Over the past few weeks, Bungie has let loose some alleged details regarding the missions and locations available in the expansion, such as a playable social area in the Reef, similar to the Tower. However, it appears that Bungie had already revealed the Reef was a playable area in 2013, during Destiny‘s original announcement.
During Destiny‘s announcement video, Bungie’s co-founder Jason Jones discussed the project the developer had been working on since their departure from the Halo franchise. What followed were a few concept models of Guardians, some in-game footage, and – most importantly – gameplay from within the Reef’s social area.
The short clip shows a Guardian standing in the Reef and panning the camera across, showing off a gorgeous setting, scraps of destroyed ships, and Fallen harmlessly patrolling the walkways. Skip to 1:20 to see the clip.
This clip suggests that Bungie had the Reef, or an incomplete version at least, somewhat playable during Destiny power leveling early development cycle. Either Bungie developed the content and held it for paid DLC later, or they had a rough concept in mind that they would develop at a later point in time.
Either way, the Reef was, at some point in Destiny‘s lifespan, playable, and a conscious decision was made to include it as part of the upcoming House of Wolves expansion pack.
At this point it’s pure speculation as to whether this original idea persisted and became the Reef’s social area – the one included with the House of Wolves expansion – or if it was scrapped along the way, and we receive something entirely different.