The release of Destiny 2: Beyond Light is just around the corner with there being a little under 50 days remaining until Guardians are able to embark on their next journey to the frozen wastelands of Europa.
Bungie has been steadily teasing information over the past few months and have recently given us our first good look at some of the locations we can visit on Europa as well as a new dynamic weather system.
First of all let's start with the map of Europa. The below image is taken from the Europa information page on Bungie.net:
The brief descriptions of the main zones within the Europa destination are as follows:
- Beyond - An old friend awaits us in this clearing that overlooks the conflict between Light and Dark
- Charon’s Crossing - The site of Europa’s communication center and the origin of a distress signal sent by Variks.
- Cadmus Ridge - A snowy landscape and the last-known location of the buried Bray Exoscience facility.
- Asterion Abyss - The Vex structures visible on the surface are only the tip of the iceberg.
- Eventide Ruins - Once home to thousands of settlers, and now all that remains of Clovis Bray’s colony.
There are a few pieces of information that we can glean from the main Europa map above that might not be readily apparent. The large circle to the left of the Beyond zone is most likely the node that will be the Raid for Europa while the other large circle to the right Charon’s Crossing is most likely to be the new Strike.
The medium size circle to the left of Cadmus Ridge matches the size for other public arena style activities like Blind Well and Escalation Protocol. Finally, the two small circles to the right of Beyond and above Eventide Ruins are likely to simply be the landing zones for Europa.
For many months the design team at Bungie has been hard at work on a new system to immerse the player in the true icy wasteland that is Jupiter’s moon of Europa.
During a recent blog post, Europa Design Lead Alex Velicky shed light on how the ideas behind this weather system came to be.
“We were brainstorming and Ed Brennan [Europa World Art Lead] proposed the idea of a blizzard to help sell the fantasy of a harsh environment. I thought it would be awesome if design had direct control over it and it didn’t take long for everyone to get excited about the implementation.” says Velicky.
According to Velicky, the team tested numerous ways in which the storm would affect the player, complications such as slowing player movement, altering grenade paths and knocking players from their Sparrows were all considered.
Thankfully, Bungie quickly benched these ideas as Velicky says “It was painfully unfun and made doing anything in the game almost impossible.”
Bungie would then go on form a compromise and “find a delicate balance between it seeming dangerous but without it actually being disorienting, oppressive, or negatively impacting core gameplay” says VFX Lead Justin Hayward.
This fine balance resulted in the creation of 3 distinct levels of storm intensity that would fully immerse players in the landscape. The first level contains clear skies, a light breeze and fresh snow, what would be classed as a ‘fair’ day on Europa.
On the second level, the wind starts to pick up and a heavy amount of snowfall will begin to rain down, obscuring long range vision.
On the third level the howl of the wind becomes almost deafening while the swirling snow becomes so heavy that anything beyond the midrange is completely obscured. Be sure to bring along a weapon with a scope that can highlight enemies.
Here is a quick visual representation of the different levels of storm intensity:
Note that the progress of a blizzard won't be linear, i.e. progressing from levels one to three and then back again. The intensity of the storm will wax and wane in a dynamic manner to fit the atmosphere of the story sequence taking place.