Destiny 2’s Lightfall expansion launches on the 28th of February. As of the 17th of January, I’ve seen a handful of red flags that have put the DLC’s quality and health into question for me. I want to get those concerns off my chest – partially so that I can rest easy knowing I’ve put thought to paper, and partially so that I can say I told you so when everything goes belly up.
In reality, Lightfall will probably be fine, as will Destiny as a whole. However, that doesn’t change the subtle clues that I’ve picked up on so far. Maybe I’m being crazy, though. Have a look for yourself and see what you think.
Why I’m Worried About Lightfall
1 – The Marketing – or Lack Thereof
Bungie has been playing its cards close to its chest recently. We got basically nothing on Season of the Seraph until its release date was right on top of us. So, this is nothing new, but the distinct lack of marketing for an entire DLC worries me.
Now, the current calendar for Lightfall matches up with Witch Queen. We got our first proper look at the Witchqueen expansion in January. The DLC was slated for a February release date. Lightfall also drops in February, and we just got our first proper look at the DLC on the 17th of January.
However, with the general state of Destiny 2 recently, as well as the community’s sentiment towards Bungie’s lack of marketing, it’s surprising that we haven’t seen anything solid sooner.
Witch Queen was coming off the back of three really strong seasons. So, the player base that’ll buy the DLC was already there.
However, before Season of the Seraph, Season of Plunder was one of the worst-received seasons in Destiny 2’s history. It resulted in the game plummeting to record-low player counts, and a weak launch for Season of the Seraph.
I would think that Bungie would show off Lightfall in an attempt to mitigate the damage that DLC did. However, that doesn’t seem to have been the case.
2 – The Change in Marketing
Way back when, Lightfall was intended to be the final DLC for Destiny 2. This was the one meant to cap off the Light and Darkness Saga. Hence, shutting the door on an eight-year-long running narrative. However, in 2022, Bungie announced that there was going to be another DLC after it – The Final Shape.
Up until this point, Lightfall’s marketing was as one would expect of this kind of cataclysmic DLC. The main promotional image featured a Pyramid Ship sitting at the center of the Traveller, foreshadowing the Black Fleet’s invasion of the Last City, and playing into the alchemical symbology Bungie really leaned into back in the day.
Since then, however, Lightfall’s marketing has switched up to highlight the neon skylines of Neomuna, a lost cyberpunk-esque city on Neptune.
For me, this change was jarring. Lightfall feels too, well, light. We’re meant to be coming up to the climax of Destiny’s story with the fate of humanity on the line. This kind of art direction feels out of place to me in the same way Season of the Plunder broke the current storyline’s pacing by being irrelevant.
3 – Strand
Last but not least, we’ve got the red flag that first set off alarm bells in my head for Lightfall, and that’s Strand. Now, Strand itself looks fantastic. I very much suspect it’ll be the highlight of the DLC for me.
What I’m talking about is the grappling hook. Specifically, the fact that every class has access to it. Back when Lightfall got its first proper reveal, a talk with some Bungie devs gave us some insights into Strand.
Initially, the grappling hook was a part of the Hunter’s toolkit. Neither Warlocks nor Titans had access to it. We learned that the team found the grappling hook so fun, that they decided to lean into it and give it to the other two classes.
I would think that this would entirely change the identity of the Strand subclass. While Hunters will be fine, I doubt both the Warlock and Titan Strand setups leaned into mobility as much as the grappling hook implies. It’s possible that the result will be two subclasses with the hook haphazardly shoved in there, with no real synergy, or that they had to be redesigned half-way through development.
Beyond that, all three classes having access to the hook means that the environment team should probably play more into how it’s incorporated into traversal.
Now, we already know Neomuna has been designed for verticality, so chances are that will be fine. However, there’s always the question of just how much stuff needed to be reworked for this change. As well as how early on in development the changes came.
It’ll Probably All be Fine
Having expressed those concerns, I’m obliged to say that Lightfall will, more than likely, be fine. More than fine, possibly, if Season of the Seraph is any sort of quality indicator to go by (granted I’m unsure if the Seraph team worked on Lightfall).
Despite the recent rocky road, Bungie’s track record speaks for itself. It’s got some of the most talented developers in the gaming industry, both on the artistic side of things, and the programming side of things (Telesto notwithstanding).
So, I’m worried about Lightfall, but my concerns are likely the result of a lover scorned by the game in the past. Either way, all we can do is wait for Lightfall to drop on February 28th.
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