Game developer Bungie detailed the future roadmap of its sprawling online shooter Destiny 2 on Tuesday in a Twitch live stream packed with news about where the game is going this fall and how the studio plans to support it once Microsoft’s and Sony’s new consoles arrive. Perhaps the biggest news was the announcement of not just one, but three new major expansions keeping the game active until at least 2022.
Typically, Bungie’s Destiny series, which first launched back in 2014 as the first new property from the creator of Halo, has followed a somewhat consistent release cadence. It has involved smaller updates that are peppered in once every few months, all leading up to a major fall expansion. For Destiny 1, the cycle lasted four years. The same has stayed true for Destiny 2, which launched in 2017 and has had two major fall expansions since and a seasonal update model that Bungie has been tweaking to find the right formula.
That appears to be changing, at least in a big picture sense. Bungie typically has never talked about its plans beyond the immediate year ahead. But game director Luke Smith announced today that Destiny 2 will see the Beyond Light expansion this fall, releasing September 22nd, as well as The Witch Queen in 2021 and Lightfall in 2022. There are no release dates for those last two expansions, but we can assume they’ll also be in the fall, and Smith said Bungie will continue revamping how it keeps the game active and engaging in the months in between.
All three expansion names were shown on-screen as being part of Destiny 2. So while Bungie has not explicitly announced that it is not planning to release another proper sequel — which in turn forces many players to migrate to a new game and lose all of their progress on the existing one — it does seem fairly certain there is no Destiny 3 on the horizon, at least not until well after 2022. Although in a Q&A with streamer Ben “DrLupo” Lupo following the reveal, Smith did say, “We’re not planning to make one,” when asked about another sequel.
The big focal point of the fall expansion, Beyond Light, is players gaining control of the Darkness, a kind of primordial evil that is the series’ primary antagonist and the antithesis to the protagonist’s source of supernatural powers (called the Light). It will involve a new destination, the icy Jovian moon Europa, and a new enemy to face that is in some way intertwined with the ongoing Darkness narrative. It will also bring back a popular Destiny 1 character, the Exo Stranger, and pull together a number of other story threads that Bungie has been building for some time now.
Players won’t have to wait too long to start getting a taste of where Bungie is taking the game this fall. The next seasonal update, called the Season of Arrivals, launches today for all major platforms, and it will include a dungeon going live this evening and a series of story beats and activities that presumably transition the narrative toward Beyond Light in September.
In additional to all of this expansion-related news, Bungie announced it would be supporting the PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X consoles for Destiny 2, including free upgrades for current owners of the game on the platform they play on and performance guarantees of 4K and 60fps.
There was also a reveal of the “Destiny Content Vault,” which will let Bungie cycle out old content and bring back fan favorites from Destiny 1 into a new, separate experience that will live alongside the main game. Bungie says the goal is to help better manage updates to the game, keep file sizes down, and allow the studio to better prioritize newer content. It will start with a revival of the series’ first raid, the Vault of Glass.
All of these updates mark a pretty serious new direction for Destiny starting this fall, and it all mirrors Bungie’s substantial changes it made to the structure and business of the game last year after it broke with publishing partner Activision and made Destiny an independent franchise. Those changes involved support for cross-save and a new free-to-play model, both of which have made the game far more accessible to new players and have made Bungie an industry leader in supporting movement between platforms.
So it’s good to see that Bungie will continue doing so when new consoles arrive. Bungie has yet to announce an exact date for when Destiny 2 will be available on the Xbox Series X and PlayStation 5. And it’s unclear right now how the upgrade process will work for current players who plan on playing the Beyond Light expansion on release to transition to the new consoles and carry over all their progress and purchases. But given how smoothly cross-save was implemented, it’s likely Bungie will have a cohesive system in place come November when the new consoles are expected to launch — or at the very least, some time in early 2021.