Bungie is making a drastic change in response to player complaints about timegating in Destiny 2

Destiny 2: The Final Shape image - Cayde-6 aiming a gun
(Image credit: Bungie)

Once again, Bungie has listened to the fans and heard the feedback, and as a result it's making a pretty big change to how it delivers story content in the second Episode of Destiny 2's Final Shape expansion: Instead of spacing out major story beats on a weekly cadence, it's going to drop all them at once at the start of each act, so players can take on the narrative content "at whatever pace they want to play it."

Since 2017, Destiny 2 has run on a seasonal model, with each new season adding new activities and weekly story-telling not unlike a Saturday morning cartoon, complete with occasional plot twists. (Who can forget Nezarec, Final God of Pain being turned into a cup of tea in the finale of Season of Plunder.) However, players had become vocally tired of a format that meant most weeks ended with a message along the lines of: "Please wait for X to complete processing Y before we continue with Z."

Partly as a result of that feedback, in 2023 the studio announced it would be shifting to an episodic model after the release of The Final Shape expansion, which Bungie said would provide "a new, innovative way for players to engage with Destiny 2 throughout the year."

However, to most players the practical difference between "seasons" and "Episodes" wasn't immediately clear except that The Final Shape would have three Episodes rather than the traditional four seasons; each Episode was further divided into three acts, running for six weeks apiece and adding new quests, activities, weapons, armor, story, and other such content through the duration.

This "episodic cadence" content map lays it out more clearly:

(Image credit: Bungie)

So far, the new story content released as part of Echoes has very much followed the time-gated model of seasons past. It's basically like a weekly soap opera: You watch an Episode, and then you fiddle your thumbs for seven days until the next ep airs. That's fine for casual viewers (or players, as the case may be) but some deeply committed fans would rather not wait.

During today's developer livestream, Destiny 2 narrative director Alison Luhrs said that will change with the launch of The Final Shape's second act, Revenant, which is due out in early October. 

"We've been listening to the fans, and listening to feedback, and we agree, it's time for a change," Luhrs said. "So we're going to do a trial of something new in act two. We're going to be dropping all three beats of the act at once.

"So we'll be dropping all of the three beats for act one at the same time, all the three beats for act two at the same time, all the same beats for act three. The goal is to encourage players to play at their own pace, to get all of that content at once if that's what they're looking for, or to meter it out at whatever pace they want to play at."

Destiny 2 - Echoes: Act 2 | Developer Livestream - YouTube Destiny 2 - Echoes: Act 2 | Developer Livestream - YouTube
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Luhr's comment about doing "something new in act two" was presumably a misstatement, because the Destiny2Team Twitter account clarified after the stream that the change is coming to Episode two: "For our next Episode, Revenant, each Act's entire story will be available to play as it launches instead of week to week. Our goal is to give players an opportunity to play at their own pace. We'll be monitoring feedback when these changes go live."

(Image credit: Destiny2Team (Twitter))

In what will come as basically no surprise at all if you've been paying even the slightest attention to the Destiny 2 saga over the years, the immediate reaction to the change has not been entirely positive. The big issue seems to be that timegating is still happening, it will just be more front-loaded following this change: Making each act's story content available all at once means die-hard players won't have to wait to access it, yes, but also means they'll have even more time to get restless and think about playing other games after they've powered through it all in four days and then have to wait another five weeks for the next act to arrive.

Luhrs said more information on the structural changes coming to Destiny 2: The Final Shape Episode 2 will be revealed as it gets closer to launch. That's set to happen on July 16.

Andy Chalk

Andy has been gaming on PCs from the very beginning, starting as a youngster with text adventures and primitive action games on a cassette-based TRS80. From there he graduated to the glory days of Sierra Online adventures and Microprose sims, ran a local BBS, learned how to build PCs, and developed a longstanding love of RPGs, immersive sims, and shooters. He began writing videogame news in 2007 for The Escapist and somehow managed to avoid getting fired until 2014, when he joined the storied ranks of PC Gamer. He covers all aspects of the industry, from new game announcements and patch notes to legal disputes, Twitch beefs, esports, and Henry Cavill. Lots of Henry Cavill.