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Destiny 2’s huge Forsaken expansion tries to recapture the magic of the original

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The new Forsaken expansion arrives on September 4th bundled with an annual pass for $70

Game developer Bungie revealed new details today about its upcoming Forsaken expansion for Destiny 2, which will be the largest expansion since the game’s initial launch in September 2017. In a polished video put together by the studio and a live interview session after that, Twitch live stream viewers were given a broad overview of what the expansion would content. The theme seems clear: after months and months of turmoil and controversy, Bungie is trying to find common ground with its fans by bringing back the most asked-for elements of the first game.

In that sense, Forsaken seems like it will act as large reset, reintroducing core concepts of the first Destiny while simultaneously trying to surprise players with something new. If that sounds like it should have been the primary goal of the initial launch game, you’d be correct. But Bungie made a series of bold and perhaps risky decisions with Destiny 2 that have ultimately proved misguided, from restricted multiplayer options and watered-down combat to a lack of depth and fun factor in the overall progression of the game’s story. The player base started dwindling following December’s Curse of Osiris expansion, and last month’s Warmind was largely focused on putting the game back on track ahead of Forsaken.

In Forsaken, Bungie is following the path it set with its initial game by launching a large expansion with new player subclasses, a new storyline with new enemies and environments, a whole bunch of new loot to collect, and a new raid called the Dreaming City. Much of what was present in 2015’s similarly large Destiny 1 expansion, The Taken King, appears to be present here. In addition to that, a new mode called Gambit seems to be designed for players who like fighting against AI enemies but also want to compete against human players outside of the competitive Crucible game modes. The mode pits two teams against one another in a race to complete waves of enemies, with the actions of one side making the obstacles of the other harder.

Image: Bungie

Beyond that, Bungie is addressing big complaints by re-adding random rolls for weapons — meaning players can strive for coveted versions of guns few others may have — and letting players equip satisfying but largely ignored weapon classes like shotguns and snipers in secondary and even primary slots. Bungie is also giving players more reason to log in every day by letting them track the entire collection of weapons and armor and giving them a detailed overview of what they still need to collect. Ultimately, Bungie seems to finally be acknowledging that players want its game to be a primary hobby that they can sink hours into every single day, and it’s recalibrating its entire approach to accommodate that.

In a big twist, the developer is also changing up how it sells these expansions to players. Bungie says it plans to launch a new annual pass that will include Forsaken and also a winter 2018, spring 2019 expansion, and summer 2019 expansion. According to the listing on Sony’s PlayStation Store, the Forsaken expansion will be bundled with the annual pass for $70. The expansion will also be sold on its own for $40 or in a deluxe bundle for $80 with additional exclusives in-game items.

Image: Bungie

Bungie will be at E3 next week with a preview of the expansion, where it plans to reveal more details and give players a chance to actually try some of the new modes, subclasses, and story missions. The Verge will be there on the ground with live updates and hands-on impressions.