Destiny 2: Forsaken: 12 game-changing details Bungie told us about at E3, and what they mean for the future

Ever since the reveal of the upcoming Destiny 2: Forsaken expansion, the game's second year has enjoyed an infusion of hope and excitement far in excess of anything seen in the community since launch. Promising to give power back to players, alongside real control over their experience and a great deal of long-term hobbyist depth, Destiny 2’s second phase has huge potential to put right what went so wrong. 

But, Bungie being Bungie - and thus committed to big, enigmatic assurances, followed by slow-and-steady trickles of hard detail - it's so far been hard to entirely quantify the full promise of Year Two and Forsaken. A game as complex as Destiny, of course, thrives or dies based on the minutiae. Fortunately, while there's still more to be clarified over the summer months, we recently got a solid chunk of new details. Speaking to Bungie's Scott Taylor and Steve Cotton at E3, we dug into things with a bit more granularity, and pulled out everything the studio currently seems willing to say about the shape of the Destiny 2: Forsaken experience. We’ve also had a good old ponder over what all of this stuff really means for the game’s Year Two evolution. Starting with the fact that...

1. Cayde-6 is really dead  

Cayde-6 in the Destiny 2 Forsaken trailer

What Bungie said 

Taylor: “He's dead. His ghost is dead. 

“We wanted to come out with that to do a couple things. We wanted to establish the tone of the game, and show that we're serious about it. We also want people to process it. You'll play a mission with him, and you're not really sure when this is going to happen, or how, so the emotional experience of that would be very different if you just turned on the game, you saw it and it was all just a shock. It's actually a little more rich and interesting if you have time to sit with it, and reflect.”

What this means for Destiny 2: Forsaken 

If Cayde-6 is 100% dead and not coming back - and further discussion reveals that yes, totally dead - this represents a major turning point for Destiny’s storytelling. Not only are we looking at a welcomely dark, emotional narrative after a year of Destiny 2’s jarringly cartoonish tonal reboot, but we're looking at a Destiny story with real consequences, and the bravery to actually change things. Destiny has always had a tendency to shy away from major and permanent scenario shake-ups. It needs to step up and move forward, so this is really heartening news.

2. The campaign has a non-linear mission structure  

What Bungie said

Cotton: “It actually plays out a little bit differently. You go on a hunt, and you get to choose the way that you’re doing it. Who you’re going after, and in what order.” 

Taylor: “On top of just Uldren [Cayde’s killer], we saw him pull the trigger, but there’s these characters called the Barons that help him. When the game comes out you’re going to see how they were involved in this unfortunate act. You’re going to hate them just as much, if not more than, Uldren, and you’ve got to hunt them all down to get to Uldren. At a certain point in the story, you’re going to have a list you’re trying to check off.”

Cotton: “You’re working toward the same end goal. You need to find Uldren. But the way that you can do it, there’s choice”. 

GR: Does it matter what order you do it in? 

Cotton: “It might for Power [rating]. Just for how difficult it might be.” 

Taylor: “I assume that once it comes out, people will go ‘Here’s the optimal order to do it in’, if you want to do it this way, and people will have opinions about which ones they like, and which they find most exciting, and which ones are fun to do first.” 

What this means for Destiny 2: Forsaken 

As simple as a non-linear mission list might seem, that represents something important for Destiny 2. As well as basic choice, it means that this is finally a game that trusts players to wade into content beyond their level and find a way to fight through it. After holding back player power for so long, while reducing challenge amid a great deal of hand-holding and simplification, it seems that Destiny is 'decasualising’ and once again trusting its players’ abilities and willingness to explore. 

3. Year Two is all about deep, long-term reasons to play

Taylor: “Year Two kicks off with [Forsaken], which is a transformative moment for Destiny. We’re not only delivering all that, but we have Triumphs, which is a new set of achievements that every player is going to get. We have the Collections, we’re changing the weapon slots, we’re adding random rolls, all those things are for all Destiny players. And then on top of that we’re doing events. We’re still going to have events that are available to everyone, seasonal rewards, PvP, all of that stuff. 

“On top of that, we also know that there are a lot of players who really want Destiny to be a hobby. We’ve definitely heard loud and clear that they want endgame challenges, more Exotics, more loot. So instead of doing the [content] drops that have that cinematic focus on that campaign that players might only play once, we want to lean into that Escalation Protocol-type experience that the really devoted endgame players are craving, and really deliver those more often. 

