“This is the most transformative release that we’ve had in Destiny”.
It’s a bold way to start an interview. Yet that’s what the Game Director of the Forsaken expansion, Steve Cotton, has to say about the project that has consumed months of his life.
Destiny 2 is free on PlayStation Plus in September, which comes just as the game releases its Year Two content. The flagship of its Year Two content will be the Forsaken expansion. It’s shaping up to be a hefty experience and we had the chance to speak to Steve and the Project Lead of Forsaken, Scott Taylor, about what it will add to Destiny 2 and more.
Some of it is what you’d expect from an expansion but there also seems to be more than that. Scott and Steve speak of it with such passion that it’s hard not to be optimistic about it.
“There’s a brand new campaign, two new places to go, a new experience in Gambit, new strikes, a Raid, a bunch of sandbox changes, so we’re changing the world for everybody. We’re adding collections, triumphs, random rolls… there’s a lot there.” Steve tells me.
“Supers, planets, bosses, bow and arrow.” Scott quickly chimes in, to make it clear that wasn’t everything.
“Because we’re doing so many systemic changes and adding things like character boost it’s a really awesome time for people to come in to play Destiny. If you’ve been looking from the sidelines and you’re like ‘What’s that Gambit thing? Is it a new game mode?’ You can come in and play with your friends right away.” He enthusiastically follows it up with.
“We have packed so much into this release and with the way that we’re delivering the content there’s always something to do and to go find. Our goal is to have them playing [Forsaken] for the rest of the year.” Steve tells me, before Scott expands on it yet again.
“What our goal is to make it that hobby. That every night you have a reason, if you want to, to log in. That’s what we’re going for.”
It’s obviously great finding out what they are putting into the game but what is their plan when the game actually releases? Are they even going to be playing it? Both assure me that they will and Scott is the first to let me know his plan.
“The two things that are going to be front and centre on launch day are both Gambit and the campaign. I’ll tell you what I’m going to do. I’m going to start the campaign, then I’m going to play Gambit for a bit and then I’m going to go back to the campaign.”
“The structure of the campaign is a little bit different, a little bit more interesting. It’s not designed to just get through it as fast as possible. It’s designed to distract you a little bit. To have the player have to make choices about what they have to do to go chase down Uldren. And in doing that you can decide to go play Gambit to get stronger, to then be able to go after one of the Barons.” Steve lets me know, before continuing to talk about what is exciting him.
“It’s that introduction into the other activities in Destiny that I’m really excited about. It gets everyone, whether they’re an old player, or they’re a new player to Destiny, exposed to all the things that make Destiny special and unique during the campaign. Getting through the story and getting to the Dreaming City is going to be extremely exciting to people. Don’t rush through it though. Don’t try to get there too fast. But getting to that is going to feel really good.”
After talking about what the expansion has to offer and what they plan to do when they boot it up for the first time I felt it was a opportune moment to talk about cut content. Things that just couldn’t make it into the game for one reason or another. After some pondering Scott replies.
“One of the things that Steve and I have been talking about over the last couple of weeks as we’ve been wrapping up are decisions that we’re happy we made. Or things we had to settle on that we weren’t planning on. When I use that word, I’ll give you an example. ‘Hey what if we made the Baron hunts some other thing other than adventures?’ We talked about that and then we ended up making them adventures and we’re actually really happy we did that. I haven’t thought about that in a while and I think that’s because we’re really happy with where the game is.”
“I have another one too” says Steve, eager to add to this behind the scenes peek.
“We have cut some things we initially set out to do but we found a way to turn those, I think, into actual wins anyway. For example, early on we wanted to make a new social space. One of the new characters was going to have his own social space and you’d have to go there. We realised pretty early we weren’t going to be able to do that in the way that we wanted so we brought that character into the actual destination. So what happened is the whole destination kind of became his lair as opposed to an entirely separate space. I think it is honestly a better implementation and it was something and it was something we could do.
We’ve turned those cuts we’ve had to make into improvements.”
Although they kept what was cut reasonably vague it seems they’ve tried to turn any losses into successes. Unfortunately whether or not the expansion is a success or a failure is out of their control and entirely in the hands of the playerbase. What can’t be ignored though is the level of work that has been put in to making this expansion as solid as it can be. Hopefully it helps kick off the year 2 festivities with a bang, and repair the reputation of the game.
You can see the full interview with Scott and Steve, along with gameplay of the Forsaken expansion below: