny will be "alive". Events may happen in-game that are not necessarily controlled or planned by the developer, which will help to create a dynamic developing experience for Bungie and a dynamic playing experience for gamers. The game's style has been described a first-person shooter that will incorporate massively multiplayer online game (MMO) elements, but Bungie has avoided defining Destiny as a traditional MMO game. Instead, the game has been referred to as a "shared-world shooter," as it lacks many of the characteristics of a traditional MMO game. For instance, rather than players being able to see and interact with all other players in the game or on a particular server—as is the case in many conventional MMO games—Destiny will include on-the-fly matchmaking that will allow players to see and interact only with other players with whom they are "matched" by the game.
Destiny will incorporate a new game engine that allows global illuminations and real-time dynamic lighting to occur together. An innovation in Bungie's "hopper" technology, which has been the backbone for Halo's matchmaking system, will allow better player matchmaking in order to create a more natural experience in either cooperative or competitive multiplayer modes.