Seemingly out of left field, video game developer Bungie announced recently that it is cutting ties with publisher Activision and that it will retain ownership of the hit MMO franchise Destiny. While many initially celebrated this news, as Activision has an increasingly mixed reputation among gamers due to their inclusion of controversial loot boxes, the conversation is quickly turning to how this split will affect the future of Destiny.
Even if the franchise is very much a series of highs and lows, it still holds an incredible amount of potential and a sizable player base. Millions of players are eager to see what happens to Destiny now that Bungie and Activision have split, and these are 10 changes that they’re likely to see.
10 A Brand New Destiny Game
Destiny 2 is about a year and a half old, and the original Destiny ran for almost three years exactly before the sequel launched. Considering that Destiny 2 got a more mixed reaction from fans and that Bungie is now free to take the series in whatever direction they want, it wouldn't be that surprising if a new Destiny game launched in a year or so. If Activision’s influence on Destiny 2 is a pervasive as audiences were lead to believe, it’s probably easier for Bungie to make the game they actually want from the ground up than convert Destiny 2 to match their vision.
9 An Increased Focus On Hardcore Players
Fans of the Destiny franchise fell in love with the original game largely because of the many secrets and complex dungeons that appeared in the title. However, the steep challenge of these dungeons made more casual players hesitant to check them out, and as such these complex dungeons and hidden puzzles appeared more sporadically in Destiny 2. Now that Bungie has more artistic freedom, it’s totally within their power to create these more difficult challenges once again and cater to their most dedicated player base. So long as they’re happy with the slimmer profits generated by this narrower group, Bungie can easily make Destiny a more difficult and rewarding experience.
8 Fewer Sequels
Now that Bungie has full control over Destiny, the cost of promoting and manufacturing sequels to the game falls onto them as well. Considering Destiny’s nature as an MMO that has an entire new game’s worth of content premier as DLC a few times a year, they may choose to continually update Destiny rather than try to sell sequels every few years. Granted this may become an issue when the next generation of gaming consoles launches and may date the game’s graphics after a few years, but continually updating Destiny is a great way to cut down on publishing costs.
7 Less Content For A While
For as big of a shakeup as this is to an outsider, Bungie’s separation from Activision is even more impactful for those working at the development studio. Reportedly, most employees at Bungie didn’t even know this split was happening until those leading the company announced that it was locked in at a meeting, and then everyone drank champagne to celebrate. It cannot be understated how big of a change this is for Bungie, and it will take time to figure out how exactly they want to make Destiny their own again. This will probably lead to a bit of a content and update shortage while Bungie course corrects their beloved series.
6 Fewer Microtransactions
Many Destiny players are under the impression that Activision is responsible for the many microtransactions that plague the Destiny series, considering Activision’s history with controversial monetization mechanics. If this proves to be true, Bungie now has the freedom to remove these widely disliked elements from Destiny going forward. However, considering how prevalent microtransactions and loot boxes are in the broader video game industry, it’s also possible that they default to the status quo and leave them in. It also wouldn't be too surprising if Bungie chose to switch Destiny’s monetization model to a subscription service or even a free to play structure with an even greater focus on microtransactions.
5 Weirder Advertising
Now that Bungie has complete ownership over Destiny, it may take the game’s advertising in a different direction. Under Activision, Destiny was largely marketed as a vast space adventure with a focus on quippy humor and exploring science-fantasy settings with friends. However, Bungie might not try to market Destiny as broadly anymore. Especially if Bungie chooses to focus on their more dedicated players going forward, they might start advertising to that more niche audience. There isn’t a ton of overlap between gamers who want a challenging experience and those who something cool to do with their friends during their free time, so as Destiny changes we’re probably going to see more unusual advertising to reflect that.
4 New Corporate Overlords
There’s a reason why there are only a handful of major companies that both publish and develop games for multiple gaming systems, and why those companies are usually the biggest and most established in the industry. For one company to handle both of these responsibilities is not only costly, but it’s also a logistical nightmare. It wouldn't be all that surprising if Bungie chose to partner with another publisher, rather than take care of every element of game production themselves. A new partnership with another publisher may not give Bungie the freedom that fans were hoping for, but it would increase the chances of a steady stream of content from the series.
3 More Fleshed Out Narratives
It’s pretty commonly known at this point that the broader narrative of Destiny changed shortly after the game launched. While it’s not unusual for games with expansive stories to change direction as a series goes on, the changes to Destiny’s story were rather abrupt and noticeable. This resulted in a lot of the earlier plotlines not really going anywhere, and much of the foreshadowing in the original Destiny going to waste. Most fans are under the impression that Bungie made these changes after heavy pressure from Activision, and if that’s the case, Bungie will now be able to tell the story they intended in Destiny.
2 More Bizarre Characters And Stories
There are some pretty out there stories and characters in Destiny, but the more bizarre elements of the game were mostly pushed off into lore that a player cannot access directly in the game. These elements include some hints that the traveler might actually be a being of darkness and that Guardians are being tricked into spreading its evil influence. Now that Bungie has more control over Destiny, they are free to make the game as weird and twist-filled as they want. A lot of people were drawn to Destiny initially because of its original premise, and a return to that vision may restore broader interest in the franchise.
1 More Pressure on Bungie
While a split from Activision does give Bungie a lot more freedom and control over Destiny, it also means that the studio will face more scrutiny than ever. Fans of Destiny tend to blame Activision for most of the series’ problems, and the unfortunately secretive nature of game development makes it difficult to say this was truly the case. In a lot of ways, it’s sink or swim time for Bungie. These next few months and year will prove if it really was Activision holding the Destiny franchise back, or if Bungie was partially to blame and unable to have Destiny reach its potential.