Cotton: “The biggest goal that we had was to reinforce the hobby, so for all the players who want to spend our day thinking about how we’re going to go home at night and get more powerful, or get that new piece of gear that we’ve been chasing, our focus has been that. A lot of the stuff we’ve been doing with Triumphs, and Collections, and the Dreaming City – which we’ve built as an endgame destination, so there’s secrets, and things to find, and challenges that are going to take you weeks and weeks to do – we want that hobby to be real. And so everything we’re doing with the release, and then the stuff we’re doing afterward, is all to solve that.” 

What this means for Destiny 2: Forsaken 

As above, it feels like Bungie is reconnecting with what the first game was really about. It was never just a shooter with collectible guns. It was a dense, RPG-influenced hobby that appealed to thoughtful tinkerers and skilled shooters in equal measure. It was a deep, complex game of endless exploration, experimentation, and creative optimisation, in which the best load-outs were often built upon weeks of theorising and gear hunting. It’s time Destiny 2 was all about that. 

4. The Dreaming City will be a challenging, player-driven proposition, where the story is built from the experience

What Bungie said

Cotton: “The first thing that makes it different [from normal destinations] is that it’s home to the Raid. So imagine if the Raid just sort of trickled out into an island around the Raid. Everything that you can do out there is all kind of related. It also is not afraid to put things in front of the player that they can’t do, and have you have to figure out how to do them. So it’s less about trying to tell a linear narrative through that, and that the narrative is more about the experience, and what you’re doing, and the puzzle that you’re solving.” 

Taylor: “It’s totally thematically tied to the story, and an evolution of the story, but it’s not a campaign. It is more about that hobby experience. But the thing is that while it houses the Raid, if you’re a solo player you can still land there and explore all around it. The Raid is a part of it, but there are activities that go over time, public events, secrets that if you’re determined enough, you can get powerful enough to go through and explore and find out.” 

What this means for Destiny 2: Forsaken 

Again, it's a really heartening refocus on what really made the first Destiny such a worthwhile experience. Some games thrive on accessibility, clarity, and instant empowerment. For others, that stuff detracts from the long-term journey, and the real value of the personal player experience. In much the same way that an easy mode would kill Dark Souls stone-dead, Destiny 2’s straightforward, overly loot-generous approach made for a shallow, less engaging Year One experience. This sounds like a 180. 

5. It's also an endgame alternative for non-raiding players, while connecting their actions to those who do 

What Bungie said

Cotton: “We teased that a little bit, didn’t we? [laughter as Cotton and Taylor blame each other for apparently saying too much] So the other thing that we’re really excited about is having that feeling of causality. I think the thing that’s exciting for me is having players appreciate the things that raiders are doing even if you aren’t a raider yourself.” 

GR: Raiding is hard. 

Cotton: “Yeah, exactly, it is, and not everybody can do Raids, and we make Raids as an in-game pinnacle activity. But for people that are not able to do raids, this destination is going to feel like the pinnacle activity for them.” 

What this means for Destiny 2: Forsaken 

As well as extra difficulty and more long-term activities to fuel the hobby, it seems that Destiny 2: Forsaken is finally addressing the plight of the solo player. For a long time, Destiny has made little provision for those who cannot - or don't want to - get together a team of six to take on its Raids. It will be really good to have an alternative for solos who don't want to feel like second-class Guardians. 

6. Milestones activities are getting a much-needed upgrade, and story missions will actually matter again  

What Bungie said

Cotton: “There are four new strikes in Forsaken – one is Sony-exclusive. We’re really excited, they’re all really good fun. And we’re bringing back Daily Heroic Story missions, so we’re actually adding more ways to go out and get more Power. 

“You can do the Heroic Story missions, other daily challenges, some that are less frequent than daily but more frequently than every week, that kind of stuff. But Strikes are there. Our goal is to get you to play Strikes better than we actually have over the last year.” 

Taylor: “We’re doing a bunch of things that… I’m actually really excited about what we’re doing with Strikes.” 

GR: Are you allowed to talk about that? 

Taylor: “I don’t think I am. [laughs] I think we’ve said some things here that we’re going to be spoken to about.” 

What this means for Destiny 2: Forsaken 

This is going to be a really big one for the regular, day-to-day experience of playing Destiny 2. While the current weekly Milestone system - which guarantees high-level loot in exchange for relatively simple set tasks - is a good avenue of steady progress for players without much time, it deprives the more dedicated player of much to do outside of a single, three-hour window every Tuesday. Expanding and overhauling the week-by-week options could be transformative. 

