Bungie is preparing "a new secret world in parallel with Destiny" which is planned to launch in 2025.
Speaking with Japanese site 4gamer (spotted by DestinyNews on Twitter), design director Jacob Benton commented on Bungie's heavily teased, non-Destiny plans. His response is written in Japanese, but two translation tools and my own limited Japanese agree that it amounts to: "I can't tell you much more at this time, but our team is working on a new secret world in parallel with Destiny, and we're firmly focused on the year 2025."
This isn't the first time Bungie's discussed a new IP, nor is it the first time that the year 2025 has come up. In September 2019, Bungie CEO Pete Parsons mentioned plans to "make sure we transform Destiny and that we have other franchises within the marketplace" by 2025. This was on the heels of the studio's split from Activision, and just before the launch of Destiny 2: Shadowkeep.
The studio has also discussed its new IP by way of job applications. Last year, several listings for an incubation project at Bungie discussed "something comedic with lighthearted and whimsical characters," and outlined an RPG experience with "consumable items, weapons, damage, and perks" as well as a gear system touching on "quest, weapon, armor, and equipment economy, progression, and rewards." If you think that sounds a bit like Destiny 2, you'd be right. It does seem that Bungie's working on another multiplayer RPG of some kind.
Many positions related to this IP have since been filled, but many of these descriptors are still used in the studio's job openings. A relatively fresh listing for an incubation associate tools engineer also asks "to help Bungie create their next enduring game IP," so this clearly won't be a small project.
The year 2025 has also become more significant given Bungie's updated roadmap for Destiny 2. Previously, last November's Destiny 2: Beyond Light was positioned as the first of three expansions which would carry the game through 2023. However, with The Witch Queen, the second expansion in that trilogy, now delayed to early 2022 and a fourth expansion coming in 2024 after Lightfall, Destiny 2's future has been extended.
This updated four-expansion roadmap will finish the "Light and Darkness" story arc of Destiny 2 through 2025, but it won't be the end of the game itself. Benton stressed this in his chat with 4gamer, affirming that Bungie has plans beyond the game's current story arc and that it isn't looking to reset things with what would be Destiny 3. This lines up with previous comments from vice-president Mark Noseworthy, who acknowledged that starting over in Destiny 2 was a big pain point for players and developers alike.
To sum everything up, Destiny 2 isn't going anywhere for a long time, but Bungie will expand its footprint as an independent developer and publisher in the years ahead, and it's planning to kickstart that process with a new IP seemingly planned for 2025. Of course, with the current state of the world and the unpredictable nature of game development, any release date given today is just an estimate at best, so don't be surprised if this incubation project slips to 2026 or beyond.
Speaking of Bungie's growth: it recently filed a trademark for Bungiecon.