Destiny 2 on PC: What we know and what we're waiting for
Destiny and PC gaming: two great things that should be even better when combined, right?
It's natural for all sorts of gamers to be excited as we learn more about the upcoming title, but as a PC gamer there are some specific curiosities and concerns that come along with a big franchise move like this.
So what do we know, what do we want to know, and what do we hope to see from Bungie with the PC release of Destiny 2?
Destiny 2 PC Features
Thanks to the recent livestream event, we know that Destiny 2 is going to feature plenty of gizmos and gadgets essential to a successful PC title.
Although some of these features are exciting to hear about, they also sound a bit like Bungie is hyping features that are par for the course for a PC game.
It’s confirmed that the PC Destiny release will feature 4K support, an uncapped framerate, widescreen support, remappable keys, an adjustable FOV slider, text chat, and a detailed settings menu. All good things, and definitely good news for people rooting for Bungie’s success on the PC.
But it’s important to note that together these features may sound impressive, especially compared to what you get on consoles, but they’re really just ticking off everything we would expect out of any AAA game launching on the PC.
Any game that launched on the PC with a capped framerate (especially a competitive shooter), that didn’t allow you to at least change some of the most basic keybinds or tweak the bulk of settings in the menu would be absolutely ripped apart by the PC community at large. That's because these features are considered basic requirements for any PC game to be considered a quality port.
Don’t get me wrong, it’s still fantastic that these features are going to be a part of the core PC experience, because it means that Bungie is taking the game seriously. A huge concern for any game with console roots making the jump to the PC is whether they recognize that the PC gaming community has a largely different expectation of quality than a purely console audience.
How good will Destiny 2 be on PC?
The fact that the PC version of Destiny 2 has a slightly more tentative timeline than the console equivalents might be frustrating, but it is definitely a good sign. It means that the developer and publisher are willing to take the time needed to produce a quality product, which isn't always the case with big titles like this.
Luke Smith, the Game Director for Destiny 2, told PC Gamer: "We're not committed to a PC date yet, but at Bungie we're totally committed to making a PC build as great as we can...we want to make sure that this version of the game has the time it needs to bake in the oven so it's a delicious piece of bread when it comes out."
That's exactly the mindset we hope to see with a PC release of any title, especially a massive and complex MMO/FPS hybrid. That said, as a fan of both those genres on the PC, I want more specific details of a few of these PC friendly features, before I throw down a $60 pre-order.
An uncapped framerate means absolutely nothing if the game is so saturated in mouse acceleration and post-processing that turning a 180 feels like I’m dragging my mouse through a bowl of rice pudding. Especially for a game that’s focused entirely on FPS gameplay and that features a massive competitive element, this is easily going to be the make-or-break line for the hardcore FPS players out there.
Additionally, although it’s great that the title is going to feature 4K support and a detailed graphical settings menu, that means little until we have a general idea of the title’s performance. A poorly optimized PC MMO is never going to make it off the ground, since MMOs depend on having large and active communities and can't just rely on PC gamers with top-tier hardware. So although it’s great that Bungie’s test rig at the event, which featured a GTX 1080 Ti (one of the most powerful and expensive graphics cards on the market), can handle the build, it really says very little to us until we know whether Destiny 2 is actually going to be well optimized, and therefore available as a quality experience for gamers throughout the PC hardware spectrum.
That said, Bungie has a pretty good PC gaming history to work with at this point. The PC version of the original Halo: Combat Evolved was one of the best PC games of its time, and it still has active private servers across the world.
Additionally, Blizzard’s partnership on the title (in the form of distribution through Battle.net) might not mean a lot in terms of actual studio-to-studio involvement, but Bungie would have to be absolutely blind to miss Blizzard’s success with Overwatch. A highly optimized FPS with no mouse acceleration, ridiculous levels of customization, and an extremely nuanced meta game, that managed to wrack up a plethora of Game of the Year awards across the board.
Blizzard also has a history of supporting MMOs that last, and they’re not likely to back a title (sister company or otherwise) that could do anything to hurt the reputation of their brand and their Battle.net platform. The PC gaming community has a long memory.
So here’s hoping that Destiny 2 on PC is going to be fantastic, jaw dropping, and last for years to come. As a PC gamer, I’m excited to see it roll out on my preferred platform, but I really want to know that it’s going to deliver more than just a satisfactory FPS experience with a chewy casual MMO center.
I want Destiny 2 to feel good to play, I want it to feel smooth as butter as I sprint across planets and blast through raid bosses with my friends. I really hope that the developers take the time they need to get it there.