Destiny 2 (also known as Destiny 2: New Light) is a free-to-play online-only multiplayer first-person shooter video game developed by Bungie. It was originally released as a pay to play game in 2017 for the PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and Microsoft Windows platforms. It became free-to-play, utilizing the games as a service model, under the New Light title on October 1, 2019, followed by the game's release on Stadia the following month, and then the PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X/S platforms in November 2020. The game was published by Activision until December 31, 2018, when Bungie acquired the publishing rights to the franchise. It is the sequel to 2014's Destiny and its subsequent expansions. Set in a "mythic science fiction" world, the game features a multiplayer "shared-world" environment with elements of role-playing games. Like the original, activities in Destiny 2 are divided among player versus environment (PvE) and player versus player (PvP) game types. In addition to normal story missions, PvE features three-player "strikes" and dungeons and six-player raids. A free roam patrol mode is also available for each destination which feature public events as well as activities not available in the original. These activities have an emphasis on exploration of the destinations and interactions with non-player characters (NPCs); the original Destiny only featured NPCs in social spaces. PvP features objective-based modes, as well as traditional deathmatch game modes.
Players assume the role of a Guardian, protectors of Earth's last safe city as they wield a power called Light to protect humanity from different alien races and combat the looming threat of the Darkness. Like the original Destiny, the game features expansion packs which further the story and adds new content across the game. Year One of Destiny 2 featured two small expansions, Curse of Osiris (December 2017) and Warmind (May 2018). A third, large expansion, Forsaken (September 2018), began Year Two with an overhaul on gameplay. The base game and the first three expansions were packaged into the Destiny 2: Forsaken Legendary Collection. An Annual Pass, which began the game's seasonal content model, was also available alongside this release and contained three premium content drops for Year Two (December 2018 and March and June 2019). This content became free to owners of Forsaken just prior to the release of the next expansion, Shadowkeep (October 2019), which began Year Three. Shadowkeep and future releases are considered standalone releases, not requiring players to own previous premium content. Released alongside this fourth expansion was a version of Destiny 2 called New Light, a free-to-play re-release of Destiny 2, which also included access to the first two expansions. Separate seasonal passes also became available for each season's content. While the main Destiny 2 game has since been free-to-play, all other content requires purchasing.
Year Four saw the biggest overhaul on the game, as nearly half of the game's content from its first three years, including the original base campaign as well as Curse of Osiris and Warmind, were removed from the game and placed into what Bungie calls the Destiny Content Vault, which also contains all content from the original Destiny. Alongside this change, Year Four began with the fifth expansion, Beyond Light (November 2020), which introduced the power of Darkness to the players. Bungie described this expansion as the beginning of a new era for the franchise, as it will be followed up by The Witch Queen in early 2022 and Lightfall (working title) in early 2023, as well as the yearly seasonal content spread throughout. There will also be a final chapter to follow Lightfall to conclude the first saga of Destiny, called the "Light and Darkness Saga," before the beginning of a new saga.
Upon release, Destiny 2 received generally favorable reviews from critics. The game received praise for its many improvements over its predecessor. The original Destiny received much criticism for its story, but the 2017 version of Destiny 2 was praised as having a "more robust story" and a fleshed out villain—as of November 10, 2020, the story that received this praise is no longer playable. As with the original, gameplay, for the most part, was also highly praised, as well as its graphics, multiplayer, and the public events. Reviews were divided on the recategorization of the weapons, the game's original raid (which is no longer accessible), and the newer activities, like the Adventures and Lost Sectors, but praise was unanimous on the exploration of the game world. Changes to PvP were welcomed by some reviewers, though others were critical for the mode lacking player choice. Destiny 2 was nominated for and won various awards, such as at The Game Awards 2017 and Game Critics Awards.
Similar to its predecessor, Destiny 2 is a first-person shooter game that incorporates role-playing and massively multiplayer online game (MMO) elements. The original Destiny includes on-the-fly matchmaking that allowed players to communicate only with other players with whom they were "matched" by the game. To communicate with other players in the game world, players had to use their respective console's messaging system. Destiny 2 features a more optimal way of matchmaking called "Guided Games", which allows players to search for clans who may need additional players for activities, such as "strikes", dungeons, or raids. Like the original, activities in Destiny 2 are divided among player versus environment (PvE) and player versus player (PvP) game types.
Character progression and classes
As in the original game, players are able to improve their characters, referred to as Guardians, by gaining experience points (EXP) — when a set number of experience points are accumulated, the player's character will level up and gain improved statistics which further enhance performance in battle. As of the Shadowkeep expansion, this leveling system has since been replaced with the "season pass" system where players use EXP to "rank up", which rewards different items each rank (while there is no max rank on a season pass, seasonal rewards end at level 100). Quests, including the "main scenario" quests, are specific tasks given to the player by non-player characters (NPCs) which reward items and EXP. Completing main scenario quest lines progresses the overarching plot of the game.
Destiny 2 features the same three-character classes as the original Destiny. Each class has its own specific upgrades, perks, special abilities, and three sub-classes that allow players to finely tune their individual characters to provide a different play style. The three classes are Warlock, Hunter, and Titan. After choosing a class, players select one of three species for their character: Human, Awoken (bluish-gray-skinned descendants of Humans), or Exo (humanoid machines). They can then customize their characters, such as changing their gender or skin color. A character's species is cosmetic and does not affect gameplay. Players can create two more characters to have a character of each class.
- Hunters continue to have access to the Solar-based "Gunslinger" sub-class from the original game and the Void-based "Nightstalker" sub-class from the original's The Taken King expansion, both with gameplay changes. The Hunter's new sub-class for Destiny 2 is the Arc-based "Arcstrider", replacing the "Bladedancer" sub-class of the original. Arcstrider's super, "Arc Staff", focuses on an electrified staff and a large amount of rapid mobility. Forsaken adds three new supers for each of the Hunter sub-classes: "Blade Barrage" for Gunslingers, focusing on throwing a volley of flaming knives; "Spectral Blades" for Nightstalkers, allowing players to see through walls and attack with Void daggers; and "Whirlwind Guard" for Arcstriders, which allows players to block projectiles by spinning their Arc Staff.
- Warlocks continue to have access to the Void-based "Voidwalker" sub-class from the original game and the Arc-based "Stormcaller" sub-class from the original's The Taken King expansion, both with several changes. The Warlock's new sub-class for Destiny 2 is the Solar-based "Dawnblade" with a super called "Daybreak", replacing the "Sunsinger" sub-class of the original. The Daybreak super allows the player to make Solar Light blades to strike enemies from mid-air. Forsaken gives Warlocks three new supers: "Nova Warp" for Voidwalkers, allowing players to warp around the battlefield and unleash a Void explosion; "Chaos Reach" for Stormcallers, which unleashes a beam of Arc energy which can be turned off at any time to conserve Super energy; and "Well of Radiance" for Dawnblades, allowing players to create a healing and empowering aura for players to stand in.
- Titans continue to have access to the Arc-based "Striker" sub-class from the original game and the Solar-based "Sunbreaker" from the original's The Taken King expansion, both with significant gameplay changes. The Titan's new sub-class for Destiny 2 is the Void-based "Sentinel", replacing the "Defender" sub-class of the original, although the Sentinel sub-class can create the Defender's Ward of Dawn shielding bubble if this option is selected. Sentinel's super, "Sentinel Shield", allows the player to summon a shield that can block enemy fire and be used offensively (similar to Captain America's shield). Forsaken added three new supers for Titans: "Thundercrash" for Strikers, allowing players to launch into the air and slam onto the ground; "Burning Maul" for Sunbreakers, which players wield a large hammer than can unleash flaming tornadoes; and "Banner Shield" for Sentinels, which unleashes a protective barrier that allows other players to shoot through.
