Bungie preempted this year's E3 with their own stand-alone presentation to announce the next chapter in Destiny 2, and oh boy is there a lot to unpack here. This time around the studio had a lot to prove since this is their first big content drop since their departure from under Activision's wing, and they are coming out of the gate swinging for the fences to prove their independence was a move for the better. SO what all can we look forward to in September?
As the heroes of the last safe city turned their attention to frontiers beyond the protection of the Vanguard, new Nightmares have emerged from the shadows of our long-forgotten Moon. Called forth by the haunting visions from her tormented past, Eris Morn has returned and unleashed something that once slumbered beneath the lunar surface – a long dormant power even she cannot control. Return to the Moon. Journey deep into a mysterious enemy citadel. Help Eris slay these nightmares before they reach out beyond the Moon to cast humanity back into an age of darkness.
First thing's first: the traditional "Big September Destiny Expansion." This time around we have Shadowkeep, dropping on September 17th where guardians will gear up and face a new TERRIFYING THREAT O- yeah, it's Eris and Hive on the Moon, again. But it's new Hive on a new, bigger, redesigned moon from the first game. The trailer also showed some returning foes such as Skolas and Crota, which could warrant some eye rolls from the perspective of "reusing old content" but I'm excited to see how these will be incorporated. Of course we will have the standard menu of new exotics, Crucible maps, and everything else you'd come to expect from a Destiny expansion. What's unusual is some of the non-standard changes coming.
We're Listening ™
Longtime Destiny players are accustomed to the ever-present thought of "Man, it would be great if they added this." No game is immune to proposals, and Destiny isn't unique in the same few requests have been popping up over the years, growing louder each time they get passed over in patch notes. Coming in September we've got a whole big-ass bullet list of fan-favorite proposals such as:
- Intellect/discipline/strength stats returning
- Artifacts from D1 returning
- Special finishing move animations
- No more platform exclusive content (fucking finally)
- Massive changes to armor mods (no further details at this time)
- Another "dungeon" a la Shattered Throne
- PC launcher moved to Steam
My conspiratorial mind wants to say they've saved these up to make a big show of "Look at what we can accomplish with our independence form our publisher," which might have some merit. But I'm also not naive enough to think that doing any work on a game is easy to do, especially one of this scale.
The most surprising rework for me is the new pricing model being introduced in year 3. Bungie is adopting a free-to-play model for the base Destiny 2 game and the two year 1 expansions Curse of Osiris and Warmind. Additionally, going forward, new "seasons" (Bungie's version of mini-DLCs) can be purchased piecemeal and do not require the previous seasons to play. This is all modeled under the "New Light"... program? This part was somewhat confusing for me to decipher completely. New Light also offers a great point-of-entry for new players, offering a rework of the first mission from Destiny 1 and a boost to help those coworkers you recruited get up to speed so you can all get angry at the raids together faster.
PLAY FOR FREE — 09.17.19 Dive right into the world of Destiny to experience responsive first-person shooter combat, to explore rich worlds with sweeping vistas and stunning visuals, and to earn an arsenal of powerful weapons and armor. Bring your personalized Guardian into a large variety of activities and modes - from cooperative quests, competitive modes, challenging endgame activities, and more. Destiny 2: New Light launches September 17, 2019 and is free to play on every supported platform.
With all these new ways to play Destiny, you might be wondering where you’ll want to invest your time. To make that decision easier, we’re excited to announce that Cross Save will become available this Fall. With Cross Save, you’ll be able to access the same characters tied to one primary account, enabling you to have a unified experience with the same Guardians on different platforms. Your first steps will become available on Bungie.net later on this summer.
Possibly the most requested feature since the inception of the first game, cross-save is finally coming. In traditional Bungie fashion, some of the details are a bit murky at this point, but at least they gave us the most important part: the rad symbol.
You know, the universal symbol of cross-saving.
There's not a whole lot to say here; cross-saving speaks for it self. Log into PC and pick up your progress from PS4 or XB1. Honestly this is a feature that should've been in place from the very beginning, however I can't imagine the nightmare to get three platforms to get along, and not to mention the precious PlayStation exclusives. Bungie did fail to disclose the most important part though: will your expansion/season purchases translate across platforms, or will you have to repurchase your expansions on PC that you've already bought on PlayStation?
Reference image from my Final Fantasy XIV account.
Anyone who's followed Bungie press releases like I have already know the answer: if Bungie didn't say that purchases are cross-platform, then it most likely won't be. This would be a huge disappointment to me, as it seems directly counter-intuitive to the "play anywhere" aspect, but makes sense from an angle of the new free-to-play model. Still, this will be a very divisive point. A lot of the people who have made the pleas for cross-save under the rally cry of "BUNGO PLZ IF U GIVE CROSS SAVE I WILL BUY ALL EXPANSIONS ON ALL 3 PLATFORMS" now have to (literally) put their money where their mouths are, but on the other end of the spectrum are people like me who don't like the idea of having to rebuy the same content they already bought on the different box across the room. Bungie's solution to this seems to be...
Along with the menagerie of information came the news that Destiny 2 will be a launch title on Google Stadia. Purchasing your expansions on Stadia would make sense, as the whole purpose of Stadia is to play it anywhere on anything, and Destiny requires a constant decent internet connection anyway. Stadia itself seems to still be a divisive topic, however, with most people taking the stance of "We'll wait and see how it performs." Still, having Destiny 2 as a launch title for the service is a pretty big win for Google and Bungie alike.
The Last Word
Destiny players like myself have a TON to look forward to this September. More fine details about new expansion content and the massive mechanical reworks are promised to drop between now and September, and hopefully this massive hype will deliver. However, we can't forget that we're talking about Bungie, so a dose of salted skepticism would be healthy here.