Since 2014, Bungie’s Destiny has captivated players with an intriguing world and incredible gunplay. The upcoming expansion, Destiny 2: Forsaken, is coming Sept. 4, and not only has Bungie announced a darker tone is in store, they’ve shown it to us firsthand. Cayde-6 appears to have been killed, murdered by none other than Prince Uldren of the Awoken, who now seems to be leading the Fallen Barons that we’re hunting.
Even though the tragic story trailer is just the beginning, there are high hopes across the community that this tragedy will be a step forward for greater storytelling. If we look back, we know that Destiny is at its strongest when it embraces the darkest parts of its lore, and Forsaken looks like its going to be another one of those moments. Going back to the original Destiny, we can see a few times where Bungie used the dark world and story in ways that excited fans and evoked all different emotions.
Early in the game, the player is tasked with going to the Moon in search of a guardian, only to encounter one of the darkest enemy races in the series: the Hive. After fighting off a new house of Fallen, the House of Exile, Ghost manages to track the lost guardian to a mysterious Hive temple. There, you find the guardian, dead. Here, Ghost says something that still sends chills down my spine to this day.
“Where’s his ghost?”
You can feel the fear in his statement, as a Ghost himself, but with our increasing knowledge of the Destiny universe, this becomes even more sinister. As you play through the short remainder of the mission, you discover that a Wizard, one of the higher ranking parts of the Hive Hierarchy, actually stole the guardian’s ghost, and was both sucking the light out of it and interrogating it.
This scene is powerful because it shows us that, no matter how powerful we might feel in the shoes of a Guardian, we are not invincible, and neither are our Ghosts.
Destiny’s first DLC release, The Dark Below, was not considered the best step forward for Destiny, with a short campaign and very simplistic end game content, but the DLC was much better in terms of story content, with clear and linear paths through the story. The very beginning of the DLC showcases one of the darkest parts of Destiny, and sets up several moments later in this game and the series. In the brief introductory clip, Eris reveals how she was The Last, the only survivor of a small assault on the Hellmouth that was led by the likes of Toland, The Shattered, and Eriana-3, incredibly powerful guardians only known in legend.
Looking deeper into the fate of Eris’s fireteam, things get only darker. Their only titan, Vell Tarlowe, was killed before they could even enter the Temple of Crota, ripped to pieces by a seemingly endless wave of thrall led by Alak-Hul the Darkblade. After managing to get inside, the fireteam ends up separated, with Eris and fellow hunter Omar Agah being grouped together. During a fight, Omar is wounded, and captured by a large Hive crystal, the Heart of Crota. This crystal brings him to a secluded Hive birthing chamber, where Omar’s light is painfully ripped from his body while Eris watched in horror.
There are more horrific incidents from the tale of Eris’s Fireteam, but these two deaths should set the scene for what they faced. This story, due to its dark nature and mysterious elements, having to hunt for Dead Ghosts throughout the Hellmouth and Crota’s throne world to learn everything, has been a highlight for parts of the community.
This story, despite its dark and vile outcome, is one fans have been waiting to hear more about ever since Eris joined the game. This story not only sets up an entire DLC pack where we kill Crota in his own throne world, but it also gives our actions purpose. We are not killing Crota “because we have to,” we are killing Crota because he is why five guardians are dead forever. Toland, The Shatterd; Eriana-3; Vell Tarlowe; Sai Mota; Omar Agah. They are why we killed Crota.
After The Dark Below and the House of Wolves, Destiny moved into year two with The Taken King. The first major expansion for Destiny was full of dark story from the very beginning, where we watched the entire Awoken military fleet get decimated by a single attack from Oryx’s Dreadnaught.
This is just the beginning of dark times for the Guardians, who then travel to a Cabal base on the martian moon of Phobos to find it nearly abandoned, with the Cabal soldiers dead, dying, or on the run. Although they have been our enemies, for something to destroy them so totally, to make them run in fear, is unheard of. It is even said that the Cabal have several words in their languages for advancing, but none for retreat.
Watching the Awoken be decimated was horrific. Not only did it showcase the immense power wielded by Oryx, but it also effectively removed one of our more powerful allies from the solar system. While Petra and the Awoken present in the Reef after the attack remained, the Dreadnaught force looked large enough to be the majority of their fighters. With deadly villains locked away in placed like the Prison of Elders, this leaves the Reef much more open to attack than before.
