We hit the Destiny 2 gameplay event and got all the details from Eric Osborne, Head of Community
Earlier today in Hawthorne, CA, Bungie and Activision held a Destiny 2 gameplay event. The presentation was streamed live (you can watch the replay here) and revealed all sorts of new information. We learned that the PC version will be hosted on Battle.net, that we’ll get a new map that shows live events and allows you to quick travel, and that the game will now support clans and guided games, allowing solo players to join a clan or just run multiplayer content. There are new weapons slots, subclasses and a villain named Ghaul. There was even a new gameplay trailer. There was a lot in the stream, but we got a chance to sit down with Eric Osborne, Head of Community, to talk in more detail. We also have a gallery from the event with pics of some new Destiny 2 toys, weapons and more, which you can check out below.
ComingSoon.net: So the PC version of the game will be hosted on Battle.net. Can you give us more info?
Eric Osborne: Obviously, we’re working with Activision, and they work very closely with Blizzard and we’ve had cultivated relationships with Blizzard as a studio for a long time. Luke Smith, our game director, is a Scarab Lord [in World of Warcraft] and spent a lot of time in their world and they’ve spent a lot of time in ours, so it just felt like a really great pairing and partnership. We look at them as sort of kindred spirits. We’re trying to build big, diverse, global audiences of diverse, positive and welcoming gamers. It just feels like a super great fit. And what an amazing opportunity, right? It’s our first foray into PC gaming in forever… what better way to take our first step there than to have a partner in Blizzard and Battle.net.
CS: Tell us more about the upcoming PC version of the game. What sort of differences will we see? Anything you’d like to point out?
Osborne: Everywhere we ship Destiny 2, obviously we want to make sure the core experience is there. So on PlayStation 4 you’ve got 4K support and all the activities. And on PC it’s just far more tunable based on what hardware you have. So things like widescreen format support, 4K resolution, uncapped frame rates. FOV sliders, we have fully-customizable configurable controls. You can play on a keyboard and mouse. You can play on a controller and hot swap if you want. So we really want to make sure the first thing we do with Destiny on PC is a true PC build experience. We know that the PC gamers are a discerning bunch. As players ourselves, we want to make sure it lives up to the community who’s playing it. We want to make sure it’s super tunable, so if you’re playing on a moderate PC, you can have that experience, and if you’re playing on a Founder’s Edition 7700 with 16 gigs of RAM, you can kind of do whatever you want.
CS: The idea of clans in the game and guided games is something new and something that’s going to allow solo players more access to the game. Can you talk about the genesis of that?
Osborne: Yeah, I mean, personally, my wife plays. She’s a fairly solo player. She’s not antisocial, but playing when our kid is at school or when she has some downtime on a weekend and she’s primarily playing activities that she can play alone or matchmake into. But that means she’s missing out on some of the best experiences we have to offer. So we recognize that we have these people who want to play some of the pinnacle content that we created, some of the most challenging content. And we have these groups and communities that have formed that are incredibly positive. Not just for a first-person shooter, but for video games in general. Pairing them together just feels like a great way to introduce solo players to social groups without commitment and that we can also allow clans and social groups that have already formed to have that pool of players that they can pull from when they need one or two more players on any given night. It’s difficult on both sides sometimes.
CS: What sort of limit do you currently have for the number of players in a clan?
Osborne: The limit right now is 100 on your clan roster. But we’re in development so that could change down the line. It’s not definitive at this time.
CS: Where did the decision come from to do a game reset? I know there was a 10-year plan and this was a bit of a surprise for some people.
Osborne: Really, Destiny 2 is an opportunity for us to bring players that have been playing, if you’ve got 1,500 hours in the game, we can tell a really great story that matters to you. You’ve been serving the city and the vanguard and the leadership of the world and you become legend, to quote the marketing phrase. We’re pairing them with new players in a way that feels natural. So it just felt like a really great moment to bring everyone together, sharing that story and that kick off, having a villain that can destroy our power, destroy our city, take our home. It felt like a really compelling, really simple way to get people invested in the story. The 10-year play, really that’s just code for we want this to be a franchise that people can enjoy for a really long time, but we’re also going to make big improvements, right? For Destiny 2, story is a really big focus for us, making sure it’s compelling, the characters that you run into that you want to spend time with. We wanted somebody that you love to hate. We wanted to make sure the worlds are more explorable than ever before, changing up our activity model to make it more free-flowing, our free form system so you don’t have to go back to orbit… guided games and clan support is obviously an improvement. It’s not a rigid ‘everything is going to stay the same for 10 years,’ but it’s about longevity. We’re committed to the Destiny franchise and committed to the people who are playing it and we want to continue to make it better and better.
CS: As you’ve said, story is a huge part of Destiny 2 and there are more cinematics here than before. Can you talk about what went into that?
