Why Destiny 2: Forsaken could save the franchise

Commentary: As Destiny 2's rocky first year continues, Bungie's outline for what comes next might be enough to bring fans back.

Jason Parker Senior Editor / Reviews - Software
Jason Parker has been at CNET for nearly 15 years. He is the senior editor in charge of iOS software and has become an expert reviewer of the software that runs on each new Apple device. He now spends most of his time covering Apple iOS releases and third-party apps.
Jason Parker
5 min read

Bungie took to Twitch Tuesday to reveal the next big round of downloadable content (DLC) coming to Destiny 2. The new update, called Destiny 2: Forsaken, comes a year after Destiny 2's much-anticipated launch... and much-documented backlash. But from what I saw in Bungie's stream, I think it's finally listening to the community and has started coming up with content that will bring players back into the fold.

Destiny 2 got off to a bad start when players started noticing that by simplifying and tweaking many of Destiny 1's mechanics, Bungie either went too far or not far enough (seriously, where were any new alien races?). The r/DestinytheGame subreddit became a hotbed of complaints and concerns including everything from multiplayer matches going from six to four players, weapons no longer having randomized attributes, and a revised weapon system that reduced player options for what they could actually wield in a fight. Not to mention to outrage over the many, many microtransactions in Destiny 2.

Though not all these many and entirely justified complaints were addressed in Tuesday's stream, Bungie did reveal a number of changes coming this fall that just might rekindle the Destiny fandom's love for the familiar cycle of patrols, raids and loot.


A part of the Reef we've never seen before is where much of Forsaken takes place.


There's a new location

As with most DLC for Destiny, Forsaken will unlock a new location where players will complete quests, fight bosses, and get new story content. Players of the original Destiny will remember the Reef, a stronghold tucked into an asteroid belt where the Awoken Queen gave out quests. Yes, that's her real name. The new area is called The Tangled Shore and will be in a never-seen-before part of the Reef with asteroids chained together serving as floating battlegrounds. 

According to the video, the expansion opens with a prison break from the famed Prison of Elders, which had previously played host to challenging co-op matches in the original game. Bungie says it will have a Wild West theme, but it's hard to get a feeling for what the new story is. (Bungie is likely saving some the details for E3, so stay tuned!)


You're not crazy. Those are three shotguns, all equipped at once.


New weapons and new weapons systems

It looks like we still won't be getting our beloved light machine guns from Destiny, but at least Bungie is joining every other video game in adding bows. There will be short, medium and long-range versions, and from what you can see in the early footage, they're looking awesome.

Another weapon-related reveal that will make a lot of fans happy is the ability to slot weapons wherever you want. Destiny 2 in its current form has slots for Kinetic, Energy and Power weapons. We don't know all the details, but Bungie says in Forsaken you'll be able to choose whichever three weapons you want, even joking that you can go wild and choose to run with three shotguns. One of the things that ruined shotguns and sniper rifles in Destiny 2 was making them power weapons with limited ammo, and fans haven't let Bungie forget it.

Watch this: E3 2018 preview

The big weapon announcement: We will once again get random rolls for weapon mods. Instead of the same cookie-cutter guns we see in the current Destiny 2, we'll finally be able to hope for "the god roll," that provides all the stat boosts and perks we'd ever want when we get specific weapons. In the trailer, they also talk about reworking the relatively new masterwork items, but they didn't give much detail on what that means. 



New supers

When Bungie added snowballs during their winter events, I was hoping it was to tease a new ice-based subclass. Unfortunately, we won't be getting a new subclass, but we will get more ways to customize skill trees with additional explosive supers. In the trailer, you can see the Titan class will get a much larger hammer, Hunters will get a exploding dagger throw that sends projectiles in an arc, and the warlock will get what can only be described as a giant laser blast. It appears that there will be more than one new option for each of the classes, and hey -- it's hard to argue with more spectacular ways to kill enemies.


A new Crucible game mode

A lot of people were predicting Bungie would follow the rest of the gaming industry and add a Battle Royale mode. That hasn't happened yet, but it is adding a new game mode called Gambit. What's interesting about Gambit is that it's a combination of Destiny 2's PVP and PVE elements. Bungie's reveal shows two teams of four who, instead of battling each other, inhabit separate arenas where each team fights AI-controlled monsters. Each kill gives you points that you can bank for your team.

Once you fill up your bank, you win the game. Meanwhile you'll also be able to send difficult bosses to fight opposing teams, preventing them from banking points until the boss is killed. You'll even be able to send a player from your team to try to disrupt enemies from scoring. 

It's not totally clear how Gambit will play out, but kudos to Bungie for what seems like a creative, original game mode we haven't seen before in Destiny.  


There were several shots of Dreaming City in the trailer and it looks huge.


A new endgame hub

There's also going to be a new destination called Dreaming City. Bungie described it as a sort of hub for endgame content, but it also will be a place where players can explore, kill hidden bosses, and uncover other secrets. It's also the home of the new raid, but the only details the company gave us is that it will have more bosses than any raid before it. The Kings Fall raid in the original Destiny holds the record thus far with four bosses, so it will clearly be more than four.

In the video Dreaming City seems to be quite expansive, but it's hard to say what exactly will take place here besides the raid until we hear more details. At least it looks really cool.

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Tracking achievements, viewing your collections

For those of us who are completion freaks, Bungie is adding Triumphs, where you can track your achievements you get through playing both PVE and PVP. 

Gun collectors will also be able to see at a glance which guns they don't have yet, and will be able to find out how to score the last shotgun or fusion rifle to complete their set.

But is it enough?

Only a couple weeks after the launch of Destiny 2, the honeymoon period passed and the complaints started rolling in. There's a ton of community speculation about how dire the games' situation has become based on player count, but by any measure, things aren't looking good. But, on the bright side, it seems like the development team has taken many of the community's longstanding issues to heart with the changes announced for Forsaken. 

Destiny 2: Forsaken launches September 4, and we'll know then whether Bungie can recreate the success it had with the first Destiny's major expansion, The Taken King, in reinvigorating a dispirited fanbase. But for the first time in months, after two lackluster DLC expansions, there's reason to actually believe Destiny 2 can become the game fans were hoping for when it launched last year.