Ultimate week, with out a fanfare, Bungie opened a door in The Fingers Broker strike. Most probably most of the avid gamers who loaded in to finish the week’s Dusk: The Ordeal did not even understand—passing during the first hall as commonplace. Those who did, even though, were given to run a gauntlet of Cabal turrets, and in the end discovered a mysterious misery sign resulting in a brand new venture off The Tangled Shore, on a reputedly deserted Cabal send.
The venture, Presage, is a triumph—a claustrophobic exhibit for why Future 2 would make a perfect horror recreation. Your exploration of the doomed vessel Glykon moves an unnerving stability between quiet, creeping dread, irritating battles, or even a bit of the place you get squished through a large, room-sized trash compactor. It takes a prior to now defanged enemy race, and places them in a context that makes them really feel correctly creepy once more.
Extra importantly, even though, it is the continuation of a pattern that is helping to set Future 2 except different are living carrier video games. Presage is the newest in a sequence of secret unique quests—a convention that dates again to Future 1’s The Taken King enlargement. Again then, avid gamers stumbled upon a brand new segment of the Misplaced to Mild heroic tale venture, which resulted in a model of the Traitor’s Ketch that have been infested with Taken. In the event that they cleared the Ketch inside of 10 mins, they have been rewarded with the unique sniper rifle Black Spindle.
Fittingly, the primary secret unique quest in Future 2, The Whisper, used to be a timed problem that rewarded Whisper of the Trojan horse—necessarily a brand new model of Black Spindle. At the beginning, The Whisper used to be handiest to be had on weekends. Gamers needed to stay up for a particular public match within the Misplaced Oasis area of IO, and to find and kill a Taken boss whilst it used to be energetic. That opened a portal that may lead into the venture right kind.
The Whisper used to be a large leaping puzzle via Vex structure, adopted through some specifically tough struggle and a large-scale boss battle—as soon as once more, with a 10 minute cut-off date. Now not handiest used to be the venture itself a secret, but it surely used to be filled with secrets and techniques too. Its heroic model even referenced Future’s first raid, the Vault of Glass, and its long-rumoured however by no means found out further loot chest.
Extra importantly, The Whisper used to be a remark of intent. Future 2’s first yr used to be now not really well won. Due to its double number one loadout machine, mounted rolls on guns and a few lacklustre expansions, many in the neighborhood had grown dissatisfied with the sport. Greater than that, even though, Future 2 felt philosophically other—the place the primary recreation embraced thriller and collaboration, the sequel, up till that time, might be performed with out ever consulting a wiki.
Whisper, then, felt like Bungie recapturing one of the vital magic and nostalgia from the unique recreation, and giving avid gamers a style of the route Future 2 used to be transferring. Later that yr, Forsaken arrived to nice acclaim, bringing again one of the vital friction to its programs. Bungie even stopped telling avid gamers the place Xur used to be hiding every weekend.
Reside carrier video games are continuously a peculiar, asynchronous dialog between participant and developer. One aspect is a disparate morasse of offended, impatient, continuously conflicting voices—a roiling typhoon of fixing reviews and needs. The opposite is emotionless and monolithic, responding slowly and cautiously, however dramatically. All the way through Future 2’s existence, no remark hits tougher than the semblance of a secret venture.
Future 2’s 2d secret unique quest, 0 Hour, gave the impression right through Season of the Drifter—as much as then a low level for arguably the sport’s absolute best yr. Its base job, The Reckoning, used to be relaxing sufficient, however courted frustration via its low weapon droprates, and managers that have been all-too-eager to stomp you off its lengthy, slender bridge as a counter to avid gamers’ increasingly more absurd skills. Or even the brand new Gambit mode, whilst just right, used to be one thing of a distinct segment addition—Gambit, it sort of feels, won’t ever be liked through the neighborhood at huge.
0 Hour, then, used to be the match of the season—a supply of memes, response movies and one of the vital ugliest ships in Future historical past. The discharge of a secret unique quest can also be the adaptation between a just right and a foul season in the neighborhood’s reminiscence. Presage’s lifestyles suggests just right issues for Season of the Selected’s legacy.
So much is product of the issues Future 2 will get incorrect, however I might argue those quests are one of the vital issues that lend a hand it stand except its friends. Positive, many are living carrier video games court docket thriller, hiding Easter eggs and even ARG-style teases for long term seasons. However Future 2’s absolute best secrets and techniques don’t seem to be simply throwaway asides. They are continuously one of the vital recreation’s absolute best content material—extra experimental, difficult or thematically attention-grabbing than a lot of its same old missions.
As timed missions, each The Whisper and 0 Hour have been mild on direct tale beats, however the nature of the ticking clock shifts the focal point as a substitute to the connection between participant and fashion designer. As a large-scale leaping puzzle, The Whisper used to be stuffed with delicate design alternatives designed to troll the participant—from the damaged ledge installed the very best position to punish an inattentive Parent, to the large room filled with difficult, exact jumps that you’ll be able to completely skip through crouchwalking right into a hidden passage. 0 Hour, in the meantime, used to be set within the ruins of the outdated tower—an emotive, nostalgic selection used for nice impact.
Whilst Presage is not timed, and has a far more potent dating with the season’s tale, it however continues this legacy. Via doubling down at the horror—a virtually Useless Area-style exploration of a decrepit send on which one thing has obviously long gone incorrect—it is precisely the type of design area that shall we Future 2 experiment with what it may be. It is a resounding luck.
Presage additionally makes me looking forward to Future 2’s fourth yr. In Yr three, post-Shadowkeep, Bungie’s seasonal style supposed that avid gamers knew maximum of what used to be going to occur. New content material used to be given away in advance by the use of roadmap bulletins—the want to market it every season to attainable avid gamers overriding the fun of a groovy neighborhood second. That is how maximum are living carrier video games appear to function. Presage, even though, does not seem on Season of the Selected’s promo subject material. Bungie appears to be making a bet that, through wonder liberating it early within the season, the neighborhood reaction shall be simply as efficient. I’m hoping it can pay off.
Presage is a robust reminder of what Future 2 does absolute best, and—optimistically—an indication of Bungie’s priorities for the remainder of the yr.