We take an in-depth look at Bungie's enigmatic shooter and what we'd like to see in the sequel.
Destiny is a game that has seen a lot of highs and lows since its release in 2014. From the widespread criticism it received at launch to the relative praise surrounding the game after the arrival of its first expansion and third DLC, The Taken King, Bungie has weathered the storm and consistently worked towards improvement. After The Taken King completely renovated the base game, even replacing the voice of Peter Dinklage as the ghost with that of Nolan North, Destiny continues to change and adapt. With this in mind and with the rumoured 10 year plan for the game in motion, we take a look at where the franchise will go next and what we would like to see.
Coming from Bungie, the creators of Halo, Destiny had built up a significant level of excitement in anticipation leading up to its release. More than 4.6 million players downloaded the beta, experiencing the first few steps in Bungie's ambitious "shared world shooter". Offering a unique mix between FPS mechanics found in games such as Halo, and reflecting some MMO elements like group activities and raids found in shared world games like World of Warcraft, Destiny was set to deliver something new and innovative. The level of scope the studio were planning for the game was clear, with Bungie COO Pete Parsons saying in an interview at the time: "We want people to put the Destiny universe on the same shelf they put Lord of the Rings, Harry Potter or Star Wars". However, rumours had started circulating that publisher Activision had struck a $500 million dollar deal with Bungie, securing a ten year contract to develop, promote and distribute Destiny as well as giving them significant control over the franchise, which concerned fans.
Upon release Destiny experienced a backlash, with bad reviews from critics citing the bare-bones story as its main failure, but no doubt the insistence to publish the game on the old-gen consoles was another factor that held it back somewhat. On top of this fans feared Activision's involvement could see the game become a glorified cash cow, churning out expansion after expansion at the cost of the player. With the rumoured leaks looming over their heads, Bungie announced plans for DLC, almost confirming the fears of most players, that Destiny would be cut up into premium paid-for content.
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Retrospectively, it's evident that there were internal issues within Bungie concerning the development of the game, particularly in regards to the story. It was rumoured that months before the planned release senior staff at Bungie decided to totally scrap the story-line and rewrite an entirely new one, which certainly accounts for the criticism the game received after promising such a grand experience. Many people stated that it felt unfinished and hollow, lacking the in-depth content players were expecting. Also the leaks concerning the ten year contract may not have been as authoritarian as first feared, with Bungie reassuring fans they still held complete developmental control over the franchise.
Through all this controversy Bungie stuck by Destiny, remaining outwardly vocal in the community, constantly listening, and responding to fan feedback. Going on to produce four paid-for content drops, public opinion around the game slowly began to change with the tide turning around the release of the first proper expansion and third DLC, The Taken King. Taking on-board players' feedback, Bungie began to make changes to the game, bringing in better rewards, fairer mechanics, and importantly a more in-depth, narrative-driven story. The Destiny that we see today is worlds apart from the original game that hit stores back in 2014, as Bungie have painstaking reworked the majority of systems that govern the game-world changing it forever.
Destiny's most recent expansion, Rise of Iron, continued the game's evolution and is the most accurate representation of what players might see in the anticipated sequel, Destiny 2. Rise of Iron brought with it a deluge of new and old activities for Guardians to partake in, including a new raid, Wrath of the Machine, new strikes, wave-based PvP areas like Archon's Forge, as well as custom matches and sparrow racing. The changes did not stop there, though, as Bungie added a cinematic story and quests for players to explore and some interesting new customisation options, such as Ornaments that allow you to customise exotic weapons. Moving forward it is these recent changes that will start to shape and define Destiny 2.
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There is scarce knowledge currently available with regards to Destiny 2, with the only confirmed details we do have suggesting that it's in production and that it will most likely come out this year. No matter what quarter the game releases in, it's pretty clear that Bungie will have to tread softly with this one, as it's left in quite a delicate situation after the negative response surrounding the reveal of the original. Although Bungie have already made significantly positive changes to the game, turning around public opinion, there are still a few things we hope to see make it into the up and coming sequel.
The Story: First and foremost has got to be the story. After delivering a lacklustre narrative in the base game, Bungie has its work cut out to appease fans and make good on their promise to conjure up a universe with the scope and depth of franchises like Star Wars and Lord of the Rings. If the recent expansions are anything to go by then it seems the studio is more than capable of accomplishing this, finally giving players the epic sci-fi story they longed for. Although story is not always the main focus of a game such as Destiny, with its rich background and lore, it's perfectly poised to deliver something players can truly enjoy and engage with. Hopefully not experiencing the same development issues as its predecessor may set Destiny 2 in good stead to entertain us with a storyline comparable to any Hollywood blockbuster.
Characters: One thing that in all practicality will most likely not happen, but that would be a welcome surprise in Destiny 2, would be player's ability to carry over characters from the original game. Although this is unlikely we do hope that Bungie finds a way to honour its Destiny veterans that makes them feel rewarded for the time they put into the original. Some kind of exclusive equipment or in-game memorial would feel adequate, so players don't get left with the feeling that all that time put into their characters was wasted.
Social Spaces: The social spaces in the first game felt a little sparse at times, and this is something we would also like to see change in the sequel. For instance The Tower, the first social space Guardians are introduced to standing in the Last City, can host a maximum of sixteen players, leaving one of Earth's last surviving bastions feeling more like the derelict wasteland that surrounds it. With the latest expansions offering similarly unoccupied social spaces it would be interesting to see Destiny 2 bring some life to its cityscapes, filling them with players and activity. This could also carry over into the active player zones bringing in the option to patrol areas in greater numbers, giving clans the opportunity to all experience the game together.
Character Customisation: Another feature that we would like to see in the sequel is further advancements in character customisation. Shared-world games such as Destiny benefit greatly from vanity items and after some success in improving the appearance options available to Guardians we would like to see Bungie build on this and possibly offer players the chance to create as well as procure. It seems more than likely that Bungie will expand on the customisation options currently out there, as with each expansion more items and ways to individualise them have been added. That being said, Destiny 2 has the opportunity to take this even further and give players the ability to totally customise armour and weapons, allowing them to create their own colour schemes and possibly even build their own gear.
Content: When it comes to content within Destiny there has been more than one occasion when fans have been left hungry, eagerly waiting for the next slice of DLC to be released, across both PvP and PvE. We would like to see Bungie enforce a more rigorous release schedule with Destiny 2, constantly updating the game with ever more interesting content to keep fans satiated. Bringing in new modes for PvP, such as open world PvP areas, along with better drops for competitive players would greatly improve the multiplayer. With a greater increase in content players would also get more strikes and raids (possibly even raid matchmaking), and a constant stream of things to do that should keep all Guardians engaged and happy.
PC Release: Finally, we would like to see a PC release alongside the launch of the game on current generation platforms. A PC version would open the game-world up to an unprecedented number of new players eager to engage with the community and help improve the game-experience. It might not be ideal from a PvP perspective, but PvE-focused players could happily play cross-platform without issue. A PC launch would also open up the option for the creation of mods, which have been known to drive developer direction in the past and may serve to satisfy the community's appetite for fan fiction.
With all these possible improvements Destiny 2 could reach the grandiose heights Bungie discussed when they first revealed their ideas for the franchise. Speculation aside, though, we will most likely see a trailer at this year's E3 and finally find out where the franchise is heading next. Are there any changes you would like to see in Destiny 2? Let us know in the comments section below.