Destiny 2 (opens in new tab): Beyond Light is going to make some very big changes to the game when it goes live in November, not least of which is cutting out half of the game (opens in new tab) and slamming it away into the new content vault. Less may turn out to be more, that remains to be seen, but for better or worse, when it happens players are going to have to download the entire game again.
"Due to all these changes, Beyond Light will be a full re-download on all platforms—we know this will be painful for those with slower or metered internet connections, and we’re sorry about that," Bungie said in the latest TWAB update (opens in new tab). "To help mitigate this, we’re planning to enable Beyond Light preloads sometime in the evening of November 9, Pacific Time, which should give everyone at least 10 hours to download before the gates open."
The good news is that Destiny 2's install size will shrink by an estimated 30-40 percent, which will work out to a savings of 59-71GB, depending on platform. It should also enable faster fixes for game-breaking bugs (because you know that's going to keep happening), and allow Bungie to continue working on releases closer to their launch date, "so we can react to fresher information about what’s happening in the live game."
"For example, historically each of our Seasons has had to get deep into production before the preceding season launched, preventing us from reacting to learnings from that preceding season," Bungie wrote. "These tech improvements should give us 1-2 more weeks of flexibility on a Seasonal scale, helping us pivot more quickly in some cases."
The extent of the overhaul makes a recent comment by Bungie engineering manager Chris Kosanovich seem particularly interesting in retrospect: Responding to a question in a June AMA about the state of the engine and complaints that it's responsible for "slow turnaround times for fixes and weird bugs," he denied complaints that the engine is "archaic," but acknowledged that "there are processes that are slow and we're making improvements to address our tech debt."
"We updated the engine from D1 to D2 and continue to update the engine during D2 development," Kosanovich wrote (opens in new tab). "We'll never make a whole new engine and move destiny to it, but any future games that Bungie makes wouldn't necessarily need to use the Destiny tech if it doesn't make sense for that game."
Another interesting thing to come out of the Destiny 2: Beyond Light is a rebuilt character face system. "We’ve upgraded to a significantly more capable system (with e.g. runtime decal projection), which we hope to leverage for more player customization options in the future. As part of this process we reviewed the existing player models with our Diversity Committee and Employee Resource Groups in the studio to make small tweaks to existing player heads," Bungie explained.
"We’re also building a list of Guardian face shapes we should bring to the game in the future in order to increase Guardian diversity in Destiny, with the long-term goal of enabling everyone to imagine themselves as their Guardian."
The bottom line: "Your Guardian's face may look a bit different."
Barring unforeseen trouble, Destiny 2: Beyond Light will go live on November 10. Here's the full list of everything that's being removed (opens in new tab).