Destiny 2 has gotten a big expansion every year since it released, but 2021 will be different. Bungie announced today that The Witch Queen, originally planned to launch in the second half of this year, will be delayed until 2022 due to its size and ongoing issues around working from home during the covid-19 pandemic.
“As we began to scale production on the Witch Queen last year, we made the difficult but important decision to move its release to early 2022,” the studio wrote. “[W]e also realized we needed to add an additional unannounced chapter after Lightfall to fully complete our first saga of Destiny.”
In addition to teasing this extra “chapter” after Lightfall, which will presumably now be pushed to 2023, Bungie assistant game director Joe Blackburn went into the causes of the delays in more detail:
- The Witch Queen represents an important evolution in the ongoing story of Destiny 2. Beyond Light built the foundation and allowed us to weave the world-building of Destiny and Destiny 2 together, but The Witch Queen will light the fire on a strongly interconnected narrative across Lightfall and beyond, unlike anything we’ve ever attempted before, with characters, arcs, heroes and villains that persist over multiple future releases. Even more importantly, the conclusion of these releases will also conclude the “Light and Darkness Saga,” the conflict we first introduced with the launch of Destiny many years ago. As we’ve been developing The Witch Queen, we realized that we needed this release to be the first of many moments crucial to the story of Destiny. With so much leading to and dependent on what happens in The Witch Queen, we wanted to make sure that we gave ourselves enough time to build out this journey in the right way, starting with an exceptional first chapter in The Witch Queen.
- With Destiny now committed to being an everlasting evolving world, we want to make sure we are still taking the time to upgrade the systemic foundation of Destiny 2 to support everything we want to do in the future. Our ultimate vision for Destiny 2 still stands – a definitive action-MMO, a unified global community where you can play Destiny anywhere with your friends. For 2021 this means upgrading our approach to keeping Destiny’s weapon and armor game fresh, refining our vision for PVP, implementing transmog, and adding Crossplay. More below.
- Finally, and the most important reason, we are proud to be uncompromising when it comes to our commitment to the health of our teams. With COVID-19 keeping us away from the office, and the large amount of work on our plates, we needed to move the date in order to make sure that both this year’s updates and The Witch Queen were both delivered at the quality we strive for, and on a schedule that made sense for everyone involved.
Basically, The Witch Queen sounds like it will kick Destiny’s story—which has been an incredibly slow burn since the first game’s release—into overdrive, and in order to get that right and lay the foundation correctly, Bungie needs more time.
Traditionally, Destiny expansions have launched in September. Last year’s Beyond Light was the first to slip, arriving in November instead—the first expansion the studio delivered after breaking up with Activision. With the announcement of these latest delays, it seems like the series’ original predictable release cadence will give way to the more realistic approach of, “It’s out when it’s done.”
In the meantime, Bungie is focusing on overhauling a number of things in the game, including its recently added and much criticized sunsetting system whereby new loot was given a yearly expiration date.