According to apparently leaked – and apparently verified – promotional art (which you can see above), Destiny’s next expansion will be Rise of Iron. It will launch late this year, to replace the delayed (and supposedly rebooted) Destiny 2, and will be made, at least in part, of content previously designed and then cut from an earlier release. Not that that process is at all unusual for Destiny expansions.
The set-up? We don’t know anything officially, but we can work a few things out. The artwork features Lord Saladin – the Titan who runs the semi-regular, Iron Banner multiplayer event – with a huge flaming hammer and three two wolves. No moon though, alas, otherwise it would have been perfect. The snow, rocks, and dilapidated metal work in the art imply a setting focus of Old Russia, which would make sense given that this expansion supposedly features the Raid pulled from last year’s House of Wolves expansion, which started there. And the fact that Earth is only one of two planets in Destiny’s starting line-up to not yet have a Raid of its own.
But there might well actually be more going on here than the obvious. So let’s analyse a few possibilities with a proper, Destiny nerd’s eye, shall we?
First up, ‘Rise of Iron’ almost certainly refers to the Lords of Iron, the ancient warriors who defended the City in its early days, and who the Banner now pays tribute to. We’re almost certainly going to see Saladin step out of his usual role of tournament vendor and become a fully-fledged, campaign quest-giver, but are we also going to see the rise of a new generation of the Lords? Are we ourselves, in fact, going to ascend to that title? Heck, time-travel is certainly possible too, so maybe we’ll even be going back to help in those early battles, to ensure that Destiny’s present actually happens.
And while Earth is a good bet for the setting, it’s not necessarily going to be Old Russia. We know that an expanded Collapsed Europe area was cut from the original version of Destiny – and later The Taken King expansion – so it’s possible, albeit a long-shot, that the setting might finally see the light of day here.
But what’s up with that hammer? Are we looking at a new class of melee weapon, to compliment the sword, or has Saladin just got a really natty version of the Titan’s standard Hammer of Sol ability? I’d swing toward the former. And I’d also question what those wolves are about too. They could of course just be environmental detail, and an abstract nod to the Fallen House of Wolves, but given that a) we’ve barely seen any indigenous wildlife on any of Destiny’s planets, and b) they look really friendly with Saladin, I’m going to put an outside bet on some sort of familiar system coming into the game. I’ve no idea how it would work, but just gimme a damn space-dog now, Bungie. Even if he just potters round sniffing stuff out for me on Patrol.