There’s Nothing Promising About the Future of Destiny 2
Bungie’s latest in a long line of disappointments should be its last
Destiny 2’s second expansion is out today, and it sucks. Offering a remarkably short 120-minute campaign and a handful of Strikes made from recycled old story missions, this $20 DLC is struggling to justify its existence. However, many critics have noted that despite its obvious shortcomings, it offers a promising glimpse at the future Bungie has planned for Destiny 2. But after eight months, two disappointing expansions, and a slew of controversies, we’re well beyond talking about Destiny 2’s promise. It’s time to put this mangy raccoon of a game to rest.
Yesterday, Kotaku’s Kirk Hamilton wrote his muted review of the Warmind expansion, calling it “both disappointing and promising.” These sentiments are shared with a number of others in the gaming press, including IGN’s Destin Legarie and Forbes’ Paul Tassi. They’ve all written great, honest pieces on the new content and its many issues, as well as its more interesting moments that give each of them hope for things to come. In other words, despite being an overall unsatisfactory piece of content, it’s better than most of what’s come before it, and leaves them with the feeling that Destiny 2 might not stay bad forever. In the words of Fat Schmidt: “He’s different now!” Ironically, this is the first expansion not created by Bungie. How embarrassing.
But while these guys find the silver linings and look at the glimmers of what might some day be, I can’t. We’re now 8 months since the release of Destiny 2, on the second piece of disappointing DLC, and a solid 5 or 6 major controversies into this debacle, and I still feel slighted. We can’t be talking about what’s to come anymore. Bungie can’t keep doing this, and fans can’t keep holding out hope. This is the same shtick the company has been pulling since 2014, with the launch of the first Destiny. They followed that game — generally considered a disappointment with a lot of promise — with two sub par and overpriced expansions before The Taken King finally delivered on some of the promise we’d all seen in the barebones vanilla experience. Some of us might have been foolish enough to believe the Rise of Iron DLC that followed it was just a fluke, and that we might still be heading in the right direction. But then Destiny 2 came out, and here we are, waking up in a tiny bed-and-breakfast to Sonny & Cher singing “I Got You Babe” once more.
Talking about the promising future of Destiny 2 in a review of its latest underwhelming expansion is the perfect illustration of the abusive relationship Bungie has developed with its players. How is it acceptable that positive remarks about new content are comments like this?:
“After the narrative’s jarring conclusion, I got some quests to pursue, each of which will reward me with a new, distinct weapon. (Not reskins, for a change!)” — Kirk Hamilton, Kotaku
Destiny 2’s previous expansion, Curse of Osiris, infamously locked more than half of its new gear behind a lootbox gambling paywall, so for Warmind to be worthwhile only by comparison is like praising the cannibal for only eating one of your legs. Conditional praise should not be confused for legitimate praise. But Bungie isn’t listening anyway.
The fact of the matter is that people who bought Destiny 2 in September paid $60 for a game that still sucks. While some new content is available to those players, the majority of the improvements that have been made since launch are locked behind two $20 paywalls. This is unacceptable. It’s unacceptable that Bungie would ask for $60 for such a deceptive and lackluster game, and then another $40 to give players what they were promised in the first place (and still fall short).
An important question more people should be asking is: why does no other studio have this problem? Rainbow Six: Siege was released to a critical “meh,” and has since become a major competitive shooter consistently sitting in Steam’s top 5 for concurrent players — without requiring an extra penny from its players. Overwatch is adding seasonal PvE story missions for free, along with a constant stream of new heroes, new game modes, and new cosmetics — all of which don’t require a hefty expansion pass. No Man’s Sky, despite being one of gaming’s biggest disappointments the year of its release, has managed to add droves of new content in the years since — completely free. At over 700 employees, Bungie has literally 44 times the manpower No Man’s Sky developer Hello Games has, and yet they somehow can’t manage to keep up with their ability to fix their flawed game and hopefully repair some of their strained relationship with consumers in the process.
So when I see people 8 months after the game’s release — and 4 years after the start of this franchise’s drama — talking about the promising forecast of Destiny 2, I can only think: why would I ever give Bungie my money again? I was a fool for buying Destiny 2 and in-turn buying into the notion that they’d learned from the first game, and I was a fool for believing it was ever good. I regret spending $60 on the game, so why would I fork out another $20 to fix it? And then another $20 after the first expansion turned out to be a flaming pile of diapers? More importantly, how long are we supposed to put up with this until Bungie gets it right?
With time, Destiny 2 might some day be a decent game. Maybe in another studio’s hands, it will even be good. But I won’t be there for it. Bungie has no interest in winning back the loyalty or goodwill of its players, only extracting as much money out of them as possible. They’re much more interested in selling you a broken product and charging you for the replacement parts than learning from their mistakes (after all, if your mistakes are profitable, were they even mistakes to begin with?). And as long as players continue putting up with it, that’s not going to change.
Destiny 2: Warmind is out now for $19.99. Play Warframe instead.