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Bungie on the challenges of reviving old raids and locations in Destiny 2: Shadowkeep

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So much of Destiny 2 is new, but what about everything we left behind in the original Destiny?

Destiny 2: Shadowkeep - a bunker on the Moon
The Shrine of Oryx from the first Destiny, rebuilt in Destiny 2
Bungie

With every new Destiny 2 release, Bungie tends to mix a bit of the original Destiny back into Destiny 2. Usually that comes in the form of a beloved Exotic from the past, but Shadowkeep is bringing back an entire location for the first time.

Balancing when to keep things fresh in Destiny 2 and when to bring an idea back is a difficult challenge for the team at Bungie. Polygon sat down with general manager Mark Noseworthy and franchise director Luke Smith to talk about that mix.

On the subject of the Moon’s return, we asked Smith about other destinations he’d like to see return. After refusing to say — laughingly worried he’d create an unfair bias at the studio — Smith explained his own thought process of returning to other old locations.

“As a pretty hardcore Destiny player, I wonder what’s happened on a number of those worlds,” said Smith. “As a game developer, there’s a sort of practical reality too. We probably couldn’t explore all of those worlds in the Director [Destiny 2’s in-game menu system] and on the disk at the same time.”

Noseworthy and Smith explained the limitations of Destiny 2 from a technical perspective, saying the team can’t grow the game forever. But Destiny 2 players want a mix of what they lost from the original game and new adventures to pursue. Bungie seems to be aware of this.

Crota’s End
Guardians fight Crota in the original Destiny
Bungie

In light of players returning to the Moon’s Hellmouth — one of the old raid locations from the original Destiny — we asked about returning raids like Crota’s End.

“You can jump down into the Hellmouth, but Crota’s End is not there,” Smith joked about Shadowkeep.

But Smith also offered a more serious answer on remastering original Destiny raids in Destiny 2.

“What’s the mix of old and new in Destiny?” Smith asked. “I’m not directly a parent. If I were a parent with multiple children, I imagine I would feel similar about each child, the way I feel about all the raids. I love all of them. They’re all different and unique and I miss playing them.”

But Smith expressed that the studio has a talented raid design team itching to do new things as well.

“We’ve got to find the balance for what’s the best use of their time and talent, and how does that work in the ecosystem,” said Smith.

He continued, saying this philosophy isn’t just for raids. Finding the balance of old and new is an ongoing conversation at Bungie.

For the team, Shadowkeep and the Moon are a part of that mix; the new Moon is a delicate balance of old and new. Smith expressed that — while they don’t have anything to announce — there are other opportunities to bring back familiar locations, enemies, or weapons and put a fresh spin on them.

Smith said the hypothetical question that he and the rest of the Bungie leadership team ask is “what’s the next form that we want Destiny 2 to take.”

Players already know fan favorite exotics like the Monte Carlo are coming back, and Bungie’s teased returning enemies like Crota and Skolas for Shadowkeep. Based on what Smith is saying, players haven’t seen the last of the original Destiny content in Destiny 2.