Destiny 2 is nearly here to pay off three years of faithful nerding out over Bungie’s world, but we can get started right now. Spoilers within.
Activision brought me over to Seattle last month to go hands-on with Destiny 2 for a couple of days, chat with Bungie staff, and generally make a nuisance of myself.
Right now on this excellent video game website you can ingest my not-actually-a-review, and read some very serious feature articles on Destiny 2’s environmental design and narrative leanings. You’ll also benefit from our enormous Destiny 2 guide.
So I think I deserve to indulge myself just a little. Here are the more silly, kind of random things I learned about Destiny 2 during my visit and wanted to share. I have been bursting to talk while under this NDA, cats. Just let me have this glorious moment of venting, okay?
1. The Traveller is more complicated than the grand good-vs-evil narrative suggests
This is a bit of a no-brainer for most Destiny fans, but it’s nice to have confirmation that the Traveller isn’t just some big old benevolent being and everyone else is baddies.
“The Traveller, in a lot of ways both literally and metaphorically, is the centre of our universe, and everything orbits around it,” Bungie’s narrative lead Jason Harris said during a round table interview.
“It has mass. There’s a gravity about it. Like a planet or a moon or something like that. Everything is going to sort of fall into its wake. It’s gonna draw things to it. The idea that mass is gravity – everything’s going to come towards it, everything’s going to revolve around it.”
“Everyone has their own interpretations of what the Traveller might be. And I think that’s the same thing within our story,” cinematic director Matthew Ward added.
“This big object was there, and as far as we know it did something… Every combatant and every race of humanity has an interpretation of what that might be. I think you might learn a little bit more about it through this if we do our job right.”
2. We might see some resolution to the Exo Stranger story after all
Bungie said early on in Destiny 2’s life cycle that it would not be continuing the story of the Exo Stranger but focusing on the narrative of the Red War. But that doesn’t mean we won’t ever hear from the far too busy NPC.
“Some day. I don’t want to ruin anything,” Harris said.
He then winked. Hmm!
3. Ghaul is like Kingpin and Ikora is like Superman
Discussing Destiny 2’s story and characters, Harris commented on Ghaul being a relatable villain – someone’s whose motivations you can understand- and agreed to a comparison with Kingpin, as seen in Netflix’s Daredevil series.
Meanwhile, Harris made several reference to Superman, saying the stories that really get to the heart of the character are those where he has lost his powers. He mentioned this in reference both to the player character, and to Ikora, whom we first meet in Destiny 2 being completely kickass but who becomes pretty depressed after losing her connection to the Traveller.
4. There’s more to Failsafe than you might think at first
The region vendor on Nessus is Failsafe, a complicated AI entity lodged in a crashed ship. She has two conflicting personalities, which makes her pretty interesting – and Harris said we’d see and learn more of her as we played deeper into the game.
“We had a ball with Failsafe. An absolute ball. This moment will stick with me for the rest of my career, the rest of my life: we were sitting around, we were digging into who Failsafe is, and somebody said something – actually, two things – and we all said ‘oh my god, that’s it!’
“We ran out, and that writer just went and threw together a monologue of her dipping back and forth between her two sides, and that first pass was just gold. And we were like ‘yep, that’s it. We’re gonna take it and run with it.’ So there’s plenty more on the Failsafe front, I promise you.”
5. Love is in the air (of Titan) for Amanda Holliday
Every Destination features two or more NPCs who provide radio chatter to guide you through campaign quests, as well as Adventures and other activities, after the Vanguard are hustled back to the Farm to get some work done.
On Titan, this role is filled by Amanda Holliday, the shipwright from D1, and a new Titan character called Sloane who serves as Zavala’s lieutenant.
To my ship-sensitive ears, some of the conversation between Holliday and Sloane had … a certain flirtatious ring. I asked Harris about this possibility, and while he wouldn’t give me a yes or no answer, he did tell me one particular Bungie writer would be delighted to hear my interpretation. Ah ha! Well then. I’ll get my suit dry cleaned in anticipation of weddings.
6. Amanda Holliday is a very talented woman
Later in Destiny 2’s campaign, there’s a mission in which you drive around in a tank. The tank is not invincible, but if it blows up (and you survive!) you can simply transmat in another one. An endless supply of tanks! Think how useful this would have been in literally every other Destiny event to date.
Interrogated on this subject, Harris said the tanks are a consequence of your finding a Golden Age armoured vehicle lying around on Titan earlier in the game. Amanda Holliday used this to create a blueprint from which she can manufacture tanks via transmat.
“She’s a very talented woman,” Harris said. I wonder if she’ll use these talents for later story missions, Strikes and the raid, or if we’ll conveniently run out of tank parts….? Video games, eh?
7. Eris Morn will be back some day
Fans of the beautifully creepy three-eyed questgiver Eris Morn may have noticed her usual Tower hang out was crushed by rubble in Homecoming, the first story mission of Destiny 2. The good news is a Grimoire entry added with the Age of Triumph update suggested Eris Morn was leaving the Tower ahead of a potential catastrophe, and we know this must have been well in advance of Destiny 2’s events because the character lying unconscious in hospital at the time is very much alive and gadding about in Destiny 2.
I didn’t see Eris during the first two thirds of Destiny 2’s campaign I played during my hands-on, but Harris told me not to worry about her.
“Future stories. We have nothing but opportunity across our vast cast,” he said.
“Play a little deeper, you’ll get a little something. There’re a couple of story bits that reference her. No spoilers.”
I asked whether I would have to cry, and Bungie said “no” – so Eris is presumably alive and well out there. Hooray!
8. Bungie has dialled back the butts
Everyone in D1 had a magnificent posterior, perhaps best illustrated by Lord Shaxx, whose butt was so spectacular Bungie helpfully placed a couch behind him so you could sit and take it in at your leisure.
Sadly, Destiny 2’s fancy new clothes tend to obscure the fundament. Shaxx now modestly covers his buns, and all the Hunter leg armour I found was pretty baggy and padded, disguising my no-doubt perfectly toned glutes.
I did ask various Bungie staff about this – repeatedly, and at volume – but nobody could offer an explanation for it. “That’s a good question,” environment artist Jason Sussman said, in the closest to an actual comment I got over three days.
Did you notice how good everyone’s quads were in the Destiny 2 beta, though? Perhaps the art team got a new trainer.