Upon reaching the character EXP level cap (level 20 at launch, expanded to 50), character progression shifts to improving their "Power" level (formerly "Light" level) by acquiring new and better equipment. This equipment can be gained through a variety of sources, including "strikes", dungeons, or raids, and in-game events. The three weapon classes and five pieces of armor each have a Power level; a character's Power level is the average of that gear. A higher character level allows for better equipment with higher Power levels to be equipped. A higher Power level improves damage output and defense. A soft and hard Power level exists for gear which is incremented with each additional expansion or season; players can earn gear up to the soft Power level through most regular activities, but must participate in more challenging events, like Nightfall strikes, dungeons, or raids, to earn pinnacle gear to reach the hard Power level. Gear can be infused with unwanted gear of higher Power level to increase its Power level for the cost of in-game resources.
Weapons and armor were reorganized in Destiny 2. In the original game, weapons were divided as Primary, Special, and Heavy weapons. At launch, the weapons were categorized as Kinetic, Energy, and Power weapons. Primary weapons and some Special weapons in the original – such as hand cannons and sidearms – are classified as Kinetic and Energy weapons. Those without an elemental damage type go in the Kinetic weapons slot while those with an elemental damage type (Arc, Solar, or Void) go in the Energy weapons slot. Power weapons include the Heavy weapons and the more powerful Special weapons from the first game, such as shotguns and sniper rifles, as well as new weapon types, such as the grenade launcher. As of Forsaken, the weapons system was overhauled, with many Power weapons, such as most shotguns, single-shot grenade launchers, and most sniper rifles, being reorganized into Kinetic and Energy weapons slots. With armor, the name of the stats has been changed. Instead of Strength, Intellect, and Discipline, there are stats for Resilience, Recovery, and Mobility. For armor, the helmet, gauntlets, chest, legs, and class item slots have remained unchanged, but the artifacts slot has been replaced with one for a player's clan banners.
As launched, both weapons and armor were generated with random perks and other attributes from a base set of stats. Special consumable mods could be earned through gameplay or vendors that could be slotted into in weapon or armor piece to improve its attribute. With the Foresaken expansion, the mod system was revamped. While gear still accepted mods, these were now items that needed to be acquired only once to add to a player's collection from the game's world, either from vendors or as an activity reward, with some mods being only available on more challenging activities. Mods now could be added and swapped out on gear from one's collection the cost in glimmer, as a way to help players customize gear better according to Bungie.
The Shadowkeep expansion brought two major changes affecting gear. First was the introduction of the "Armor 2.0" system; rather that random perks, armor is generated with randomized attributes in six major areas related to each class and to each class skill, along with an assigned element and an energy level. The total attribute score from all pieces of equipment armor influences factors such as skill cooldown rate or the rate of their super charge. Players can infuse resources into an armor piece to increase the armor's energy level. A new array of mods for armor was introduced, most which are limited by element type and require a certain amount of energy. Players can thus add mods into armor that matched the element type, limited by the current energy level for the armor. Each piece of armor is limited to one general mod, two mods specific to that armor type (like helmet or gloves) and a mod related to the seasonal events. Seasonal event mods can be gained through the game world and can also be granted by the re-introduction of season-long artifacts, also with Shadowkeep, which a player gains near the beginning of each season and levels up as they gain experience. As they level up the artifact, they select which mods to unlock which include both special weapon mods and these unique season mods, typically tied to the season's story. The weapon mods included the introduction of special Champions, powerful enemies that required a weapon with the corresponding mod to initially weaken before damage can be done to it.
As part of its preparation for Beyond Light, Bungie introduced additional revisions to the gear system in the final Season of Arrivals within the Shadowkeep expansion. First, each piece of gear, beyond exotics, would now have a maximum infusion Power level, generally representing the power level four seasons beyond the season that the piece of gear was introduced in as a means to "sunset" these gear items. Sunsetting has since been revised. Any gear that has been sunset will continue to be as such, but anything not sunset will continue to be not sunset. Second, players could now change the element of an armor for similar costs of infusion, and the fourth mod slot in armor gear, which had been restricted to mods from the same season the armor was associated with, was made universal, and now open to allow any mod from the armor's season or the two following it to be used in that slot. This was intended to give players more flexibility in customizing their armor's capabilities.
Among other changes Beyond Light introduced a fourth sub-class for each of the three main classes. This fourth class is based on Stasis, a power from the Darkness in contrast to Solar, Arc and Void which are powers granted by the Light of the Traveler, and generally bases on slowing or freezing enemies. The Stasis sub-class does not have separate trees like these Light subclasses but is instead modular: while the fundamental Super ability for each class is fixed, the basic grenade, melee, and protection abilities can be customized, and additional effects, known as Aspects, can be added to these to further tailor the way the ability plays out for the player. Bungie has stated that additional Darkness powers, with the same type of modularity, are planned for future expansions, and that the Light subclasses may be reworked in the future to support this modularity.
Player versus environment (PvE)
Like the original game, player versus environment game types makes up the majority of the game. Areas to explore include Earth's European Dead Zone (which was only represented by PvP maps in the original), Saturn's moon Titan, Jupiter's moon Io, and the centaur planet Nessus. The Curse of Osiris expansion adds Mercury as an explorable area, while the Warmind expansion adds Mars. Forsaken adds two new explorable areas in the Reef: the Tangled Shore and the Dreaming City, the latter being the mysterious sanctuary of the Awoken race and an end-game area that is accessible after completing the campaign of Forsaken. Shadowkeep reintroduced the Moon location from the original game, though revamped and reprised from its original iteration. There is also a new social space in the European Dead Zone called "The Farm", as the main portion of the Tower of the original was destroyed at the start of Destiny 2's campaign. However, a lower, undamaged portion of the Tower becomes the main social space post-campaign. Like the original, there are Patrol missions and public events, but the emphasis has been placed more on the exploration of the worlds, including towns that players can visit and friendly NPCs who can be found in-game and will give side-quests. New missions were added called "Adventures", which allow players to explore the area and go on a treasure hunt-like journey to dungeon-like areas. Some Adventures culminate in what is called a Lost Sector, which are somewhat hidden areas in worlds that lead players to a boss that yields rewards upon its defeat. Lost Sectors can be found and accessed without doing an Adventure. Starting with the Curse of Osiris expansion, Heroic Adventures were added, which are harder versions of Adventures and they rotate each week.
A map has also been added to the game, which shows the locations of the NPCs, Adventures, Heroic Adventures, Region Chests, and Lost Sectors. The maps of these new areas are much larger than those in the original Destiny, with one being described as twice as large as any area of the original. Players no longer have to leave a planet and go to orbit to travel to another location; they can now do so immediately from their current in-game location. Another new activity has been added called Flashpoints, which is a weekly milestone that takes place on one of the eight locations and rotates each week. Players complete public events, loot Lost Sectors and complete Heroic Adventures to earn high-level rewards. Similar to the original game, players can pledge their allegiance to one of three factions — Dead Orbit, Future War Cult, or New Monarchy. In Destiny 2, however, the factions now compete against each other in the Faction Rally, which is a periodic event that lasts for one week. Faction points are earned by doing various activities. The faction with the most points at the end of the week earns a high-level reward for 1,000 Glimmer (in-game currency). The losing factions can also gain the reward, but must pay 50,000 Glimmer for their faction's item.
