Destiny 2 “will take advantage of all the cores in your CPU.” Er… no it won’t

Destiny 2 CPU optimisation

At the PC Gaming show on Monday, Intel seemingly let slip a tantalising tidbit about Destiny 2 on the PC and it’s ability to scale to however many cores are in your CPU… But that’s not actually what’s happened.

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A number of outlets have been reporting what pro Destiny streamer TeftyTeft said on stage, but Intel have just told me Destiny 2 hasn’t actually been optimised for their mega-core processors, it was just one big ol’ misunderstanding.

It all went down at Intel’s first ever E3 press conference and they spent much of it trying to convince a theatre full of gamers a $2,000 processor was a worthy investment. Well, you’ve got to try and shoot for the moon, right?

Part of Intel’s pitch surrounded the idea of game-streaming ‘mega-taskers’ with a barely perceptible nod towards the overclocking potential of the more recognisably gamer-centric processors. But they also wielded gaming’s current causecelebre, Destiny 2, as another stick with did to bang the Intel drum.

“I couldn’t be more excited,” enthused Intel’s Doug Fisher, “to tell you we worked with Bungie and Activision to bring Destiny 2 to the PC.”

Core optimisation for Destiny 2

He was so excited he then wheeled out pro Destiny streamer TeftyTeft, who was also totally pumped about, well, everything. As well as using his appearance as a way to blag an 18-core CPU (ooh, those influencers…) ol‘ Tefts also seemingly had a juicy little Destiny 2 tech tip to impart too.

“Bungie has told me something specific that is exciting for the high CPU core-count chips,” he said, “they’re optimising the engine so it will take advantage of all the cores in your CPU. If you have an i9 Extreme it will be able to take advantage of all those cores.”

Look at all them AMD cores...

So yeah, you get a pro Destiny streamer on stage to talk about Destiny 2, and then he goes and says the developers of the game are optimising for all the cores in your CPU. You can see where the confusion came from. But the key word in what he said was ‘engine.’

“It was more about the engine itself,” an Intel representative told me today. “But not right now… It’s about getting the foundations there eventually, when that is… we’re not quite there yet.”

So Bungie are working on optimising their game engine to work across multiple cores, but it’s a work-in-progress thing that’s not going to be available at the launch of Destiny 2. They were apparently a little surprised about the announcement themselves too.

“They were taken aback like ‘oh, we didn’t realise that’s what people were going to think we were saying’ so yeah.”

Destiny 2 4K max settings

We’re waiting to hear from Intel what exactly Bungie meant about optimising their engine, what it will mean for future games, and whether it’s going to be something that’s purely focused on Intel chips and platforms.

Still, it’s gratifying that, with the PC tech industry now fighting it out over core-counts, the devs are starting to play their part too, but unless this is an exclusive Intel-only optimisation there is the possibility that could start playing into the hands of AMD’s gaming CPUs. Their Ryzen 5 six-core chips have three times the thread-count of the equivalent Intel Core i5 processors, so in the mainstream sector of the gaming market – where people buy $250 CPUs not $400 Intel six-core chips – proper thread optimisation will work better for red than blue.

But if we’re honest the CPU is likely to have little real impact on a game like Destiny 2. We’ve been playing around with Destiny 2 in 4K, maxed out, running at 60fps, and even though the rig we were running had a GTX 1080 Ti inside it, there was nothing there to convince me it was going to be a system-hogging title.