'Destiny 2' Starts Telling a Great Story, But Never Finishes It

It's an improvement by Destiny standards, but fails to meet the tests it sets for itself.

This is a companion discussion topic for the original entry at https://waypoint.vice.com/en_us/article/43ayyp/destiny-2-starts-telling-a-great-story-but-never-finishes-it

Wow, I didn’t realize how quickly some of these thoughts had popped up and then disappeared during my mad dash through the story.

It’s generally frustrating when a story touches on something and never revisits it. I was definitely frustrated that the game danced around how “The Chosen One” get their powers back but doesn’t communicate that to anyone else? Why couldn’t the Vanguard join you in the Dark Spooky Forbidden Forest to get theirs back as well? I understand the motivations from a gameplay perspective, but that compromise definitely softened the impact of the implications the story posed.

Additionally, there’s very little introspection into the apparent authoritarian rule in the Last City. Hawthorne and our Ghost had a conversation about entering the aforementioned Forest where she basically said, “it’s against the City’s rules, but those don’t mean shit if you don’t care about the City.” There’s also some tension between humans and Guardians that’s touched on through the story and handwaved away when Zavala calls Hawthorne “Guardian” during the City assault.

There seems to be HUGE implications here considering the Last City was supposed to be free of many of the societal ills we current face such as racism, class discrimination, poverty etc. If these super powerful zombies are ruling the City through fear, it changes the entire dynamic of the game to me. No doubt Bungie isn’t going to present our players as the “bad guys”, but there’s a lot to unpack that doesn’t get satisfactorily answered.

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Here, at the beginning of Destiny 2’s anticipated several years of life, I have a little bit of hope regarding the overall story. As Rob said in his article, there are some heavy themes brought up at the beginning of the campaign that get side-tracked by “kill the Big Bad” and forgotten by the end. But I think this is logical and kind of subversive of typical game stories, if this all plays out like the fantasy version in my head.

So many large games - think the Mass Effect or Elder Scrolls series - set up a cataclysmic scenario and task the player Chosen One to save the world/universe/dimension/etc. Then, the player gets to take their unlimited sweet ass time doing endless side quests, joining factions, resolving broken relationships of their party members, discovering interesting hidden truths, solving mysteries, becoming a trial lawyer (KOTOR!)… all while the apocalypse just chills in the background.

“We are all going to die and only YOU can save us! We have never faced an evil like this! Please, save us all… you know, whenever you have time.”

I feel like the Destiny 2 campaign actually made good on the premise in a way that other games do not. The Last City is destroyed. The Guardians are apparently extinct. Humanity is literally on its last legs while a supervillain drains the Traveler’s Light and prepares to detonate the Sun. There is no higher priority right now besides eliminating this existential threat. Soul-searching about the nature of heroism and the flawed “utopia” of the Guardian-controlled Last City can wait.

And then the player reassembles a bare-bones leadership council, everyone formulates a plan, and the plan is executed. Earth and Humanity are saved. The Last City is refounded. NOW we can get down to all the side stuff.

That’s how the game content is presented, as well. Strikes are locked until late in the campaign. You aren’t guaranteed to get a Sparrow until you have completed the campaign. New missions appear on each planet for further exploration, lore, and relationship building. It actually makes sense!

So perhaps a lot of these more interesting questions will be addressed in future expanded content. As the game stands right now, that possibility exists. Hopefully Bungie will be smart enough to grab that opportunity.


Goddamnit the Grimoire is so good! I miss it so much!

@pokysharpy Having spent some time in the New Tower there is actually a lot of hints that this will be addressed in the future. There is two scannable that mention Hawthorne is spreading dissent among the citizens against the New Monarchy as well as having people steal weapons and tech from them. Also you can overhear a conversation that mentions a riot going o in the City.

I liked a lot of the Destiny 2 story, but I wish they’d done more to suggest the Second Golden Age at the end beyond the Traveler being kind of exploded now. I secretly hoped they’d give you access to the old planets at the end, sort of really drive home the idea that a push to really take back the solar system was underway.

The biggest disappointment is how they gutted the Farm at the end. I would have liked to have the choice of which philosophy to follow, rather than "well everyone is here in the Tower now apart from the spare Cryptarch." Maybe when factions reappear we’ll see? There’s plenty of space for them to play now that the big threat is over, so I guess we’ll see - although from the after-credits stinger I assume we’ll be tossed back into another GIANT EXISTENTIAL THREAT THE LIKES OF WHICH WE’VE NEVER SEEN BEFORE, GUARDIAN.

Most importantly though, where is Petra Venj, bring back my punk rock knife-throwing girlfriend right now Bungie.

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I really wish there was more story and general context for everything in Destiny. That long Youtube video was cool, but it really just feels like Guardians are just destroying gods and demons left and right. It does set up this great narrative for Ghaul, which they don’t deliver on. And that extends to the rest of the game. It only bothers me so much because you can see the hanging threads.And instead of cool story beats we just get a wise cracking robot.

But funnily enough the raid had some pretty good implications. Some light raid spoilers but no solutions or anything. So the premise of the raid is that the Cabal emperor has arrived in his World Eater to destroy Nessus for “Royal Wine”. The quest for this says “Board the World eater vessel and defeat raid Leviathan. Grow fat from strength.” The thing is aptly named and covered in gold. Most of Cabal are characterized as a cross between WH40K space marines and roman legions. The World eater really drives home that fact with its needless decadence. Golden statues everywhere, big long halls, Bathing pools, pleasure gardens, and of course hundreds of Cabal. This giant world ending monstrosity was the pinnacle of Cabal wealth and power. It really puts everything that Ghaul had overthrown into perspective, just by looking at this thing and knowing it exists.