Back when Bungie first released Destiny, it was clear that they were onto something compelling, engaging, and unique. I myself hammered vanilla Destiny and its few expansions, putting in over to thousand hours in total. Yes, quite a lot of time for a game that, looking back, never really evolved nor built upon its mechanics. Though, in fairness, back then, there wasn’t anything quite like Destiny. The game was a one of a kind, and I would gleefully log in to raid, week after week, in the hopes of getting the Gjallarhorn.
I was one of those players that pulled the freakin’ No Land Beyond, weeks and months running, whilst the rest of my fireteam pulled the aforementioned rocket launcher. Screw you, RNG, screw you. Back on track. Destiny’s first two expansions; The Dark Below and House of Wolves, did very little to excite players. It wasn’t until Bungie released The Taken King that that previously alluded to winning formula, was properly and fully realized. The Taken King being Bungie’s first true attempt at injecting some form of a cinematic story.
Before that, players were expected to be content in soaking up the game’s hidden lore, and witnessing the same dull, horrendously acted cutscenes, over and over again. If anything, The Taken King proved that Bungie had what it took to lift Destiny to a new level of entertainment. Sadly, the final expansion took somewhat of a step back. Rise of Iron wasn’t terrible, but it lacked the impact that The Taken King delivered by the bucket-load, largely due to the fact that most of the team had moved onto working on the game’s sequel.
Enter Destiny 2. Destiny 2 was heavily inspired by the storytelling found in The Taken King. The core game was rich, engaging, and massively rewarding on many fronts. The majority of critics praised the game for exactly that, and although there were a few elements that didn’t quite resonate as well as I expect they should have, I fell back in love with the franchise. So, what’s the problem? Bungie’s post-launch support. That, ladies and gentlemen, was the problem. That, and a handful of design choices just failed to maintain much longevity.
Whilst the reinvented concept was quite sturdy and revitalizing, the eagerness to log in and grind for new and exciting rewards, was far removed. This largely fell to the fact that players were over-rewarded, and at times, frequently rewarded for minimal effort. It didn’t help matters that the clan system dished out rewards to the entirety of its members, whether they were present to earn them or not. This is just one example out of many, collectively throwing the balance of play off-course. Then, there was the arrival of its first two expansions.
Curse of Osiris and Warmind. What an utter pile of nonsense. Both of these expansions lasted little more than a few hours per-whack, and insultingly threw in lore-heavy characters and set pieces, without allowing them to truly shine. It all came across very fan-service, but without any actual service to justify a payoff. Fans and critics alike bashed the game’s add-ons religiously, vowing never to return (I still haven’t) again. Then, out of nowhere, came Destiny 2’s version of the hit DLC, The Taken King, its since acclaimed Forsaken expansion.
Forsaken not only put forward a compelling story, it pulled the game’s systems back to where they should have been since launch. Forsaken also introduced an entire new endgame location to ensure that players constantly had a reason to dive back in and enjoy something new – given that this location would frequently alter. By and large, Forsaken was Destiny 2’s saving grace. That said, fans are now eagerly looking at whatever lies ahead. So, the big question here is, as set out in the title, will we see Destiny 3 any time soon?
Rumor has it that Bungie are already hard at work on the sequel, and that it will be more “hardcore” and “RPG” focused in comparison to that of its immediate predecessor. That, if you ask me, is great to hear – if indeed true. Though, it does mean that Bungie are once again mixing up the formula. In all fairness, that’s always been Bungie’s greatest drawback – they just don’t seem to listen to the correct feedback, nor do they prove that they can immediately support Destiny post-launch. Looking back at Destiny and Destiny 2 shows that.
It took the space of time (and many mistakes) between vanilla Destiny and The Taken King, and vanilla Destiny 2 and Forsaken, before Bungie found their footing. If they truly want the franchise to last, this is a mistake they will not repeat a third time. Personally, I expect we’ll get official confirmation of Destiny 3’s existence at E3 2019, with a release date set for early 2020. I could be wrong, but if Bungie are really making some heavy-handed, much needed changes, then these changes are going to take some time, which isn’t a bad thing.
I suspect Destiny 3 will pick up from the conclusion of (spoiler warning) Destiny 2’s ending, in which we see the Traveler’s blast awakening an ancient, far drifting race. This race looks strikingly familiar to the final race that we see in Destiny’s original concept art. Let’s face it, the series is long overdue a new race. Say what you like, the Taken do not count as an extra race. They’re just, much like any other added foe since 2014, re-skinned variations of the enemies that are already present in the game. Bungie simply cant afford to go off-track.
Destiny 3 needs brand new locations, brand new enemy variations, brand new enemy races, interesting side-quests, correctly implemented lore, compelling activities, a broader PvP, more focus on PvE and PvPvE, and more importantly, endgame content that’s worth revisiting and actually feels rewarding for those that earn it. Destiny 2’s Forsaken was a big step in the right direction, and although it embraced a much darker tone than any expansion in the franchise’s history, it still felt a bit relaxed and bit too casual, even for newcomers.
Bungie needs to continue to embrace this darker tone, and inject more desperation and devastation, to, if anything, capture the vibe that the series constantly attempts to relay. Making Destiny 3 more hardcore and more RPG focused is promising indeed, but if history has taught us anything, it’s that Bungie can talk a fine talk, but not always meet that with a fine walk. There’s a lot to consider here, and a lot riding on this for Bungie. Do you think we’ll see Destiny 3 in 2019? What do you want from it? Hit the comment section below.Want to keep up to date with the latest Xt reviews, Xt opinions and Xt content? Follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube.