To say that Destiny had a very tumultuous history is a bit of an understatement. Over the past half a decade or so, senior members of Bungie (including high-profile individuals who worked on Halo such as the composer, Marty O’Donnell, and the writer, Joseph Staten) were either fired, replaced, or otherwise left the company; the reputation of the once beloved developer was diminished; and the game’s name became almost synonymous with disappointment. By the time the dust had settled from the game’s first DLC, there were no shortage of complaints about all kinds of things, from multiplayer balancing, to a lack of a story, to a soul crushingly tedious grinding experience, and so on and so forth. Perhaps the worst part of these complaints was that a number of them weren’t technical problems but rather design problems that are relatively easy to fix and or avoid; problems that stem from bad decision making rather than glitches and bugs.
The legitimacy of these complaints weren’t unfounded either, as unusual as that may seem given the Internet’s ability to blow things out of proportion. For months, Thorn was the gun that dominated Destiny’s multiplayer, rivaled only by certain shotguns and a bugged Last Word, entire archetypes of weapons were only considered to be usable in the sense that they fired bullets that could eventually kill an AFK player, and map design was so atrocious that certain maps (i.e. Shores of Time) made it almost impossible to win if you didn’t spawn on the right side of the map unless the other team had the situational awareness of a sack of potatoes. Needless to say, Bungie’s initial attempts to balance the various weapons in the game led to only derision from the community.
On the less competitive side of things, at least two story characters became memorable because of how they literally told you that they weren’t going to tell you a story, your own character was effectively mute aside from a few grunts here and there, and the only talkative character in the game had to have their voice actor replaced for reasons that Bungie is not likely to divulge. On the bright side, most of Destiny’s audience would agree that the game had a fairly interesting story, if you were willing to look for collectibles and use an app or log on to a website to read it. Oh, and let’s not even mention all of the PvE, Raid, and loot mechanics that were designed to be as, seemingly, unfriendly to the user as possible. With all these legitimate problems, and more, that Destiny 2’s trailer tries to invoke a sense of nostalgia by showing the Tower and the Traveler under attack and all of these characters rallying together is kind of insulting, especially without any actual gameplay (why should anyone care when their initial experience was decidedly negative?).
In all fairness, though, Destiny was a game that many decided to stay with, long after such issues were discovered. Despite all the frustration that the game created, it really was a game that was much more fun with friends, even if that is kind of the point of friends to begin with. After all, very few other games in recent memory led to long nights where groups of people beat their heads against a Raid boss over and over again, week after week, in hopes of getting something good. Even fewer games forced people to interact with complete strangers on the Internet, united by the inconvenience that can only come from the lack of an actual matchmaking system. And with the impending release of Destiny 2, there is a sense of hope among those who remain committed to Bungie and Destiny.
For all the flak that Bungie received for Destiny, even the most hardcore critics have to admit that the game was shackled by a combination of outdated technology and infighting, which likely played a huge role in some of the problems that the game has. Sure, you can blame Bungie for greedy microtransactions and overpriced DLC (even if Activision should shoulder some of the blame here), you can blame them for poor balancing and loot mechanic decisions that led to frustration without end, you can even blame them for having a nonexistent story and terrible characters, but at the end of the day, people actually had fun with the game even if it was decidedly mediocre. Of course, you can and probably should view the Destiny 2 trailer with as much suspicion and skepticism as one can possibly muster, but whether it be because of the core gampeplay or some mystical magical spell that Bungie cast upon its audience, there is still a chance that Bungie doesn’t mess up horribly and repeat the mistakes that people have been very vocal about (and that they would have to be deaf, blind, and stupid to ignore) for the past couple of years. That chance might be just what Bungie needs to regain some of their lost goodwill.
What do you think of Destiny 2? What can we expect?