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5 Reasons Why Destiny Has Been Gaming’s Greatest “What If?”


Recently, Bungie announced that they intend to “Sunset” a significant amount of Destiny 2’s content. That essentially means that a lot of Destiny‘s content is about to be removed from the game or otherwise repurposed.

It’s a somber moment for a game that has suffered no shortage of somber moments. It also brings cause for a chance to reflect on the history of the Destiny franchise and all of those times that things could have turned out so well if only a few things had gone differently.

So that’s exactly what we’re going to do today. Here are five of the biggest “What if?” questions in Destiny history

What if Activision Wasn’t Involved?

This particular question’s place at the top of our list is not a coincidence. It’s the top “What if?” in the history of the Destiny franchise.

We may never know the extent of Activision’s involvement with the development process of Destiny. However, most accounts suggest that they were involved in ways that they shouldn’t have been from the start. It’s believed that Activision was responsible for many of Destiny‘smost annoying lingering design elements.

As we discussed with the recent Avengers beta, there’s a good chance many of Destiny‘s “mobile” elements wouldn’t have been implemented without Activision’s involvement. That alone could have made Destiny something entirely different.

What if Destiny Included The Taken King’s Content at Launch?

It’s hard to think of a DLC expansion in modern gaming history as impactful as The Taken King. Destiny‘s third expansion almost completely realized the potential that had only been hinted at until that point.

So what if vanilla Destiny was actually closer to Taken King? Well, more people may have stuck around through those somewhat rough early days, but more importantly, Destiny may have enjoyed a stronger PvE narrative foundation that it has since struggled to really establish.

Some say that for all the good Taken King did, it proved to be a little too late into the game to result in truly better things. If Destiny had just been Taken King, though…well, who knows.

What if Destiny Openly Embraced its MMO Roots From the Start?

When Destiny was first announced, some fans speculated that it would essentially be Bungie’s MMO. Early on, though, Bungie worked to downplay that theory. Years later, they admit that they desired to make more of an MMO than the initial game suggested.

So what if Destiny was closer to that MMO from the start? Again, it’s tough to answer that question definitively, but some of Destiny‘s historically weaker elements (such as its weak quest design, strange PvE/PvP relationship, and ultimately limited character growth options) may have been replaced with something a little more deliberate.

Many of Destiny‘s best qualities over the years have leaned more towards the MMO side of game design. It would have been fascinating to see what Destiny would have been if it walked that path a bit more confidently.

What if Bungie Found a Way to Preserve and Grow Destiny’s History of Content?

Recently, Bungie revealed that they’re essentially retiring a great deal of the game’s previously released content. While they warned players that this was something they planned to eventually do from the start, the specifics of the process have left many to wonder whether or not it’s worth grinding for content that will be taken away eventually.

So what if Destiny had found a better way to preserve its content? Since much of this “sunsetting” process is only necessary because of the other, inherent flaws in Destiny‘s content delivery system and currency features, it’s easy to imagine that we may still be able to access much of Destin’s soon to be retired content in some form.

If that was the case, the long-time fans wouldn’t be “robbed” of progress, and newcomers would be able to enjoy a far more substantial experience. Make no mistake that this process is largely being executed because Destiny 2 has become unwieldy. If such design decisions were made from the start, they may not have been necessary at all or at least significantly less impactful.

What if Destiny 2 Never Happened?

The release of Destiny 2 was seen as a turning point for the game. Not only did it ask players to buy an entirely new game, but it narratively eliminated so much of the progress they made up until that point. Simply put, it was a kick in the…teeth to players who were suddenly faced with the prospect of grinding yet again and enjoying few fruits for their previous labors.

You could argue that Destiny‘s technology would have to be replaced at some point, but what if Destiny 2 didn’t quite happen as it ultimately did? What if it welcomed returning players and allowed them to continue their adventures more fluidly while also giving new players a reasonable jumping-off point?

Right from the start, fans feared that Destiny 2 was a cash grab. While that may sound harsh, it has proven to be too close to that description for comfort.

Matthew Byrd

Matthew Byrd covers the gaming industry including indies, consoles, PCs, iOS and Android apps, as well as topics related to entertainment and technology.