Destiny 2: Shadowkeep's finishing moves won't just be cosmetic, according to Bungie general manager Mark Noseworthy and franchise director Luke Smith. Bungie first demonstrated the finishing move system during the Destiny 2: Shadowkeep reveal, which demonstrated Guardians gaining the ability to smash targets into the ground with their fists or to rip them apart with knives to launch them off into the distance.
Since then, more news about Destiny 2: Shadowkeep has steadily trickled out, but Bungie has remained tight-lipped about how finishing moves will slot into the upcoming expansion. The new era of Destiny 2 will begin with a restricted, free-to-play version of the game called Destiny 2: New Light, which will grant players access to a limited amount of content to re-acquaint them with the franchise now that it is free from the looming shadow of Activision. Shadowkeep will also be the first major content release for Destiny 2 since Bungie split from Activision in a famous severance that many believed would never happen, with the developer now holding sole publishing rights to the franchise and its future games as well.
While many expected Destiny 3 to emerge out of the split, however, Bungie has doubled down on making Destiny 2 into the game that many believed it could be when it launched just under two years ago. In an interview with Polygon, Destiny 2 team members Noseworthy and Smith finally opened up a little more on Destiny 2: Shadowkeep's finishing moves, which won't just be for show after all - they'll provide tangible benefits to team members instead. According to the interview, players will be able to add mods to their armor that enhance finishing moves - which briefly render players vulnerable to attack and expend an unknown amount of Super energy - Guardians can create unique effects tailored to their upgrades. Smith's example was generating ammunition for a Fireteam after each finishing move. Smith also explained how Shadowkeep finishing moves worked:
"When enemies get below a certain health threshold, they're going to have an indicator that means they can be finished."
According to Noseworthy, the team considers finishing moves closer to combat-specific emotes than truly meaningful gameplay mechanics, but the fact that they offer real boons to party members will at least mean players don't get chewed out by squadmates for attempting them. There will be multiple different finishers each player has access to, and Bungie plans to make sure that eventually they're able to equip multiple different finishers at once, with the execution of them randomized. That feature won't be present during Destiny 2: Shadowkeep's launch, however.
Though the system is still very much in development, it feels like exactly the sort of infusion of fun that will benefit Destiny 2 as it barrels towards the most important expansion date in the game's brief life cycle on September 17. Bungie prioritizing entertaining but beneficial ways for Guardians to express themselves is exactly the sort of content that Destiny 2 has lacked under Activision's guidance, and it bodes well for the game's future iterations, too. While questions remain about how long Bungie plans to support Destiny 2 past Shadowkeep before attempting to build a new Destiny from scratch on its own, for now, players who checked out from the game will likely want to give it another look come this fall.