On the heels of the Sparrow Racing League event, Bungie says that Year Two of Destiny will follow an events-based model instead of delivering big expansions.
With the first year of Destiny, Bungie set a precedent for DLC content by releasing The Dark Below and House of Wolves, two smaller “expansions” that would fill the gap before the release of The Taken King and the kick-off Year 2. Since The Taken King‘s release, however, fans have been waiting for Bungie to announce Destiny‘s next expansion, but so far it hasn’t happened. And it appears we may know why: according to Bungie, the developer is moving away from DLC-based updates in Year Two and will instead deliver events throughout the year.
Events are in-game activities that come and go for a limited time, such as Festival of the Lost, which was added in October to celebrate Halloween, or the Sparrow Racing League, which just started today. Bungie also classifies the monthly Iron Banner and weekly Trials of Osiris under this event category.
Bungie senior designer Derek Carroll spoke to Eurogamer at the PlayStation Experience this past weekend saying, “Rather than doing these giant, monolithic DLC packs, this way everybody who’s an owner of Taken King can enjoy these things.”
What appears to have happened at Bungie (although not confirmed) is that the development team as a whole has moved onto Destiny 2, which was confirmed to be in development long ago by Activision. Meanwhile, the Live Team, which is a group of developers at Bungie in charge of adding more content to the existing game, has picked up the responsibility of designing and executing these events throughout the year. Carroll says the Live Team is there to make players happy:
“[T]he live team is charged with maintaining the game and keeping players happy, feeding them new content and surprising them with things they didn’t expect. […] I think by design the idea is to have these events which are surprises – so we can understand why players on the one hand want to have their lives mapped out for the next year.”
After this news broke this morning, many in the Destiny community took it to mean that no new story content, raids, strikes, etc. would be coming to the game until a full-fledged sequel. While Bungie hasn’t confirmed anything more, Community Lead Eric Osborne took to Twitter to say more “fun” content is being worked on:
Hey. 2016 is gonna be great. We're working on stuff. Fun stuff, that's still in development. SRL is live today, though! We hope you dig it!— Eric Osborne (@UrkMcGurk) December 8, 2015
Bungie is in an interesting place with Destiny and its development. It has a game that needs to be tended to with updates and new content while also creating a full sequel experience. With many expecting Destiny 2 to hit in fall 2016, this event-based model for Year Two, supported by microtransactions, could be what’s next for Destiny for the foreseeable future. The question is, will players keep coming back for these events? Without a new raid to drive replayability, it’s likely that Destiny will become less of a regular experience for some and more a casual distraction any time these events kick back up. Even the quest for max light level loses a lot of its luster without new endgame content to challenge players.
That being said, it’s possible that the Live Team is working on new content that rivals the DLC packs, but it will release in small bites over a longer period of time. What was once a single drop could now be a monthly release schedule. Either way, we’ll have to wait and see.
What do you think of Destiny taking on a events-based model? Do you think an expansion will be released in 2016?