During an earnings call on Thursday afternoon, Destiny publisher Activision confirmed that the sequel to the popular first-person shooter is still on track for a 2017 release. The existence of a brand new game in the franchise has been public knowledge for years, but Activision only officially confirmed the game last February, stating in a press release that developer Bungie would “release a full game sequel in 2017.”
Unfortunately, neither Bungie nor Activision were willing to share any other concrete details about Destiny 2 this week, leaving us with a confirmation and the following sentence full of incomprehensible gibberish:
“Full Destiny sequel in 2017 to broaden the franchise’s global reach, which along with follow-on content plans, sets the stage for growth”
In other words, Destiny 2 is coming out this year and Bungie will develop DLC to support it, as it did with the first game. Other than that, we might have to wait until E3 2017 to get the full scoop, as Bungie isn’t going to make the same mistake it did last time and announce a game that looks nothing like the final product.
Separate from the earnings calls, Kotaku’s Jason Schreier reports that Activision will take control of ” a hefty chunk of [Bungie’s] stock” if the developer isn’t able to bring Destiny 2 to market by the end of the year. Previously, Schreier also revealed through sources that the sequel will be released for consoles and PC, and that players might not be able to bring their Destiny characters over to the sequel.
Destiny 2 confirmed features
Activision and Bungie have played their cards very close to their chest – so, as of yet, there are very few confirmed features. However, there are a few things that are nailed on.
A cinematic story
Gamers will be glad to hear that the developers are placing more emphasis on the story and characters this time around. "The cornerstone...is a great cinematic story," Activision exec Eric Hirshberg said earlier this year. "That's been a real focus with a great cast of memorable, relatable characters.” Bring it on.
Lots of expansions
This is hardly unexpected given the success of Destiny’s myriad updates and add-ons, but Activision has confirmed that it has “follow-on content plans” for Destiny 2. That likely means the team will be listening to players and tailoring the future experience – expect fresh content, gameplay changes, and cosmetic add-ons.
More accessible for “casual players”
‘Casual’ has become a bit of a dirty word in some gaming circles, but Activision and Bungie are clear about their intention to make their game more open to all. "We've made it more accessible to someone who just wants to have a great more casual first-person action experience... without losing anything that our core players love,” Hirschberg said. What that means in practice is not clear, but we hope it means a game with less grinding and more varied gameplay.
Character continuity with the first game (to some extent)
We don’t know how Destiny 2 will handle player’s Guardians from the first game (more on that in the rumours section below), but we know there will be some continuity. “That idea is that the Guardian you have created is something you can bring along with you on that adventure,” Community Manager David Dague told IGN in 2014. “If you take a look at the way people have played other games for a long period of time, they’ve had a relationship with the same character for a very long time.” Intriguing.
Destiny 2 Rumors
A game with this much hype always attract a deep well of rumours – and the gaming community has not disappointed. Here’s a round-up of the most plausible ones (in order of plausibility).
Destiny 2 will start from scratch – without previous player characters
Okay, so this runs contrary to what the Destiny team said about continuity in 2014 – but that was three years ago, and a lot can happen in development. Numerous rumours suggest that Destiny players will not be able to transfer their characters over to the sequel, and that the team behind Destiny 2 – led by the minds that created The Taken King – will overhaul the story, combat, and mission design. “D2 is a completely different game,” one source familiar with development told Kotaku. “The Taken King was a reboot for Destiny 1 to fix small things. This is the overhaul to fix big things.”
A focus on the Cabal – with a battle in the Tower
Destiny 2’s main antagonists will be the Cabal, the war rhinos that featured in the first game, rumours suggest. First, we have a report from industry insider shinobi602, who has called things right in the past. He/she says the Cabal will be a “major focus” - and that is backed up by the unlikeliest of sources: Mega Bloks toys. A toy appeared on Amazon showing the Cabal battling Guardians in the Tower, the player hub from Destiny that saw no combat at all. One to watch.
More dense hubs, called “play-in destinations”
One from Kotaku and shinobi602, who both say that Destiny 2 will contain more detailed hub areas bustling with activities. “They're going to do more open playspaces that incorporate towns, outposts, etc into more common areas,” says shinobi602, while Kotaku has a name for these spaces: “play-in destinations”. These will make Destiny 2’s planet areas “feel more populated with towns, outposts, and quests,” the report said – which would be welcome.
Set on Saturn?
Shinobi602 says the game will be largely set on Saturn, which will be bigger than all of the areas in Destiny 1 combined. This has not been confirmed by other sources.
Destiny 2: Forge of Hope?
This one has been straight up denied by Bungie, but they do have a history of rubbishing rumours that go on to be true. Reddit user Inside_Leaks, claiming to be a Bungie insider, said that the game will be called Destiny 2: Forge of Hope. The game will be built with a whole new engine, and will be a console exclusive to PS4 for three months. It’s worth taking with a pinch of salt, as no other sources have backed up the information.