Bungie detailed Forsaken, Destiny 2's big September expansion, during a livestream last night, which also introduced fans to the concept of the series' first Annual Pass.
In previous years, simply owning the game's most recent expansion (The Taken King, Rise of Iron) was enough to unlock some additional content throughout the following 12 months. It sounds like Bungie wants to expand the amount of content it will offer over the next 12 months - but you'll also need to pay for it, too.
Destiny has had expansion passes before for smaller DLC chapters (The Dark Below and House of Wolves for D1, then Curse of Osiris and Warmind for D2), but these were for discrete content drops. With Destiny 2's second year, however, things are different - both because Bungie has promised a different kind of premium content is coming, but also because it now gives more away for free. (For example, all maps for Destiny's Cruicible PVP mode are now available to all players, to avoid fragmenting the game's userbase.)
The Annual Pass costs £25 when bought with the Forsaken expansion. You can purchase Forsaken separately for £35.99, or with the Annual Pass for £59.99. There's a pricier Digital Deluxe Edition too, for £69.99, which contains Forsaken, the Annual Pass and a couple of extra exclusive items.
So what will the Annual Pass get you? Is there enough to warrant that extra £25? The jury is still out. Yesterday's reveal stream was light on details, save for vague references to the Annual Pass offering new endgame challenges and gear. These will arrive in three lumps throughout the 12 months following Forsaken's arrival: this winter, next spring and next summer.
Bungie made clear, however, the Annual Pass would not include traditional DLC - stories told via missions with a cinematic campaign.
In response to fan questions about the Annual Pass, the developer issued a tweet last night promising more details would arrive on Thursday, in the developer's weekly blog update:
More details and information about the Forsaken Annual Pass coming in this weekâ€™s TWAB.— Bungie (@Bungie) June 5, 2018
The Annual Pass is designed to improve upon the previous Expansion Pass, and will not replace seasonal events and live game updates every player of Destiny 2 can access.
Previous years' expansions have also been offered in a version with all existing content so far bundled in - a Game of the Year-style version. It sounds like this too is coming:
There will be additional D2: Forsaken product options unveiled later this year for players who do not own the Destiny 2 base game and both Expansions. They'll be available closer to the Sept 4th launch.— Bungie (@Bungie) June 5, 2018
Bungie has consistently struggled to keep up with fans' appetite for new things to do in Destiny. Having played a lot of Destiny 1 during its Taken King and Rise of Iron years, I remember the long waits for new maps, Strikes and missions to drop. I also remember the introduction of Eververse microtransactions - which aren't going anywhere, either - as a way to fund these.
The Annual Pass, then, is just the latest method for Bungie to experiment with. If it can finally find a way to keep up with fan demand, all the better - but for £25 extra on top of a £36 expansion, it has set itself a high bar to clear.