Destiny 2’s “Haunted Forest” Fulfills the Potential of One of the Early Expansion Areas
Shortly after the launch of Destiny 2, developer Bungie began teasing their first expansion: Curse of Osiris. The expansion looked promising. Players would explore a new area on Mercury, where they would also play through a story campaign involving one of the lore’s most enigmatic figures, Osiris; however, one of the most promising parts of these reveals was an area called the Infinite Forest. Bungie teased this area by showing off some procedural generation tech that they had been working on to create areas made out of a selection of hundreds of parts.
In short, the Infinite Forest was an area that could be made up of thousands of combinations of parts. Players took to message boards and forums to speculate about the kinds of activities the Infinite Forest would play host to. A procedurally generated area that was different every time you entered it could be used for things like a horde mode, or some other interesting PvE activity. However, once Curse of Osiris released, that excited speculation would turn to disappointment. The Infinite Forest ended up only being used in a handful of story missions and strikes, and was an area that players would simply travel through a few times to progress in said missions.
Now, almost a year later, Bungie has launched the Forsaken expansion, and this week their Halloween event Festival of the Lost went live. The main highlight of the Festival of the Lost this time around is the Haunted Forest. This activity takes place in an aesthetically darker Infinite Forest, and can be played alone or with a premade or matchmade group of three. Players are tasked with fighting enemies through randomly-generated areas, called “branches,” and once enough enemies have been defeated, the players are teleported to an arena to fight a boss. The main goal here is to fight through as many of these branches as possible in 15 minutes. Players are rewarded with currency that they can use to buy in-game Halloween masks, and a powerful rifle that’s exclusive to the event.
Admittedly, I’m a sucker for everything Halloween, but I’ve played through a fair number of runs in the Haunted Forest tonight, and it is immensely enjoyable. (There are also a few really cool lore implications.) Prior to this, Destiny 2 did not have any kind of horde mode akin to Destiny 1’s Prison of Elders. The Haunted Forest feels like diving into a dark cave, delving as deep as possible before time runs out and the simulation crumbles. The atmosphere is fantastic, and the unique spin on horde mode is very fun. It is a spooky and fun event activity, and is a great realization of the Infinite Forest’s potential.