Destiny 2 is happening, and it's coming this year. We officially know that now. But after the rocky - but ultimately triumphant - journey of discovery that the original game has undertaken over the last two-and-a-half years, what shape does the full-blown sequel need to take? Destiny has changed a lot since 2014. Bungie has learned a lot, and the game's fanbase has grown ever more attached while remaining entirely, passionately vocal. So it seemed an appropriate time to let a few of the more impassioned GR+ staff vocalise. Between them they have accrued Destiny hours numbering in the thousands, so they're definitely going to have opinions.
Let the opinions roll!
"I want a theorycraft masterclass. I want to to spend hours tinkering with gear to make a truly unique Guardian"
It's a common misconceoption that Destiny just needs more concrete content, all the time, forever. Those who've put serious time into the game will tell you that Destiny's real, long-term appeal actually comes not from having endless new missions to complete, but rather by finding new //ways// to take on the action. Destiny isn't about levelling up to simply get more powerful. It's about acquiring the means to do new things.
It's about exciting new weapon and armour perks that refocus and recontextualise your existing abilities. New ways of combining gear items to make them more powerful, or more efficient, or create different character builds with very different purposes set up for different events. It's about plugging together all of Destiny's modular bits and pieces to facilitate strategies you'd never even imagined before a particular piece of gear dropped, and changed the way you thought about a whole character class. That's the stuff that Bungie really needs to funnel its efforts into with Destiny 2. Regardless of the size of any given play environment, in Destiny, the //systemic// sandbox is always the real king.
I want this sequel to be a theorycraft masterclass. I want to be able to spend hours tinkering with load-outs, and item stats, and character builds. I want the ability to go further than the current system allows, with fully moddable weapons. I want whole new classes of tertiary loot to plug into my main guns and armour, to create truly unique, mathematically honed ways of Guardianing the crap out of the enemy and supporting my Fireteam. With the brilliant, gear-buffing Infusion system now destroying the original release's bottleneck problem - where limited high-level armour forced everyone to use the same kit when ascending the top ranks - it's clear that strategic and systemic diversity are at the forefront of Bungie's thoughts. So let's blow the doors off with Destiny 2. Let me design exactly the Guardian I want, and let me radically evolve them for years. David Houghton
"Is it too much to ask for a seamless transition between exploration and main missions?"
Currently, Patrol missions are a brilliant time-sink, but sometimes it can feel like you’re on a single circular track. Having a bigger, open, non-linear landscape to roam across would really make me feel like I was quashing threats from every corner of a planet. Is it too much to ask for a seamless transition between patrolling and main missions too, instead of jumping back into orbit each time you want some story? Leading nicely onto my next point, I also wouldn’t say no to some more side-quests. I care about Destiny’s story enough to pore over the lore in my spare time, yet sometimes I don’t fancy doing a big, Very Important Mission. I’d much rather do a quick, lighthearted activity that’s nevertheless a little more in-depth than a fetch-quest Bounty. Destiny, you’ve got me hooked already. With a couple of small structural changes I’ll pledge myself to you for life. Zoe Delahunty-Light
"With a dynamic, open, living environment, you wouldn't need a traditional ‘storyline’ path"
What Destiny 2 needs is a series of interconnected playgrounds that make you want to stay. Currently, the quicker you can get to a planet, complete the mission, and get back to orbit, the better. But imagine being able to land your ship on a planet, complete a Strike and then continue onward to one of many social spaces – let’s call them Towers - where you can trade in your items, pick up new missions, and dance. Dancing is important.
