There's a lot riding on Shadowkeep for Bungie, according to company creative chiefs Luke Smith and Mark Noseworthy. It's not in a "do or die" kind of way, where if Shadowkeep's reception is lukewarm or even poor then Destiny may cease to exist.
Instead, the two leading voices at the company are keeping a watchful eye on what people like, what they didn't enjoy, and what they want to see more of in the future.
To that end, the duo has also made a massive concession on the state of Destiny as a title, an experience, and a game: "Yeah, it's an MMO now, or something that we want to make an MMO."
That's massive news. It came after Smith and Noseworthy spoke about the future of the franchise on Kotaku Splitscreen, diving into what's next for the game series, and what elements they're going to bring to the game to keep it fresh, and exciting.
"We're not making World of Warcraft now, we've avoided the term "MMO" for a long time, but now avoiding it is not the right call anymore. The MMO elements for us is that we have to grow, and improve. We've started re-enhancing the RPG part with Forsaken, and I don't think our work there is not finished yet," Smith said of the future of the game.
"We also have to grow the social element part of it, being an MMO isn't like "Let's add an expansion here," or something like "You're going to have to pay a subscription fee," but more than we want to have people be able to play together, and then customise your player, make choices that matter, and see the avatar that you've been creating grow every time that you play the game," Noseworthy added to Smith's thoughts.
"Having lots of interesting choices that matter, that drive discussion between you and your friends, and the chance to bring different strategies and plans to encounters is what we want to do. We don't have enough of that right now, and it's about tinkering with that so that we can push characters in new, interesting directions."
Interestingly, it sounds like the Bungie team are beginning to slip into a "build" mindset, rather than "reset" plan. There have been major rumours that Destiny 3 could be on the horizon in 2020 or a few years past that, but as Smith and Noseworthy continue to speak to the media, it sounds more and more like a rolling title with expansion bolstering the game could be the more likely direction the company goes in the near and distant future.
That's a good thing, at least for Guardians that have been playing Destiny for years. When Destiny 2 was announced, the main concerns players had was the loss of their gear, weapons, and even their memories that they'd founded and forged across years and multiple expansions. Journeys through The Dark Below, House of Wolves, The Taken King, and the Rise of Iron had already created stories for players with their Guardians, that was lost with the new game release.
Now, Bungie has made a momentous new step with the announcement of Shadowkeep. There's a lot of old Destiny 1 content coming back to the title, not least of all access to the Moon (which may or may not be haunted). It's clear that Bungie has made a call behind the scenes to build on their success from the past but update it for a new future.
Now we just wait and see how Shadowkeep shapes up. If players enjoy what Bungie brings to the table, we could see more of the same in the coming years. If it's a poor release or has bad gaming elements, make your voice heard - now is the time to dictate the future of Destiny as a franchise.