Once a player has completed the main story and has reached the level cap (currently any level one wants as of the seasons), they unlock access to different types of end-game content. These activities include Nightfall strikes (a weekly featured strike with modifiers and high-level rewards; as of the Forsaken expansion, players can choose one of three featured strikes), a strike playlist with modifiers, a Daily Heroic Story playlist, the "Leviathan" and "Last Wish" raids, the "Eater of Worlds" and "Spire of Stars" raid lairs, and the "Escalation Protocol" and "Blind Well" horde activities on Mars and the Dreaming City, respectively, among other PvP activities. A harder difficulty mode called "Prestige" is available for the Leviathan raid and its raid lairs, with modifiers; there are no plans for a Prestige mode for Last Wish. These end-game activities reward players with powerful gear upon successful completion to increase their Power level.
Player versus player (PvP)
Like the original, player versus player combat exists in what is called the Crucible with Lord Shaxx returning as its NPC “Handler.” The original Destiny's Crucible featured six-versus-six and three-versus-three game modes, as well as a limited time two-versus-two mode. At launch, all game modes were four-versus-four as Bungie shifted their focus to smaller teams for competitive multiplayer and better map design, but Quickplay modes eventually became six-versus-six. Like the original, player statistics such as weapon power and defense are balanced between players in Crucible game modes. The in-game HUD was updated so that players can see if an enemy has their supercharged or has power ammo. Currently, players have the option to choose between four rotating playlists, rumble (a six-player Free-for-All game mode) survival and freelance survival (A version of survival where players cannot choose the teammates on their team), classic mix, and private matches.
Trials of Osiris from the original game was replaced by Trials of the Nine. Like Trials of Osiris, Trials of the Nine begins on Fridays and ends with the weekly reset on Tuesdays. The game mode for this new Trials, however, has changed; instead of using the Elimination mode of the original, Trials of the Nine rotates each week between Destiny 2's two new game modes, Countdown and Survival. Only one map is featured for Trials' four-day duration, but the map also rotates weekly. Unlike Trials of Osiris, players can gain access to the Trials of the Nine's social space called The Spire, located in unknown space, for completing a match of Trials and earning Trials tokens. There, players will meet an NPC called the Emissary of the Nine, who will exchange tokens for gear. Gaining three, five, and seven wins on the scorecard, respectively, gain access to the upper tiers of the social space with greater rewards at each tier. Going flawless with seven wins allows admittance into an exclusive area with even greater rewards. Three losses reset the scorecard. To access Trials of the Nine, players must have completed the campaign, completed Lord Shaxx's "Call to Arms" milestone, and have a Power level of at least 260. Trials of the nine has been put on permanent hiatus, but a new trials game mode has been speculated heavily. Recently on 2/26/20 Bungie released the reveal trailer for the next season (season of the worthy) as well as revealing that trials of Osiris will be returning as a part of this dlc. It has been confirmed that Trials of Osiris will be released on 3/13/20. However, instead of the usual 9 wins without losing to go flawless, the new game mode will only require 7 wins.
The periodic competitive Iron Banner PvP mode of the original game, which disabled balancing of player's gear, also returned for the sequel. Destiny 2's Iron Banner, however, does not disable balancing, with Bungie stating that "Your fighting abilities, not your power levels, will decide the outcome". This was changed following the release of Forsaken, with balancing becoming disabled like the original game. Like the original, Iron Banner lasts for one week and features milestones to complete daily. Players must have completed the campaign and be level 20 to access Iron Banner, which features the returning Lord Saladin from the original game as its NPC.
In Destiny 2's second year a new PvP activity was released called Gambit. This activity puts two teams of four against each other to defeat AI opponents from one of the games different faction's/ races (Cabal, Fallen, Hive, Vex, or new with forsaken Scorn), collect their motes and then bank them. A maximum of 15 motes can be held time and for every five motes held will spawn a different sized blocker on each side. 5 motes will spawn Taken Vex Goblin as a small blocker, 10 will spawn a Taken Fallen Capitan, and 15 motes will spawn a Taken Hive Ogre. at different points in the game an invasion portal will spawn were a member of the team can invade the other team to defeat other players who are carrying motes. When a team banks a total of 75 motes the boss will appear, and whoever beats the boss first wins that round. There are three rounds, best of three wins. During Season of the Drifter, a new version of Gambit was added called 'Gambit Prime'. The concept is still the same but, motes required to spawn the boss is now 100 when multiple blockers are present the team bank will start draining and adding to the other team's total mote count, and the level advantage is enabled.
Original plot: The Red War (2017)
As of November 10, 2020, this campaign and associated raid are no longer playable as three of the main destinations, Titan, Io, and the Leviathan, were removed from the game and entered into the Destiny Content Vault due to the changes brought about with the Beyond Light expansion.
One year after the SIVA Crisis, Cabal forces of the Red Legion launch an aerial assault on the Last City, destroying the main portion of the Tower, the headquarters of the Guardians. The player's Guardian and their Ghost respond by assisting the Vanguard in assaulting the Red Legion command ship. As they confront the Red Legion's commander, Dominus Ghaul, his forces attach a device to the Traveler and begin draining it of the Light, the power used by the Guardians. The Guardian loses their powers and is nearly killed by Ghaul. Waking two days after the attack, the Guardian locates their Ghost. They find a haven known as "the Farm" in the European Dead Zone (EDZ) with the assistance of Suraya Hawthorne, a non-Guardian human from the outskirts of the Last City.
The Guardian follows a vision to encounter a shard of the Traveler hidden in a forest within the EDZ. Ghost interfaces with the shard and both its and the Guardian's Light are restored. After restoring long-range communications, Hawthorne intercepts a distress call from Commander Zavala, urging surviving Guardians to travel to Saturn's moon Titan and assist in mounting a counter-offensive. Against Hawthorne's objections, the Guardian travels to Titan, which has been overrun by the Hive. With assistance from Deputy Commander Sloane, they learn that the Red Legion was dispatched to the Milky Way in response to a distress call sent during the Taken War two years prior, and that Ghaul possesses a superweapon known as the Almighty, a space station capable of destroying stars. Resistance to Cabal rule has resulted in entire star systems being destroyed. The intelligence also reveals that the Almighty is positioned near the Sun, breaking up the planet Mercury as fuel. Zavala tasks the Guardian to find Ikora Rey and Cayde-6 to assist in a counterattack to retake the Last City. During this time, it is shown that Ghaul, aided by his mentor, the Consul, overthrew Emperor Calus and took control of the Cabal, and has been studying the Traveler in order to learn how to use the Light and legitimize himself as Emperor.
The Guardian locates Cayde-6 on the centaur Nessus, which has almost been completely transformed by the Vex. With the aid of Failsafe, an AI from the crashed starship Exodus Black, the Guardian frees Cayde from a Vex portal loop and claims a teleporter for use in taking back the city. Cayde directs the Guardian to find Ikora on the Jovian moon of Io, where she had gone to find answers about the Traveler. Ikora and Io researcher Asher Mir direct the Guardian to locate a Warmind, an ancient defensive AI, for intelligence on the Almighty. Afterwards, the Vanguard reunites at the Farm and conclude that the only way to retake the Last City and save the Traveler is to shut down the Almighty first, eliminating the possibility of it destroying the Sun. The Guardian boards the Almighty and destroys the weapon, signaling Zavala to begin the counterattack. As the Vanguard begins the assault, the Consul admonishes Ghaul for his obsession with the Traveler, and urges him to take the Light; Ghaul is reluctant until the Consul kills the Speaker, whom Ghaul had captured and tortured to try and learn more about the Traveler. Ghaul then proclaims that he will take the Light, and strangles the Consul in a fit of rage.
