Despite complaints stemming from the PC beta of Destiny 2, Bungie and PC port developer Vicarious Visions have decided to retain aim assist for controllers come launch. Aim assist is an in-game function that automatically adjusts a player’s targeting in combat, making it simpler to land shots on enemies. For Destiny 2 on PC, aim assist is meant to both empower controller users and help establish a balance between controllers versus keyboard and mouse.
While aim assist will not be changed going into Destiny 2‘s PC launch, Vicarious Visions lead David Shaw acknowledges that changes could be made in the future:
“So, we heard feedback on that and we’re definitely listening and we’ll continue to listen going forward, but right now we are planning to ship the controller similar to how it was in the beta. We think our controls on the controller are pretty good, and people seem to like them, and we think that the PC players should have the ability to play that way if that’s their choice.”
Aim assist is employed in the console version of Destiny 2 as well, without complaint. The lack of negative feedback there likely has more to do with the uniform use of controllers on console. When everyone uses the same controls and has access to the same functionality then all’s fair. But on PC, where the userbase will be split between more precise keyboard and mouse players or controller players with aim assist, balance will be much more tenuous.
Past multiplatform games with multiplayer functionality on PC almost universally forgo allowing aim assist for controller users, despite allowing it on console. Bungie and Vicarious Visions’ decision is an anomaly, likely born from Destiny 2‘s loyalty to its console userbase (and the hope that console Destiny 2 players will buy-in on PC, too). In the process, however, the developers risk upending the game’s balance and players’ trust in the port.
PC shooter fans aren’t irrational for being suspicious of the decision. Online FPS games on PC have a long history of third-party aim assist cheating, which can quickly ruin a game’s competitive integrity and potentially shorten its lifespan. Integrated aim assist for controllers isn’t too different from those kinds of cheats. And the unintended use of the functionality is already in play, with keyboard and mouse users already finding ways to apply the controller aim assist to their mouse movements.
Bungie and Vicarious Visions’ decision could have negative repercussions on the game state in Destiny 2 as of launch day. Even if the game establishes a balance, if such an asymmetric balance is even possible, players may struggle with whether their opponents are cheating or not when the inevitable aim assist cheats do come into use. Vicarious Visions says it’s ready to listen to feedback, but that’s unlikely to sate PC game players’ worries considering the feedback from the beta has seemingly already gone ignored.
Destiny 2 releases on October 24 for the PC and is currently available on both PS4 and Xbox One.