Making the planets and – in turn – the universe feel more like a dynamic, living, environment is what’s needed. Hell, create a world like that and you don’t even need to drag players through a traditional ‘storyline’ path at all. Just let the players go-forth, explore, discover things for themselves, and make their own stories. Maybe just don’t hide all the lore away on Grimoire cards that you can only read on the internet this time, yeah? Also: Customisable space ships. And pets. Preferably wolves. James Jarvis
"I love Raids and Patrols, but if I have to twat the Undying Mind one more time I'm going to scream"
For me, the main thing Destiny 2 needs to do is stay fresher for longer and the fact Activision is already talking about "follow on content" really has my attention. They know people are disappointed with the amount of stuff there was to do in the first game after all those promises of a 'ten year plan'. I love the Strikes, I love perfecting Raids and heading out on Patrols, but if I have to go and twat the Undying Mind one more time I'm going to scream. The talk of denser, more lived-in locations gives me hope that this will keep the adventuring going longer, and avoid that feeling of playing the same missions over and over, a real problem for the current game. Oh, you want some more of Crota's soul do you? Are you eating this stuff? Leon Hurley
"I'd love to see the realization of the 'personal story' that Bungie was going for when Destiny first launched"
Destiny 2 desperately needs a steadier flow of content. It doesn't have to be huge, but it has to be present. I can't keep doing the same patrols over and over and over again, especially when they're so dull. The gameplay of Destiny is immensely satisfying, but shooting for the sake of shooting gets tiresome pretty quickly. I'm not a Raid person, so I'd love to see more Strikes on offer, too - they're a great middle ground that allow more casual players to enjoy bigger battles.
I'd also really love to see the realization of the "personal story" that Bungie was going for when Destiny first launched. Think back to them saying how you'd be able to tell what people had done by looking at their armor or weapons. Raid gear aside, that didn't really pan out until Rise of Iron's Strike-specific loot chests, but how about giving us a lot more of that, *and* something to customize? An apartment in the tower, a ship, something that people can visit. And let us have pets. Not to take into battle; that's a bit much. But a space cat to prowl around the ship while I'm off killing Fallen would be pretty great. Susan Arendt
"I want a full game that approaches storytelling the same way the excellent Taken King and Rise of Iron expansions do"
From the sound of things, Bungie is making precisely the Destiny 2 I've always wanted: A full game that approaches storytelling the same way the excellent Taken King and Rise of Iron expansions do. At release in 2014, Destiny's rich and often bizarre lore, buried in its codex and item descriptions, felt at odds with its overt scripted story moments with characters like The Stranger, and later Eris and Cayde. The Taken King smoothed out the kinks, making for a tight adventure with the pulp presentation of Bungie classics like Halo Reach, but keeping the creepy sci-fi mysticism of the Destiny universe intact. With Taken King creative director Luke Smith at the helm of the sequel, it's headed in the right direction. Plus: I'm thrilled about rumors that your character won't carry over! I want to make someone brand new in a sequel. Anthony John Agnello
"It needs to push the power to its players. Let them create events, missions, and multiplayer modes for their friends"
Destiny 2 needs to go way beyond just offering 'new planets' and 'extra guns'. What it needs is a sustainable flow of stuff. The original Destiny simply isn't consistent enough with delivering fresh experiences to its hungry fan-base, meaning that even hardcore Guardians get bored and take breaks from their relationship with the game. While the lack of story is the loudest complaint from those who never truly engaged with the game, it's actual 'things to do' that echos among long-term players. That's no real fault of Bungie's either, who can only create so much stuff within a certain time-frame and budget. Destiny 2 needs to push the power over to its players, who should be able to not only forge their own stories, but also create events, missions, and multiplayer modes for their friends.
The Destiny community delights in making the experience its own, often nibbling at the edges of the game (cheesing) to see how its rules can be broken or bent. By handing over the ability for players to create their own mission / public event / Strike parameters (and perhaps even go as far as creating custom Raids), the scope for near-limitless creativity will ensure the game stays fresher, longer. When new content drops - like The Taken King - this should only serve to expand the toolset available to the players.
Do we need more overt story-telling? Maybe, although it's a costly process, and most will burn through any new narrative within the first week... then what? Fresh locations? Of course, but these should be more deliberate playgrounds to encourage creativity. Character transfers? What would work best is transferral of your Guardian's legend - their impact on the world and record of their achievements - rather than a very literal continuation of the same character.
Finally, more Nolandroid? Well... duh. Andy Hartup
The Big Question returns next Friday to debate the week's biggest talking point in games, movie, or TV from a variety of GamesRadar+ writers' perspectives.