The Guardian returns to Earth to assist in the counterattack and infiltrates Ghaul's command ship alone to save the Traveler. Ghaul forcibly takes the Light, corrupting it, and uses its power against the Guardian, but the Guardian is successful in defeating Ghaul. Ghaul reemerges as a massive ethereal figure who then speaks to the Traveler directly. In doing so, the Traveler wakes from its long sleep, destroying the device that was harvesting its power and killing Ghaul. It sends a massive shockwave, restoring the Light to all Guardians and decimating the Red Legion's forces. The game ends with a posthumous voiceover from the Speaker, reminding all that the Light can never be stopped. The Guardian and Ghost convene with Zavala, Ikora, Cayde, and Hawthorne at an undamaged portion of the Tower, with the Vanguard returning to their old duties and Hawthorne assuming a new post there. In a post-credits scene, the shockwave sent by the Traveler is shown reaching the entire system. The wave of Light extends beyond the Solar System and spreads beyond the Milky Way, before panning across a fleet of dark, mysterious Pyramid-shaped ships sitting some distance away in extragalactic space.
Following Ghaul's defeat, a massive Cabal ship called the Leviathan appears in orbit of Nessus, under the control of the exiled Emperor Calus. Calus invites Guardians to complete a series of challenges before reaching his throne ("Leviathan" raid). A fireteam of Guardians complete his challenges before facing Calus himself; however, after overcoming his strange powers and defeating him, they discover that they were fighting a mechanical doppelganger. The real Calus speaks through the machine, claiming that what they know is a lie and that there is a truth beyond what the Speaker had told them.
With the release of the free-to-play New Light version of Destiny 2 in October 2019, Bungie changed the beginning of the game for new players, reintroducing the first mission from the original Destiny as the introductory mission for new players. Upon completing this brief mission, which ended with the player finding a jumpship, the player was taken to the Tower, where they met the various NPCs and could begin the Destiny 2 campaign (The Red War), as well as the Curse of Osiris and Warmind campaigns, after talking to Amanda Holliday in the Tower Hangar. Returning players could play this opening mission by creating a new character.
With the release of the Beyond Light expansion in November 2020, Destiny 2's original base campaign (The Red War), as well as all of the content from Curse of Osiris, Warmind, and Forsaken's Annual Pass, were removed from the game and placed into the Destiny Content Vault and are no longer accessible (though Bungie may unvault the associated destinations and activities in the future). As a result, Bungie introduced a new player experience to introduce new players to the world of Destiny. It features roughly the same opening as the 2019 New Light, but takes players on a quest further into the Cosmodrome to learn more about the Destiny universe, giving new players' Guardians a more fleshed out origin story. A new NPC for the Cosmodrome was also introduced, who acts as a guide for the new player quest. Veteran players can play through this new player questline by visiting a new kiosk that was added to the Tower, which also contains abandoned quests.
Like the original Destiny, an opening cinematic is shown where a landing pod lands on Mars' surface in present day. Three astronauts leave the pod to explore the surface of Mars and find an enormous spherical object hovering in the sky. A narration begins, giving a brief history of the Traveler, the Darkness, and the Golden Age of humanity and the first Collapse caused by the Darkness. The game then begins as Ghost is searching among the detritus of Old Russia in the Cosmodrome until it finds and resurrects the player's Guardian, who had been killed in an ancient battle—upon resurrection, Guardians have no memories of their past. Ghost then guides the Guardian, battling Fallen enemies along the way, until they encounter a Vanguard Operative, a Hunter named Shaw Han, who is in search of his fireteam members, Cas and Maeve. Han initially tells the Guardian to stay behind and he would get them to the Last City after he finds his fireteam, but the Guardian and Ghost convinces Han to allow them to assist him on his mission. Han has the Guardian go in search of Maeve while he searches for Cas. However, the Guardian is too late, as Maeve was killed by a Hive Wizard called Navôta, Eir Spawn, who also destroyed Maeve's Ghost, preventing Maeve from being resurrected; Han reports that he was also too late in saving Cas. They then meet up back at Han's camp, where Han says to honor his fireteam's loss, they should finish their mission; Han and his fireteam were in search of a Golden Age relic called a superconductor which the Vanguard believe can be used to create a powerful weapon, however, the superconductor is sealed within a chamber and is overloading the building with deadly Arc energy.
The Guardian then goes and collects data from defeated Fallen to figure out a plan to get past the Arc energy. From the data, they learn the location of an ancient array that they need to get operational to balance the power grid to keep the Arc energy from overloading. After successfully raising the array, Han has the Guardian to meet him back at camp so they can regroup and then go collect the superconductor. Upon arriving at the camp, however, the Guardian and Ghost find an audio message that Han went on the mission alone, taking the only access key to the superconductor's chamber, and left the Guardian a sparrow so they could make their way to the Last City. Guardian and Ghost find this unacceptable and Ghost ponders that there has to be another access key and scans Han's archived data, leading them to the Forgotten Shore. After searching through some old caches and boosting Ghost's signal, Ghost is able to piece together encrypted data to create a new key. They then head towards the chamber where they encounter Navôta and her swarm of Hive. The Guardian fights off the Hive, forcing Navôta to retreat and they save Han, who apologizes for leaving them behind, stating that he was afraid to lose another Guardian. They then retrieve the superconductor and meet back at Han's camp. With the mission to retrieve the superconductor complete, Han says that Commander Zavala, the leader of the Vanguard, has ordered him to keep post in the Cosmodrome. Han then gives the Guardian Maeve's jumpship, and they use it to fly to the Tower to meet Zavala and deliver the superconductor.
In flight to the Tower, Ghost explains that he revived the Guardian to help protect humanity and reclaim lost worlds. After arriving in the Tower, Ghost tells the Guardian that the spherical object in the sky is the Traveler, which is where Ghost and their Light, their power, comes from. The Guardian then delivers the superconductor to Zavala, the Titan Vanguard, who praises them on their work as a new Guardian and instructs them to meet the rest of the Vanguard and other allies. After meeting the Warlock Vanguard Ikora Rey, Ghost explains that there is no Hunter Vanguard as after the death of the former one, Cayde-6, no Hunter wants to take his place. They then meet a few other important core activity characters, such as the Drifter and Lord Shaxx, before returning to Zavala, who gives the Guardian their first official assignment; Han has tracked down Navôta and Zavala wants the Guardian in on the mission to take her out. The Guardian returns to the Cosmodrome to hunt down Navôta one last time, where they eliminate the Hive Wizard. With that success, the Guardian returns to Zavala, who congratulates them and informs them that after analyzing the superconductor, they can create the exotic submachine gun Riskrunner. Thus, the Guardian has begun their journey to become legend.
A sequel to Destiny was first mentioned in November 2014, two months after the original released, by Activision chief executive officer Eric Hirshberg, where he said "Work has also begun on future expansion packs as well as on our next full game release". Based on documents of the original release schedule for Destiny, Bungie and Activision intended to release new, disc-based sequels every other year until 2019, with large downloadable expansions in between. Originally planned for a September 2016 release (based on the original documents), Bungie confirmed on February 11, 2016 that a full sequel would release in 2017. That same month, video game writer Christopher Schlerf, who was the lead writer for Halo 4 and worked on Mass Effect: Andromeda, joined Bungie. In December 2016, Bungie announced that Vicarious Visions would be joining the development team along with Activision. Unlike the original, it was rumored that Destiny 2 would also release on Microsoft Windows, which was confirmed on March 30, 2017.
In Activision's earnings report for 2016, Hirshberg said that Destiny's sequel was still "on track for release this fall ." Activision said the sequel would "broaden the franchise's global reach." Hirshberg elaborated that players who had spent hours in the original would "love" the sequel, and for those who had not played Destiny, or had not played in a while,
... we think we've made a sequel that's going to have a lot for them to love, too. The cornerstone of that is a great cinematic story that's been a real focus with a great cast of memorable, relatable characters, coupled with some very nice ways to make the game more accessible to a casual player. Without losing anything that our core players love, we've made it more accessible to someone who just wants to have a great, more casual first-person action experience.
