Bungie has outlined the future of Destiny - and it does not involve a Destiny 3.
In its stream revealing September 2020 expansion Beyond Light, Bungie's Luke Smith and Mark Noseworthy announced 2021 expansion The Witch Queen as well as 2022 expansion Lightfall. These are expansions to Destiny 2, which Bungie is running as a long-term live service game. "We don't want to put another number on the box," Smith said, ruling out Destiny 3.
In a FAQ on Bungie.net, the developer elaborated:
"Destiny 2 is too large to efficiently update and maintain. The size and complexity of the game are also contributing to more bugs and less innovation. Instead of building a Destiny 3 and leaving D2 behind, each year, we are going to cycle older, less actively played content out of the live game and into what we're calling the Destiny Content Vault (DCV). This will allow us to add to and support D2 for years, including the three new annual expansions we announced today, starting with Beyond Light this fall."
The launch of Beyond Light marks a new era for Destiny 2, Bungie said, which involves the game's transition to the next-generation of consoles. Expect to play Destiny 2 on PlayStation 5 and Xbox One at 60fps and 4k resolution, Bungie said. There's a free next-gen upgrade available on both PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X. Inter-generational crossplay launches this year, and there's hope for all-encompassing crossplay in 2021. Oh, and Bungie will add a dark title screen to Destiny 2, which will help those who boot up the game in darkness.
As part of the long-term plans for Destiny 2, Bungie said content that is not actively played will be put in the aforementioned Destiny Content Vault. This means that this year Destiny 2 will lose a raft of destinations, including Mars, Io, Titan, Mercury and Leviathan. So, when Beyond Light ships, the Director will have the following destinations: Europa (new), Cosmodrome (unvaulted), Moon, Tangled Shore, Dreaming City, European Dead Zone, and Nessus.
However, this is not a one-way street. Vaulted content could come back, and Destiny 1 content will return. Smith confirmed much-loved Destiny 1 raid Vault of Glass will return in Destiny 2 Year 4, but not during 2020. There was also talk of bringing back Destiny 1 Strike The Devils' Lair, which involved taking down servitor Sepiks Prime.
"With Destiny 1, we solved the 'ever expanding, exponential complexity' problem by making a sequel in Destiny 2'," Bungie said. "We left behind all of Destiny 1's content and many of the features players grew to love. We believe now that it was a mistake to create a situation that fractured the community, reset player progress, and set the player experience back in ways that took us a full year to recover from and repair. It's a mistake we don't want to repeat by making a Destiny 3. We don't believe a sequel is the right direction for the game and for the past two years we have been investing all of our development effort into new content, gameplay, and new engine features that directly support a single evolving world in Destiny 2."
So! That's a lot to take in for Destiny players. The upshot is Destiny 2 is the game Bungie intends to build on with three annual expansions starting September 2020. Destiny 3 is not a thing. After September 2022, who knows? Bungie has another game in development and it sounds like a right laugh.