Bungie is dramatically rethinking how Destiny 2 operates. The developer is finally embracing its MMO elements and changing up a variety of things–dropping platform-exclusive content, selling future expansions a la carte, and even offering a significant chunk of the game for free to all players. Bungie has announced that, coinciding with the September 17 release of the new Shadowkeep DLC, it will launch something called Destiny 2: New Light. This is a completely free version of the game that includes the base game and some of its expansions. It will be available on PC, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and Google Stadia.
Bungie made the announcement Thursday on a livestream unveiling its fall expansion ahead of E3 2019, the first since its split with former publishing partner Activision. The free-to-play New Light includes all of the Year One content for the game. That means the vanilla version of Destiny 2 with its original raid, plus its first two content expansions, Curse of Osiris and Warmind, are all part of the free package.
You’ll still have to pay for the Forsaken expansion and the annual pass, which included three smaller content drops, that came after it. You will, however, be able to visit the locations added in Forsaken; the DLC itself will have to be purchased if you want to play its campaign, however. Both Forsaken and the initial annual pass will be sold in a bundle for $40.
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Here’s Bungie’s full description of the New Light from its press release:
“Destiny 2: New Light: Alongside Destiny 2: Shadowkeep comes a new way for players to enjoy the game. Destiny 2: New Light is a brand new entry point for newcomers that puts the worlds of Destiny 2–and all of its foundational modes, activities, and rewards–into the hands of every player, with no barrier to entry. With Destiny 2: New Light, anyone can play Destiny 2, and Destiny 2: Shadowkeep’s a la carte model is the first example of how we’re looking to deliver content to you in the future.”
The press release also notes that Shadowkeep is a standalone expansion, meaning you won’t need to own any past Destiny 2 content in order to play it. That’s a big change from the model the game has previously used; each new expansion in Destiny 1 and Destiny 2 required players to own all previous expansion content as well. Shadowkeep will be priced at $35 in the US.
The price of entry has likely turned a lot of lapsed players away from returning to the game. Bungie has tried to mitigate that fact over the last year, offering the Destiny 2 base game for free for a short time on PC and through PlayStation Plus. New Light and standalone expansions look to be a further development on the idea of making it easy for players to return to the game even if they miss some content along the way.
Bungie also announced that Destiny 2 will support cross-saves on all platforms beginning with Shadowkeep–Xbox One, PS4, PC, and Google’s Stadia. What’s not completely clear at this point is how you’ll access paid content on multiple platforms, and whether you’ll need to buy those things more than once.
It also marks the end of exclusive Destiny 2 content for certain platforms. Up until now, PlayStation 4 players have enjoyed additional weapons, missions, and multiplayer maps that haven’t been available to other players, but Shadowkeep puts a stop to that. Bungie’s press release said that all these changes are part of its initiative to make it possible to play Destiny 2 “anytime, anywhere.”
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