Bungie had said that players' characters and progression would carry over into future releases. However, this turned out to only be half true. Characters and progression did carry over into Destiny's expansions, but for the sequel, only players' characters' physical appearance carried over if they had reached level 20 and completed the Black Garden quest in the original. In regards to why progression and items did not carry over, Bungie said: "We believe this is the best path forward. It allows us to introduce the major advancements and improvements that all of us expect from a sequel, ensuring it will be the best game we can create, unencumbered by the past." Bungie awarded veteran players in Destiny 2 with in-game emblems that acknowledged their accomplishments in the original Destiny. Players' characters, progression, and items are still accessible in the original Destiny, which will continue to remain online.
On March 23, 2017, a promotional poster for the sequel was leaked by Lega Network, revealing the game's name as Destiny 2 and a release date of September 8, 2017, with the mention of a public beta for the game. The poster showed that just like the original, Destiny 2 would have PlayStation exclusive content. On March 27, 2017, although not directly responding to the leaked information, Bungie tweeted an image of Destiny 2. The image showed The Last City in smoke and flames with "Destiny" and a large "2" over the Traveler. This was followed up with a teaser trailer narrated by character Cayde-6. The teaser showed the Tower under attack by the Cabal, one of the enemy races from the original game. PlayStation's YouTube channel showed a slightly extended teaser, officially confirming that there would be timed exclusive content for PlayStation 4, and it would last until at least fall 2018. A full reveal trailer released on March 30, showing the three class Vanguards, Commander Zavala (Titan), Cayde-6 (Hunter), and Ikora Rey (Warlock), rallying Guardians in the war-torn Tower. The Cabal are being led by Ghaul, the commander of the Red Legion. The trailers confirmed that Lance Reddick, Nathan Fillion, and Gina Torres would be reprising their roles as the class Vanguards, respectively. Nolan North also confirmed that he would be reprising Ghost, the Guardian's AI companion. Bungie had a live stream of Destiny 2's gameplay on May 18. On May 19, 2017, Destiny 2 project lead Mark Noseworthy told IGN that there were no plans for a Nintendo Switch version of the game. Noseworthy went on to say:
I think it's pretty unrealistic given we're an online-only game, right? The Switch, because it's a portable – and I love my Switch, I've got Breath of the Wild here, I've got it with me. It's incredible, I love the console, but in terms of where it's at, I don't want to leave anyone with the possibility of like, 'it's a thing we'll consider, maybe next year.' There's no plans right now for Switch.
The Microsoft Windows version of Destiny 2 supports native 4K resolution and uncapped frame rate (fps), full mouse and keyboard support, text chat, adjustable field of view, and 21:9 monitor support, and was exclusive to Blizzard Entertainment's Battle.net service at the time of its launch. Although not native 4K, Destiny 2 does support 4K enhancements for the PlayStation 4 Pro, an updated version of the standard PlayStation 4 that supports 4K rendering. Similarly, the Xbox One had an updated version called the Xbox One X that released in November 2017 after Destiny 2's launch. Bungie added 4K support for the One X, as well as HDR support for both updated consoles, on December 5, 2017. Unlike the Windows version, however, the console versions are locked at 30fps. Destiny 2 also has an improvement with its servers, which are a combination of dedicated servers and peer-to-peer networking. Lead engineer Matt Segur explained, "Every activity in Destiny 2 is hosted by one of our servers. ... That means [players] will never again suffer a host migration during [a] Raid attempt or Trials match. This differs from Destiny 1, where these hosting duties were performed by player consoles and only script and mission logic ran in the data center."
Grimoire cards that were found in the original game, which detailed the lore of the Destiny universe and could only be accessed from Bungie's website and the Destiny app, did not return for the sequel. For Destiny 2, Bungie shifted their focus to in-game storytelling, which was something the original was criticized for lacking. To detail the lore of the universe in Destiny 2, there are many artifacts around the maps that can be scanned by Ghost, who will give details and backstory. Exotic gear and some legendary gear also have a lore tab. At the 2017 Electronic Entertainment Expo (E3), a new cinematic trailer was shown, narrated by the main antagonist, Dominus Ghaul. It showed that Bungie did focus more on the story for the sequel than the original, as Bungie was "attempting to go in-depth into the universe and the motivations of the characters." E3 2017 also revealed that Destiny 2's release date was moved up to September 6, 2017, and the Windows version was confirmed for an October 24 release. The dates for the beta on the console versions were also confirmed at E3 2017. Early access for pre-order customers began on PS4 on July 18 followed by Xbox One on July 19; non-pre-order customers received access beginning July 21. The console beta concluded on July 25, after a 2-day extension. The beta for the PC began on August 29 and concluded on August 31.
The original score was composed by Michael Salvatori, Skye Lewin, C. Paul Johnson, Rotem Moav, and Peter Schlosser. When creating the music, the composers stated their goal with it was to "capture the somber spirit of a civilization confronting immense tragedy", and also to "inspire bravery in the hearts of our heroes as they stand together and fight to reclaim all that they hold dear".
Destiny 2 was released worldwide for the PlayStation 4 and the Xbox One on September 6, 2017, and the Microsoft Windows version released worldwide on October 24. There were several editions of the game, including a Collector's Edition, a Limited Edition, a Digital Deluxe Edition, and the standard base game. Like the original, there was an Expansion Pass, which granted access to the first two expansions of Destiny 2. Also like the original Destiny, pre-orders for the game received early access to the game's beta, as well as other in-game pre-order bonuses, such as early access to the exotic weapon "Coldheart". Pre-orders from GameStop received a Cayde-6 collectible figure. Other figures and toys, such as Lord Saladin, were released after Destiny 2's console launch. Per an exclusivity agreement with Sony Interactive Entertainment that began with the original Destiny, the PlayStation 4 version of Destiny 2 featured timed-exclusive content until late 2018; PS4 exclusive content ended with the release of the Shadowkeep expansion in October 2019.
The Collector's Edition of Destiny 2 included the base game in a SteelBook case, the Expansion Pass, a themed backpack, a "Frontier Kit", which featured a solar panel USB charger with built-in light, a paracord, and a solar blanket, a 15" laptop/tablet sleeve with protective pocket slip, a Cabal-themed collector's box with various items, and premium digital content. The Limited Edition, distributed exclusively from GameStop, included the same physical and digital items as the Collector's Edition, minus the backpack, "Frontier Kit", and laptop/tablet sleeve. The Digital Deluxe Edition includes all of the premium digital content. There was also a limited-time PlayStation 4 bundle that included a glacier white PlayStation 4 Pro, Destiny 2, the Expansion Pass, and premium digital content.
The Windows version was initially distributed exclusively through Blizzard Battle.net, marking the first non-Blizzard Entertainment title to be distributed via the platform. In January 2019, Bungie and Activision amicably broke their publishing agreement, leaving Bungie as the game's publisher for the PC version. The Windows version of Destiny 2 remained on the Battle.net platform for the next several months, but transitioned to Steam upon release of the Shadowkeep expansion in October 2019.
With the release of the Shadowkeep expansion in October 2019, Bungie made several changes to the monetization model of Destiny 2. Bungie's aim was to have the game able to be played by anyone with their friends, regardless of platform, so they implemented cross-saving, allowing players to transfer their characters from one platform to another. Alongside this, they partnered with Google to offer Destiny 2 on Stadia, a new game streaming service. Additionally, alongside the release of Shadowkeep, Bungie made Destiny 2 free to play in its "New Light" version, making the base game, the Leviathan raid, and many of the player-versus-player modes free, including the first two expansions, Curse of Osiris and Warmind. Content like Forsaken and Shadowkeep can be purchased à la carte by the player. Shadowkeep and future expansions are considered standalone experiences, not requiring the player to have bought the other additional content. Further, Destiny 2 introduced a battle pass system lasting for each season, featuring two tiers of rewards, which include weapons, cosmetics, and in-game materials and currency, for playing various activities during that season. One tier is free for all players, while the second tier is only available to players that have purchased the season pass. Both New Light and the Shadowkeep expansion come after Bungie's acquisition of the publishing rights of the Destiny franchise from Activision.
