LOS ANGELES – On Thursday morning, in front of a packed crowd of journalists and YouTube personalities at Hawthorne Airport in Los Angeles, Bungie finally gave fans their first real look at “Destiny 2,” the sequel to the popular sci-sci shooter that’s scheduled to launch in September.
Bungie, the company behind the original “Halo” games, released the first “Destiny” game in September 2014, but several expansions and major updates over the last three years radically changed how players experienced that game. Now that “Destiny” has received its final update, Bungie is focusing all its efforts on the full-game sequel, set to launch on PlayStation 4 and Xbox One consoles, as well as PC for the first time, on September 8.
Late last month, Bungie sent me a package filled with clues about “Destiny 2,” which served as a lead-up to Thursday’s big gameplay unveiling. But now we finally have the first real details about the game, how it will look, and more importantly, how it will play:
- The event started off with a cinematic showing Zavala, one of the quest-givers in the first “Destiny” game, talks about what it means to be a Guardian. You watch him fight, die, and come back to life. He visits outposts, and greets characters from the first game. It’s essentially showing the events that led up to everything in “Destiny 1.”
- Luke Smith takes the stage after the cinematic. “‘Destiny 2’ is going to be a new experience for everyone,” He says. “It’s an opportunity to start fresh.”
- There are three things Bungie focused on for “Destiny 2”: a world that pulls you in (having a story you can relate to, having characters you want to hang out with, and enemies you want to face); amazing things to do, no matter your mood, for both solo players and people who like multiplayer, including 4v4 multiplayer; and cooperative experiences (public events, strikes, and raids).
- Smith says 50% of “Destiny” players didn’t experience a raid. “That’s not good enough for ‘Destiny 2,'” he says.
- The vision for “Destiny 2” boils down to a simple statement: “It’s a world I want to be in,” Smith says.
- Another cinematic: The three main quest-givers in “Destiny” help defend the Tower, your main hub in “Destiny 1,” as it’s attacked by hundreds of massive enemy ships.
- A first look at gameplay! The last city of humanity is under attack, and you and two other players are defending the Tower from incoming enemies, which are dropping to the tower like comets. It’s incredibly hectic. And for the first time, you and other Guardians are fighting alongside non-playable characters (NPCs) like Zavala, who are also defending the city.
- In “Destiny 2,”Smith says “We’re defeated in our backyard. The last safe city is gone.” The new enemy in “Destiny 2,” a warlord named Gaull, believes the Traveller, the enigmatic being that gives Guardians their powers, should have given those powers to he and the Red Legion, his band of followers.
- There’s new worlds to explore, new Nightfall strikes, all-new weapons, all-new armour, and an all-new raid. (The new armour looks amazing.)
- Each character also has new Supers: The Dawnblade, a flaming sword that shoots fire projectiles; the Sentinel, a titan that can summon a shield and throw it a la Captain America; and the Arcstrider, where you wield a lightning-powered staff and swing it around like an acrobat.
- A new campaign, called The Red War: You’ll experience new missions and cinematics.
- Strikes are back: Cooperative missions you can play with friends or people you haven’t met yet, through matchmaking.
- The Crucible is also back for competitive multiplayer. Bungie has made some major changes to the Crucible in “Destiny 2”: It’s now 4v4 across all game modes (it was previously 6v6), and a HUD will tell you more about your opponents (what weapons they have, if their Super is ready, etc.). There are new maps and new modes. “We believe this is the best PvP offering ‘Destiny’ has ever seen,” says Bungie’s Steve Cotton.
- The new raid will be shown off “later.” Raids are the greatest challenges a Guardian can face, but Bungie is keeping details under wraps for now.
- Bungie also focused more on the ability to explore the world. “There’s so much more to do as you explore; now, you can launch all the new activities in the world without ever going to orbit,” Cotton says. “There’s adventures, treasure maps to follow, lost sectors to discover. Just choose a landing zone and the rest is up to you. You’ll meet new characters in the world and they will send you on side quests and adventures; they will take you to new places, and each has a new reward that will make your Guardian stronger.”
- “Destiny 2” has a new map to guide your way. It’s now easier to see where and when public events will happen.
- Four brand-new worlds: You can explore Earth, Titan, Io, and Nessus. Titan is a massive ocean-like planet with monolithic structures; Nessus has been taken over by a machine-like race called the Vex, which has its own unique structures and flora; and Io is a sulphuric planet off Venus with lots of vegetation. All the worlds feel completely different and varied, compared to “Destiny 1.”
- “We want to remove as many barriers as possible between your gun and the enemy’s face,” Luke Smith says.
- Bungie announces Clans will be coming to “Destiny 2.” Clans are optional teams that make it easier to play with other people; previously, coordination would have to happen outside of the game. “We want it to be easier for you to manage and grow your clan, so we’re adding in-game rosters, tools you need to build your fire teams, and banners that can help shape your identities. There’s also a reward system that rewards every member of your clan. Your contribution will help everyone in the clan get rewards.”
- Clans will matter, even if you don’t join one. Bungie admits it was previously inaccessible for many people to enjoy end-game content. So for “Destiny 2,” Bungie is trying something called Guided Games, a system where clans and solo players to meet to complete activities. You can choose to see what clans are doing, what they want to do, how they present themselves, and get an idea of the players part of that clan. Now you can also find other people to join your clan as well. It’s a way for solo players to find clans maybe just looking for one or two more players, and for groups to find an extra player or two. “It ensures everyone can play every piece of content we build,” Luke Smith says.
- Bungie’s Mark Noseworthy: “It’s a game where you can lose yourself for 10 minutes, or 1,000 hours.”
- A surprise announcement: “Destiny 2” on PC will be exclusive to Blizzard’s BattleNet. It will not be available on other online storefronts like Steam.
And that’s it for the presentation! We’ll have photos and videos of the gameplay for you shortly, as well as hands-on with the new campaign and strike.