Bungie has been very, very specific in terms of what they have announced about the future of Destiny 2 right now. Obviously that’s The Final Shape, announced years ago, but now coming into focus ahead of a June release after a three month delay.
But then there’s also the unveiling of “Episodes,” a replacement for the Destiny 2 seasonal model that has one less season, but three longer episodes instead which will contain more content in each of them, telling narrative-disconnected stories after The Final Shape that can be played in any order.
After that, however, we know nothing, which has led fans to wonder if Bungie is simply done making annual expansions for Destiny at all, and whether the new path forward is just doing episodes endlessly.
It’s not unheard of. In fact, it’s probably close to the norm. Very few games in this genre have sizable yearly expansions. The Division 2 had its big New York expansion, but largely stuck with just rotating seasons. Diablo 3 had one expansion before looping through about 30 different seasons. Avengers did one but died before it could manage to get out a second. This simply isn’t something you see often, but Destiny has done it for close to a decade, more or less. So, are they done?
Bungie Kills Expansions – I think you could make the argument that the current scale of Destiny has proven to be unsustainable, and will then become even more so after recent layoffs of 10% of the company, and further shifts into new IPs like Marathon and other incubation projects.
Expansions are hugely costly on all fronts, take tremendous time, money and resources to make and have so much riding on them, when individual episodes may not. And they are not even guarantees of game health either, as Lightfall did huge numbers, but because of its reception, the game tanked for the rest of the year.
The idea is that it may be time for Bungie to try a different kind of storytelling. They are already starting to do that with disconnected episodes, and it’s possible the entire model of four seasons a year leading into the next year’s expansion may simply be done.
Bungie Doesn’t Kill Expansions – This is the case for keeping things as they are, albeit with episodes now subbing in for seasons, apparently. I would say that we are probably done doing “yearly” expansions, as the last three times now, they’ve been 15 months, and I could see that increasing to a year and a half, the way things are going.
But the structure of expansions is way too baked into Destiny at this point, and even if they are indeed costly, I think Bungie needs them in order for overall revenue to not fall off a cliff, which would lead to more layoffs and a hard-to-emerge-from spiral. Keep in mind that Bungie isn’t just selling an expansion, they are usually selling a $100 bundles of all the content from that coming year, and with inflation and revenue issues, who knows, maybe that’ll jump to ~$120 instead. That up front payment being replaced with episodes that players may or may not feel like buying every three months would be a colossal risk. Even if things are tough now, breaking down the expansion model entirely feels like something that has the potential to end the game, rather than help it.
My guess as to why Bungie has not announced a new expansion, like they announced three expansions ahead of time previously, is that they simply want everyone to be solely focused on The Final Shape, something they’re hoping works as a redemption for this year and one they desperately need to sell extremely well. I think they announced episodes to confirm once and for all that no, Destiny 2 is not ending after The Final Shape, but talking about the next “saga” before this one is concluded is probably not a conversation they want to start, even if it is just the name.
My take is that we will probably continue to see expansions. Annual expansions? That part’s probably going to keep being stretched the way it has been, and we should probably brace for that. But without expansions, I simply don’t think this thing continues to work at all.
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