With Destiny 2: Beyond Light’s November launch, the looter-shooter sequel is officially in Year 4. One of the most exciting features coming down the pipeline in this coming year — at least, of the features that players know about — is the return of Vault of Glass, the franchise’s original raid. But after game director Luke Smith posited that newer enemy types like Champions could make their way into the old raid, players have wondered how much the beloved raid will be “modernized” in Destiny 2.
We spoke to assistant game director Joe Blackburn to understand what a modern Vault of Glass looks like.
How different will Vault of Glass feel?
“I think the ultimate goal here is to make it feel like Vault of Glass felt when the first time you did it,” said Blackburn. “Which is probably pretty different than if we just did a straight port of Vault of Glass.” Since Vault of Glass first debuted in the original Destiny, players have gotten new Supers, new Exotics, new weapon types, a new element, and, well, a sequel. “The guardians have become significantly stronger in this amount of time,” said Blackburn.
Blackburn told Polygon the raid team responsible for the Vault of Glass remake went back into the original version on PlayStation 4 just to see how it felt. The team determined that “we [Guardians] would smoke this with Destiny 2 weapons and armor mods.” Speaking from personal experience, going back to old Destiny raids earlier this year, Vault of Glass’ enemies feel weak, and the flow of enemies onto the battlefield is extremely slow. In a modern Destiny where every Super can eliminate a dozen or more enemies, and players can trap doorways with weapons like Anarchy, boss encounters like Atheon and Templar would just fall over.
And therein lies the challenge for Blackburn and the raid design team. “We definitely are going to make changes to make it feel challenging, like it felt before,” said Blackburn. “But we don’t want to go too far, and make it feel like it’s a different raid.” Blackburn compared the process to how the team updated Vault of Glass and the Crota’s End raid for Destiny’s final patch. “There were some slight mechanical tweaks,” said Blackburn. “There were some slight sandbox tweaks, but it was like, ‘Oh, yeah, this is still the Oracles encounter, this is still the Templar encounter.’” Blackburn told us the team may need to change a bit more this time around — because of the leap from the original Destiny to Destiny 2 — but players shouldn’t walk into a room and say, “This is not the boss fight that I remember.”
“Every encounter will still start with people who present the [original Destiny] strategy for the fight,” said Blackburn. Whether those original strategies hold up is another question, as players will doubtlessly find far more efficient ways to clear bosses with the host of new tools at their disposal. But for players’ first time back in the Vault of Glass, the fights themselves should look familiar enough that Guardians can initially graft the old strategy onto the remade raid and find success.
The iconic weapons are back
For veteran Destiny players, Vault of Glass is more than just a raid — it’s a piñata for some of the most beloved loot in the franchise’s history. For players hoping to get their hands on a Destiny 2 version of Fatebringer or Vision of Confluence, Blackburn has some great news. “Just like I don’t think you can bring back Vault of Glass if it doesn’t feel like Vault of Glass, and call it Vault of Glass, you can’t bring Vault of Glass without the weapons that feel like Vault of Glass, right? And so I would expect favorites to return,” said Blackburn.
“There’s obviously some [Destiny 2] updating to go into those perk pools,” said Blackburn. “But no one is out to create a Found Verdict or a Fatebringer here that feels radically different than the original Fatebringer. Because then it just feels like we’re lying to players, right? Like, ‘That’s not what Fatebringer feels like.’ Everyone knows what the recoil pattern is on that gun. Everyone knows what perks they wanted.” Weapons won’t necessarily be one-to-one copies of what players had before, but Bungie is putting in the work to recreate guns that many players still tout as franchise favorites.
Vault of Glass is a tricky but crucial raid to bring back into Destiny. It was ultimately what saved Destiny from its lackluster launch in 2014, as players who stuck with the game found something truly special in the bowels of Venus. Without Vault of Glass, I doubt the Destiny franchise would look the way it does now. Bringing it into Destiny 2 for the first time creates an opportunity that’s twofold: one for veterans and one for new players.
Blackburn seems equally excited both for those who loved Vault of Glass in the original game and for the Destiny 2-only players who’ll get to take a stab at the revamped raid. Whenever Bungie decides to drop the Vault of Glass in 2021, it will look and sound like the Vault of Glass you remember, just with a bit more oomph to make it engaging for 2021 Guardians.