Furthermore, the Cabal firebase on Phobos is yet another showcase of Oryx’s terrible power, but this time it is a different facet of his abilities. Phobos shows us the strength that Oryx has in his power to Take, and in this his power to rule almost any battlefield by picking and choosing who will fight on his side.
This is just the surface of what Bungie did with the Taken King. If you really want to look deep into how dark Destiny can be, check out the Books of Sorrow. They are a series of Grimoire cards added to Destiny in the Taken King expansion, which are scattered throughout the Dreadnaught on Calcified Fragments. They tell the history of the Hive, their creation, and their genocidal rise to nearly supreme power.
The Books of Sorrow are deeply interesting because it follows the perspective of the Hive and of Oryx. It gives us a look at his long, terrible live as the ruler of a species that wishes only to survive beyond the end of the universe. You feel for Oryx. You feel the regrets he feels, when he sometimes looks back at his actions; you feel the pain he feels in his early days, trying to come to terms with rules of the Deep and the Worms that his siblings seemed to grasp so easily. The Books of Sorrow allow Oryx to grow as a character and make him relatable, something that seemed impossible when we were first introduced to this mighty Hive God. Yet, with good stories that took us to dark places, they did it.
While Bungie did a lot of good with the Taken King, they added even more dark stories in Rise of Iron, the final expansion for Destiny. Here, we learn the history of the Iron Lords, and why Saladin appears to be one of the last of his kind.
After discovering SIVA, the Iron Lords moved into the Plaguelands in an attempt to capture the nanomachines in order to use them for humanity, but the Warmind Rasputin deployed all manners of machines and weapons never before seen to stop the Iron Lords. The final few who made it into the SIVA chamber were met with a horrible fate, and did what they could to fight of the endless onslaught of machines. At the last moment, Lord Saladin is thrown out of a door by Lady Jolder, who detonates a bomb in an attempt to stop the seemingly endless flow of SIVA.
While this was enough to shut down the facility, it was not left beyond repair. This moment, as well as the realization that the Iron Lords deaths could have been in vain if the Fallen who have begun using SIVA to augment themselves and their machines grew out of control, this is one of the darkest moments in Rise of Iron. It may only be beaten by the final fight, where you do battle with the long dead corpses of Lady Jolder, Lord Felwinter, and Lord Gheleon, who are being controlled by SIVA. This is the culmination of all your efforts and feels incredible to play, but it is bittersweet, as you are forced to fight what little remains of these legendary heroes of the Dark Ages.
Leaving Destiny and looking at Destiny 2, the game opens with one of the darkest moments in the series. The city is under siege, the Traveler is being attacked directly, and there seems to be little that we can do to stop it. Even as you make your way onto Ghaul’s ship, and you encounter the Cabal commander himself, it gets only darker. Ghaul activates the shielding around the Traveler, cutting off all of the light it had been radiating, light that guardians and ghosts alike used for their power.
As I heard Ghost struggle to speak, fighting to stay alive, I was nearly brought to tears. One of the only voices to stay with you throughout your entire adventure was Ghost, and to see him in such pain, such confusion. It brings out emotion, like all good narratives should.
Now, we are entering Year 2 of Destiny 2, and Bungie is being evocative yet again. The Forsaken story teaser, released during Sony’s E3 Briefing, left community members enraged, shocked, and most of all, hungry for vengeance. Uldren Sov has returned, and he has done to us a greater injustice than any of our enemies before. Uldren has killed Cayde, beloved comedian and Hunter Vanguard.
Come Sept. 4, guardians are going to come in droves, not just to play Gambit or try out the new weapons system, but to avenge the Vanguard who was ready to stand by our side, ready to put his powerless self face-to-face with Ghaul in an attempt to save the entire city. Cayde always had our back, he was always in our corner and now he’s gone. He’s gone, and we will have our revenge on his murderer.
If you’re interested in the Books of Sorrow that we talked about earlier, you can check out an explanation here!
What are your favorite moments in Destiny and Destiny 2? Do you think these dark moments are the best for the narrative? Will you be buying Destiny 2: Forsaken and bringing the fight to Uldren? Comment about it down below!
This post was originally written by Tyler Krasnai.