"How are you feeling?" I asked one Twitch streamer. "Nervous," she says. "Why, are you presenting?" I ask. "No, I just don't want the game to suck."
It was the most honest exchange I had all day at the Destiny 2 reveal in Los Angeles. An interaction based on the reality that the majority of people in this room derive their livelihoods from YouTube channels and Twitch streams that rely on this game to do well. If the reveal bombs, so do their prospects.
There's a lot riding on this for the developers, but in a strange way there's even more riding on it for the men and women who make content for it. So when I say there's a certain tension in the air, you see what I mean.
At 10:00 AM, it all began. The pre-rendered cutscene outlined the mythos of Zavala, one of the leading characters in the Destiny universe. We learned of humanity's last stand, its fall, exile into the wilderness and the rebuilding that followed.
It's wonderful. The heroes of Destiny are some of its best assets, but Destiny has always struggled to let that light shine through. It's burning bright here in these moments, and the crowd loves it.
To my left, a Spanish-speaking YouTuber is making noises that could only be described giddy-breathing, punctuated with gasps so loud I worry people nearby will tell him to shush. In front, a very well known Twitch streamer is losing his shit at alarmingly regular intervals.
People are happy with what they are seeing, and I'm right there with them. I love this damn game, and seeing all this blatant fan-service in these opening moments is just what I was hoping for after a 14 hour flight from Australia.
The details of the new gameplay systems are met enthusiastically, but it's decidedly more measured. The new subclasses have an air of familiarity to them, there's no mention of 60 FPS on consoles, no announcement of dedicated servers for PVP, and the match-making for raids is different than what was expected, though most would agree it's a better solution.
It felt like the room was waiting for a knock-out moment that didn't quite come.
When the presentation concluded, we were ushered into an aircraft hanger with over 100 hands-on stations. The PS4 Pros were running at the standard 30 fps at 1080p, while the PC master-race were enjoying themselves at 60 fps at 4K resolution. And I cannot over-state how much of a game changer the PC platform's performance was; it truly looked incredible.
Throughout the day, I constantly checked sub-Reddits, forums, Twitter and the news. From what I could tell, the general sentiment that emerged was Bungie had done a 'good-but-not-great' job. They played it safe and delivered more of the same. That this felt like Destiny 1.5 more than Destiny 2.
But you wouldn't know that from the people in the hanger. I spoke to at least 20 content creators; not one was anything less than ecstatic. And it was towards the end of the day that I realised Destiny 2 is for the people in this room. It's for the faithful, for the devoted, the true believers, the fans. Destiny 2 was never trying to be a new thing to a whole new group of people - it was trying to be the best version of itself for those that already love it.
Destiny 2 is coming, and while it isn't the violent re-imagining that people were hoping for, it's going to make a hell of a lot of people very happy indeed.
Ralph Bianco is an independent Australian YouTuber behind the channel "Skill Up". He attended the Destiny 2 reveal as a guest of Activision.