In its reveal of Destiny 2: Shadowkeep, Bungie showed off a new system called finishing moves. In the trailer, Guardians smash targets with their fists or slash them with knives to send them flying. It’s a flourish to finish an enemy off once they’ve reached a certain health threshold.
Aside from the trailer, Bungie hasn’t spoken about how exactly these new moves work. In an interview with Polygon, general manager Mark Noseworthy and franchise director Luke Smith explained the system and how it will benefit players in-game.
“When enemies get below a certain health threshold, they’re going to have an indicator that means they can be finished,” said Smith.
But finishing moves aren’t solely cosmetic. Players can add mods to their armor that enhance their finishing moves. In exchange for exposing yourself during the animation and some Super energy (although how much energy is still in flux, according to Noseworthy), players can create unique effects. Smith gave the example of generating ammunition for your Fireteam after each of your finishing moves.
“The mod for your finisher will be one of the slots on another piece of armor,” said Smith.
The animation of a finishing move is equipped separately from gameplay-impacting element. Players customize the two separately, so they can choose the combat bonus they need without sacrificing the cosmetic final blow they like the look of. The in-game benefits of final blows aren’t impacted by whichever final blow animation players have equipped.
“We thought of it as combat emotes,” said Noseworthy. Players will likely earn the cosmetic finishing moves the same way they do with emotes: through the Eververse store or a rare unlock for a difficult in-game challenge. But players can only earn the mods that give combat bonuses by playing Destiny 2.
“At launch, you’ll only be able to equip one finisher, but we are working hard on multi-equip for them,” said Smith. The studio eventually intends for players to have access to a finishing move randomizer. Smith described it as a “box of chocolates,” meaning players will never know the finishing move they’ll get when their Guardian executes a target.
Depending on the power of their finishing move mods, players may need to coordinate who finishes off what in each encounter. Assessing the risk/reward for executing a finishing move in a difficult boss fight adds a new layer for players to consider.
It’s worth noting that this system is still in development. During our conversation, Noseworthy and Smith joked about seeing changes to finishing moves that very day. When Bungie releases Shadowkeep on Sept. 17, finishing moves could be a bit different than described in this interview.