Destiny's most iconic weapon, the rocket launcher Gjallarhorn, is making a comeback. "Gjally," as it is affectionately called, dominated the original Destiny after its introduction in 2014, but has so far been missing from Destiny 2. Until now.
Bungie, Destiny's developer, is bringing Gjally back to celebrate the company's 30th anniversary. The rocket launcher is now available in Destiny 2 if you purchased the Bungie 30th Anniversary pack.
Bungie also partnered with Nerf to unveil a special edition Nerf LMTD Gjallarhorn blaster to celebrate. Announced today and available for preorder next year, the Nerf version of the Gjallarhorn probably won’t launch tracking rockets that will make your enemies regret challenging you in the first place, but it’ll certainly look impressive in your hands.
I asked the team responsible for Gjally’s return how they plan to bring it back in a way that’s fun, how Nerf got into the picture, and if they have any special memories of the original Gjallarhorn (or anything they noticed while testing the new one that they wanted to share).
First of all, if you played the original Destiny, you might know how, even though Gjally made an appearance early on, it wasn’t until Year 2 that everyone caught on to exactly how powerful the rocket launcher could be—to the point that, in some cases, players insisted that teammates had one when trying to clear endgame content.
The rocket launcher came to be loved, hated, and feared in PVP and PVE activities. While the team demurred when I asked about whether or not the new Gjallarhorn would be as powerful as it was in its former life, the team offered up some other great details about its introduction to Destiny 2.
First, I asked why, during Bungie’s 30th anniversary, the team decided to bring Gjally back. A number of popular Destiny weapons have been finding new lives in Destiny 2, but why is it now Gjally's turn?
“One of the major goals for the 30th anniversary was to bring iconic weapons from Bungie’s history into Destiny 2, which made it an easy decision for the team to bring Gjallarhorn back,” says Brandon, a designer working on Destiny 2 who asked for his last name to be omitted for privacy reasons. “This was the perfect opportunity as well, because having a release dedicated to Gjally and other iconic weapons allowed us to put a lot of love into updating the weapon’s visuals, audio, and design for Destiny 2.”
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Bungie also has a history of partnering with other companies to Destiny merch to the Bungie Store that fans would like (like the perpetually sold-out Palladium x Destiny boots,) so it’s no surprise that Nerf would want to bring some classic Destiny weapons to life. Katie Lennox, director of consumer products at Bungie, wouldn’t tell me who approached whom first but did indicate that the partnership was in the works for a while.
“Bungie’s consumer products team and Nerf were waiting for the perfect opportunity to bring something amazing to life from Destiny,” she says. “When we learned that the Gjallarhorn would be returning to Destiny 2, we saw our moment to push the limits and create the ultimate trophy for players and a prized collector’s piece for fans of the franchise.”
To be the ultimate, I think it might need those tracking rockets I mentioned earlier, but it’ll definitely be a prized collector’s piece, especially for Destiny fans. But Gjallarhorn isn’t the only rocket launcher in Destiny 2 with tracking rockets known for huge damage and huge fun. The Eyes of Tomorrow, another rocket launcher unveiled in 2020’s Beyond Light expansion for Destiny 2, is a little similar, so I asked Brandon how they plan to make the new Gjally stand out.
“Early on we scrapped ideas for perks that would let Gjallarhorn do more damage because they felt too similar to a perk on Eyes of Tomorrow. The idea we got the most excited about was a new perk which would allow anyone wielding Gjallarhorn to grant Wolfpack Rounds capabilities to nearby allies who were wielding non-Exotic rocket launchers,” he says.
“This opened the door for Gjallarhorn to be valuable in team builds in a way that Eyes was not. One of the additional benefits of this new perk is that it means that you no longer have to require every player in a raid to have Gjallarhorn, as was sometimes the case in the past. Now, if even one raid member has Gjally with the perk, every other Guardian can benefit from the Wolfpack Round perk, no matter what kind of Legendary Rocket Launcher they are using.”
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Just from a player’s perspective, that goes a long way towards making sure that everyone isn’t carrying their Gjallarhorn into every endgame raid or Trials of Osiris PVP match, and offers players a bit more flexibility in the way they can build their loadouts as long as one other person in on their team has one. So even though I may not have one, I don’t necessarily have to in order for me to be a valuable member of the team in endgame content, or I can try a different kind of weapon, like a sword or a machine gun in that weapon slot instead.
Finally, just for kicks, I asked the team if they had any favorite memories of Gjallarhorn, or had any favorite moments testing it before the big release in Destiny 2. Brandon offered this, which then tells me exactly what I need to do when I get my hands on one:
“While we hope everyone enjoys using the weapon, we are most excited to see what combinations players come up with that take advantage of Gjallarhorn’s new team functionality. A full fireteam of Gjallarhorns will be strong, but a fireteam with a Gjallarhorn combined with other rocket launcher perks could be even stronger!”
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