And strikes really need a shake-up in order to become relevant again. While it's impossible to know exactly how they're going to change, they deserve to become the engaging source of fun and progress they once were - and there are plenty of options, as our recent feature on how Forsaken should fix Destiny 2 attests. The fact that Scott is being so secretive (hopefully) implies something big. 

7. The new subclass evolution sounds like a big upgrade (but still uses pre-set skill-trees)  

What Bungie said

Cotton: “You can think of these as Supers. There are nine new Supers. We call them subclass paths, because for every subclass - you know you have two paths now – we’re adding a third path for all nine. The goal there is that whatever you play, whether you’re a solar Titan or an arc Warlock, there’s going to be something new for you, and then there’s going to be two others that you can earn as well.” 

What this means for Destiny 2: Forsaken 

It sounds like Destiny 2’s subclass skill-trees are going to remain locked, pre-set clusters of abilities rather than giving us the D1-style freedom to mix and match. It's initially disappointing that Forsaken is building on that more restrictive system rather than completely overhauling it. That said, if the new Supers and third skill-trees offer enough distinction from the existing selections, alongside the some interesting interplay with the current Guardian abilities, they might be enough to freshen things up, particularly if Year Two’s new approach to gear perks and stat randomisation is designed to amplify the combined possibilities. Ultimately, it’s all going to come down to the practicalities of perk and skill synergy. 

8. The new Supers have more nuanced depth beyond their destructive ability, and support skills are a big focus  

What Bungie said

Taylor: “When you slam that sword down [the new solar Warlock Super that creates a huge rift] it does damage. So there’s some nuance here that people are going to discover, and that we’re going to talk about later. There are some details to that one that are maybe more special than first appears.” 

Cotton: “There are new power fantasies to have, and really that’s how they fit, They’re new fantasies to take out into the world and change every activity in the world.” 

Taylor: “You’ll notice that that Warlock one was a support Super. In Gambit you can use that to assault the Primeval, or guard a post where the Invader’s coming in. Or you’re invading and you’re at the Primeval, and you’re using that as a point because they’re allied with you. So that was a goal.”

Cotton: “There was an intent to give at least one support fantasy to every class.” 

What this means for Destiny 2: Forsaken 

This is all rather promising in regard to previous point. More versatility in the purpose and functionality of Supers bodes well for freedom of individual play-style, provided these new Supers interact interestingly with the wider ecosystem of Guardian abilities. 

9. Weapon slot changes are de-rationing favourite weapon types, and offering up ridiculous new possibilities 

What Bungie said

Cotton: “We’re both really excited about the weapon slots, because it’s one of those things that does affect the whole game. It changes the way the whole game plays in every activity. And we really like how it plays. It was [about] trying to get you more control over the way you want to play, and get back of those weapon archetypes that are so much fun to switch between – like shotguns, and sniper rifles, and fusion rifles. To get you more reliable access to those.” 

GR: What if I put a shotgun in all three slots? How will that change things? Will I be super over-powered? 

Cotton: “The reality there is that you will be able to do that, just because of the way the shotgun’s going to work. But it probably is not the most viable strategy, because you’re probably going to run out of ammo, and everybody has to be two feet away. So that’s not going to be the optimal load-out, but what’s interesting about that is that someone who streams, or wants to challenge themselves, or wants to say ‘Hey, I’m going to run the Raid with three shotguns, do you think I can do it?’, they can try that now. And if they do it, they’re going to be so happy. You can run the whole game without firing a single bullet if you’re running bows and a sword. So we’re excited about that.”

GR: How does that change the ammo economy? 

Cotton: “The way we’re going to solve the ammo, we’re not actually getting into the details, but we’re working on the ammo right now.”

Taylor: “We’re aware that that’s important. [laughs]”

What this means for Destiny 2: Forsaken 

At the bare minimum, we should get back the varied weapon strategy that made the original Destiny work so well. Restricting the likes of shotguns, fusion rifles, and snipers to the limited-ammo Power category has crippled the vitality of Destiny 2’s gunplay, pushing the focus into more straightforward weapons and removing a lot of creative, tactical options. The scope for downright silly load-outs again plays well into the notion of Bungie trusting players to create their own challenges via less restrictive gameplay, but the reality of the (currently veiled) new ammo economy is going to be the most important factor here. There are still some big questions to be answered. 

