Bungie has always said it has a 10-year-plan for Destiny, and now in year three, we have a better sense of where the shooter sensation is headed next.
The Destiny 2 full game will be released this late monsoon, expanding the Destiny experience with plenty of new worlds, fresh gameplay elements, and more customisation options than ever. It's the biggest overhaul of the MMO-cum-FPS since the release of the original back in September 2014 - and we've collected everything we know about it below.
1) There's a new threat
Destiny 2 surfaces a new threat for your Guardians to take down: the Red Legion, led by the surely-horribly-evil Ghaul. You can catch the surprisingly funny reveal trailer above, and here's the official synopsis from Activision and Bungie:
"Humanity’s last safe city has fallen to an overwhelming invasion force, led by Ghaul, the imposing commander of the brutal Red Legion. He has stripped the city’s Guardians of their power, and forced the survivors to flee. You will venture to mysterious, unexplored worlds of our solar system to discover an arsenal of weapons and devastating new combat abilities. To defeat the Red Legion and confront Ghaul, you must reunite humanity’s scattered heroes, stand together, and fight back to reclaim our home."
And now we have a narrative reason why your Guardian's progression in the first game won't carry over: with the Tower in ruins, all your stuff is gone. Womp, womp.
2) It's coming to PC too
While the original Destiny was a console exclusive across PlayStation and Xbox platforms, the sequel will also start off on PC, as well as PS4 and Xbox One. Last-gen consoles were cut out of Destiny's future back when Rise of Iron skipped PS3 and Xbox 360.
We don't have any sense yet if the PC version will vary at all in approach, besides sure support for keyboard and mouse, but on the 18 May gameplay reveal it emerged that it will be exclusively available and playable through, Blizzard's online platform. Yes, we think that means you won't be buying Destiny 2 from Steam anytime soon.
Razer's also announced that it will be launching a range of Destiny 2-themed PC peripherals: a headset, keyboard, mouse and mouse mat.
3) GAMEPLAY: IF IT AIN'T BROKE...
Bungie's 18 May livestream event showed off the first excerpts of Destiny 2 gameplay, and from what we've seen, it's mostly a case of "if it ain't broke, don't fix it". Bar a few tweaks, which we'll go into in a sec, Destiny 2 looks to play very much like its predecessor, giving players a choice of three character classes, three weapon slots, grenade, melee and super powers and having them battle against hordes of aliens - and the occasional mid-level and end-level boss - in classic FPS style.
The various gameplay trailers have a sense of the tone that Destiny 2 is trying to strike here – plenty of personality and humour (thanks Cayde-6/Nathan Fillion), for sure, while keeping the gung-ho sci-fi edge. Bungie has promised more cutscenes than in previous Destiny single player activities, and the gameplay sections showed the Vanguard NPCs fighting alongside the players, all of which should hopefully work towards giving the new game a clearer sense of narrative, theme and purpose than the original release, where we never really knew what we were doing or why we should care.
There's a similar mix of PvE and PvP gameplay on the way.
For the former, there'll be campaign missions, strikes (including the high-level Nightfall strikes), open-world patrols (all of which appear to be available for three-player fireteam co-op, just like before) plus a brand new six-player raid (details of which will be revealed closer to launch) for players who are nearing the level cap. For PvP, there'll be both old and new game modes, including Countdown, the series' first attack/defend mode - but one major difference is that all competitive modes are now designed around four-player teams (previously, it was six, three or two, depending on the mode).
We now know that the action will be taking place across four worlds: Earth (in which we'll visit the cheerily-named European Dead Zone), Saturn's moon Titan, Jupiter's moon Titan, and a Vex-occupied planetoid called Nessus. And Bungie says we'll have much more fun exploring these places thanks to a free-roaming mode with patrol missions, NPCs handing out side quests, daily events and loot-laden dungeons.
As you'll be losing all your gear and powers from the first game, everybody playing Destiny 2 - newbies and old hands alike - will be starting from the same page. Bungie says the game will be themed around the struggle to reclaim everything you've lost - your home, your Vanguard leaders, your powers, your vast collection of weapons and armour - which should provide a real drive to get stuck in.
Speaking of powers, weapons and armour, we saw a few new examples in the gameplay stream, including new subclasses for Warlocks, Titans and Hunters. Expect to hear more about those in the run-up to launch.
4) CLASH OF CLANS
Good news for community-minded players: Destiny 2 will see clans getting a major revamp, with customisable logos and in-game support for rosters, plus opportunities for rewards to be shared across entire clans.
The clan setup will also help players who've previously struggled to find companions for the endgame activites like raids, Trials of Osiris and Nightfall strikes, via a new system called Guided Games. This'll make it possible for solo players to link up with clans in-game and take part in these challenging trials, giving more people the opportunity to experience what is, for many, the most enjoyable and memorable stuff to do - without having to resort to the lottery of seeking out players using external apps or websites.
5) It'll have a beta this summer
Luckily, we won't have to wait long after the livestream to actually get our hands on Destiny 2: Bungie has a beta test scheduled for sometime this summer, and we imagine that it will be available across all three platforms at some point.
Don't be surprised if PlayStation 4 gets first crack at the beta, as it did with the first game (which also had a PlayStation-exclusive alpha before that). Activision still has an exclusivity deal with Sony that grants special content to PS4 owners once the full game arrives, and we imagine early beta access will also be part of that alliance.
6) Start saving for September
There's no date yet for the beta, but we know when we'll get the full game: 8 September worldwide, on all three platforms.
In addition to the base physical or digital game, there will be a couple of special editions of varying extravagance. The Limited Edition set includes the game, expansion pass for two big DLC add-ons, premium digital content, and a fancy Cabal-themed collector's box with a few little trinkets inside. That one will sell for US$100 (about ₹6,500).
And if you really, really love Destiny, then you might want to start socking away cash for the Collector's Edition, which has everything from the Limited Edition along with a real, wearable Frontier Bag. It can be used as a backpack or messenger bag and includes a solar panel USB charger with light, paracord, solar blanket, and a 15in laptop/tablet sleeve. That bundle will set you back a stunning US$250 (about ₹16,200).