Destiny 2, one of the first entirely free-to-play games on Stadia, is gaining full cross-play support sometime this fall.
Update: Destiny 2’s cross-play has seemingly arrived months ahead of schedule.
Since launch, Destiny 2 has been one of the premier games on Stadia, being included with Stadia Pro for a full year, then becoming the streaming service’s first free-to-play game. We’ve mentioned before that Destiny 2 on Stadia has the unique advantage of making it impossible to cheat, but that was unfortunately outweighed by the severe lack of players in less popular matchmaking playlists.
While a few thousand players could be argued to be more than enough to sustain a community, that unfortunately just doesn’t ring true for all games. Destiny 2, for example, has over five different “playlists” just for its PvP mode, Crucible, each using separate matchmaking pools. The lack of players leads to longer matchmaking times, which pushes players to exclusively play more populated playlists like Control.
Earlier, Bungie mentioned in passing that full cross-play for Destiny 2 was something they would like to do, but that cross-generational play — for example, putting PlayStation 4 and PlayStation 5 players together — would need to come first. With that feature now finished, the developers are turning their attention to the future.
Bungie put out an extensive “Dev Update” in which they formally announced that full cross-play would arrive for Destiny 2 sometime in 2021. With full cross-play, Destiny 2 players on Stadia, PC, Xbox, and PlayStation will all be able to play together, which should help boost the player base and fill out the less popular modes. For now, they didn’t share any specifics of how cross-play would work, such as how to get into a lobby with a friend from another platform.
Alongside the cross-play announcement, Bungie teased a variety of other long-awaited enhancements for Destiny 2 on all platforms, coming in the next two seasons. The most exciting of these is a full “transmogrification” system to let your Guardian’s appearance not be completely tied to whichever pieces of armor have the best stats.
- Transmog will be coming with Season 14. More details to come. (See work-in-progress screen captures, below. Not final, may change!)
- DDOS protection for Destiny 2 players on all consoles will be coming in Season 13.
- The Vault of Glass raid returns.
- Crossplay is coming in 2021.
- Two strikes (Fallen S.A.B.E.R. and Devil’s Lair) are coming to Destiny 2 in Season 13.
- Legendary and Master Lost Sector rotation will be expanded to include the Lost Sectors on the Moon in Season 13, and there will be new three new pieces of Exotic armor to chase.
Update 2/25: With the latest, 13th season of Destiny 2 — Season of the Chosen — well underway, Bungie has once again shared an update to let players know how some of their previously announced major features were progressing. Alongside a bevy of information about this summer’s Season 14 release, including specifics about the armor transmogrification system, we now have a more firm timeline for cross-play to arrive in Destiny 2.
In Season 14, Bungie will begin alpha testing of cross-play, followed by a “widespread launch” in Season 15 this fall. Importantly, even once cross-play is enabled, Destiny 2’s Crucible PvP will keep console and PC players separated — unless a console player is explicitly invited into a PC lobby — for sake of fairness between the control schemes. Bungie has yet to clarify whether Stadia players will be grouped in with PC or console players, a pertinent question given Stadia offers both controller and keyboard/mouse play.
We’ve reached out to Bungie for clarification and will update if we hear more.
Update 5/11: Today marked the beginning of Season 14, now known as Season of the Splicer, and according to reports from many people on Twitter, Destiny 2’s cross-play has seemingly gone live a full season ahead of the previously announced schedule. The folks at Stadia Source have even confirmed getting a Stadia player into a lobby with players from PC.
At this time, it’s not clear whether Destiny 2’s cross-play was intended to be as broadly accessible as it is today, as the game was taken down for “emergency maintenance” shortly after the new season’s launch. That said, even after the maintenance, players were still able to connect together beyond the boundaries of the platform wars.
It’s clear that the game’s cross-play is still a work-in-progress as there’s no easy way to invite players from another platform, likely a consequence of still being an alpha feature. The only straightforward way found so far to invite/join a player from another platform is through the in-game clan menus. Alternatively, it should also be possible to play together if you’re friends with someone on both of the platforms you’re playing from.
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