The first Destiny 2 Iron Banner of season 19 will begin on January 3 2023, and it looks to introduce a new game mode that pits Guardians against fellow Guardians, with further challenges from Empress Caiatl and her forces.
Bungie teased the new game mode, Fortress, in a previous post in the company’s ongoing This Week at Bungie (TWAB) series. At that time, Bungie explained the mode would be similar to Control but with a twist. The FPS game‘s Control mode involves team efforts to capture and control three zones throughout various maps while defeating enemy Guardians throughout the activity. Securing all three zones at once grants significant point bonuses for every kill.
With the TWAB posted on December 15, Bungie offered additional insight into its forthcoming Fortress mode.
“The objectives will change once Caiatl and her troops get involved, but we are not revealing the exact details of how Fortress works because we want you to run up that hill yourselves,” the post says.
Although it’s not entirely clear how Bungie plans to introduce the NPCs and Caiatl into Iron Banner, it seems likely they’ll either be allied with Guardian teams based on specific objectives or will be third-party enemies fighting against all players.
The PvPvE format would not be new for Bungie, as the game’s Gambit activity puts players against Guardians and NPC enemies. However, this is the first time players will see any non-playable species actively participate in Iron Banner.
From a lore perspective, it seems fitting that Caiatl and her forces would join Iron Banner. Within the Destiny 2 game world, Lord Shaxx runs the Crucible and Saladin runs Iron Banner. However, when Empress Caitlal, a Cabal warlord and daughter to disgraced Emperor Calus, joined forces with the Vanguard, some players speculated she would play some role in the Crucible, particularly after expressing her interest in the activity to Zavala.
Based on the Lightfall previews, it appears her father Calus will be the main protagonist when the Destiny 2 Lightfall release date rolls around, bringing his Dark Cabal forces to the newfound city of Neomuna. Caiatl is willing to fight against Calus for several personal reasons, including cruelty stemming from his choice to kill her War Beast pet.
The TWAB also notes Destiny 2 season 19 Iron Banner will grant players the opportunity to earn two previously-issued Iron Banner weapons, the Dark Decider Auto Rifle and the Gunnora’s Axe Slug Shotgun. Both will now include new perks and the Iron Banner Origin Trait, which causes Guardian final blows to grant enhanced radar and remove the player from opposing radar when they have low health.
The TWAB reiterates that the forthcoming Iron Banner weeks would also include a reissue of a popular armour set, which includes a wolf cloak and a mohawk helmet.
Iron Banner generally takes place on two separate weeks throughout the season. While the first Fortress Iron Banner will start on January 3 and run through the weekly reset on January 10, Bungie has yet to share when the second Iron Banner of season 19 will occur. Regardless, the new Fortress mode offers a unique take on a fan-favourite activity in the popular space game, granting players something to look forward to playing in the new year.