Bungie announced in June 2020 that moving into the fourth year of content for the game, beginning with the Beyond Light expansion in November, that it would retire some of the less played existing content into a "Destiny Content Vault" (DCV), making the worlds and activities associated with them unavailable to play, as the developers stated the game had become too large and unmanagable with all the content they were continuing to add (the size of the game client had reached approximately 115 GB). However, they will periodically unvault some of these areas and activities, including updated versions of areas and activities from the original Destiny (seen first with the Moon in the Shadowkeep expansion), to give players opportunities to complete quests and triumphs associated with them over time. Bungie said that using the DCV to rework content was an alternative to developing a wholly new Destiny 3 game. They confirmed that Earth's Cosmodrome patrol location and strikes would return during seasons 12 and 13, and that the original game's Vault of Glass raid would also return sometime in Year 4 (later confirmed for Season 14). Bungie announced that they have at least two additional years of content planned out, with the Beyond Light expansion launching on November 10, 2020, followed by The Witch Queen and Lightfall (working title) afterwards—The Witch Queen was originally planned for Novembe 2021, but was delayed to early 2022, with Lightfall presumably also being delayed to early 2023. By this point in the original Destiny's life cycle, a full sequel was the next release. Bungie stated that they did not want to do a Destiny 3 at this time because it would require them, as well as the players, to have to start over and they wanted to instead continue to build upon Destiny 2. A final chapter will follow Lightfall to conclude the first saga of Destiny, called the "Light and Darkness Saga," before beginning a new saga for the franchise.
Bungie affirmed its plans to release Destiny 2 for the next-generation consoles, the PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X/S platforms, which all released in November 2020, and that the game on these platforms would support native 4K resolution at 60fps. Destiny 2 players on PlayStation 4 and Xbox One can update their versions to the newer consoles within the same family for free and bring existing content across, with Bungie using Microsoft's "Smart Delivery" program for the Xbox Series X/S update. Bungie also confirmed that cross-play would be supported within the same family of consoles (e.g., PlayStation 4 and 5) and with cross-play between all platforms coming in Season 15 in 2021. The PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X/S versions of the game received a software update on December 8, 2020 that provided optimized features for those consoles. With the update, the game runs up to 4K resolution at 60fps on the PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X, and up to 1080p resolution at 60fps on Xbox Series S. Field of view customization was also added.
As part of general growth of the company, Bungie announced in early 2021 that it was looking to expand the Destiny IP beyond video games and creating a "Destiny Universe". As part of this, in March 2021, Destiny 2' current leads Luke Smith and Mark Noseworthy were named as executive creative director and vice president, respectively, of Bungie's new Destiny Universe division, while Justin Truman was named to general manager for Destiny 2.
|Curse of Osiris|
|*Season of the Forge|
|2019||*Season of the Drifter|
|*Season of Opulence|
|*Season of the Undying|
|2020||*Season of Dawn|
|*Season of the Worthy|
|*Season of Arrivals|
|*Season of the Hunt|
|2021||*Season of the Chosen|
|*Season of the Splicer|
|2022||The Witch Queen|
Prior to the console release, Bungie said that they had already begun working on post-release content. Bungie stated that their plan was to provide post-release content at a quicker rate than that of the original Destiny, which was criticized for not having enough content post-launch and between each of its expansions releases. One of the team's remedies for this were the Adventures and Lost Sectors activities that were added to the free roam Patrol mode. Bungie also announced the Destiny 2 Expansion Pass prior to launch, which granted access to the first two expansions of the game. The in-game clan features became available a few days after the game's launch. The Guided Games feature became available on September 12 for the Nightfall activity, the game's first raid, "Leviathan", unlocked on September 13 (with the Guided Games in beta), and Trials of the Nine became available on September 15, along with the character Xûr from the original game, the exotic items vendor who only appears on the weekends. The three factions and their respective NPCs from the original game returned on September 26 for a new periodic event, Faction Rally. The competitive Iron Banner PvP mode from the original returned on October 10. The prestige mode for the Leviathan raid was originally scheduled to unlock on October 10, but was delayed to October 17.
The game's first expansion released on December 5, 2017. Named Curse of Osiris, it focuses on the character Osiris from the lore of the original Destiny. The expansion takes players to the planet Mercury with its own patrol mode. Additionally, the EXP level cap was raised to 25 and the Power level cap was raised to 330. There was also a timed-exclusive Crucible map for PS4 players called Wormhaven. Instead of an entirely new raid, a feature called raid lair was added, featuring new areas to the existing Leviathan raid and a different final boss. The second expansion, Warmind, was released on May 8, 2018 and focuses on the Warmind Rasputin from the original game. This expansion takes players to the planet Mars in a new area called Hellas Basin. The expansion also features a new mode called "Escalation Protocol", a horde mode which can be started by any player in the patrol mode on Mars. As well, the EXP level cap was raised to 30 and the Power level cap was raised to 380. In addition to Rasputin, a new character named Ana Bray (also from the lore of the original Destiny) was added, who serves as the primary NPC on Mars. Like the previous expansion, Warmind also includes a second raid lair on the Leviathan. The expansion also added progressive ranking systems for PvP, titled Valor and Glory. Players earn Valor in quickplay matches while Glory is earned in competitive matches, with each new rank earning greater rewards. Valor points are earned regardless of win or loss, while Glory points are earned by wins but reduced by losses. Both expansions featured timed-exclusive content for the PlayStation 4 platform, which became available for other platforms in late 2019.
The game saw many seasonal events during its first year of service, which were free to all players regardless of which version of the game they owned. "The Dawning" holiday event from the original Destiny returned on December 19, 2017 and ended on January 9, 2018. Both social spaces were redecorated for the event along with snow weather. Players could create snowballs in the social spaces and during strikes and throw these at other players or enemies (which damaged enemies). The Crucible game mode "Mayhem" (all abilities restore rapidly) was also brought back from the original Destiny. New Milestones with event-themed rewards were also added. "Crimson Days", the Valentine's Day-themed event from Year 2 (2016) of the original Destiny, returned for Destiny 2 on February 13, 2018, and like the original, it ran for only one week. Just as in the original event, Crimson Days featured a 2-versus-2 Crucible mode–the only in Destiny 2–however, the mode was modified from the original. Staying close to a teammate caused all abilities to recharge quicker, while being apart gave away both players' locations to the opposing team. Players could earn Crimson Engrams, granting new rewards. Crimson Days was later rebranded into a separate but permanent mode called "Doubles" as a rotating mode in the Crucible. A brand new summer event called "Solstice of Heroes" began on July 31, 2018 and ended on August 28, 2018, to commemorate the first year of the game. The Power level cap was raised to 400 for the event. A new NPC called the Statue of Heroes was added and provided bounties that, when turned in, awarded Moments of Triumph points for players which could be used to earn exclusive rewards. Players received "Scorched" armor pieces at Power level 240 at the start of the event, which could then be upgraded to "Rekindled" armor at Power level 340, then to "Resplendent" armor at Power level 400, all by completing specific requirements for each armor piece, including playing through 5 revamped (Redux) missions from the original Destiny 2 campaign. Players could also earn Solstice Engrams, which also granted new rewards.
