Bungie outlines Destiny 2 Year 3 in new video teasing the story and activities of Shadowkeep and beyond

With Destiny 2 Shadowkeep just two weeks away, today Bungie released a new video documentary exploring the next year of Destiny and how Shadowkeep will inform it. Dozens of designers go in-depth on everything from Destiny 2 Armor 2.0 to the Destiny 2 Shadowkeep raid, and we also got some new details on the story of Year 3, the return of Eris Morn, and various bits and bobs like the new dungeon and Nightmare Hunts.  

The next chapter in Destiny 2's story  

"Year 3 is really the beginning of us really looking at Destiny from its heart out," community head Eric Osborne says, reaffirming Bungie's tone throughout the build-up to Shadowkeep. "We want to build Destiny for its core fans. We want to make sure we're building it for the people who love it." 

"Sometimes you feel like the events of the world happen, and sometimes you feel like you make the events of the world happen," says Destiny director Luke Smith. "A big thing we're doing this year is telling our players where we're going. We're saying 'hey, we're back, this is the five-year vision for the game.'" It sounds like Smith's five-year remark here is just a ballpark figure, but it does raise the question - yet again - of how long Destiny 2 will be supported before the inevitable Destiny 3. But I digress.

(Image credit: Bungie)

"A lot of what we're doing this year is to set Destiny into a place where Destiny can begin its next major change," Smith continues. "What we want to construct is a world where players feel like their actions, whether personal or as an overall global community, are moving the universe forward in some meaningful way."

Production director Justin Truman puts a finer point on it: "Shadowkeep is not just a destination with a new set of missions. Shadowkeep is a transition for the entire solar system and how you play the entire game." 

As design lead Benjamin Wommack explains, the Nightmares that Eris Morn discovers on the Moon will shape the events of Year 3 as much as the ongoing Vex invasion coming from the Black Garden. The Nightmares, seemingly manifested by the Darkness - yes, that's still around, in case you forgot - take the form of past enemies, from Destiny 1 raid bosses to Strike bosses, as well as more recent bosses like Barons in Forsaken. 

Multiple designers and employees, including Smith, also touch on how this will affect future seasons, which Bungie says will play off one another more meaningfully. The gist is that season eight will kick things off, season nine will build things up, and season 10 will crank everything to 11. Finally, season 11 - which will lead into Destiny 2's implied fall 2020 expansion - will bring everything together. 

"Forsaken broke a bunch of the bones that we set in Destiny 2," Smith says. "What we've been able to do this year is reset all that. Are we done? No. Not even close." 

New activities and rewards 

In addition to the story of Shadowkeep and Year 3, these Nightmares tie into a new activity called Nightmare Hunts. It's still not entirely clear how Nightmare Hunts work, but we do learn a bit more about them in this ViDoc. There's footage of Phogoth, the Untamed - an old Destiny 1 Strike boss - resurrected as a Nightmare, and the Guardian fighting it must "eliminate the Nightmare Boss before it sacrifices." So, it's possible Nightmare Hunts are like more structured, mission-like versions of the VIP bounties sold by Spider in the Tangled Shore - kill a dude and do it quick.  

(Image credit: Bungie)

In fact, bounties really are the keyword. A shot at around 4:20 shows the interface of a new item called the Lectern of Enchantment. The Lectern sells bounties that require you to defeat enemies in bosses within Nightmare Hunts in exchange for a new material called Phantasmal Fragments. Higher-level bounties may also reward gear or other loot, but the Phantasmal Fragments alone are pretty interesting. Around the same time, Smith says that " if you don't get rolls that you like, you're gonna go back to the rune table and make more." This suggests that Phantasmal Fragments - and the mystery materials shown in the image above - at the Lectern of Enchantment can be used to forge specific pieces of Shadowkeep gear, not unlike the well-received Rune system in the Season of Opulence. That's just speculation on my part, but it seems mighty plausible given Bungie's increased focus on actionable grinds. 

(Image credit: Bungie)

Speaking of loot grinds: another shot at around 6:10 gives us another look at the new difficulty tiers coming in Shadowkeep. These will be available for multiple activities, but they're rooted in the retooled Nightfall Strikes called the Nightfall Ordeal. The shot above is our first glimpse at Master difficulty, which comes with heavy challenge modifiers and dishes out Exotic loot at a "common" rate, along with new materials such as Enhancement Prisms and Ascendant Shards. 

Finally, we learn a bit more about the new three-player dungeon coming in Shadowkeep. According to the recently updated content roadmap, this dungeon will arrive on October 29 alongside a new PvP mode and another Exotic quest (which, curiously, is different in the ViDoc than in the roadmap, with the former showing the Xenophage machine gun and the latter showing the Divinity trace rifle). Producer Katherine Walker described the dungeon as a chasm "deep within the moon" where "there's all kinds of traps along the way." Those spiky rolling pins of death we've seen in various ViDocs? Yeah, it sounds like the dungeon's got plenty of those. 

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Austin Wood

Austin freelanced for the likes of PC Gamer, Eurogamer, IGN, Sports Illustrated, and more while finishing his journalism degree, and he's been with GamesRadar+ since 2019. They've yet to realize that his position as a staff writer is just a cover up for his career-spanning Destiny column, and he's kept the ruse going with a focus on news and the occasional feature.