Should Destiny 2 fans be worried by live service games getting shut down?
It’s an exciting time to be a Destiny 2 fan, we’re only a few weeks away from a brand new expansion where we get a new destination, new campaign, new raid, and a whole bunch of quality of life changes. Destiny 2 seems to be doing well, but the environment around it is having a very rough time, with live service games getting shut down left, right and center. Today I want to look at the live service landscape, check otu what has been shut down and try to answer the question “Do Destiny 2 fans need to worry?”.
It’s been a rough few weeks for live service games in the industry, with games getting shut down nearly every week since the beginning of 2023. EA announced the shutdown of Apex and Battlefield mobile, Rumbleverse, Knockout City and Crossfire X all have been sunset for good. Rumbleverse was the brawler slash wrestling battle royale, where you battle other players with your fists rather than guns. Deej, former community manager for Bungie went to work with the Rumbleverse team, so that one hits particularly close to home. Knockout City was the dogeball online multiplayer game, and seemingly got off to a good start, only to be shut down a few months later. Rumbleverse, Apex and Battlefield mobile didn’t manage to last a year, where as Knockout City was closing in on nearly 2 years.
It goes to show to the major competition thats out there at the moment, and it’s not easy to keep these live service games up and running. The big hitters in that space are Fortnite, Call of Duty Warzone, Apex Legends, Genshin Impact and Final Fantasy XIV, and getting players to convert to your game when they have entrenched habits with other long term live service games is a tough business.
This isn’t the end of it either. Turtle Rock Studios announced they wouldn’t be making any more content for Back 4 Blood, the spiritual successor to Left 4 Dead, as they have decided to cut their losses and move into the next game. Its tough for the new guys and makes it tricky to innovate in that space. If you’d have said to me Rumbleverse would have shut down not even a year after it launched, I would have laughed, given it had Epic Games money behind it… but the numbers; reach, time spent and frequency must not have been there. Here’s a quote from the Rumbleverse dev team
“When you work on a video game, you imagine the community that will show up to play it someday. For years, we dreamed about a lively city filled with people fighting to become a champion. We strived to create a vibrant place that celebrated the competitive spirit. Our goal was to bring joy back to online multiplayer gaming.”
“The people who gave Rumbleverse a chance and took it on as a new hobby have validated every day that we put into bringing our ideas to life. We have loved watching you play. We have learned from your stories and your insights. We even passed around the art you’ve created to immortalize your best moments in the streets.”
If you can get the balance of gameplay, story, and reasons to come back just right, then you can strike gold, but it’s a major risk. I imagine that it one of the reasons we see so many companies creator sequels rather than new IP, because players are much more likely to jump into something they know and love, rather than a new IP. Elden Ring probably bucks that trend, but you are always going to have outliers and exceptions to the rule.
Let’s bring this back to Destiny 2, and should we be worried? Back in November Destiny 2 fans were regularly posting on Twitter that Destiny 2’s numbers were at record lows, and certain content creators were posted their cancelled pre-orders, in protest at the direction the game was taking. There is a major split in the Destiny 2 community at the moment with PVE fans pretty happy with the way things are going, and PVP fans very not happy at the current state of the sandbox. We seem so far removed now from when the 30th Anniversay pack launched in winter 2021, and PVP felt like it was in the best state it had been for some time. The release of the subclass 3.0 reworks with void, solar and arc defintely had a lot to do with that. Bungie did state in their recent This Week At Bungie update they were looking to get back to the 30th Anniversary sandbox.
While we did see low numbers in November, things have picked up since then with a strong Season of the Seraph. We’ve had a much more focused season, competitive has been introduced into the game, which is the foundations of a decent competitive PVP mode. Yes, it’s not perfect, and we could definitely do with more cosmetics, but it’s a start at least. But we need more maps, and not just maps returning from Destiny 2 or Destiny 1, but brand new maps. We have destinations like Europa that are completely unused in the crucible, and we’re still suffering from all the PVP maps put into the Destiny Content Vault in the first place. Bungie have been hiring and investing in PVP map design, but it doesn’t feel like they are ramping up production on the PVP side, the focus appears to be on the sandbox itself.
I don’t think we need to be worried about Destiny 2 right now. The daily player count has steadily risen once again and we’re about to go into a major expansion where we always see an influx of brand new players, that will likely sustain for the coming months. Bungie has to do something about the ageing seasonal content model, as that is wearing thin, and they have promised some changes in that department, but realistically I don’t think we’re going to see major changes there before Final Shape, which is the final chapter in the light vs darkness saga.
While the Destiny 2 community complains a lot about the game, I think in a funny kind of way it’s affectionate, and fans want the game to be better. Given it caters to so many crowds across PVP and PVE, then keeping everyone happy is very difficult indeed. But we have a lot to be thankful for and reasons to be happy. Bungie communicates open and often with us the Destiny 2 community, they have major plans for armor and mods coming up in Lightfall, plus we’ve got 4 new seasons plus a Lightfall camapign to look forward to. I remember back to the days of the Taken King in 2015 where all we had was the Taken King raid to play over and over, here and now we almost get weekly content drops like exotic missions, Iron Banner, Weekly story, Grandmaster Nightfalls, etc.
Let me know in the comments what you think of the recent developments in live services games, plus do you think Destiny 2 fans needs to worry?