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Destiny 2 Cross Play Explained: How Bungie’s New Unified System Works

At long last, Cross Play is coming to Destiny 2! The long-standing first-person shooter is introducing this long-sought-after feature and finally connecting players on every platform within a single ecosystem. That means less time spent trying to convince your friends to join specific platforms, and more time slaying (or harnessing) the Darkness.

Now, Destiny 2 was not initially designed to handle bringing together the settings and quirks of multiple platforms together. Because of this, the team at Bungie is taking a very strategic approach to this launch to help mitigate issues and ensure Cross Play is as good as we’ve all dreamed it will be. What you can expect from Cross Play in Destiny 2 when it launches? Here’s our take on Destiny 2 Cross Play explained.

When Is Cross Play Arriving in Destiny 2?

Cross Play Official
Image: Bungie

Cross Play was originally teased all the way back in February of 2021. This led to a brief Destiny 2 Cross Play beta test from May 25 to May 26, where a unique version of the Vanguard Strike playlist allowed for cross-platform play. This was designed mainly to be a technical test to ensure integrity between platforms remained stable and consistent.

The full official launch of Cross Play will arrive early on in Season 15, which itself is slated to launch on August 24th, 2021. The exact Destiny 2 Cross Play release date is yet to be announced, but if it follows previous game updates, we can probably expect to see it within the first few weeks of the new season.

Which Platforms Will Use Cross Play in Destiny 2?

With the upcoming release in mind, can Destiny 2 Cross Play between every platform?

Cross Play will be available to every platform that currently supports Destiny 2. That includes both current and last-gen Xbox and PlayStation, as well as PC and Stadia users. At this time, Bungie has not made mention of any flighting system or a tiered release for each platform. Instead, every single platform will premiere Cross Play at the exact same time. 

Just be ready for some specific issues to pop up on each platform at various levels of severity. This is fairly common with Destiny 2 updates, but the team at Bungie is always quick to find a solution, and we don’t expect anything to go differently here.

Destiny 2 Cross Play Explained

Cross Play UI
Image: Bungie

So how exactly will Cross Play in Destiny 2 work? Is literally everyone playing together? How will Fireteams work? What about balancing? Luckily, the team at Bungie has answered all of that in a recent TWAB and we’ve condensed it all down into the quick hits you need to know.

How Cross Play Affects Cross Save

Destiny 2 has had Cross Save for a while now. However, while progression may work between platforms, it’s actually set up as separate Guardians. That means that specific purchases and rewards have been limited to a given system and that your name can be different. With Cross Play, purchases remain distinct but the naming system is being simplified to give you a singular identity known as your Bungie Name.

This will include a display name combined with a numerical ID consisting of four numbers. For example, my online name would now be prewirth#1234. Your display name will be what sits above your head while in-game, and the numerical ID will be added within menus.

Bungie will be running a one-time filtration process on every player’s name. This will be pulled from the platform you’ve most recently played on and will remove special characters. If any adjusted name is found to have offensive or fully unreadable terms, you will simply be changed to “Guardian(random number).” Be sure to log in and adjust your name ahead of time to get exactly what you want, because the name change feature will not arrive until later this winter.

How to Add and Play With Friends

Checking and adding to your roster of friends to your Fireteam or Clan is still basically the same. You still have the flat list of names, but now with added icons to signify where they’re playing from and the ability to filter based on each platform. Adding friends, who will now be known as Bungie Friends, is also just as simple as before.

Just log into Destiny 2 on your platform of choice or the mobile or web app and send out invites. You can also search for your friends through the Invite screen or use the new Bungie.net friend finder. This will be a new tool added alongside Cross Play, and we’ll be sure to add that link at launch.

So how does this all affect how you’ll create, join, and play with a Fireteam? Thankfully, that’s been simplified to all work within the in-game menus. Now, if you get an invite, it will push you to the Roster screen where you can then select an invite request and join your Fireteam. You can even search for recent people you’ve played with and send Fireteam requests in this same menu, making growing a Clan or friend base that much easier.

Chatting With Friends

D2 Cross Play
Image: Bungie

At launch, voice chat between platforms will not be available. While not ideal, the team at Bungie didn’t want this feature to hold up Cross Play launching. It will go live a short time later, since it appears to be a bug rather than a feature creation issue.

Text chat is also being enabled for Steam players and will be integrated into other platforms sometime between launch and the Witch Queen expansion. So, for now, it might be a great time to build a Discord server!

How Will Cross Play Work?

Probably the biggest concern for Guardians is how will Cross Play maintain an even playing field. Especially for matchmaking in PvP, there’s a good chance that PC players may have an initial edge or specific platform adjustments break the meta of another. Well, Bungie has a solid solution for that, which involves splitting the matchmaking pool depending on your Fireteam. Here’s how it breaks down:

  • PC players will match with other PC players 
  • Console players (including Stadia) will match with other console players. 
  • Fireteams that include console players and one or more PC players will match in the PC player pool.

PvE, on the other hand, will have one massive matchmaking pool. There will be no separation here, since the concern is primarily around competitive breaks.

Cross-Play Post-Launch Roadmap

Of course, Cross Play is not a one-and-done thing. Here’s what will be added in the months leading up to the Witch Queen expansion.

  • Early Season 15: Base Cross Play system launches with Bungie Name and Friends, cross-platform play and invites, and a new player search system.
  • Right after launch: Cross-platform voice chat is introduced
  • Winter: Bungie name change feature, text chat expands to consoles and supported by keyboards for text input

Destiny 2 Cross Save and Purchases Explained

Destiny 2 Cross Save
Image: Bungie

While not new additions with Cross Play, it’s worth mentioning how these systems work. Cross Save allows you to maintain progression across different platforms when playing Destiny 2. All you need to do to activate it is link your platform account (PlayStation ID, Microsoft account. SteamID, etc) through Bungie’s website. Doing this will also make sure your new Bungie Name applies to all platforms at the launch of Cross Play.

Cross-purchases on the other hand will not be changing due to Cross Play. Destiny 2 is a free-to-play game, but expansions and season pass purchases are still locked into each platform. Cosmetic items and any progression-fueled unlocks will still translate between platforms, but no word on when all purchases will be under one roof just yet.

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We’re extremely excited about the introduction of Cross Play in Destiny 2 and hope that this guide will help you prepare to play with friends on other platforms. Be sure to let your Fireteam know what to expect from Cross Play by sharing this article on your favorite social channels, and sign up for our newsletter for the latest on Destiny 2.

Happy gaming!

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