Dexerto spoke with Bungie during a roundtable to find out what the developer is learning from Destiny 2’s Witch Queen expansion going forward in the game.
Destiny 2 launched in 2017, but it would be fair to say that the game has really taken off in the past couple of years. Beyond Light’s more nuanced take on morality, along with a series of interconnecting seasonal narratives, meant the Destiny universe has finally begun to take shape – culminating in last month’s Witch Queen expansion.
Praised by reviewers (you can find our review here) for its varied campaign and fun weapon crafting, the expansion felt, in many ways, like Destiny 2 finally delivered on the franchise’s promise of many hardcore fans (this writer included) spotted in 2014.
Following the expansion’s release, Dexerto was invited to participate in a roundtable with part of the game’s development team.
The future of Destiny 2, as told by Bungie
Destiny campaigns have, traditionally, been fairly simple affairs with a focus on leveling up characters to take on endgame activities. The Witch Queen bucks this trend somewhat, offering a longer but more focused campaign – something Bungie has been working on for some time.
“I think our move from a big ‘campaign game’ to a live game has changed our focus a bit,” says project lead Blake Battle.
“Leaving Forsaken [Destiny 2’s 2018 expansion]we moved more to a seasonal model and were focusing a lot on “Hey, like what’s the, what’s the real type of playable content that we want to focus the majority of our attention on.”
“We have certainly seen, over the last couple of years, an upsurge in interest from our fans for longer story content. And so with The Witch Queen, we really wanted to double that. And so we just had a very concerted effort to have a little more track to tell a more thoughtful story that’s integrated into the larger narrative of the Destiny universe.
Speaking about the difficulty of finding a balance between regular content and trying it out with story beats, narrative lead Adam Grantham notes “there were times when we leaned more that way and then we leaned more that way and kind of corrected and then more-corrected.”
“It was kind of like focusing on this more perfect version of Destiny, and I think we’re closer now than we’ve ever been with some of the updates over the last few years where we have this model of seasonal storytelling which I think we’ve gotten really good at.
Bungie also made the surprising move to add a replayable campaign to Destiny 2 for the first time, with Legendary difficulty available for players who want to experience The Witch Queen on a level closer to endgame content. The good news is that Bungie isn’t giving up on this idea.
“I can say that we are planning a legendary difficulty mode for Lightfall [Destiny 2’s next expansion]Blake reveals, “but without Joe [Blackburn, Game Director] here, I will not go further than that for the moment.
“I think with a renewed focus on campaign and depth, it’s not just about length. It’s also about meaningful experience, so adding a legendary difficulty campaign we helped create an experience for players who just want a more engaging, meaningful, and challenging campaign experience while retaining the classic campaign that gives more casual players a chance to enjoy the story.”
The final shape is finalized
Destiny’s future will involve at least two new chapters, with The Final Shape billed as the culmination of the “Light and Dark” saga that has defined the franchise since its inception.
“As we now look at the roadmap to final form, our focus is definitely on building momentum and driving that dramatic conclusion to the Light and Darkness saga. When you see something like to a placed piece and you think it will be relevant later, I would say you might be right,” Grantham says.
“In Destiny, we have a lot of ‘open threats’ that we plant year after year,” reveals Destiny 2 Senior Storyteller Guillaume Colomb.
“And I think for the last couple of years we really wanted, instead of adding new ones, trying to wrap it all up and Savathun was one of those great characters that was there that was impossible not to address. .”
“We will try to bring everything back to this final form, but probably not everything will be solved by this – we want to keep some mysteries alive.”
“We’re looking at it in this long-term planning: where are we trying to go in the next few years?” Grantham adds.
“We know we have this kind of catalog of creative stuff that, like all these different characters that have been around for a while, and it was kind of like, okay, it makes sense to play the Savathun card here. ”
“And that’s when we play that card, and anyone who’s read Destiny lore knows that it’s a big deck and we have a lot of options there.”
“We see this as a moment of acceleration towards the end. When we talk about this, these latest releases, I’m looking at the light and dark saga as Destiny 1 ‘vanilla’ through to final form and this thing on that we’re working on now, Witch Queen and Lightfall, is that kind of acceleration towards that end.
Speaking of Destiny lore, the Witch Queen’s ending leaves a lot of story threads open, but to keep things spoiler-free, we wanted to learn more about the fate of Osiris. After all, in the events leading up to the last expansion, Savathun posed as the legendary warlock.
Bungie didn’t go into specifics, but they did confirm that Osiris will have a role in the future.
There’s probably never been a better time to be a Destiny fan, and we can’t wait to see what’s next for our Guardians.
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