Destiny 2’s Tower space is getting a makeover, and it’s happening in time with the the progression of this Season’s narrative. Players logged in at Tuesday’s weekly reset this week to find a new set of scaffolding and workers building the framework for for an expanded section of the Tower behind Ikora Rey. Speaking with Ikora gives players a hint about the desire for a portal to combat the Undying Mind, a Vex entity capable of traversing timelines that has become the central antagonist for Season of the Undying. Though she may not explicitly say that’s what is being built just behind her, the implication is there.
The addition of some simple scaffolding and construction work represents a huge change from how Bungie has handled storytelling in Destiny 2’s world before. Made possible by the game being free-to-play, Bungie can now bring every Guardian along for the ride and progress the state of the world in realtime without needing to maintain some kind of split continuity for players who may not have specific content yet. (Or worse, stagnate and not update the world at all, despite being more than two years since the conclusion of the Red War campaign.)
For more than two years now, Guardians have been returning to Destiny 2’s Tower social area to pick up bounties, turn in engrams, and otherwise utilize the main social hub of Destiny’s gamespace. We’ve been listening to the same dialog (still no word from Fenchurch? We should send out a search party) and looking at the rough and haphazard makeup of the ramshackle accommodations we’ve called home since the first Tower fell to the Red Legion. Forward progression in the space has been limited since Destiny 2’s launch despite the story marching on.
Some of the biggest changes have come in the form of removing Cayde-6 from the Tower following his death at the beginning of Forsaken, as well as the opening of the obnoxiously distant Annex portion of the Tower to house Ada-1, The Drifter, and Benedict 99-40 for their respective seasonal content additions. Limited time events may add decor and vendors, but looking back two years, the Tower is largely the exact same space it was from the moment we took out Ghaul, woke up the Traveler. Even the launch of Shadowkeep didn’t really make any notable changes to the Tower space.
For Season of the Undying, Bungie is following through on their promise to evolve the game meaningfully over time and tell the story during the course of the Season. The construction behind Ikora is one of the first major hints of that happening. By the end of November, it’s likely we’ll have seen a whole portal get built week by week, ready to take us to where and when the Undying Mind lies in wait, killing it over and over again as a community until it’s got nowhere and no when left to run.
Back in Destiny 1, the Rise of Iron expansion in Year 3 made some changes to the Cosmodrome patrol zone (winterized it, tore down one wall, added a new area), but this was a separate instance of the space, not an evolution of the existing one, which was also still available in the Director. The idea was there, but the structure of the game didn’t allow for a cohesive evolution.
If the Destiny 2 Tower expansion is just the beginning of how Bungie plans to evolve this world, what can we expect from the future? Will the Tower continue to expand and grow? Could we see entire patrol zones changed based on events in the campaign? Will Tess ever hear from Fenchurch?
I’d even love to see this extend to seeing some intial setup of Seasonal event decorations in the Tower ahead of the actual event period (you know, cardboard boxes with “The Dawning” or “Festival of the Lost” scrawled on the side in permanent marker, tinsel and strings of lights spilling out of open flaps, workers around the Tower beginning to set them up). It would help hype players up for the event and provide the feeling that the world is indeed living and breathing. The possibilities are quite exciting, and they’ve all been kicked off by a simple bit of construction in the Tower.