A highly-anticipated livestream taking place on August 24 at 5pm BST saw Bungie, the developer of the MMO sci-fi looter shooter Destiny 2, announce details relating to the game’s next expansion, The Witch Queen, including a new location, new weapons, and the release date of February 22, 2022.
The hour before the stream itself was dedicated to a pre-show, which celebrated the studio’s 30th anniversary with a slideshow of community fanart, interspersed with clips of influencers talking about their memories of Bungie games.
The Witch Queen
The stream started, after a few minutes of preamble, with a trailer with a trailer that showed off a new location: Savathûn’s Throne World. Theses pocket dimensions are created by the three Hive Gods, allowing them to cheat death unless they are killed within their own throne world. While her brother Oryx’s throne appeared in Destiny 1, this is the first appearance of Savathûn’s, and it appears to consist of a forest, marsh-like environment, with a palace on its upper layers. This short trailer also gave us a good look at Savathûn’s appearance and, most strikingly, the new Hive Guardians, created as a result of Savathûn harnessing the power of the Light, previously only wielded by us. How she managed this is unclear from the trailer, but we should not be surprised that the Hive God of cunning has found a way. This will provide a fundamental change to the combat, as Guardians can technically be killed and revived an infinite number of times, unless their Ghost is destroyed (something we can see in the trailer, when a Guardian crushes a Hive Ghost in their fist).
This led into the reveal of a new weapon type: a first-person melee weapon, the first of its kind in the game, known as the Glaive. A new weapon-crafting system will also be implemented when the new expansion launches, allowing for a level of customisability above chasing specific rolls on weapons.
Next was further detail about the actual campaign of The Witch Queen. It looks as a great deal of thought and attention has been put into creating a new experience, giving every mission its “own unique fantasy”, in their words. There will also be what they are calling a ‘legendary’ version of the campaign, with increased difficulty. We got a look at the Collector’s Edition too, including a rather eerie model of a Hive Ghost. Finally, the name of the third expansion revealed last year was announced: The Final Shape, giving us names for the final three expansions for Destiny 2, alongside The Witch Queen and Lightfall. As we can always expect from Destiny expansions, we’ll get a raid with The Witch Queen, but we’ll also get two new dungeons with the Deluxe Edition.
Season of the Lost
The second major part of the stream was that information about the season launching on the same day as the stream, Season of the Lost, was shared. We already knew that the Awoken Queen, Mara Sov, was returning in this season, but this time we know what t expect: we must save Mara’s witches, using ancient Awoken technology before Xivu Arath (Hive God of War and sister of Savathûn and Oryx) can reach them. It’s going to be an extremely long season due to The Witch Queen having been delayed from its original release date towards the end of this year to the early part of next year, so I am curious to see if the seasonal content holds up. Furthermore, it was really emphasised that this season is a prologue to The Witch Queen, and therefore we can assume that the seasonal story is going to be nicely interconnected and weaved together with the new expansion’s story. There will also be updates to the Light subclasses next year, utilising fragments and aspects like those that came with Stasis when Beyond Light launched.
Bring Back My Gjallahorn!
The stream was rounded off with stuff relating to Bungie’s 30th anniversary. As well as new merchandise, a free-to-play six-player activity will launch with associated rewards. A paid pack will include a new dungeon and reprised weapons from the first game, including Gjallarhorn, a fan-favourite gun from Destiny 1 that everyone believed would never make an appearance again. It was also reiterated that another raid will return from Destiny 1, joining Vault of Glass (I am pretty much convinced it will be King’s Fall, as this is the raid in which we defeat Savathûn’s brother).
Despite the recent major leaks relating to the expansion, and a gaffe by PlayStation on the day of the showcase that accidentally revealed details ahead of time on their storefront, this reveal absolutely lived up to the hype generated by Bungie employees on social media. This was a stream absolutely jam-packed with information, so it’s safe to say that Destiny 2’s fifth year is looking very bright indeed.
Destiny 2: The Witch Queen releases February 22, 2022.
Season of the Lost will last from August 24, 2021 to February 22, 2022.
Words by Mia Chitty