Players have waited patiently for the return of Trials of Osiris, and Bungie spent that time re-crafting the fan-favorite mode from the original Destiny. Lars Bakken, creative lead, and Rob Adams, art director on Destiny 2, spoke to Polygon about rebuilding the iconic mode for Season of the Worthy and beyond.
Elimination is the 3v3 game mode currently active in Trials. It was also the Trials mode in the original Destiny. Bungie listened to the community to learn how players wanted to see Trials return. The studio held community summits — where content creators and others would visit the studio — to hear what some of the world’s best players wanted to see if Trials were to come back.
But ultimately, Bakken boiled all the feedback down to a simple idea: “Keep it as close to [the original] Destiny as you possibly can.”
For Trials of the Nine — the Destiny 2 version of Trials put on hiatus in 2018 — Bungie made some major changes to the formula. But this new Trials of Osiris takes the mode back to how it played in the original Destiny. There are reward tiers, Boons to assist struggling players, and the return of the fabled Lighthouse — a destination reserved only for players who can win seven matches without a single loss.
Bakken and Adams told us there was a small list of sacred items the team knew they had to get right.
“[Trials of Osiris] has to be 3v3,” said Bakken. “It has to be Elimination. It has to be ticket-based. So there are stakes. The combination of the ticket, Elimination, 3v3, and revives — all those things being so core to the D1 experience — those things had to come back because every single time you [went] down or [made] a mistake [...] you felt it.”
But there are also improvements to the old way of doing things. Quality-of-life enhancements like players being able to reset their Trials card from Orbit — rather than having to visit the mode’s vendor — return from Trials of the Nine. The previously lengthy team intros have also been cut down.
As for how Trials of Osiris will evolve over time, Bakken and Adams are waiting to hear from players.
“I can tell you that all of our plans are still in flux,’’ said Adams. “We’re pretty excited about all the things we’re talking about. And a lot of it really depends on the feedback that we get from our players over the next several weeks.”
It’s still not clear whether the team will refresh the Trials of Osiris weapons and armor when season 11 hits this summer. The focus is being flexible, and the team is ready to listen to fans once the mode is back in players’ hands.
That said, not every player can hold their own in the Trials of Osiris. The mode is well known for housing thousands of very good Destiny players, all competing to earn their Flawless tickets and reach the Lighthouse. This has scared off more casual players.
But Bungie doesn’t see Trials as inaccessible, and instead refer to it as aspirational. And for players who will never get to the Lighthouse without the help of a friend or streamer, that’s OK too.
“The aspiration part is very important for Destiny as a game,” said Bakken. “Even if you’re not going to raid or go to the Lighthouse, it is great [for players] to have those options and those opportunities in their own game. [...] I’ve already seen so many people on Twitter say, ‘you know, first flawless run is for me and my team of three and then I’m gonna spend the whole rest of the weekend helping other people try to get rewards, try to go flawless.’ And that is like super heartening, right? That’s amazing.”
Just as Clans come together to do teaching runs for raids, great PvP players leap to the aid of those without the skill or patience to compete in Trials. And now, after nearly two years, the Destiny community has a PvP event to rally around.