With the launch and what looks to likely be the failure of Suicide Squad: Kill the Justice League, following in the footsteps of Avengers and Anthem before it, I do wonder what AAA investment in live service, PvE based games is going to be from here.
Everyone has been chasing Destiny all these years, but of course Destiny 2 has had severe struggles this year with falling playercounts and revenue, resulting in widespread layoffs. Now, we are headed into a final expansion of the current saga, and the launch of seasonal-but-not-seasonal Episodes after that.
I do wonder if it’s possible to just…stop all this. To go back to the brief period of time where Destiny was a series that was not cranking out non-stop content all year with never-ending seasons, allowing for breaks for players to breathe, and perhaps easing up a bit on relentless seasonal development at Bungie as well.
The idea I have would be to make the game continue to produce content, but escape from the true “live service” model that it embodies now, burning out I think everyone involved at this point. What would that look like?
I think you keep the large scale expansions. Those, when good, are the best parts of Destiny, and introduce meaningful content to the game (even if yes, Lightfall missed hard this year). It seems the pacing of that is more like every 18 months rather than every year now, but I’m not sure that’s a problem.
Then, the idea would be that instead of four seasons a year, or even this new idea of three episodes you would just…do real DLC again. Something smaller than an expansion, but substantive and interesting enough to get players playing again. Something like Warmind, for instance, planted between expansions serving as a reason for players to return after a break.
During this time, sure, Bungie would no doubt continue to stock Eververse with items. They’d continue to have holiday events and such. You could do minor updates here and there like hey, here are some PvP maps, which would be nice.
But these sprawling, endless seasons that fans end up complaining about anyway? This has not felt sustainable for a while now. We are now in a place where seasons often have really good content but players are burned out regardless, and the entire model does not seem like it’s working anymore. I don’t think Episodes are going to change that.
Of course, there are risks.
No ongoing content means less ongoing revenue, but hopefully overall development costs would be a little lower without four full seasons to make in addition to the yearly expansion. The DLC wouldn’t need to be as big as four season’s worth of content combined, after all. Warmind certainly wasn’t. But Bungie and Sony would have to reconcile what that might mean for the revenue pattern. But in the long term? If it helps save the IP and keep it healthier? I think the tradeoff is worth it rather than the franchise flaming out with this endless seasonal sprint.
Players would also have to be okay with dead time. We’ve seen this before, where the gaps in Destiny 1 were lengthy, as were long spaces between Osiris and Warmind and Forsaken and things like that. But even if players say they want more and more content, at this point, it’s hard to believe that’s true, given what the reaction has been to the seasonal model. I think essentially forced breaks would be a good thing, and allow players to return to the game not out of obligation to keep up with every season, but because something is coming out they genuinely want to come back for after time away.
I doubt this will happen, but I’ve been thinking about it a lot lately. For the next year at least, Episodes it is.
make an article about What If ‘Destiny 2’ Stopped Being A Full Live Service?
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