Bungie’s live show of dancing lights and bullets has ended, so let’s look at what we’ve learned about Destiny 2 [official site]. Story-wise, the Guardians have been ousted from their comfortable penthouse suite by a surprise attack and are scattered across the solar system, having lost all their powers. On top of that, the giant Christmas tree decoration they call the Traveler has been stolen. It’s your job to “get the band back together”. You’ve got some new character powers, multiplayer modes and the ability to join clans. You’ll also be touching down on new planets, where you can shoot hundreds of bullets into bad things. But there’s a new trailer below, for a taste of all that.
In more irksome news, it's going to be exclusive to Blizzard's game launcher, the Digital Distribution Platform Formerly Known As Battle.net. That means no Steam release or other storefront. Thanks, Activision. Thactivision.
So what do we know? Well, your weapon loadout is changing a little. You’ll now have one space for each of these: an energy weapon, a kinetic weapon and a power weapon. I haven’t spent too much time with Dest1ny, so I’m not totally sure how different this is from the current set up. But there are also new “supers” - the smackdown powers that are determined by your character's sub-class. There's three of these new sub-classes. As a Dawnblade you slash at things and hover in the air throwing firey projectiles everywhere. The Sentinel has a Captain America-style shield to throw around, and the Arcstrider has a energetic staff to batter aliens with.
New environments include Titan, Io, Nessus, and bits of our own rotten Earth, like the “European Dead Zone” which sounds like how Britain will be referred to in EU governmental meetings after Brexit but which is actually where ragtag groups of humanity have escaped to after the fall of the Tower. Lieutenant Daniels, aka Commander Zavala, has escaped to Titan, hiding among some old human ruins. Lawyer Jessica Pearson, aka Ikora, is on the “sacred” moon of Io, so-considered because of its connection to interstellar megastructure and giant holiday bauble, the Traveler. Captain Mal Reynolds, aka Cayde, aka Robot Deadpool, is on Nessus, a planetoid with an orbital period of 122 years. He’s there annoying the Vex, one of Destiny’s traditional baddies.
Fans of loading screens will be disappointed, as you can now launch activities on each planet without going into orbit. Apart from the usual patrols there’ll be other stuff to do. Treasure maps, side quests, and “lost sectors” to discover (these are essentially dungeons with a boss and some loot at the end).
Multiplayer-wise, the Crucible (the classic PvP arena) will be sticking to 4v4 with every mode, which is a big change considering the amount of 6v6, 3v3 and 2v2 modes they have in the first game. Your HUD will now carry info on players during the game – whether their super is ready or they just picked up something useful. There’ll also be a new game mode called Countdown, which is dubbed an “attack/defence mode”. Nothing else was said about it but if Overwatch has had any effect on the developers I'd guess it will be some sort of similar objective-based brawl.
But perhaps most importantly, clans are also being introduced as something you can join and set up through in-game menus. Now folks won’t have to organise out-of-game – the clans will include rosters and custom banners plus a shared reward system. As players fight alongside their clan they contribute toward rewards for everyone. It’s not clear how these are distributed and what type of stuff you’ll get but it’s an incentive to join up. There’s also a “guided games” feature which pairs up lone wolves with a group for a Raid.
Altogether it doesn’t seem like there are any revolutionary changes to the shoot and loot core, just lots of small tweaks that make things more convenient or a little fresh. That fits with Bungie’s traditional methods. Make a gun feel really really good to use, then make about 5 games out of it set in new places. But there may be as-yet unknown things to come and, for fans, it’s the small changes to an already-fine formula that will doubtless make them happy. It's due out on September 8 [update: but not for us, it seems. The PC version will only come after consoles, Director Luke Smith told PC Gamer, but how long after he didn't say]. There are some older trailers, if you fancy looking at those.