What Will Destiny 2 Look Like After ‘The Final Shape’?

The recent announcement of Bungie’s new game, Marathon, has some players worried for the future of Destiny 2 after The Final Shape – the last DLC in Destiny’s 10 year ‘Light & Dark’ saga.

Announced during the 2023 Playstation Showcase, Marathon is an upcoming extraction shooter based on one of Bungie’s first ever games. This was exciting news for old school Bungie fans, but its announcement has caused a bit of a stir amongst Destiny’s biggest streamers and community contributors. 

It’s no secret that Bungie has been struggling for years to support the full suite of modes that Destiny 2 offers. As of writing there has only been 1 new PvP map released since 2019, and Gambit has seemingly been completely abandoned as a game mode, receiving exactly zero support after Season of the Drifter in March 2019. Since shifting focus to a free-to-play season pass model following the release of Shadowkeep, Bungie has been laser focused on PvE modes, releasing new seasonal story content; raids, strikes and PvE destinations, but this focus has left PvP players feeling completely abandoned.

And herein lies the major concerns of Destiny’s fan base. With Bungie expected to release Marathon in either 2024 or 2025, and The Final Shape presumably releasing in Q1 2024, players are worried that Bungie will simply not be able to handle full support of two separate titles, particularly if Marathon proves to be a hit.

This concern has been voiced in numerous Reddit posts recently, with Bungie’s player support team even stepping in to assure players they “have no intention of abandoning Destiny”, but concerns about the future of Destiny post- Final Shape are still at an all-time high.

Bungie’s player support team had the following to say:

“We have no intention of abandoning Destiny; like most studios that support multi-IPs at the same time, we intend to do the same as them. You could argue about the support model we have now, which is fair criticism, but we’re working to be better.

Much like how D1 and D2 was in the first first year, if we see that the market wants something more and/or something different, we will course-correct as needed.”

Destiny’s 10 Year Plan

Destiny 1 was first announced at the Playstation 4 announcement event in 2013, Bungie’s first new IP since Halo, becoming one of the most hyped games in history. Shortly after, it was revealed that Bungie had a ‘10 year content plan’ for the Destiny franchise.

In an interview with Bungie’s then Head of Production, Jonty Barnes, by Official Xbox Magazine, Barnes stated:

“So what I’ll say to you is: we said that we were a ten-year game, and both Activision and Bungie have committed to being wholly behind the large effort, and it’s a large investment for both sides. I don’t think there’s any set date – ten years is just representing the go-forward presence and the way that we think about doing things.”

When the idea of Destiny having a 10 year plan became public knowledge, most people were hesitant to believe the game would survive that long, let alone continue to receive story updates throughout the entirety of its cycle. Despite the franchise experiencing difficulties that would and have shut down similar games in the past – such as Bungie splitting off from Activision, DLCs receiving overwhelmingly negative reviews, various drops in player numbers, and recent price hikes with their season pass; Destiny has managed to survive to see through Bungie’s promised 10 year content plan. 

One of the most difficult changes to Destiny’s core experience in those 10 years, particularly as its original fanbase have grown-up alongside the game, is the time commitment the game requires of its players – especially after Bungie adopted a live service model in 2019. This is an issue that many people in the community, myself included, have struggled with over the last few years – particularly when it comes to keeping up with the game’s ever evolving story and weekly grind.

For this reason, Bungie may naturally see a decline in their once dedicated player base following the release of The Final Shape, as fans look to put this saga behind them forever. 

Post-Final Shape

The Final Shape will represent the end of the ‘Light and Dark’ saga that has encompassed Destiny’s narrative for the last 10 years. But what does this mean for the Destiny Universe?

It is possible that the current saga could be the first of many, although subsequent sagas will presumably be much shorter than 10 years now that Bungie has a clearer vision of how Destiny works as a game. 

Most Destiny DLCs launch alongside story-based seasonal content that usually works as an extra narrative alongside the main events of the DLC. In the case of Lightfall for instance, Bungie released that DLC alongside the Season of Defiance, whose story ran alongside the main narrative of Lightfall’s campaign to offer additional insight into how the people of Earth were dealing with the arrival of the Witness – the ‘big bad’ of the Light and Dark saga.

Taking this into account, it’s fair to assume the season that launches alongside The Final Shape will also work in a similar fashion, offering a new perspective and destination focus that works alongside the Final Shape’s main narrative. However, once players complete the main campaign of this final DLC, and the season wraps up around 3 months after release (the usual length of a Destiny 2 season), then what direction will Bungie take Destiny?

