Weeks before The Final Shape showcase, Destiny 2 seemingly leaks its third Darkness subclass

Destiny 2 Season of the Deep
(Image credit: Bungie)

In a severe act of deja vu, Destiny 2's next Darkness subclass may have leaked just weeks before its official reveal.

As our friends at PC Gamer flagged, a short but significant clip purportedly taken from a developer build of Destiny 2 recently appeared online. The original source is, predictably, a now-deleted Reddit account set up by a user who claimed to have received the clip from a friend. Obviously, deleting the post and their account hasn't kept it out of the internet's watchful eye. The BungieLeaks Twitter, among many others, has it archived:

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This clip shows a Warlock loading into the Helm social hub, and while there's nothing particularly odd about the character's animations, the UI in the bottom-left corner has rightfully raised some eyebrows. It features a never-before-seen Super icon, and its melee ability is denoted with a red energy highlight. The coloration is, fittingly, the big red flag here. For starters, we don't actually see any energy bars on the UI when we load into the Helm in-game. More pertinently, we don't have a red subclass, folks. But maybe we're getting one? That's the implication of the leak, anyway. 

Apart from the Super, all of the ability icons seen here are taken from existing abilities. The grenade is a Void Axion Bolt and the melee is the Arc Warlock's Ball Lightning. But that doesn't necessarily debunk the leak on its own. This sort of UI mockup would be relatively easy to forge with image or video editing software, but Destiny 2 is developing a curious pattern of subclass leaks. 

Almost one year ago exactly, in the lead-up to the reveal of the Lightfall expansion, the green subclass we now know to be Strand was spoiled in a similar way. That leak came to us by way of an ArtStation post, and it also featured familiar ability icons, a new Super, and a never-before-seen subclass color. 

The timing and similarities are so curious, in fact, that some suspect the whole thing was orchestrated by Bungie as a bit of quiet marketing, or perhaps a way to distract a community that inevitably falls into a lull a few months after a new expansion drop. I'm still on the fence about the legitimacy of the leak itself, and I've got even less headspace for a psy-op conspiracy theory, though I admit I can't totally rule it out.   

Destiny 2 Lightfall

(Image credit: Bungie)

After Stasis and Strand, many players presumed Bungie would use The Final Shape to add a third Darkness subclass to Destiny 2, both to complete the 3-on-3 Light-on-Dark symmetry, and to send the Light and Darkness saga out with a bang. The release of Strand was an immense boon to Lightfall, an expansion that otherwise struggled to hold the community's attention. A whole new subclass gives players a lot to experiment with, and it could do wonders for The Final Shape, even if it is good without it. 

Earlier this year, I asked then-design lead Kevin Yanes and feature lead Eric Smith about the design space for another potential subclass. 

"I think we believe pretty heavily that there's a considerable amount of design space available for us to consume or discover more of," Yanes replied. "What design space would be around for a new fantasy of colors? It's a hard question to answer because if you would've asked me this after Stasis, I wouldn't have been even remotely putting myself in the mindset of what Strand could be. Should we sit down and think about a new power, I have all the confidence in the world that the team we've assembled can pull that off."

Smith added: "There are new emotional fantasies, new mechanics that aren't necessarily causing and preventing damage. There's all sorts of things that we'd love to explore in the future ... I think there's a lot of other stuff lurking out there that we're waiting for the perfect time to put in the game."

This obviously doesn't confirm another subclass, but it certainly didn't rule one out. So is this new crimson class legitimate? Fortunately, we should get an answer one way or the other at the August 22 Final Shape showcase

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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.