The next Destiny 2 expansion won't be released this year. Bungie says it's delaying The Witch Queen to 2022, partly due to complications arising from the COVID-19 pandemic.
"With COVID-19 keeping us away from the office, and the large amount of work on our plates, we needed to move the date in order to make sure that both this year's updates and The Witch Queen were both delivered at the quality we strive for, and on a schedule that made sense for everyone involved," assistant game director Joe Blackburn wrote. The studio also realized it needs to add another chapter after Lightfall (the expansion that was originally planned for 2022) to round out the "first saga of Destiny."
Bungie was already considering moving the annual expansions to the first half of the year, largely for the sake of "the health of the team." The impact of COVID-19, along with the complexity of The Witch Queen and other plans the studio has for 2021, apparently made that call easier.
On the flip side, Blackburn revealed some positive news for Destiny 2 players in his post. Bungie is . He said the studio will carry out alpha tests during Season 14 with the aim of rolling out cross-play to everyone when Season 15 starts in the fall. The studio won't match PC and console players together unless those on PC invite friends from other platforms to group up with them.
As of Season 14, Bungie will backtrack on an unpopular mechanic that it brought to Destiny 2 as part of last year's (which was also ). The studio brought in a sunsetting system, by which it effectively gave every weapon and piece of loot (except for exotics) an expiration date, as notes. It was no longer possible to increase the power of items a year after they were introduced.
The aim was to bring better balance to the game and stop certain weapons from becoming overpowered. Players can still use sunsetted gear for patrols and other activities where the power level doesn't matter much, but those weapons are far less useful in raids.
“This is a big change for Destiny and one that we did not make lightly,” Blackburn wrote. “However, we believe there’s nothing more important in Destiny than getting our rewards right.” Bungie will look into other ways of creating "a fresh and balanceable ecosystem for our most aspirational content," but it's unlikely to announce a new plan to do that until after The Witch Queen.
Blackburn touched on a few other points in his lengthy post, including Bungie's plan to tackle cheaters — it's doubling the size of its security team this year, for one thing. He also revealed early concept art (pictured above) for one of the Witch Queen armor sets.