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Bungie: Shadowkeep will be ‘Rise of Iron Plus’-sized, but can’t grow infinitely

Shadowkeep is more like the original Destiny’s final expansion

Destiny: Rise of Iron - Lord Saladin with his giant weapons and wolves
A scene from Destiny: Rise of Iron.
Ryan Gilliam (he/him) has worked at Polygon for nearly seven years. He primarily spends his time writing guides for massively popular games like Diablo 4 & Destiny 2.

Last fall, Bungie released Forsaken for Destiny 2. It was a major expansion that revitalized the game. It added a new enemy sub-race, two new worlds, a new mode in Gambit, and nine new Super abilities for Guardians. In comparison, Destiny 2’s fall 2019 expansion, Shadowkeep, won’t have a new mode or Supers for players to experiment with. Instead, its focus is bringing back the Moon from the original Destiny.

Before Bungie launches Shadowkeep later this year, Destiny’s franchise director, Luke Smith, and general manager, Mark Noseworthy, sat down with Polygon to discuss Shadowkeep’s scope, and the limitations of bringing old worlds back to Destiny 2.

When Polygon asked Noseworthy and Smith if Shadowkeep will have an equivalent to Forsaken’s Dreaming City — an endgame-only planet for people to explore after the campaign — the two developers set the record straight on scale.

Forsaken was a huge expansion pack for Destiny 2,” said Noseworthy. “In terms of what we’re able to build this year, it’s more much in scope with a Rise of Iron or Rise of Iron Plus.”

Rise of Iron was the follow up expansion to the original Destiny’s Taken King. Like Shadowkeep, Rise of Iron didn’t offer new Supers or a new enemy type. Instead it focused on keeping Destiny players busy with a new location, raid, and Exotic quests. Shadowkeep looks to be doing something similar, with a few bonuses.

Polygon later asked Bungie about more returning planets from the original Destiny. Noseworthy and Smith didn’t refute any possibilities, but said there are technical limitations to adding more and more to Destiny 2. The studio has to pick their battles.

Destiny [2] is a huge game,” said Noseworthy. “We mean in terms of the scope of the game, that complexity, but also just the amount of space we take on people’s hard drives.”

Noseworthy went on to say that Bungie “can’t really just grow the game infinitely, forever.”

Like all developers, Bungie is under hardware constraints. The more locations the studio adds to Destiny 2, the bigger the barrier to entry is for players.

At Forsaken’s launch, Destiny 2 took up 104 GB on PlayStation 4. If players only have a 500 GB hard drive, that limits their storage to just four Destiny 2-sized games at once. But as that number grows, likely with Shadowkeep, players have less and less room for other games.

As we move forward into the next generation of consoles and as global internet speeds improve, this issue will likely diminish. After all, the massive hard drive requirements of the Xbox 360 era would have seemed impossible in the 8 MB memory card days of the PlayStation 2. But game sizes are also increasing, so it’ll be interesting to see which one wins out.

For now, Destiny 2 fans shouldn’t hold out hope that every expansion will be the size of Forsaken, or that every original location in the original Destiny will eventually return in the sequel. As for what the future holds beyond Destiny 2, Bungie remains mum.

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