The third expansion, Forsaken, was released on September 4, 2018, beginning Year 2 of Destiny 2. Similar to the original Destiny's The Taken King expansion, Forsaken had a large overhaul on gameplay, though not to the extent that The Taken King had with the original Destiny. A large expansion, Bungie described the story as having a "western revenge" theme. A large portion of the expansion takes place in the Reef's Tangled Shore, including a new raid called "Last Wish", which takes place in the end-game area, the Dreaming City, also located in the Reef. The developers claimed that it had more bosses than any previous raid (including from the original game) with a massive roam area, puzzles, and the raid changed over time based on players' actions in the raid itself. A new mode called Gambit was also added that combines PvE and PvP, and features its own ranking system called Infamy, which works similar to the Crucible's Valor ranking system. Two teams of four players compete against each other while facing PvE enemies. A new weapon type, a bow and arrow, was also added. The EXP level cap was raised to 50 and the Power level cap was raised to 600. A trailer displayed during Sony's E3 2018 press conference showed the death of Cayde-6 by the hands of the returning Prince Uldren Sov. Uldren is on a mission to find his lost sister, Queen Mara Sov, believing her to still be alive after the events of The Taken King and he leads the Scorn, former Fallen that were revived from the dead and have become their own race. The launch trailer for Forsaken revealed that the player's Guardian would once again speak; the player's Guardian had not spoken since the end of the original Destiny's base campaign. Forsaken also began a seasonal cycle of content for Destiny 2, introducing new story content, activities, and gear, some which required purchase of the season pass. Forsaken's seasons included Season of the Forge, introducing the character of Ada-1 and the Black Armories which were under threat from Cabal, Fallen, and Vex forces, Season of the Drifter which explored the Drifter's connection to the mysterious Nine, and Season of Opulence, during which Calus invited the Guardians to challenges aboard the Leviathan for his entertainment.
The fourth major expansion for the game, Shadowkeep, was released on October 1, 2019 (delayed from its original release of September 17) and is similar in scope to Forsaken and the original Destiny's Rise of Iron expansion. The expansion, which began Year 3 of Destiny 2, sees players return to the Moon, an area that was featured in the first game. The location was reprised and expanded upon with Bungie claiming it to be twice the size of the original location from Destiny. The story of Shadowkeep sees the return of Eris Morn, a character from the first game who had been absent since the events of the Red War. Eris seeks the help of the Guardian in defeating "Nightmares" that she released into the Solar System, which are manifestations of the Guardian's past. Players face off against their previous adversaries, which are being resurrected by the Darkness. Throughout the story, Eris and the Guardians work together to figure out the cause of this unleashed madness and do what they can to put a stop to it. The expansion includes a return to the Black Garden on Mars for a new six-player raid, Garden of Salvation. Shadowkeep's seasonal content included the Season of the Undying, with the Vanguard preventing a Vex invasion of the Moon by the Undying Mind, Season of Dawn, where the Guardian aids Orisis with the Sundial to prevent the Red Legion from altering the past and to bring back Saint-14 to the present, Season of the Worthy, in which Zavala and Ana Bray enlist the Vanguards to help Rasputin to stop the Almighty from crashing into the Last City, and Season of Arrivals, where the Guardians help protect Eris Morn from Taken and Hive as she tries to commune with the approaching Darkness and Pyramids of the Black Fleet.
Year 4 of Destiny 2 began with the large expansion titled Beyond Light on November 10, 2020 (delayed from its original release date of September 22); Bungie described this release as the start of a new era for the franchise. The expansion introduces a new location, Jupiter's icy moon Europa, reintroduces Earth's Cosmodrome area from the original Destiny, and moved some older locations into the DCV, including Io, Mars, Mercury, Titan, and the Leviathan. Players also learn a new elemental ability—the first new elemental ability introduced to the series since the original Destiny launched in September 2014. The new ability has players using the power of Darkness itself and is called Stasis. The Exo Stranger, who had not been seen since the end of the original Destiny's campaign, also returned, along with Variks, the Loyal, from the original game's House of Wolves expansion—though he was an unseen character in Forsaken whose actions inadvertently caused the death of Cayde-6. The Exo Stranger and Variks guide the Guardian on Europa to stop a Fallen Kell named Eramis from using the Darkness to destroy the Traveler and its followers. Among its seasonal content included the Season of the Hunt, focusing on the return of an amnesic Uldren Sov, now going by "Crow", as he helps the Vanguard hunt down Hive Wrathborne, Season of the Chosen, where Calus' daughter and now Emperor Caiatl has come to the System to challenge the Vanguard to ritual combat as a prelude to a potential truce, and Season of the Splicer, where Mithrax, the Kell of the Fallen House of Light, helps the Vanguard put an end to a Vex attack on the Last City.
Destiny 2 received "generally favorable" reviews, according to review aggregator Metacritic. Some reviewers labeled the game as Destiny 1.5 due to its many similarities to the original Destiny, but praise was given to improvements made over its predecessor.
As with the original, gameplay was highly praised, with Chris Carter of Destructoid saying that it was what "the game nails ... the most". Game Informer's Matt Miller said that like the original, "Gameplay features remarkably taut FPS gunplay enhanced with seemingly magical powers." Miller went on to say that the gameplay's biggest change was a welcome, referring to the reorganization of destinations and the emphasis on exploration. Evan Slead of Electronic Gaming Monthly (EGM) also praised the exploration, but was not a fan of the recategorization of the weapons. Although he said the variety of weapons were fun, the Kinetic weapons "didn't seem to pack as much of a punch as their Energy [weapon] counterparts." Cody Perez of Game Revolution, however, welcomed the recategorized weapons, saying they were less restrictive and said that "Bungie are masters of gun-play". Kallie Plagge of GameSpot said that the game features mostly the same structure as the original, including its "mechanically excellent shooting and satisfying loot grind". Carter praised the Lost Sectors and public events, as well as the additional story quests and Adventures post-campaign. Miller said that the Lost Sectors were fun, but they became less interesting with the more that were done. Perez, however, was not a fan of the Adventures and Lost Sectors activities, saying they were a "disconnect [from] the main campaign". He said that they were filler content, and that they were "monotonous and a bore to accomplish, lacking the heart that fills the campaign." He did praise the public events as they are only periodic.
The Leviathan raid received praise and criticism. Miller of Game Informer stated that the Leviathan raid was "one of Bungie's most intricate and fascinating environments to date", praising its maze-like structure with hidden chests and secret passages. He was critical of the award system, however, stating that it "separates the excitement of new gear from the moment of victory", as it does not offer most loot until a full completion. Slead of EGM said that "the bread and butter of Destiny is still these post-campaign quests", also referring to Strikes and the weekly Nightfall activity. Perez of Game Revolution, who did not play any of the original game's raids, was a big fan of the Leviathan raid, stating that it exceeded its hype. Plagge of GameSpot said that "solving [the raid's] often obscure puzzles can be both rewarding and frustrating", but "each failure teaches you something new".
The original Destiny was largely criticized for its story. Destiny 2, however, was praised for its improvements to the story and easier access to the universe's lore. Slead of EGM said that it has a "more robust story" and Bungie fixed the "meandering storytelling from the first". Carter of Destructoid said that although its story was similar to others in the same genre, "it's easy to follow and even easier to get invested in, with the game's cast coming front and center." Perez of Game Revolution said that the story "[gripped] me in a way that only Bungie's former series Halo was able to." He said that there were many moments that were of shock and awe, and that the game had a meaningful narrative with an actual fleshed out villain. Plagge of GameSpot said that the story serves its main purpose and that its strength "lie in atmosphere and side details", while also praising its "mournful soundtrack" as fantastic.
