Destiny 2: The Witch Queen’s raid boss is a mystery, but Bungie has clues
Future 2: The Witch Queen’s marketing campaign is about going backward. Bungie helped make a reputation for itself with its Halo campaigns, and now it’s evoking these — and people of different beloved first-person shooter campaigns like 2016’s Doom reboot — to advertise Future 2’s upcoming growth.
Not like previous Future campaigns, and extra like devoted first-person shooter campaigns, The Witch Queen guarantees story-focused missions that characteristic giant scale battles combined with exploration.
“We name this the ‘definitively Future marketing campaign,’” stated Joe Blackburn, Future 2’s sport director, in an interview with Polygon. “However we’re bringing that out, , to gamers who might need simply picked up Future  and simply completed New Mild. [We’re thinking], how can we get that have to them in a manner that isn’t going to completely trounce them and really feel like, ‘Oh, my God, this sport is so arduous; I’ll by no means be capable of play it,’ however feels prefer it’s reduce from the identical material? And in order you end the marketing campaign, and also you’ve gone via a bunch of these experiences, and also you begin moving into issues like dungeons, or raids, or offensives, or , secret missions, all that stuff feels extra acquainted to you; it looks like the identical sport.”
“After we evaluate it to one thing like a Doom or Halo, it’s that extra epic single-player expertise the place these missions can type of actually [come into their own], which hasn’t been as a lot of a spotlight within the final two years till now,” stated challenge lead Blake Battle.
As a longtime endgame Future participant, it was simple to see these touches in small locations throughout The Witch Queen marketing campaign’s second mission, which I watched everything of for a latest preview. The sport funnels you in sure instructions, however Bungie appears OK with gamers discovering their very own manner, or discovering secrets and techniques naturally. It’s definitely a extra guided expertise than the mystery-heavy raids and dungeons, however even watching the mission play out in entrance of me, it felt like Bungie was testing the waters with extra advanced concepts in what is often a easy exercise.
However nonetheless, Future has a significant hole between informal and hardcore gamers, and getting gamers into the endgame is a troublesome process. Nevertheless, it’s one which doubtlessly advantages all gamers, because it permits for a stronger narrative connection between endgame experiences and the marketing campaign.
Understanding that Blackburn wouldn’t spoil the growth’s upcoming raid, I requested him in regards to the hole between marketing campaign and raid bosses. Growth predominant villains, like Eramis from Past Mild, usually meet their finish within the marketing campaign, so story-only gamers get a satisfying conclusion. Bungie has departed from this strategy prior to now, with Oryx serving because the raid boss for each the King’s Fall raid and The Taken King growth, and even Riven serving because the Final Want raid boss after pulling the strings in Forsaken (though, even in Forsaken, Uldren met his finish within the marketing campaign after being marketed because the villain). However going through a boss that’s by no means seen in the principle marketing campaign’s story (i.e., The Sanctified Thoughts in Backyard of Salvation) could make the raid really feel like a aspect exercise, somewhat than the end result of an growth.
Blackburn informed me it’s a fancy subject, and one thing Bungie is at all times attempting to resolve. How do you give gamers who don’t participate in raids a satisfying finish to an growth whereas additionally tying the narrative into one thing a big chunk of gamers won’t ever expertise? It’s important to improve the variety of gamers who have interaction in these extra advanced actions, in any other case half of the viewers will at all times really feel unhappy.
“Generally you are feeling such as you’re on this journey to this epic raid that you simply’ve talked about, and also you’re going up steps, you’re going up steps, after which out of the blue, there’s a giant canyon and the rope bridge is out,” stated Blackburn. “And then you definitely’re like, ‘how do I do that?’ And everybody’s like ‘you simply gotta bounce,’ and also you’ve in all probability by no means been in a looking-for-group surroundings earlier than, you’ve in all probability by no means been in one thing arduous like this earlier than, you’ve in all probability by no means handled these type of mechanics earlier than. And it feels such as you’re taking all this stress without delay. And a bunch of individuals simply say: ‘Are you fucking loopy? Like, I’m not gonna bounce over the canyon.’
“I’d like to get to a degree the place we didn’t really feel like we had that canyon, and we nonetheless might need to step up the steps, however Future will maintain your hand all the way in which. As a result of I believe one factor that we’re additionally fairly obsessed with is retaining these raid experiences particular, proper? Not tremendous fascinated about saying, ‘Hey, you may simply go tour a bunch of the raid areas’ or, , do a very pared down model of the expertise. We expect a bunch of what makes that particular is that this reliance on cooperation, taking your mates via it.”
Blackburn has a great poker face, however as a longtime Future participant, I believe we received’t face down The Witch Queen herself within the growth’s raid. As an alternative, gamers will probably see the conclusion or turning level of her story through the marketing campaign, the place each Future participant can see it. Nonetheless, The Witch Queen growth’s marketing campaign enhancements provide some hope that I may very well be fallacious, and that even when I’m not, we would see Lightfall’s large unhealthy meet their finish in a raid. It’s all simply hypothesis, and it’s inconceivable to know if we’ll even beat Savathun in any respect throughout The Witch Queen, not to mention in a raid or marketing campaign mission.
As regards to Savathun and her brother Oryx, I requested Blackburn and Battle about how the staff navigates the narrative surrounding vital areas both left behind within the unique Future or faraway from Future 2. Is there going to be a second in The Witch Queen marketing campaign the place gamers really feel like they need to be visiting Oryx’s ship, The Dreadnaught — a thematically comparable house to Savathun’s Throneworld not out there in Future 2, added in Future’s Taken King growth?
“We simply should function inside our technical constraints, and we then do the perfect that we are able to do inside these constraints, proper,” stated Blackburn. “‘OK, let’s write the perfect story that’s going to be actually centered across the Throneworld and Savathun.’ And, so I don’t suppose gamers that perhaps didn’t get to play Taken King, or are experiencing this story now are like ‘Oh, to finish this story, I’d actually need to return and go to the Dreadnaught.”
Nevertheless, Blackburn identified that the Future content material vault exists — a type of rotating desk of content material from Future and Future 2 that Bungie can pull in and remaster with sufficient lead time.
“As we begin telling tales sooner or later about different characters, we begin , ‘Hey, when’s the suitable time to carry one thing again?’’’ stated Blackburn. “Like, if we’d like this piece to have the ability to inform the story […] that is how we’re gonna do it again. And I believe that’s an thrilling avenue for us as nicely.”
An excellent instance of what Blackburn is speaking about appears to be the return of Mars in The Witch Queen. The planet doesn’t exist because it as soon as did — in both the unique Future or Future 2 — however Bungie had a great motive to take the placement out of the DCV and do one thing totally different with it, giving gamers a staging floor for the growth.
May the Dreadnaught come again when it makes story related sense? In fact it might, and perhaps Bungie is hiding some shock for gamers in what guarantees to be an already stunning marketing campaign. However extra importantly, Bungie and Blackburn don’t really feel constrained by the content material that’s and isn’t in Future — they know the place the collection is headed, and may twist the story or carry an vital location out of the vault on their phrases.