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‘Destiny 2’ Rumor Round-Up: What we know about the game coming after ‘Rise of Iron’

Destiny has had pretty remarkable legs for a game quickly approaching its second birthday. Players have continued coming back to Bungie’s online loot-and-shooter thanks to continued updates adding new features, and robust expansions like The Taken King and the upcoming pack, Rise of Iron. At this point, though, some fans are already looking past Rise of Iron to something even bigger, Destiny‘s inevitable sequel, which we can only assume will be called “Destiny 2.”

Related: Destiny dropping support for legacy consoles with release of Rise of Iron

While Bungie and Activision have been fairly tight-lipped regarding the project — which isn’t surprising given the continued support and thriving player base for the original game — tidbits of information have still found their way into the wild. They point to a sequel that sees Earth and the legendary Guardians who protect it in great peril. Here is everything we know so far about Destiny 2.

Better late than never

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Though Bungie and Activision had originally intended to release a proper sequel to Destiny in 2016 — the two companies created a 10-year plan for the franchise, which came to light prior to the first game’s release — the franchise has officially gone off-script.

According to the original plan, Bungie would release new Destiny content annually, alternating between releasing new games and large expansions like The Taken King. In February, Activision confirmed a report from Kotaku that Destiny 2 would not launch in 2016, but fans could look forward to a second expansion, which we now know is called Rise of Iron. Kotaku reported that the game’s development was completely “rebooted” this year, with director Luke Smith, who previously led development on The Taken King, taking the reigns following “staff reorganization.” This same report also revealed the existence of Rise of Iron, alongside the expansion’s promotional art.

Legal documents released during a lawsuit between Bungie and former studio composer Marty O’Donnellin in September 2015 suggest that a similar delay plagued Destiny’s original release, as well. After “substantial” revisions were made to the game’s narrative, a planned August 2013 date was then moved to spring of 2014. The game was then delayed again until September 2014 for unknown reasons.

Life on Mars

According to that same Kotaku reportDestiny 2 may feature some missions on Mars. Bungie reportedly removed an entire section of The Taken King set on the red planet, which featured a new public area and raid. Though the Kotaku report did not assert that this will definitely make it into the new game, other reports on the game’s development have suggested that Bungie did something similar with The Taken King.

Kotaku also reported that a second developer, High Moon Studios, may be producing this whole section of the game. High Moon, known for its Transformers games as well as Deadpool, has been a part of the Destiny machine for more than a year now, but Activision has never clarified the exact extent of the studio’s contribution.

Shattered Suns?

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Though there has been no hard evidence suggesting what the sequel to Destiny may be called, a name has been floating around for more than a year; Destiny 2: Shattered Suns. According to Redditors and a video from YouTube channel DestinyFollower, the title runs back to a deleted 2015 Reddit post where a user claimed they “knew someone at Bungie,” who told them the name.

From that name, fans have inferred that the game’s story will revolve around Osiris, a mysterious Warlock who was exiled from the City and disappeared after forming a cult on Mercury. Osiris was originally set to appear as a major character in the original Destiny, but his character was mostly cut, aside from references in the lore-filled Grimoire cards.

A world on fire

Aziz Dosmetov's rejected concept art for the upcoming sequel.

Earth was far from a peaceful place during the events of Destiny, but assuming the game does return to our home planet, it looks like Bungie may be taking the Halo 2 approach and lighting everything on fire. In a series of proposed concept images published by artist Aziz Dosmetov, we see a landscape erupting in flames, and Guardians, also on fire, holding a sword, a small shield, and a bolt-like spear that resembles one of the Nameless King’s attacks in Dark Souls III. Dosmetov said Bungie rejected the concept art, so it is definitely not official, but if it was designed after hearing about the game’s narrative scope, there may be insight to be gleaned from his designs.

One keen observer on Reddit also noted that the images suggest Bungie may be trying to make more explicit connections between Destiny 2’s lore and Norse mythology. The art shows representitives of Destiny’s three classes — the Titan, Warlock, and Hunter — holding various medieval weapons; a shield, sword, and spear, respectively. As the redditor pointed, those three weapons correspond to legendary weapons of that culture. Svalinn, an “icy shield” that protects the Earth from fire in the sky, could inspire the shield we see the Titan holding, while the sword and spear could draw inspiration from Tyrfing and Gungnir, respectively. The sword Tyrfing, according to Norse legend, “gleamed like fire,” and was capable of cutting through — yes, you guessed it — iron.

The fiery artwork, one could argue, also compliments the rumored name for Destiny 2Shattered Suns.

No need to hit the “reset” button

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Though we expect Destiny 2 will be a full-fledged sequel, there’s evidence the games will be connected on a technical level, so players won’t have to worry about losing their progress and equipment when they jump to the new game. Shortly after the release of the original game in 2014, Bungie told IGN they will be able to transfer their characters from Destiny to the sequel.

“That idea is that the Guardian you have created is something you can bring along with you on that adventure,” Community Manager David Dague told IGN. “If you take a look at the way people have played other games for a long period of time, they’ve had a relationship with the same character for a very long time.”

What’s not clear, however, is how the developer plans to introduce — or reintroduce — new players to the game. Those who haven’t played since the original game launched in 2014 and those who haven’t played Destiny at all could be at a significant disadvantage unless Destiny 2 gives them a substantial amount of equipment or experience by default. Blizzard has taken this approach in recent World of Warcraft expansions, giving newbies a one-time level boost to get them into endgame content more quickly, but this wasn’t introduced until several years after the game’s initial release.

Free-LC

Though The Taken King is generally considered the best piece of Destiny content released thus far and Rise of Iron looks to continue that trend, Activision and Bungie could be planning to abandon large, paid expansion packs entirely.

Last year, Kotaku reported that in place of traditional paid post-release expansions, Destiny would transition to more regular story and mission updates, available for free alongside cosmetic DLC available through microtransactions.

The latter rumor was confirmed by Bungie almost immediately, with the “Silver” currency, available via real money, used to purchase a series of emotes from the character Tess Everis. Seasonal cosmetic items such as Halloween masks were also made available for cash, as well as the controversial $10 Sparrow Racing record book. Later, a level-boost costing $30 was released to allow newbies to jump straight into The Taken King, and if the sequel will indeed let players keep their level, this could mean an extra cost for those jumping in completely green.

It could be a very different game

Destiny has undergone a pretty radical evolution since its launch two years ago. The changes have made its story more coherent and engaging, its complex leveling system clearer, and its mission structure more varied. Though Bungie may have finally turned Destiny into something similar to the game fans expected in 2014, don’t expect to see a cut-and-paste job for its sequel.

Speaking to Metro, world design lead Steve Cotton admitted that “popularity makes it a little harder to change things” in a game as large and as popular as Destiny, but the team is still willing to experiment with continued tweaks to gameplay. He pointed to a new boss mechanic included in Rise of Iron that eschews the traditional “bullet sponge” fights we’ve seen before, “keeping you moving around the space” instead of hiding behind a piece of cover and taking potshots.

Cotton also humorously hinted that a Vex-focused expansion may be in the Destiny franchise’s future. Given that the sequel is expected to follow this year’s Rise of Iron, and there will presumably not be any significant content updates in the interim, the quest-line he referred to could very well be a section of the next game.