Destiny 2 Marks Bungie Taking Off Their Training Wheels
Unable to escape the baggage of it's first outing, Bungie is set to clear the slate and knock it out of the park this time around.
We’ve all been biking hopefully. It’s an almost integral part of a childhood. You start with your training wheels, take them off and then lean on your parents until ultimately you don’t need them. Then you eat gravel repeatedly. We’re all bound to stumble out of the gate but it’s on us to learn from the tumbles and learn to steady ourselves. Only then can we venture out into the unknown, or you know, to your friend’s house around the corner.
Destiny was a game that was either unwilling or unable to move past it’s falls. I’ve loved Destiny with all my heart since the first day of the Alpha but the game was always one on the precipice of being something fantastic. The gunplay was and continues to be satisfying but it never really evolved beyond feeling good nor did it have to. The story, which for all intents and purposes should’ve been great, was terrible but eventually got to a good point. Even then though, this was Bungie catching up more than it was them transcending. Finally, they just literally couldn’t move past the same areas we had already been visiting for years. DLC after DLC simply retooled and repurposed the same environments in an effort to drain it of all the story they could without being a hefty toll on Bungie itself. It felt like the further we got into it’s life, the more new content we should’ve gotten. Instead, they slapped the training wheels back on to Destiny. It never felt like they were confident enough to really explore their potential. The areas we got that were new weren’t quite so. The Dreadnought and the whole Taken King arc that were brought forth in the game’s first major expansion, The Taken King, were supposed to be in the final act of the game and the Lighthouse was supposed to be an area in the main game, something that as of last week Kotaku’s Jason Schreier reports is being amended via DLC for Destiny 2,
Destiny was The Tower. It was always there, always fairly static, always seemingly unfazed except for moments of brightness like the Festival of the Lost or The Dawning. With Rise of Iron, it’s second major expansion, strange things began occurring. An in-game virus began spreading amongst the player base and peoples imaginations ran wild. We knew we were getting a new social space in the form of Felwinter Peak but exactly why we didn’t know. It didn’t take too long for people to start theorizing that we would be exorcised from The Tower due to our “disease” and thus had to scramble to the top of Felwinter in order to set up a new base of operations from where we could combat the disease. This in-game emphasis on not necessarily feeling safe could have been a good way to set the tone for Destiny’s end and propel us into the narrative presented in it’s sequel, which doubles down on the on-the-run feeling. This theory didn’t pan out like we thought however, the plot likely suffered for it and we were left with a story that while adequate enough on it’s own, didn’t feel like a proper ending to this saga.
Destiny 2 is Bungie wiping the slate clean and effectively starting all over again. The Tower is gone. The first mission is you desperately trying to save it…and you lose. The training wheels have come off. The safety of The Tower is compromised and though you may yet come back to it, that I don’t know, your guardian will come back to it invariably changed. Destiny 2 is a sequel to a game fumbling it’s way to the finish line. Destiny is very much a teenager while Destiny 2 is the confident adult wondering what the hell it was doing in it’s youth.
Things to be excited for in the sequel: We finally see more of the European Dead Zone (another cut part of Destiny) but on top of that we’re getting new worlds in the form of Io, Titan and Nessus. These zones will have more tailored content meant to capture your attention and give you something to do. If that fails, at the very least it will give context to what you’re already doing, which was a thing lacking in Destiny. It also lacked a fast travel system, a functional economy(up until The Taken King), a coherent story, quality writing, etc. It had characters that were cool but you could never interact with, which as I saw today, has been hilariously amended.
The list goes on. Over the years though, that stuff’s been slowly introduced. Destiny 2 isn’t a follow up to a disappointment, it’s built off of the fantastic work Bungie did fixing their previous effort. If it fell like years of feedback were falling on deaf ears, look towards tomorrow as proof it wasn’t.
With Destiny 2, I feel Bungie has the capability to truly tap into their potential. Free of all the baggage of development hell, the confidence is wildly present and exciting. Actual new adventures await us all and I’m stupid excited to embark on them in a fresh, functional game. If Destiny was to be Bungie’s true training grounds, their very own Crucible, they’ve emerged from the other side triumphant.
If you couldn’t tell, I’m really excited for Destiny 2 and you should be too.