Why Bungie’s shared-world shooter was destined for Blizzard’s platform

dest2

Kill stuff to find stuff to kill bigger stuff to find better stuff to kill even bigger and better stuff – that’s the ever-spinning, multi-coloured hamster wheel of Bungie’s shared-world shooter, Destiny.

And with the announcement that Destiny 2 will be offered through Blizzard’s digital platform comes an interesting message: that this game’s stuff won’t quite be the same as the last game’s stuff.

Because the shared-world through which we’ll collect this set of stuff isn’t quite a game – it’s a service.

And to keep in theme with finding stuff, the ‘Continue reading’ button below actually signals the completion of this excerpt and will reward you with a random exotic item.*

The Bungie-Blizzard cooperative is a big deal. Blizzard is extending its reputation to a party that isn’t itself, handing over the keys to an entity that will presumably run its own servers. For all intents and purposes, Bungie is Blizzard. Little will an upset player make the distinction.

But it also speaks to Bungie’s intentions with Destiny 2, launching on a platform that provides services as much as it provides games – software that receives ongoing content and patches years after release. Compare The Taken King to Reaper of Souls – both essentially monumental patches that altered the core systems of their respective games – and it’s not difficult to see how Bungie and Blizzard are brothers in arms.

So, games as a service: ongoing experiences, supported with patches, content and live events years after release. It’s not unreasonable to expect that Destiny is, more than ever, being situated as a platform. Like Overwatch, like Diablo, like StarCraft, it’s sensible to assume that Destiny 2 will evolve, transmogrifying into something quite different in time to come. Without the limitations of the previous generation, Destiny 2 could be updated – and ported – ad nausea. I wouldn’t expect to see Destiny 3 sitting alongside its predecessor 36 months down the line.

With that, then, comes the idea that Destiny 2 could, in effect, become ‘Destiny Infinite’ – a World-of-Warcraft-style service supported by a over a decade of expansions, patches and new content, ported from platform to platform with visual upgrades.

With this in mind, it’d make sense to simply label the game ‘Destiny’. A platform, not an iteration. That said, it’s easy to see why Bungie might fear conflation with the game’s predecessor – popular, but plagued with a litany of PR problems.

‘Destiny 2’, then, would mark a fresh start for the nearly-had-it shooter.

Marketing, too. With its console origins, it’s to be expected that Destiny – alongside its history of expensive, content-sparse expansions – will be perceived as lesser by a user base acclimatised to free content and mods. The game’s inclusion on Battle.net, though, places it in a pack of games with extensive, free post-release support. There’s paid content, too, of course – but you’d struggle to find a Battle.net user who’d claim that Blizzard’s library doesn’t offer value for money.

Perception by association, then, might help Destiny 2 overcome the lesser those entrenched preconceptions for a new audience. Indeed, it’ll be interesting to see how Blizzard’s digital service continues to diversify its inventory slots in a
post-Destiny world.

*Drop rate: 0.0000000000000001%.

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