Osborne: Yeah, story is a huge focus for us on Destiny 2, to have a simple but resonant story. I think everyone can relate to having a story scenario where your home and your powers are taken from you. How does it feel to be exiled from your home? It’s been your charge as a Guardian to protect humanity, and in the opening moments of the game, you fail to do that. You fail and now you’re left to wander and pick up the pieces and reconnect with humanity and figure out how we’re all going to grow powerful again and how we’re going to go back and take revenge against Dominus Ghaul, this villain that’s more rich and has deeper motivations than anything we’ve put on screen before for Destiny. He believes he should have been here for destruction’s sake. He believes this is his right. He believes he should be chosen, he should be a Guardian, it should have given him its divine power. So it sets him up for a perfect foil for you.
CS: Tell us a bit about the new weapons slots.
Osborne: Weapons slots — we really wanted to provide more freedom and weapons flexibility for players and add some gameplay depth. So in the first slot we have kinetic weapons, and you have a large variety of weapons you can choose from there. You can have hand cannons, you can have scout rifles, pulse rifles, auto rifles. You can also have side arms and submachine guns, and those same weapon archetypes can also live in your energy slot, so that gives you the freedom – if you’re a long range player, you can have a scout and a scout. If you’re a close range player, you can have a submachine gun and a side arm. The wrinkle in that is, the enemies that have shields… the energy weapon strips that much faster than a kinetic weapon. So you want to switch to your energy weapon, take down a fallen captain and finish him off with your kinetic weapon. It’s about the flexibility and the freedom to play the way you want to play, but also that extra little gameplay wrinkle. And then we can also move some of the weapons archetypes that are intended to be specialized weapons, shotguns, sniper rifles, fusion rifles, rocket launchers into the power weapons slot, so when you get a heavy ammo, you can switch over to that and have your moment of glory.
CS: There have been big changes in terms of the map. Can you explain a bit more about that?
Osborne: Yeah, so as you explore the world, things will just sort of populate as you discover them. So if you just discover a lost sector or pick up an adventure from a character, say in European Dead Zone, it will pop up on your map. You might be doing a story mission or you might be doing free roam, and then you can decide to go off the beaten path and pick that adventure up or save it for later. We’re also showing where public events are happening, the sort of convergence moments where enemies sort of land and do something nefarious and try to attack you, and then you and other players can meet for that moment of fun and then go about your separate ways. All of that is on the map. We have landing zones om destinations, so if you want to fast travel around, you can do that. If you want to pick where you’re going to land, you can open up your directory at any moment in the game now and decide. All those map and directory features are about making it easier for you to get into the action faster. To sort of pick and choose what you want to do in the game faster. In the past you had to go to a website to find out when a public event was going to happen, which is cool that people supported that… but it’s more awesome to have that in the game.
CS: Can you talk about the new worlds we’ll get to explore?
Osborne: The worlds are all new. The campaign has it’s own set pieces that you’ll go through that will take you through four new worlds. We have the European Dead Zone, we have Titan, Nessus and Io. They all have their own beautiful, unique palates, ranging from sulfuric cliffs to planets that are just fully oceanic to lush forests that have been gouged out by the Red Legion. We really wanted to provide players with a lot of looks and variety, and destinations and different palates, different scores, characters that care about their world, enemies that have motivations for being there, and yeah, the campaign threads through it, but once you start roaming, you’ll find dungeons, treasure chests, lore, scan-ables, all kinds of things, random encounters that you can get into. Some people, of course, just drive around and look at the scenery and dance and hang out. There’s all sorts of stuff to do.
CS: So you now have three new subclasses in Destiny 2?
Osborne: Yeah, so we have three new subclasses that you saw in our trailer and our content today…
CS: Might there be more?
Osborne: Yes, there will definitely be more. You saw the warlock Dawnblade with air superiority, so you can throw yourself in the air, basically like a phoenix rising from the ashes and hurl flaming death down on your enemies. You can float in the air and do all kinds of fun stuff. Fly down and smash your enemies. We have the Titan Sentinel, which is all close quarters combat. You have a shield. You can be mobile while you’re in your shield and throw the shield. It will pingpong around the map and come back. Then you have the Hunter Arcstrider, which is sort of – you turn into a whirling acrobat of electric energy and just smash your way fluidly like a dancer through all of your enemies, just lighting them up and disintegrating them. It’s really fun. Each of those archetypes feel very much into those subclasses, like an extension of what’s already there. Then things like, the Striker Titan is coming forward and instead of having a fist of havoc, you’ll have fists of havoc. We’re amplifying those and adding a lot of flare and flavor. And once you dig into the subclasses, you still have a lot of customization you can do and choices you can make and still pick your movement modes and grenade types. But we’ve created branching paths to sort of highlight the things that pair well together, so if you play a certain play style, there will be a grouping you can pick from, a path, we’re calling them, that all works in concert for a certain build… then each subclass has native abilities that they can use. For example, every Titan, regardless of subclass can put down a barricade, every Warlock can throw down a rift that has a buff benefit for them and their allies. Every Hunter can dodge. Each of them has a bit of customization as well that you can tweak.
Destiny 2 will arrive on PlayStation 4 (with additional, timed exclusive content) and Xbox One on September 8. We’ll update you as soon as a PC release date is announced. Are you guys excited for the new game? What do you think of the details for Destiny 2? Let us know in the comments or tweet us @ComingSoonnet.