I am, to put it mildly, surprised by this. I wasn’t expecting anything for the rest of this year especially after Activision and Bungie parted ways, since Bungie no longer had access to the two studios (Vicarious Visions and High Moon Studios) that supported their development efforts on every piece of content from Warmind to Season of Opulence. That said, until the official reveal of Shadowkeep on June 6th, we don’t really know anything about the expansion except what’s in the image up top.
The short version is:
– We return to the moon
– The pyramid ships are probably close enough to be a serious threat
– There’s a new enemy on the horizon, either a variant of the Hive or something even nastier
The only thing I find a little strange is the phrasing of latter half of the first sentence: “terrifying shadows descend upon a forgotten moon.” Doesn’t sound like a reference to our moon which has very much not been forgotten by anyone. More likely, I think, is that we start the expansion on our moon and then head outward to a second, brand new area – i.e., this forgotten moon.
There’s also been no word anywhere online about whether the Dreadnaught will be featured at all since, going by the post-credits scene at the end of Destiny 2’s vanilla campaign, that was the next location queued up for content. However, it’s entirely possible that this ‘forgotten moon’ is a reference to Enceladus, the sixth largest moon of Saturn and a place that’s come up most recently in Forsaken.
In the Forsaken story mission, ‘Ace in the Hole’, Cayde makes a reference directly to Enceladus in a message he leaves for Petra. Here’s the full text:
Petra… if you’re listening to this… you killed me. Maybe the Sovs, in all their mysterious wisdom, decided they were sick of me? If the Queen ordered the hit, I guess I understand. You’re a real glutton for chivalry. But if it was Uldren, I’m pissed. Just thinking about that peacock gives me a headache. But I’m betting my death was another case of your famous collateral damage. ‘Cause you’re a real do-gooder. Seriously, its annoying – but good deeds never go unpunished when you’re around. You just… You got a blast radius P.V. Well, it was… fun while it lasted. Oh, and, uh, tell “Paladin Oran”: If the sun over Nessus escapes nebula cycle, evac labor after dawn, under solstice. You got that, P.V.?
The Enceladus reference comes from this sentence of that paragraph: Oh, and, uh, tell “Paladin Oran”: If the sun over Nessus escapes nebula cycle, evac labor after dawn, under solstice. Look at the first letter of every word after ‘Paladin Oran’; they spell “it’s on Enceladus”.
This message has, since Forsaken’s release, led to much speculation that we’d be heading there eventually, especially since the Dreadnaught was implied to be the next place we visit. So if Bungie’s original, hinted-at roadmap is still good, in the Shadowkeep expansion, we’ll be returning to our moon (confirmed, it’s in the image), heading to Enceladus (or another moon, but this seems the most likely), and perhaps getting the Dreadnaught as some sort of endgame PvE zone in the way we got the Dreaming City after the Tangled Shore was done.
Even if we get two of these three things, it’ll make for a pretty meaty expansion, something I didn’t think Bungie had the time or the resources to be able to pull off before early next 2020 at best.
But what this means for the future of the franchise is very, very intriguing, because I can’t see Bungie bringing back all of these locations from Destiny 1 and adding new ones only to scrap the lot in 2020 and wipe the slate clean for Destiny 3. It’s much too early to say – and there’s no evidence either way – but it’s starting to feel like there may not be a Destiny 3 as a standalone experience that does away with everything that Bungie’s built since Destiny 2 came out. And (fingers crossed) we might finally be heading towards the One Destiny experience that, World of Warcraft style, just keeps getting bigger and meatier with every expansion that comes out.
Time will tell, though. The Shadowkeep announcement is roughly a day away at the time of this writing so perhaps we’ll get some big answers about the future of the franchise then. In the meantime, with Season of Opulence just getting started and a (potentially) substantial expansion to look forward to in September, it’s looking like 2019 might very well be the best year that Destiny has ever had.