I guess this is the end of the line. For now.
It's finally happening. A moment I suspected would arrive sooner or later, but yet simultaneously never really thought would happen. Destiny 2 is leaving Microsoft's Gamepass service on the 8th December. As a long-term Destiny player, I'm both sad and a little relieved - which is a pretty strange place to be.
Like a lot of Destiny players, I've been with the game from the beginning. The earliest chance I had to play it was during the Xbox beta test - and ever since then I've had at least one Destiny related client installed on my various Xboxes. All that changed yesterday morning - when I uninstalled Destiny 2 for the first time. I've no doubt that its imminent departure from Gamepass was a big part in my decision to step away for the first time in a long time.
It's not really that unusual for games to leave Gamepass. While Microsoft, along with the various publishers, make a large song and dance about games arriving on the platform, their removal is usually a much less-shared and well announced affair. As such, the imminent departure of Destiny 2 and its associated expansions are going to be the first games that I'll really feel like I've lost access to as a result of their departure - and it's a feeling that I probably need to get used to as it's so likely that it'll happen again (and again, and again, ad nauseam) in the future. It makes me sad to see it go - especially as its arrival on the service led to such a massive influx of players on the platform. I know that I can carry on playing Destiny if I really want to - but to do so means reaching into my pocket and purchasing at least one of the expansions. I'm not averse to spending money on games - far from it. But for the first time, I'm faced with having to spend money on content that I've already played to death.
I guess the best analogy I can give is one of TV. A series you love and have watched over and over again leaves Netflix. Do you run out and buy it on blu-ray? Or do you see its departure as an opportunity to watch all the other stuff that's on your list? All the stuff that you've glanced through over and over again, only to head back to the old comfortable show instead for another re-watch. For me... I normally look at everything else that's on my list - and that means re-visiting my pile of shame, which currently represents a first-world problem of epic proportions. Dark Souls 3 is on it. So is Death Stranding. And Tales of Arise. And Darksiders: Genesis. And so many others that, frankly, I won't bore you with the complete list - I'm sure you get the point. When you weigh all of this up though, the way forward seems pretty clear... and that's to leave Destiny 2 behind. At least for the moment. Fortunately for me, the current state of the game makes the decision at least a little bit easier - and that's the bit about the situation that honestly makes me breathe a tiny little sigh of relief.
Destiny 2 is in the eye of a perfect storm at the moment. The PvE game is stale, with the wait for new content likely to last until the drop of the upcoming Witch Queen expansion - currently slated for February. The current season, for me, has been underwhelming in comparison to the couple that came before it. The re-vamped Vault of Glass raid held my attention for a while - but as is normal for the game, once the group you run with have what they want from it the interest begins to wane. In the past, this has been the point that I've wandered into the game's PvP offerings - but the Crucible is no fun for me at all at the moment. It's a combination of a stale meta (and one that really doesn't suit my playstyle!) and an over-abundance of the space magic that once made Destiny so fresh now causing little but frustration. There have been no new maps or modes for pretty much as long as I can remember (no - the overhaul of Trials of Osiris does NOT count). Add to these factors the disappearance from Gamepass, and suddenly the only argument I can think of to carry on playing it at this moment in time comes to resemble the sunk-cost fallacy.
Will the disappearance from Gamepass be permanent? It's difficult to say. I don't think there's any precedent for a game being added, removed, and then re-added - especially one with as high a profile as Destiny has. With that in mind, you have to assume that the answer is yes. The cynical little voice in my head is also reminding me that we should also question the timing of the removal. With Halo Infinite's multiplayer arriving in the same week that this announcement happened, it rather begs the question of whether Bungie jumped, or Microsoft pushed - aware that they could likely help the performance of their own game if its biggest FPS competitor was no longer available on their service platform. It's a story that I'm sure we'll hear all about - five or six years from now. Whichever way it played out, it might make for some interesting reading. Or, it could be a dull tale of contract expiry. For now, no-one who knows the answer is saying much.
I suppose the other question I'm asking myself is whether my disappearance from the game will be permanent? Honestly, I doubt it. I've got a longstanding relationship with the game and I love a lot of the things it does. I've walked away and returned more times than I'd care to count - although this might be the first time I've ever actually taken the step of uninstalling it. Regardless, I'll be watching closely in the run up to the launch of The Witch Queen, paying special attention to the opinions and comments of my various online buds - as they're the ones whose insights I generally value the most when it comes to the game. For the moment though, the time for Other Games is now. I'll happily take the respite from the FOMO, and treat this as an unexpected opportunity to dip into some games that I've been meaning to play for some time. I think there's a Dark Souls shaped hole in my life right now...
Have you been playing Destiny 2 on Gamepass? Will you be paying for the expansions and carrying on after its removal? Or are you treating its removal as an opportunity to take a breather? Let me know on Twitter!