Miller of Game Informer praised the Crucible mode for feeling more competitive than the original Destiny's, with teamwork being "highly valued". However, Miller was "perplexed by the decision to force players into one of two playlists", instead of letting them choose. He was also indifferent to the change of making all modes four-versus-four, but said that "the compact group size demands everyone pull their weight, which is great." Perez of Game Revolution was disappointed that Crucible did not receive "the same love that the singleplayer had been given." He said that although the smaller map sizes were not a bad thing, it causes multiplayer to be non-stop action, not allowing players to take a moment to strategize. David Houghton of GamesRadar+ said that the changes to the Crucible mode "shine in a tight, focused, clear, and tactically co-operative format."
Destiny 2 sold 50,263 copies on PlayStation 4 within its first week on sale in Japan, which placed it at number one on the weekly sales charts. The weekend consisting of September 23, Destiny 2 took the number 1 spot on the UK sales chart. Destiny 2 was also the second highest-grossing console game of 2017 in North America (behind Call of Duty: WWII), and was also Activision's biggest PC release based on units sold. Digital downloads for Destiny 2 account for more than half of the total sales of the game.
For the 2017 Game Critics Awards, it was awarded Best PC Game for E3 2017. At The Game Awards 2017, Destiny 2 was one of four games to receive six nominations, the most for the year's event, which were for Best Art Direction, Best Score/Music, Best Audio Design, Best Ongoing Game, Best Action Game, and Best Multiplayer. Entertainment Weekly ranked Destiny 2 sixth on their list of the "Best Games of 2017", GamesRadar+ ranked it seventh on their list of the 25 Best Games of 2017, and Eurogamer also ranked it seventh on their list of the "Top 50 Games of 2017", while Polygon ranked it 12th on their list of the 50 best games of 2017, and The Verge named it as one of their 15 Best Games of 2017. In Game Informer's Reader's Choice Best of 2017 Awards, the game came in second place for "Best Co-op Multiplayer" and for "Best Shooter". The website also gave it the "Best Weaponry" and "Best Gunplay" in their 2017 Shooter of the Year Awards. Ben "Yahtzee" Croshaw of Zero Punctuation, on the other hand, ranked the game third on his list of the Blandest Games of 2017, stating, "I always feel slightly unqualified to criticize multiplayer-focused shooters, which are, after all, intended to be bland and for people with friends, but I can't help feeling that the best possible result of enlisting friends to help you grind through Destiny 2 would be not having to pay for as many Christmas presents."
Destiny 2 was nominated for "Best PC Game" in both Destructoid's Game of the Year Awards 2017 and IGN's Best of 2017 Awards, the latter of which also nominated it for "Game of the Year", "Best Xbox One Game", "Best Shooter", "Best Graphics", "Best Original Music", and "Best Multiplayer". The game won the award for "Best Co-op Game" in PC Gamer's 2017 Game of the Year Awards, and received a nomination for "Game of the Year". It was also a runner-up each for "Best-Looking Game", "Best Multiplayer", and "Game of the Year" in Giant Bomb's 2017 Game of the Year Awards.
|2017||Game Critics Awards 2017||Best PC Game||Won|||
|Best Action Game||Nominated|
|Best Online Multiplayer||Nominated|
|Gamescom 2017||Best Console Game (PlayStation 4)||Nominated|||
|Best PC Game||Nominated|
|Best Action Game||Nominated|
|Best Social/Online Game||Won|
|Best Multiplayer Game||Won|
|Ping Awards||Best International Game||Nominated|||
|Golden Joystick Awards 2017||Best Audio||Nominated|||
|Best Gaming Performance (Nathan Fillion)||Nominated|
|Best Multiplayer Game||Nominated|
|Ultimate Game of the Year||Nominated|
|The Game Awards 2017||Best Art Direction||Nominated|||
|Best Audio Design||Nominated|
|Best Ongoing Game||Nominated|
|Best Action Game||Nominated|
|Titanium Awards||Best Action Game||Nominated|||
|2018||New York Game Awards 2018||Herman Melville Award for Best Writing||Nominated|||
|Tin Pan Alley Award for Best Music in a Game||Nominated|
|Statue of Liberty Award for Best World||Nominated|
|16th Visual Effects Society Awards||Outstanding Compositing in a Photoreal Commercial (New Legends Will Rise)||Nominated|||
|21st Annual D.I.C.E. Awards||Outstanding Achievement in Sound Design||Nominated|||
|Action Game of the Year||Nominated|
|Outstanding Achievement in Online Gameplay||Nominated|
|NAVGTR Awards||Art Direction, Fantasy||Nominated|||
|Game, Franchise Action||Nominated|
|Original Dramatic Score, Franchise||Nominated|
|Performance in a Drama, Lead (Nathan Fillion)||Nominated|
|Use of Sound, Franchise||Nominated|
|Italian Video Game Awards 2018||People's Choice||Nominated|||
|Best Evolving Game (Curse of Osiris)||Nominated|
|SXSW Gaming Awards 2018||Excellence in Multiplayer||Nominated|||
|Game Developers Choice Awards||Best Technology||Nominated|||
|16th Annual Game Audio Network Guild Awards||Best Interactive Score||Nominated|||
|Best Audio Mix||Nominated|
|Best Original Choral Composition ("Last Rite")||Nominated|
|14th British Academy Games Awards||Audio Achievement||Nominated|||
|ASCAP Composers' Choice Awards 2018||2017 ASCAP Video Game Score of the Year||Nominated|||
|Game Critics Awards 2018||Best Online Multiplayer (Forsaken)||Nominated|||
|Best Ongoing Game (Forsaken)||Nominated|
|Gamescom 2018||Best Add-on/DLC (Forsaken)||Won|||
|Golden Joystick Awards 2018||Still Playing Award||Nominated|||
|The Game Awards 2018||Best Ongoing Game||Nominated|||
|Best Action Game (Forsaken)||Nominated|
|Best Multiplayer Game (Forsaken)||Nominated|
|Gamers' Choice Awards||Fan Favorite Multiplayer Game (Forsaken)||Nominated|||
|Fan Favorite Shooter Game (Forsaken)||Nominated|
|2019||22nd Annual D.I.C.E. Awards||Action Game of the Year (Forsaken)||Nominated|||
|Online Game of the Year (Forsaken)||Nominated|
|SXSW Gaming Awards 2019||Excellence in Multiplayer (Forsaken)||Nominated|||
|Most Evolved Game (Forsaken)||Nominated|
|17th Annual Game Audio Network Guild Awards||Best Original Choral Composition (Forsaken; "Keep of Voices")||Nominated|||
|15th British Academy Games Awards||Evolving Game (Forsaken)||Nominated|||
|Italian Video Game Awards 2019||Best Evolving Game (Forsaken)||Nominated|||
|ASCAP Composers' Choice Awards 2019||2018 ASCAP Video Game Score of the Year (Forsaken)||Nominated|||
|Game Critics Awards 2019||Best Ongoing Game||Won|||
|Golden Joystick Awards 2019||Best Game Expansion (Shadowkeep)||Nominated|||
|The Game Awards 2019||Best Ongoing Game||Nominated|||
|Best Community Support||Won|
|2020||23rd Annual D.I.C.E. Awards||Outstanding Achievement in Online Gameplay (Shadowkeep)||Nominated|||
|16th British Academy Games Awards||Evolving Game||Nominated|||
|18th Annual Game Audio Network Guild Awards||Best Cinematic Cutscene Audio (Shadowkeep)||Nominated|||
|ASCAP Composers' Choice Awards 2020||2019 ASCAP Video Game Score of the Year (Shadowkeep)||Nominated|||
|The Game Awards 2020||Best Ongoing Game||Nominated|||
|Best Community Support||Nominated|
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