This week, Bungie laid out yet another roadmap chronicling the ways they’re going about fixing Destiny 2 as a response to player concerns. As expected, though most of the changes are positive, much of the community is still not satisfied, and we’re now in what I would consider a relatively dark time in the history of Destiny as a series.
Simply put, Bungie and Destiny players are at an impasse, and it’s incredibly tough to see how or when this gets resolved.
The current state of the game is that Destiny 2 seems on track to fix a lot of its mistakes by slowly shifting to become the kind of game Destiny 1 was at the end of its lifespan after Year Three. The problem is that even though many of these changes are good decisions, and should make Destiny 2 a better game, the response from players is that it should not be taking Bungie a year just to maybe get back to where Destiny 1 was after three years of fixes and updates. Destiny 2 should have started at that point, and gone on to do bigger and better things, realizing the potential of the series on a new level, far past what Destiny 1 was able to achieve locked into last gen consoles, and being lost in the woods for most of its initial development.
Instead, there’s frustration. Frustration that Destiny 2 seemed to take multiple steps backward from Destiny 1, and now this ongoing series of fixes involve simply doing things the way they were done before. Even if it’s forward progress for Destiny 2, it doesn’t feel like forward progress for Destiny as a whole. It’s retreading old ground, and it’s entirely possible that by this fall, the game still hasn’t even reached the starting point of Destiny 1 Year Three. No matter what improvements are made, many players are unable to forgive Bungie for making these mistakes and wasting all this time in the first place, even though it’s impossible to reverse time and correct that now. Some may be able to buckle down and stick around for the ride, but others may have walked away for good. The best case scenario, a big expansion that does a ton of cool stuff this fall like The Taken King did for D1, seems like it will be less effective in Year Four than it was after Year One. You can only demand so much patience from fans before they simply are out of chances to give you.
But I sympathize with Bungie, as well.
I don’t know what’s going on behind the scenes at Bungie. It will take another Jason Schreier deep dive to figure out things like why exactly Destiny 2 was rebooted 16 months before launch, which likely caused all these lost features and created an underwhelming final product.
But I am sure that Bungie wants Destiny to succeed. I am sure that Bungie is working incredibly hard on responding to fan concerns and fixing the game in the ways that it needs to be fixed. Regardless of how or why these mistakes were made in the first place, I have absolutely no trouble believing that Bungie wants to do everything they can to correct course and make Destiny the series that fans want.
However, I’m also worried about the practical realities of that situation. It’s clear this is not a speedy process. As I said, it’s going to take essentially the entire first year of the game to maybe get things to where Destiny 1 was when D2 came along. Even if some part of the team is also starting work on Destiny 3, the enormous amount of fixes Destiny 2 needs, plus the mandated content drops like DLC 2 and Comet Expansion 1, are once again going to carve out development time that should ideally be going toward making Destiny 3 the sequel that Destiny 2 wasn’t. But instead there’s going to be a huge amount of work put into new content and an endless list of fixes this year for D2, meaning that what, Destiny 3 will have maybe two solid years of development time, just like what happened with Destiny 2? This is Sisyphus rolling the boulder up the hill over and over.
This is what I mean when I say Bungie and fans are at an impasse. Fans are having trouble forgiving Bungie for making the mistakes that led to this situation, but they’re also not going to stop demanding fixes either. Bungie has to be committed to fixing what went wrong with Destiny 2 so fans don’t abandon them completely, yet they also need to start thinking ahead to the next game, which clearly needs a much longer development cycle than D2 had, lest we repeat this entire maddening process over again.
I don’t know how this ends. I don’t know if D2 is in a worse state than vanilla Destiny was after The Dark Below (if you say it was for sure, I think you may be glossing over the game’s serious issues back then), but the point is, it took a full year and a miracle fix with TTK to get things back on track, and even then, the game had to suffer through two years of pretty hefty content droughts to produce Destiny 2, a sequel that clearly needed even more time and attention than that. If the best case scenario is that we’re on pace to repeat the exact timetable and process of how Destiny 1 was fixed and Destiny 2 was made, I don’t think that’s great news.
Like most fans, I want it all. I want the good parts of Destiny 1 and Destiny 2 to merge so it came become greater than the current states of both. I want great new DLC and expansions for years, but I also want a much-improved sequel in Destiny 3 a few years from now. And yet I also understand that as ever, all of that, together, is probably physically impossible. If three years of Destiny 1 didn’t demonstrate that by itself, the current state of Destiny 2 makes me think that Bungie is going to have their hands full with just pretty basic fixes at this point, to say nothing of the next two or three years of DLC/sequel development.
It’s frustrating. Both fans and Bungie want Destiny to succeed more than anything, but dreams and reality keep crashing into each other ultimately making no one happy. Bungie, with the thankless task of improving a game while constantly being chewed out, fans reliving the same clunky process over and over with the dev seemingly not learning from their years-old mistakes.
I hope this ends well, but the journey to get there feels like it’s going to be exhausting.
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