There are a lot of discussions about the current state of Destiny 2 and what it’s doing with its “fill in the gaps” seasonal model, which will be in place for the indefinite future. But here in the beginning of 2020, I don’t think it’s unreasonable to start looking ahead to the end of 2020, which is when the new generation of consoles will arrive with Xbox Series X and PlayStation 5.
Normally, we have a pretty regular pattern as to how these things go. Early adopters buy new consoles and most new games are out for both the new and old systems for a while. And in this case, it seems like both Xbox and PlayStation will have some level of backward compatibility.
For a game like say, God of War, that seems relatively straightforward, as there might just be the ability to play it as-is with backwards compatibility, or at most, they re-release it with PS5-level “upgrades.”
For a game like Destiny 2, it’s a much, much more unique situation, given the ongoing nature of the game. And as such, I have about ten trillion questions about how this is going to work with the next generation of consoles on the horizon.
Man, where to start?
Could Destiny 3 be a next-gen launch title?
This seems pretty unlikely to me, and yet I don’t think it’s entirely out of the question. It would make sense for there to be a “clean slate” refresh with the launch of the new console generation to some degree, more so than when Destiny 2 wiped out Destiny 1 in the middle of the last console gen, at least. But I can also imagine there just being another Forsaken-sized expansion instead as the big content drop of the year, a culmination of the changing seasons’ worth of content before it.
But how does that work with old and new gen?
Now that we have cross save, theoretically you could have the ability to play on both say, PS4 and PS5 simultaneously, rather than having to port characters forward like we did with PS3 > PS4. Though cross play could be a different story, and I would wonder if say, you start playing on PS5, if you’re able to play with your friend still on PS4 without going back to that version yourself.
What upgrades would Destiny have on next-gen?
You would assume that console players could finally get the 4K, 60 fps console experience they have been yearning for, though other upgrades past that are a question, which leads me to my next point.
Wouldn’t developing for last-gen hold Destiny back?
This is the exact same problem we ran into in the PS3/360 era, where Destiny 2 was finally the game to throw off the shackles of the previous gen and expand dramatically as a result. Presumably the power of PS5 and Xbox Series X means that Destiny could be bigger and more beautiful than ever. And yet will Bungie still need to be developing for PS4 and Xbox One owners for years, holding back the potential of the new gen systems? I would worry about that.
Here’s my theory.
My guess is that we get a cross-gen expansion for Destiny 2 in the fall, one that plays on both PS4 and Xbox One, and also PS5 and Series X. When played on the new consoles, we might get to see some PC-level improvements to load times and framerate, but it’s not like Bungie is going to debut some top-to-bottom next gen engine rebuild or something.
Then, my guess is that we get Destiny 3, or whatever it will be called (something Destiny 3-sized at least), maybe a year or two into the next generation of consoles. And it will be fully next-gen, leaving the past games behind and, yes probably making us start over from scratch again in terms of our loot. This will be the moment when big, big changes come to the series and we might see more significant improvements due to the capabilities of the new consoles (and as ever, PC).
It is probably too early for Bungie to start talking about any of this, we still have several more seasons to get through before fall, but given that next-gen launches this year, I do think these are questions to be asking and theories to be forming.