As Bungie prepares to release Shadowkeep, the first major update to Destiny 2 since it parted ways with publisher Activision earlier this year, the studio is emphasizing that the split wasn't a tumultuous one, and that the changes coming to Destiny 2 weren't being stymied by the game's former publisher.
In an interview with Eurogamer's Tom Phillips at Gamescom, Bungie communications director David "Deej" Dague spoke about how the studio is adjusting to operating independently. Dague insisted the changes on the development side of things have been minor, and that any perceived differences have more to do with Bungie "gaining a better understanding" of Destiny 2 and the wants of the game's playerbase. As for shiny new features like cross saves and the move to retool the game's Year 1 content as a free-to-play entry point, Dague said that this new era of Destiny 2 can't simply be attributed to the developer/publisher split.
When asked if these changes would've been possible while working with Activision, Dague firmly rebutted the notion that Activision was holding the game back: "I think we need to dispel the notion Activision was some prohibitive overlord that wasn't letting us do awesome things. We launched this franchise with Activision, naturally and over the course of time we both decided we had different goals for what we wanted it to be, so we both went our separate ways. It was amicable, and here we are making this game on our own, doing what we think we need to do to make it awesome."
Dague went on to emphasize that Bungie is committed to stewarding Destiny 2's future without assists from outside studios, and Shadowkeep's principle producer Scott Taylor chimed in to promise that the update will move the main Destiny storyline forward rather than expand on side stories.
In hindsight, Bungie weathered its previous Halo-era split from Microsoft fairly well, going on to to launch Destiny with Activision and support both the first game and Destiny 2 through first years of live service that proved to be polarizing. Bungie faces the task of building off the parts of Destiny 2: Forsaken that worked best, has the ability to grant itself the extra development time it needs, and is supported by a fanbase that seems energized by the pre-Shadowkeep rollout of Cross Saves. We'll see if the awesome things the studio says it has in store for Destiny 2 pan out when Shadowkeep launches on October 1.