Figuring out where to being when talking about the lore of Destiny 2 is like trying to figure out where to dive into the lore itself. The lore of Destiny is a many-faceted thing that has become so weighted down in its own ego that it even seems to hide from itself. The lore is a thing that wants to be many things, yet can’t be anything but seemingly far out of reach from what players want to comprehend. There is no weaving of Destiny’s universe that seems comprehensively concise. Instead the lore seems to phase in and out of itself much like the game mechanics being implemented. It’s a thing that doesn’t know where it belongs whether being directly in front of the player or a completely separate plane where outside sources are sought. It’s like trying to write a dissertation; which means a massive amount of dedication to the thing itself while pulling from multiple sources which simply isn’t fun.
The universe of Destiny has been complex, since day one. Those who’ve stuck with the game since its early days know that the original story (like many games) was even rewritten. It’s a universe of science fiction mixed with magic. A universe that houses undead space warriors protecting a last city. A universe where cosmic dragons were hunted to extinction. A universe where multiple alien empires rose and fell to something called “the darkness.”All in all,… none it seems to matter because it has become a sort of window dressing for the game itself. Which is a shame because there is some generally great stuff in the universe of Destiny. Instead it stretches itself ever thinner, explaining things while explaining nothing and leaving the players with more questions than when they first arrived.
This can be seen glaringly in most recent release of Forsaken where Prince Uldren of the Awoken has seemingly come back to seek vengeance upon The Last City and its Vanguard of protectors. He talks of sowing discourse in ultimate through the galaxy telling his Barons to “cause chaos.” It’s too bad this immediately falls flat due to him being manipulated by what seem to be strong visions of his sister “The Queen” that only grow weaker as the story progresses. Instead Uldren has been tricked by a giant space Gorgon that comes out of left field completely slapping any player that cares about the lore squarely in the face. Bungie started strong with what would be in their words “an enemy players could put a face too” and instead are greeted at the end by a floating mass of gunk that has little/no real weight of play. Oh… cool, another boring monster to shoot. Instead of a grand stand off between Uldren and the player, it’s like Bungie couldn’t think how to implement a simple duel. At least let us give chase, but no, let’s just fill this ending with something that is rushed having no context to what exactly the monster is. Instead players are told that there are things out in the universe “dark things” yet to be discovered that the Guardians have surely called upon in the killing of Uldren.
The entirety of leading up to Forsaken, Bungie talked on how Uldren would be a villain worth seeking revenge on, but like so many revenge stories it ultimately proves pointless. Instead Uldren is made to be the victim of manipulation and the vengeance sought rings as hollow as the shell casing falling to the ground from the weapon the players Guardian supposedly fires. Now players are left with some new thing to contend with that has no context, unless of course reading into the triumphs pages the game now offers. Unfortunately, many a player will never see them, because at the end of a play session they just won’t care. Even for someone who likes reading into lore, Destiny is becoming a bit much getting so full of itself that keeping up is as pointless as seeking vengeance for the death of Cayde. No one wants to read a book while playing a game, doing two things at once is hard enough, but if a developer is going to do it at least blend it in a way that is straight to the point not leaving wiggle room for the player having to shrug only to say, “I guess we’ll find out?” Ending on such useless questions leaves a bitter taste in the mouth.
At this point it’s hard to see Bungie being able to turn the ship around when it comes to the lore of Destiny. They have yet to find that sweet spot and it only seems to become further out of reach with every new release of content. While the focus on the game mechanics have become tight, the storyboarding is getting left on the backburner and every conceivable idea that gets thrown at the wall somehow is making into the pot. Players are left with a stew that has too much going on at once, making the flavors of the game blend in a way that taste like nothing but a bad broth severely overcooked.