Destiny 2 begins with the Guardians in a bit of a pickle: the Tower has fallen, the City is burning, and the forces of humanity (and Exo-ity and Awoken-ity) are scattered. But that's just the story set-up. The real question is what will happen when the cinematics are done playing and your Guardian is standing there with a future-gun in their hands, ready to start a new semi-mythical space adventure. Naturally, the GamesRadar+ crew has more than a few ideas about how developer Bungie should get things started - here's what we think.
"Another falls, and you're the last Guardian alive, making your final, brave stand"
Destiny 2 should start how games like Halo: Reach end - with a dramatic, unwinnable stand-off and an emotional farewell. We've seen the Cabal burning down the Tower in the first D2 trailer, and Cayde dramatically fending off enemies from a crumbling bar in the teaser. What I'd love to see is my Guardian shoulder-to-shoulder with friends making one last stand against overwhelming waves of Cabal, buying time for all the major characters from the Tower to escape. Just imagine it - you've already killed hundreds of invading foes with your favourite guns, the music swells, you see your friend fall but you're pinned down and can't get to them. Then another falls, and you're the last Guardian alive, making your final, brave stand. You empty the final rocket from Gjallarhorn and take down a Colossus before you're overwhelmed and the camera fades to black. And yes, you shed a little tear. Or two. The last thing you see is your Ghost taking a bullet and being buried among the debris of war. Only for someone (maybe Cayde) to arrive, months later, to find your Ghost, tinker with it, and resurrect your Guardian, who is in some ways the same, but in others very, very different... And so Destiny 2 begins.
How did the Cabal manage to destroy the Tower, given that it's always so full of highly experienced Guardians? Where did the Traveler go? Is Earth completely gone now? Doesn't matter - what we need is an emotional farewell to our Guardians that make us feel like proper heroes. Andy Hartup
"You realize you're playing as infamous Hunter Cayde-6"
It's not until you unlock your first selection of powers and stat bonuses that Destiny lets you appreciate the way Warlocks can rain death from afar, or how Hunters flit through battle with deadly precision, or how Titans are at their best when crashing into the middle of a fight. You might only realize that the class you picked doesn't really lend itself to your preferred style after committing several hours to it. Destiny 2 can fix this easily by not letting us play as our Guardians. Not at first, anyway.
How's this for a cold open: before you even create your character (or pick who you want to import from the original Destiny) you drop into the doomed defense of the Tower. You see a familiar hand cannon in the corner of your screen, hear Nathan Fillion's Exo-modulated voice, and realize you're playing as infamous Hunter Cayde-6. You have a few minutes to try out his powered-up abilities on the Cabal invaders, then your perspective shifts to Warlock leader Ikora Rey, then finally to chief Titan Zavala. Only after the Tower falls do you create/import your Guardian. New players are instantly more confident in committing to a class based on their previous experience, and veterans get to enjoy a sampler of high-level powers while taking control of iconic characters they already love. Everybody wins! Connor Sheridan
"I want Destiny 2 to assure me first thing that I'll be able to play start to finish as a solo player"
Given the way Destiny has taken shape over the past three years, this might seem like a strange request: I want Destiny 2 to assure me first thing that I'll be able to play start to finish as a solo player. This is a chance to reimagine the game as a place where people can flit in and out of groups, like the heroic story figure the first game claimed you were even though you really weren't. The first game starts big with that first mission in Russia and your grand meetings on the Citadel, but with even big class-specific missions doesn't feel super significant on your lonesome. I want a nice big opening where I'm playing by myself, establishing my guardian in the new world, and have the option to decide how I play from there. Anthony Agnello
"You stand alone in what remains of the Tower and the first mission begins: survive"
You are dead. All your gear and equipment has been destroyed during the Cabal raid on the Tower. Even your collection of awesome capes collected over the last three years has been reduced to dust. Tuesday is off to a bad start.
But your ghost hasn’t given up on you. Still a joker to the end and using what seems like its last remaining light to revive you, Nolandroid splutters ‘kill the wizard that came from the moon’ and fades away. You stand alone in what remains of the Tower as it burns around you and the first mission begins: survive. The actual mission walks you through the controls and gives you your first gun which, in a nod to the original Destiny is a Khvostov. The mission ends as you enter the makeshift camp of the resistance in Old Russia. Now it’s up to you to choose your allegiance to one of the factions (Hunters, Warlocks or Titans) who, in return, will teach you a unique set of skills to use against the new Cabal threat. James Jarvis
"I want to feel I’m hitting a whole new world in a whole new era"
As much as anything, I want the opening of Destiny 2 to unambiguously, undeniably tell me that everything is different now, and hit me in the face with just how much the world and the story have moved on. I want it to shock me with the change. I’ve loved my time fighting for the Vanguard Tower. 800 hours attest to that. But now it’s time for an exciting shake-up, and I want Bungie to squeeze every drop of awe and upset it can out of the brutal transition to the Guardians’ new, disempowered, hunted reality. It goes without saying that I want Bungie to go all-out with the kind of relentless, out-of-nowhere combat panic that opened the first two Halo games so powerfully, business-as-usual erupting into a desperate hell in seconds. But once the dust has settled, I want the game to take its time establishing in no uncertain terms that we are far, far from Kansas.
I want an incoming Cabal death-squad to be gunned down by surprise friendly Fallen, now fighting on our side in the face of a far bigger threat. I want it established that we’re truly on our own and in dire straits, the Traveler’s help out of reach, with a big, bad, wild world to explore and scavenge if we’re going to be able to even hold on. In short, I want Destiny 2’s opening – story and gameplay – to mirror the start of the player journey, leaving me feeling weak and out of my depth, with a long, hard path ahead and a dizzying amount of the unknown to wrangle along the way. I don’t want to feel comfortable. I don’t want to feel like I’m dropping into more Destiny. I want to feel I’m hitting a whole new world in a whole new era. David Houghton