As previously mentioned, the Final Shape is likely the point when many players will decide to pack-in Destiny for good, or at least reduce the amount of time and money they regularly dedicate to Destiny. Bungie are more than likely aware that this will happen, and so it is up to them to either quickly implement new story or content changes post-Final Shape that will retain older players or gain new ones, or simply let Destiny slowly fade out.

In my opinion, there are two different ways Destiny can move forward following the end of The Final Shape (and presumably killing the Witness, saving the solar system from the threat of ‘the Darkness’). 

The first possibility is that players won’t get the happy ending one may expect. For instance, the state of our solar system has already significantly changed since the first days of Destiny 1. Old enemies are now trusted allies, entire planets have disappeared (and in some cases reappeared), the light bearing guardians of Earth now have access to the powers of Darkness, and there’s also that big hole the Witness created in the Traveller.

In recent years, Bungie has made a concerted effort to shift focus away from simplistic ideas of light representing good and darkness representing evil, and for this reason we may not see ‘good’ triumph over ‘evil’. Perhaps we will lose the war, or at the very least, ending the war may have grave consequences for the solar system and its inhabitants that could irreversibly change Destiny forever.

In this example, we may see Bungie take Destiny to an entirely new location outside of our solar system, or perhaps we will see a universal change in a similar fashion to the changes made to Azeroth in World of Warcraft: Cataclysm. In Cataclysm, World of Warcraft’s entire map was altered in the aftermath of the destruction caused by the expansion’s main antagonist – Deathwing the Destroyer. The map changes included entire areas becoming flooded, new lava canals, and entire landscapes becoming cracked or destroyed.

Of course, this kind of change would require far more effort than Bungie have traditionally put into any single season, or even full expansions, before. Whilst it isn’t out of the realms of possibility for Bungie to implement this kind of change in order to organically continue the game and its story, we may not see such an alteration implemented into Destiny 2 – but perhaps there is hope that Bungie may begin work on Destiny 3.

The second option would be to simply continue with business as usual. It would be infuriating if we reach the end of this saga with the Witness still alive, but I doubt this will be the case. Instead, Bungie may decide to continue their seasonal offerings for a few more years, at least up until or shortly after the release of Marathon. Of course, in order to keep players interested in the continual story of Destiny, a new Witness-sized threat will need to be introduced. Perhaps they will revisit an old antagonist from Destiny’s history, or make a new one entirely. Whatever the case, players will need a new threat to deal with if they are to remain interested.

Alternatively, Bungie could always shift focus onto PvP modes and weekly challenges. There are plenty of season pass games out there that offer little-to-no new content each season, aside from the items a player can earn through completing battle passes, and Destiny could presumably survive on this model for at least a few more years. If Bungie decided to recycle old destinations into new PvP maps, and added new modifiers and challenges to raids every week, month, or season, we could theoretically see Destiny become a PvP focused game in the wake of its main saga.

It is difficult to predict what Destiny will become after the Final Shape, and it is likely that even Bungie do not have a full and clear view of what the game will look like toward the end of 2024. There is little doubt that support for Destiny will continue for a number of years to come, particularly following Sony’s $3.6 billion acquisition of Bungie. Sony will likely expect a return on its investment in Bungie and the Destiny franchise. Perhaps we will see Destiny expand into film or television after the success of The Last of Us TV series, which may serve to generate new interest in the Destiny universe and create an entirely new user base.

Whatever the outcome after the Final Shape, there is no doubt that Destiny has gone above and beyond players’ expectations since 2013. There have been highs and lows throughout its 10 year lifespan, but the fact the finale of their 10 year plan is actually coming to fruition means that Bungie have almost achieved the impossible by keeping the game alive for so long. Especially in a competitive market where live-service games are shutting down weekly.

For now, we must simply wait for the release of The Final Shape. Will we see a new Destiny saga, or will the game simply fade into oblivion? 

Bungie will be hosting a dedicated live show on August 22 to reveal details about the upcoming expansion, including story, gameplay, and quality of life features.

Destiny 2 the Final Shape Release Date

Although a solid date has yet to be set, Destiny 2: The Final Shape will launch in 2024 on PS5, PS4, PC, and Xbox. Based on the yearly cycle that destiny has adopted over the last few years, which sees 4 seasons released each year and an expansion released at the end of every 4th season, it is safe to assume that The Final Shape will release in either February or March 2024.

Destiny 2: Lightfall was released on 28th of February 2023, the same day as Season of Defiance.
Enjoyed this article? Why not read ‘Destiny 2 Seasons Need to Change’?

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