What do those new white, green, and purple bullet icons on the new weapon slots mean, exactly? Can we switch, say, a Power weapon immediately to the Energy slot, or will we need find a new Energy equivalent as a loot drop? Will all weapons really fit all the slots, or will there be some contextual restriction - like, how does three rocket launchers work, if it works at all? Will, say, Kinetic and Energy Shotguns do the same damage as a Power variant, or will the latter be more potent to justify its category and (presumed) sparsity of ammo? There's a lot to juggle here. Hopefully things will be balanced in the direction of power and options over safe conservatism.  

10. Some existing weapons will change slots, and old gear can be infused to level cap (for a high cost)  

What Bungie said

Taylor: “The Year One gear will keep the same perks and all that, but it will be infusible. So people who love [for example] Uriel’s Gift – it will be expensive for you in the economy, but if you really want to, you can bring it up to the Power cap, if that’s something you’re excited about. If you get Forsaken you can do that.” 

Cotton: “Some of your old weapons might actually move around a little bit” 

Taylor: “When the update comes, weapons will move around for people. So that is a change. As part of this change, some weapons will be reassigned to different slots, and so people will log in that day and some things will have shifted around.”

What this means for Destiny 2: Forsaken 

This all sounds good. No-one wants to leave certain Year One weapons behind, particularly since recent updates have made some of them much more fun and interesting than they once were. Though the apparent high cost of upgrading should do a good job of pushing Guardians toward what will hopefully be a more engaging and upgraded approach to loot with Year Two's new gear. And hell, I'm certainly not going to shed a tear if Uriel's Gift gets left behind in the Crucible meta. 

The interesting question comes with the matter of which weapons are going to change slots on day one. Are we looking at a category-by-category shift here - ie. all fusion rifles jump straight to the Energy slot - or will things be more selective, with movements happening based on individual weapon ability? It would be easy to imagine - and justify - something as overpowered as the Legend of Acrius shotgun remaining the Power slot while more conventional shotties became more freely available. 

11. The Crucible’s first key change will come from weapon recategorisation (but it won’t likely stop there)  

What Bungie said

Taylor: “The Crucible updates that we’re doing, and the new mode, and the maps, are going to be available to all D2 players. We’re moving it out of focusing on the paid expansions, and making it so that the population can stay together. And I know that we’ve said that in the summer we’re going to have a permanent Rumble playlist, and a permanent 6v6 Quickplay playlist, and that’s going to be before Forsaken. And we’re going to announce the stuff that’s going to happen around the launch a little later.”

Cotton: “And the Crucible changes as soon as those new weapon slots come in. It just changes.”

Taylor: “Yeah, that’s going to be the impactful thing that happens that day, and then we’re going to do some other stuff a little bit later.”

What this means for Destiny 2: Forsaken 

The ongoing health of the troubled Destiny 2 Crucible sounds like a priority for Bungie. The change in weapon slots should help repair the currently rather one-note meta a great deal, and keeping the Crucible’s evolution separate from paid expansions will be a crucial move. The question remains of whether further changes will be required to finally kill the long-range, team-fire dynamic that currently plagues Destiny 2 PvP, but that will likely only become apparent once the new Crucible goes live. 

12. The Void Hunter now has a wallhack  

What Bungie said

Taylor: “I like the Void Hunter, simply for the fact that – and I don’t know if people are picking this up or not – you can see through walls. You can see other players through walls. So if you’re playing Gambit, if you’re playing Crucible, that’s going to change a lot. That’s going to be fun to see.”

What this means for Destiny 2: Forsaken 

Void Hunters have been complaining for a long time that their subclass of choice is weak in the PvP, largely due to an underpowered and inconsistently effective Super. Well now you can see through walls. Happy now? You literally have cheating as a subclass ability. 

Warlocks and Titans, it's time to unite against the hooded menace. And Bungie? Yeah, er, thanks. 

Sam Loveridge
Global Editor-in-Chief, GamesRadar+

Sam Loveridge is the Global Editor-in-Chief of GamesRadar, and joined the team in August 2017. Sam came to GamesRadar after working at TrustedReviews, Digital Spy, and Fandom, following the completion of an MA in Journalism. In her time, she's also had appearances on The Guardian, BBC, and more. Her experience has seen her cover console and PC games, along with gaming hardware, for a decade, and for GamesRadar, she's in charge of the site's overall direction, managing the team, and making sure it's the best it can be. Her gaming passions lie with weird simulation games, big open-world RPGs, and beautifully crafted indies. She plays across all platforms, and specializes in titles like Pokemon, Assassin's Creed, The Sims, and more. Basically, she loves all games that aren't sports or fighting titles! In her spare time, Sam likes to live like Stardew Valley by cooking and baking, growing vegetables, and enjoying life in the countryside.