Bungie’s announcement of Destiny: The Taken King came during E3 last week with various physical and digital editions of the expansion to the shooter. Some of the details behind these extra editions had existing PlayStation and Xbox owners slapping their foreheads wondering why they are being asked to buy the original version of Destiny and its two expansions again just to get the extra content. Things boiled over on Monday though after a Bungie developer interview further outraged the fanbase.
Destiny: The Taken King will be sold separately as a digital download for $39.99 when it releases to consoles this September. It will also come with a VIP Package that includes a new sparrow, armor shader, and year one emblem.
Meanwhile, The Taken King – Legendary Edition will be available for $59.99 and packs in the original game, first two expansions and The Taken King. All sounds good so far, right? The Collector’s Editions is where things begin to go off the rail.
Both the Digital Collector’s Edition and the physical Collector’s Edition that cost $79.99 each come with exclusives such as class specific emotes, armor shaders, and class items that come with XP bonuses. Meanwhile, the physical edition comes with a Treasure Island book, a Strange Coin replica, steelbook case, and a “collection of relics and artifacts.”
The problem is that both Collector’s Editions come with the original release of Destiny the first two expansions and The Taken King. There is no option for existing owners to get the special content without spending extra to buy the content they already own.
This enraged the Destiny community with multiple threads in the game’s Reddit forums, NeoGAF, and Bungie’s website discussing how existing owners were being ripped off. Things really came to a head with a Eurogamer interview with Lead Designer Luke Smith raising these fan concerns. Questions posed to Smith elicited flippant answers that did not address the concerns, in the eyes of fans.
When the Eurogamer interviewer pointed out that it would be better to offer fans the Collector’s Edition content without forcing them to rebuy existing content, Smith would only say that he empathized with them. Smith repeatedly tried to explain that it was about the value proposition of the total package, but his answers are not ones that would satisfy the existing player base.
When asked about how The Taken King does not have the same amount of content as the original release of Destiny, but is the same price, Smith tried to explain the value proposition.
“Purchasers get a big, rich campaign. Fully voiced cinematics and the story of what happens when an angry alien god wages war on a solar system, all with a satisfying conclusion. You also have a new subclass to pursue and unlock. We also have a bunch of new strikes – we’re not yet talking about how many – and a new raid. We’re showing two new PVP modes and four PVP maps this week, and it’s a fairly safe bet we’re not done yet showing things off. So I’m fairly excited about the value proposition. We’re calling this a major expansion because it is. We’re giving people a whole new place to go, that new destination.”
Smith’s attitude then changed towards one of trying to “poke” at the interviewer and his voicing displeasure over having to spend extra money for things like emotes instead of them being sold separately.
Eurogamer: Final question on prices –
Luke Smith: Is it also the final question on the emotes?
Eurogamer: I’m not going to mention them again. I can’t get them.
Luke Smith: But you can if you buy the Collector’s Edition.
Eurogamer: I’m not going to buy the game and the two DLCs all over again.
Luke Smith: Okay, but first I want to poke at you on this a little bit.
Eurogamer: Poke at me?
Luke Smith: You’re feeling anxious because you want this exclusive content but you don’t know yet how much you want it. The notion of spending this money is making you anxious, I can see it –
Eurogamer: I do want them. I would buy them –
Luke Smith: If I fired up a video right now and showed you the emotes you would throw money at the screen.
When the Eurogamer interviewer pointed out that fans are frustrated because existing Destiny players are being asked to re-buy content Smith would only say, “It’s about value. The player’s assessment of the value of the content.”
Smith’s answers in this interview have not sat well with the Destiny community at large. Comments have ranged from outrage to swearing off Destiny and The Taken King.
“It wasn’t just evasion of tough questions, Luke Smith was blatantly rude to both the interviewer and the players,” Wizzer10 said on Reddit.
“He basically said, the emotes are really awesome and we think our customers are huge -blam!-ing suckers so they’ll repurchase content just to get a new dance,” imn0tgoodeither wrote on Bungie’s forums. “No way this is real. This has to be satire.”
“Screw you guys too then, I’ll pass on Destiny in all forms in the future. I don’t even care about dance emotes, the principal of it all and their attitude towards dedicated players is gross,” Fury451 added on NeoGAF.
Aside from the contentious and flippant nature of the interview, Bungie’s problem with The Taken King is asking existing Destiny players to re-buy content they already own to access special exclusive content. Additionally, they haven’t yet broken down the content of The Taken King into the number of new areas, new Strikes, new Raids, multiplayer maps, story missions, etc. That’s information that should have been defined in the announcement.
Instead, Destiny fans are scouring the announcement video and videos out of E3 for information. So far, we know that Oryx’s ship is going to be a new area, but there is a story mission on the Mars moon of Phobos and possibly a quest or story mission on Mercury as well. Two new multiplayer modes were announced – Mayhem and Rift – along with four new maps. The number of Strikes is unknown as Smith would only say “a bunch.”
It does sound though like the Destiny cross-buy initiative between the PS4 and PS3 plus the Xbox One and Xbox 360 is not going to be repeated with The Taken King.
I would expect a Bungie Weekly Update this Thursday or next Thursday at the latest that should address some of this information and hopefully some of the concerns from the fans. They have some damage to control at this point.
[Images via Bungie]