My fellow fanatics, I may have let slip how important Bungie’s sci-fi shooter Destiny 2 has been to me this past year or so. Despite the popularity of the franchise waning even in light of the excellent Forsaken expansion and the solid dripfeed of content with the Annual Pass, there is still a solid player base full of passionate Guardians running around shooting aliens and getting wrapped up in cosmic shenanigans
But I, like many other fans, became very concerned about the future of the series since the news that publisher Activision was letting go of the series and handing the IP back to Bungie, and with it their large collection of resources. It was only with the help of developers Vicarious Visions and High Moon studios that Forsaken and the Annual Pass content got made after all. But at the same time, it also meant Bungie could properly develop future content for the series on their own terms and not have to contend with various demands and pressures by the publisher.
Which brings us to a livestream provided by Bungie today, where they were going to lay out the future of Destiny 2. Headed by the game’s directors and producers Luke Smith and Mark Noseworthy, the stream was ultimately candid and simple, basically the devs just looking to the camera and being transparent about what was coming down the pipeline. This started with….
A Brand New Expansion: Shadowkeep
Yep, the leaks are real. There is a new major expansion coming to Destiny 2 called Shadowkeep. It will take place on Earth’s moon, and it seems to feature Eris Morn, Destiny’s creepy keeper of dark magic knowledge. The trailer for the expansion didn’t show much aside from some ominous footage of the moon and some sort of foreboding tower rising within it.
There are some concerns within the community of this expansion just being an obvious case of asset recycling. In the post stream Q&A, it was revealed that the map you will be exploring seems to be based on the moon from Destiny 1, but will be “as twice as big” as the place older players remember. Plus, once you remove the thematic wrapper the content is presenting as you being a slayer of nightmares, it is noticeable that a lot of enemies seemed to be reskins of classic Destiny big bads like Crota and Ghaul. It is slated for September 17th 2019 and be selling for $34.99 worldwide on PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and PC. There is also a $150 dollar collector’s edition if you really want to get into this.
MMO Stuff and Cross-Save
As much as I do love Destiny, the series has always had a major issue with marketing itself with a clear coherent message and public image. It’s an online experience that will continuously change over time, but they have always stayed away from calling the series an action-MMO. And while the series was under Activision, it was more or less treated as a regular action game with some online stuff complete with paid expansions. It is during this stream however that Luke and Mark have come out and finally owned up to Destiny is an action-MMO and has committed to treating it as such. Adding more RPG elements, pushing more world events and player-focused scenarios, they even cite activating Riven’s Curse in the Dreaming City as an example, and a dedication to playing the game anywhere. And what better way to declare this intent then announcing Destiny 2 will be playable on Google Stadia this year. If you don’t know what Stadia is, we can help you out with that. Furthermore, Destiny 2 will support Cross-Save. Being able to take your account data and being able to play it on ANY platform. PlayStation, Xbox, PC, and Stadia. It is scheduled to be ready when Shadowkeep goes live.
Destiny 2: New Light
But the real kicker during this presentation was that Bungie did something a lot of people were claiming they should have done for a while: go free-to-play. Destiny 2: New Light is a free-to-play version of the game where you can easily jump in and play with friends. All of the content from the base version of Destiny 2, and the content added with the Curse of Osiris and Warmind expansions. All locations, every single Strike, PvP map, and Raids set on the Leviathan will now be available to everyone, and any future locations added will be available as well. The only exception seems to be premium content. The campaign, Raids, and exotic weapon quests for Forsaken for example will still have to be purchased if you wish to experience them. On the PC side of things, Destiny 2 is also moving to Steam, with the upcoming Shadowkeep expansion being exclusive to Valve’s platform.
Bungie had a lot to prove with this stream. They had to show they were capable of maintaining Destiny 2 as a game, deliver on a new vision of it for the future, and get people interested in the series again. While that last part is yet to be determined, they have made a lot of smart decisions with this and I cannot wait to see how it will be rewarded.