American video game company Bungie’s hit game franchise, Destiny, is so successful because of its unique stories, powerful characters, and unlimited potential for armour and weapon upgrading. But with Bungie announcing that Destiny 2: The Final Shape will be the final expansion set to come out in 2024, will we see the Destiny franchise come to a close?
Destiny’s Light and Darkness is the first saga we, the players, have travelled through since the beginning of Destiny back in 2014 and will conclude with Destiny 2, The Final Shape. The emphasis of the saga is the Traveler battling against an ancient evil and its leader known as The Witness, travelling across the cosmos finding powerful being to wield its power against the envoys of the darkness.
To explore whether the Light and Darkness saga will be the only chronicle that Bungie has to offer to the community, we must go back to the beginning of the Destiny story.
On September 9th, 2014, Destiny 1 was released by Bungie working in partnership with fellow company Activision. The game was Bungie’s first ever online-only multiplayer first-person shooter video game. As such, it gave Bungie’s player base a whole new experience from its previous game Halo Reach, which was released in 2010.
The ten-year contract between Bungie and Activision regarding the development of Destiny allowed Bungie possession of the game’s intellectual property rights, while Activision retained exclusive rights to publish Destiny content at any given time. According to this deal, Bungie and Activision would be working together until 2024.
From 2015 onwards, when the Destiny: Taken King expansion was released, the tension between Bungie and Activision grew. Destiny fans, as well as old supporters of the companies in general, were sceptical of Activision pressuring its developers to publish content, releasing not only The Taken King in September but also The House of Wolves earlier in May 2015.
Another reason why both companies could not see eye to eye was the speed with which Bungie wanted to publish game content. As set out in the ten-year contract, Bungie wanted to schedule a release to publish a Destiny expansion every year. Not only did this create high pressure on the companies’ employees, Activision was also unhappy with the returns generated by these expansions. For example, they stated that Destiny 2: Forsaken did not meet sales expectations, despite the fact that Destiny was the top grossing game on consoles in September 2018. Therefore, the strain between Bungie and Activision tightened.
Evidence of this strain can be seen in the development of Destiny 1’s fourth and final expansion, Rise of Iron (2016). Many fans addressed their concerns that a small team had created such a significant expansion, but it gave the community high hopes for Destiny 2, which would doubtless be a much bigger project.
Unfriendly relations would further be seen in the first year of Destiny 2, which was Bungie and Activision’s fourth year working together. The developers at Bungie felt immense pressure to succeed with the new game, but a strange phenomenon occurred instead. Within the first year of Destiny 2’s release, Bungie published three expansions: Curse of Osiris, Warmind, and their highest grossing to this day, Forsaken.
As Activision had control over the publishing rights and dates within the partnership, it seems that the Santa Monica publisher pressured the Bungie developers to create an excessive amount of content within the year. But as we have seen above, Activision was still not satisfied, as the sale of Forsaken did not meet their expectations.
Four months later, in January 2019, Bungie and Activision decided to part ways. GamesIndustry Editor-in-Chief James Batchelor believes that Activision split with Bungie because the financial expectations of Destiny 2 were not being met. He also said that Activision’s COO Coddy Johnson, clarified that it was a mutual agreement and the decision was suitable for both parties.
Batchelor also outlines the terms of the departure. Bungie retained the rights to the game’s intellectual property, while Activision would have to move on and look for more significant opportunities in the industry.
After parting ways, Bungie’s next course of action was on their fourth expansion of the game, Shadowkeep, and this was their first expansion as a stand-alone developer and publisher. However, Game Voyagers editor Caleb Simmons reviewed the expansion as a let-down, referring to Shadowkeep as an expansion to buy only when it’s cheap.
Since then, Bungie has been trying to regain the trust of their player base. In June 2020, they announced a trilogy of expansions across the next three years: Beyond Light, The Witch Queen and Lightfall, and said at the time that Lightfall would be the last of the Destiny series.
But in the Beyond Light ViDoc (Video Documentary), Destiny 2’s General Manager Mark Noseworthy reassured fans that there are so many stories left to be told within Destiny, emphasising the importance of its future. This implied that they would be making more content beyond Lightfall, despite initial statements.
And at the Witch Queen reveal event, Adam Grantham confirmed that the saga would not end at Lightfall, but would continue with The Final Shape. With regard to the game’s long-term future, Grantham said, “the Light and Darkness [saga] will, but make no mistake, Destiny 2 will not.”
Indeed, MP1st editor Alex Co reports that Game Director Joe Blackburn is looking beyond The Final Shape and to the next ten years of Destiny. Furthermore, a $3.6 billion investment in Bungie from the multinational corporation Sony has given the now-indie developer precisely what it needs to fuel Destiny beyond The Final Shape.
In conclusion, it seems unlikely that Destiny 2 will stop after The Final Shape, as the studio and its developers are more eager than ever to push the quality of content for an Action/Adventure MMO (Massively Multiplayer Online) game like Destiny 2. And as Destiny is approaching its eighth year of the game, it does suggest that Destiny will continue to grow bigger and more popular since Bungie declared independence from Activision.
Image Credit: Bungie
Edited by: Aaron Teasdale
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