The pyramids are here and things are about to get buck wild in Destiny 2, both in the short term and in the long run. Today Bungie unveiled its plans for the future of the game, which involve several more years of expansions and an outright denial of the existence of Destiny 3, along with plans to remove entire previous expansions from the game (oh worm?) and more trailers than you can shake a paracausal stick at. You can watch the entire presentation here, but if you’d rather not spend an entire hour of your life on it, read onward.
Destiny 2: Beyond Light
As expected, Bungie announced Destiny 2‘s next expansion during today’s proceedings. Destiny 2: Beyond Light arrives on Xbox One, PlayStation 4, and PC on September 22, 2020, and as you can see in the above trailer, we’re finally getting on with it. The Stranger (check below if you’re unsure who this is) has brought Eris Morn and the Drifter to Jupiter’s moon Europa, in order to show them a dank pyramid she found. This pyramid is even more evil than the one we found inside the moon last year, or the one that just showed up on Io, Jupiter’s less popular moon, as of today’s Season of Arrival kickoff. So why’s this pyramid worthy of extra consideration? It’s crawlin’ with jerks!
“A new power is born out of the ancient Pyramid Ship above Europa’s frozen frontier, and a dark empire has risen beneath, united under the banner of the Fallen Kell of Darkness, Eramis,” according to Beyond Light‘s official website. “The splintered houses of the Fallen have rallied and built their new Empire on the icy moon of Europa. Brave the unrelenting glacial frontier, infiltrate the Golden Age Braytech facility, and uncover the secrets that lie deep under the ancient ice.”
That’s right baby, we’re still fighting the Fallen! Only this time they’re different! Just like they were “only this time they’re different” in Destiny 2: Forsaken! If you were hoping to go face to face with a brand new species of horror from beyond time and space, well you’d better just sit that butt right back down in the Destiny 2 Chair of Disappointment because we’ve got at least one more serving of Weird Fallen to eat before we get any dessert! Sorry!!
Beyond Light also introduces a fourth element, Stasis, to the Guardian ability repertoire currently powered by Arc, Void, and Solar energies. Stasis is actually just straight-up the Darkness, wielded by Guardians in a sort of grey-side Jedi kinda way. As with the other elements, each class will have its own set of abilities and supers powered by Stasis, “from slowing down foes with Stasis fields to encasing and shattering enemies with destructive might.” I’m gonna go out on a limb and guess that Eris probably has a lot to do with bringing these controversial abilities to the Guardians, and I’m also gonna go out on a different limb and guess that Zavala will have some very ineffectual opinions about all of it.
Deep Stone Crypt is Beyond Light‘s new end-game raid activity, and as is customary, it’ll go live sometime after the expansion launches. Beyond the fact that it exists and also looks like the Darkness’ server room, basically nothing else is known.
Bungie is selling four different editions of Beyond Light: A standard edition with the expansion, a Ghost shell and a banner; a “+ Season” edition with all those things and a new exotic pulse rifle called “No Time to Explain” (with catalyst), as well as the Beyond Light‘s first Season of additional content; a Deluxe edition that comes with everything previously mentioned and the Stranger’s exotic Sparrow, as seen in the above trailer, in addition to the other three Seasons not included in the + Season bundle, plus an exclusive emote and No Time to Explain’s ornament; and finally the Collector’s edition, which includes everything I just said, as well as a “die-cast Splinter of Darkness replica with lights, the Europa Explorer’s Bag, the Europa Explorer’s Canteen, Mysterious Logbook, and other discoveries from Europa.”
There’s also a special, special edition that comes with the Deluxe version of Beyond Light and a statue of the Stranger, produced by Numskull, the parent company of the people who make those gamer ducks. The statue is 10 inches high (or, roughly the size of the Guardian Games Titan victory statue) and currently has no announced price.
The “Destiny Content Vault”
Y’all might be too young to remember this, but Disney used to do this thing where it would put movies people loved into the “Disney Vault” and stop selling them, in order to drive sales immediately before vaulting them, and to boost sales upon the inevitable unvaulting. (This doesn’t happen anymore because of Disney+, but stick with me.) Bungie has decided to do something similar with both Destiny 1 and 2‘s six years of content, though for less inherently capitalistic reasons.
“To create a sustainable ecosystem where the world can continue to evolve in exciting ways, and where we can update the game more quickly, we’re going to adopt a new content model that we’re calling the Destiny Content Vault (DCV),” Bungie said today in a blog post entitled Building a Viable Future in Destiny 2. “Each year, usually at the expansion boundaries, we will cycle some destination and activity content out of the game (and into the DCV) to make room for new experiences.” Bungie also laments Destiny 2‘s bloated installation size, and says that the scope of the game has made implementing changes costly, time-consuming, and less stable.
“On September 22, 2020: Io, Titan, Mercury, Mars, and Leviathan will be cycled out and no longer be accessible. This includes all PvE activities (including campaigns) on those destinations,” Bungie said.
You may notice that two of those locations, Mercury and Mars, are the main sites of previous Destiny 2 expansions that you might very well have paid full asking price for. Well, too bad! It’s the year 2020 and no one owns anything anymore, so all of those planets are going into the vault for an indeterminate amount of time, whether you bought Curse of Osiris and/or Warmind or not. (Not that Curse of Osiris is especially worth keeping around, mind you, but Warmind kicked ass and it’s a bummer that new players won’t get to play that content.)
Bungie also said that “there will be new ways to earn Exotics originally tied to destinations and activity content that have entered the Destiny Content Vault,” but doesn’t go into detail, nor does it make any mention of how Destiny 2‘s base story campaign will function with all these worlds missing.
Things can come out of the DCV too, and to prove this Beyond Light will see the return of Destiny 1‘s Cosmodrome location, as well as the first game’s fan-favorite Vault of Glass raid. These really feel like the first steps necessary to merge Destiny 1 and 2 into a single platform, especially since Bungie has no plans to make Destiny 3:
“With Destiny 1, we solved the ‘ever expanding, exponential complexity’ problem by making a sequel in Destiny 2. We left behind all of Destiny 1’s content and many of the features players grew to love,” Bungie said. “We believe now that it was a mistake to create a situation that fractured the community, reset player progress, and set the player experience back in ways that took us a full year to recover from and repair. It’s a mistake we don’t want to repeat by making a Destiny 3. We don’t believe a sequel is the right direction for the game and for the past two years we have been investing all of our development effort into new content, gameplay, and new engine features that directly support a single evolving world in Destiny 2.”
So who is the Stranger?
The Stranger is a time/dimension-hopping Exo that first appeared in Destiny 1, and if you’re a Destiny 2 player wondering why you don’t recognize her, it’s because she only appeared in Destiny 1. (She used to not have a ghost either, so her pretty new fish friend is a compelling addition.) Her existence is a (thus-far meaningless) metaphysical plot device designed to tell the player they’re special while also adding mystery to the Destiny universe, but it’s been literal years since anyone has seen the Stranger or made any attempt to tie her to the larger storyline. If you’re worried about not understanding her character going into Beyond Light, don’t be! She basically isn’t one!