It’s that time of the year again. E3 hype trains are prepping their runs through our living rooms, bedrooms, and basements, and developers are preparing to literally blow the doors off of our computer cases with presentations showcasing what they believe to be their finest work, in the hopes that we will all ham-fistedly shove hard earned dollars in their general direction.
Of the many developers planning sizeable reveals for the conference itself, some of them have reserved their own company selected time to apprise us of the latest and greatest with their games. To wit, Bungie has just released their first vidoc regarding the “Year Two” expansion plan for Destiny 2, entitled Forsaken. This expansion is set in a new area based around the Reef, a frequently utilized locale from Destiny 1, which functioned mostly as a social area and the hub for Trials of Osiris and the Prison of Elders. More accurately, this series of expansions will be set in the Awoken homeland, which after the events of The Taken King…well, let’s just say that there will likely be a ton of new places to explore and characters to interact with.
I’m not going to go into a long description about the plot, or even really talk much about what is coming and how it is coming to us. Instead, I’d like to focus a little bit more on what I think is honestly the most relevant aspect of any of this new content: The Taken King. “But that’s a D1 expansion, bruh. Why do you have to bring up the past?”
TTK represents the high water mark for the entire Destiny franchise. Both PvE and PvP had been tuned to as near to perfection as they could be, the content wasn’t utter garbage, and there were a slough of new and exciting features that were released; we got our hands on new subclasses for each character class, as well as new exotics, new loot across the board, and a “new” enemy to test it all out. Forsaken aims to do the same thing, except there’s one small problem.
We’ve already had a Taken King-level expansion.
What I’m getting at is that I am still completely baffled by the fact that Bungie reached the absolute pinnacle of Destiny development when they released TTK (and subsequently, Rise of Iron), yet they chose to almost completely scrap that success to release the nightmare that was (and to a degree, still is) Destiny 2. I understand the need for innovation completely; the video game industry is a multi-billion dollar a year business, and if you want your product to outshine all the rest, you need to bring the kickass original content. Especially if you’re pushing a game like Destiny, which relies on game world user population numbers to stay afloat. There’s a damn good reason that Eververse is pushed as hard as it is – developing game worlds this massive and detailed doesn’t come cheap, and expansions only bring in so much capital.
In the spirit of that sentiment, I’d like to officially go on the record as firmly believing that charging for expansions, offering tchotchkes and aesthetic crap for real world currency, and pushing the hell out of your IP like it was the hottest new designer drug to make it more desirable for a larger group of consumers is par for the course in the video game market, and should not be viewed as highway robbery by a bunch of scam artists trying to swipe dollars out of your pockets with shitty content.
When you have in your hands a nearly completely fleshed-out game, which had a rocky start but eventually made a relatively grand return to public favor, it makes ZERO SENSE to toss all that work in favor of a new system which may or may not be received well by your already loyal fanbase. It’s bad business practice, and even worse when measured up to any modicum of truthful advertising. This is exactly what happened with Destiny 2, and it is just as confusing as it is infuriating to watch from the perspective of a dedicated consumer.
So what does this mean moving forward into the second year of Destiny 2 content? Frankly, I think it means that Bungie is well aware that their game is not being looked upon favorably at this point in time. They are also likely painfully aware that it was their own folly of desperate “innovation” that landed them in the hot seat with their customers. Their response to this overwhelmingly negative sentiment is to go back to the source, and pull out some old tricks and shine them up, hoping that with a gradual return to greatness, their innovative wanderlust won’t be for nothing, and will keep players coming back until they inevitably release another title in the series.
For players, it means that you have to once again decide whether you’re going to be a fan of the game with faith in continual progress, or a fan of the game who can never get over the atrocities committed by these evil, horrible people who dare to attempt to create entire worlds out of thin air in a valiant (albeit somewhat foolhardy) attempt to fucking amuse you. One thing will never change about Destiny, no matter how many iterations of the game we go through, or how good or bad each one is in practice:
The concept of the game will NEVER be bad.
That’s why we all keep coming back, because we love this game, for good or ill. We complain about it, rage on social media about it, and write long diatribes on internet blogs about it because we care about it. We want to watch it grow (and even sometimes change), we want to see what the developers have up their sleeves, no matter if it’s great or terrible, and we want to interact with all of the friends we have online and the new friends we have made as a result of being involved with this game. I actually sat down the other day and went through my friends list on my Xbox, and I came to the realization that of over 200 people on that list, I had met well over half of them playing Destiny. That is astounding to me. I play plenty of multiplayer games, but none of them have ever made me feel a sense of community and fellowship like Destiny has.
So to the consumer, I say this:
Are you in, or are you out?
Bring it on.
(But do try not to suck quite as much, my blood pressure is high enough already, thanks to Bethesda’s flair for the dramatic).
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