Almost every week he brings something new to destiny 2Whether it’s story beats, new activities, or interesting new combinations of items that allow players to devastate each other in the Crucible. Iron Banter is our weekly look at what’s happening in the world of Destiny and a roundup of what’s catching our attention across the solar system.
After weeks of plumbing the secrets of the Leviathan for answers about Calus’ intentions, we have reached the end of the Season of the Haunted story. The season has spent a lot of time building and exploring the personalities and traumas of the characters that we’ve been dealing with in the game for some time, in some cases, years, while also giving us a direction of where. Destiny 2’s story is headed into the future.
As far as seasonal storytelling goes, I’d record Season of the Haunted as one of Destiny 2’s strongest outings. Although it was a bit shorter than some of the more recent episodic storylines, it used its time to hit a lot of emotional beats and at the same time expanding into the big world in many important ways. We’ve learned a shocking amount of Season of the Haunted’s backstory, while seeing a ton of character development, not only in the main cast members and current villain Calus, but also in Destiny characters long since they passed away
First, Sever’s quests. Each of the weekly quests focused on a single character, and while they weren’t too lengthy, they went right into the psyche of Crow, Zavala, and Caiatl. This acted as a huge payoff for Crow in particular, whose arc over the last year and change has been one of dealing with his past as Uldren Sov. I’ve said in the past that Crow has worked very well as a semi-protagonist in Destiny 2, giving us a point of view character that hasn’t been doing the whole Guardian thing for hundreds of years, and therefore spends time learning the strings and questioning the status quo. Crow has moved away from that role as he has grown, but he still carries a lot of emotional baggage and a complicated story that has been unfolding since the Beyond Light expansion. Season of the Haunted put a poignant spin on everything that’s happened with Crow over the past year by letting us see him deal with his inner turmoil, on screen and in missions.
That same approach has been reflected in Caiatl, a generally gruff and closed-off character who has hinted that a lot is going on below the surface, but for whom much of that struggle has been dealt with in story drops. We know a lot about Caiatl’s backstory, but she’s only talked about it on and off. Sever gave Bungie the opportunity to showcase Caiatl’s vulnerability, and that opportunity has expanded her character significantly. It sounds like Caiatl is here to stay as an important member of the cast, which serves to deepen the overall story of Destiny 2 as we take a closer look at alien races and their cultures, people we used to understand only in the barrel of our the weapons are now taking on three-dimensional forms.
And speaking of characters who mostly existed in lore, Sever did a lot to humanize Zavala, something his character badly needed. The stoic leader of the Vanguard has obviously taken a beating in the last few years of Destiny 2, but then again, he’s something that rarely appears on screen. We did get a couple of knowing lines of dialogue or deep sighs from Zavala, but much of what happened with him, like Caiatl, was treated as text lore. As such, it’s been great to see Bungie really provide Zavala with some emotional beats. The guy has been absolutely crushed under the weight of his responsibilities, and Destiny 2 is doing a lot to bring that to the fore.
However, aside from the stories presented directly in the Sever, I’ve been amazed at how many stories have been presented throughout the game, and how much even smaller moments have added to our greater understanding of what’s going on. Throughout Leviathan, you can learn about the strange Eregore mushroom, the inner thoughts of Calus, and the beliefs and personalities of the Nightmare characters as you play. All of the “Behold” patrol missions are uplifting from a story and lore point of view: each takes you to a location on the Leviathan where you scan the environment, then hear from Calus himself about what’s going on aboard his corrupt ship. Red blobs of energy in different patrol zones give you insights from characters like Ghaul and Safiyah that further expand the personalities of the people the Nightmares are linked to.
And even completing the many, many Nightmare Containment activities required to remove the Season of the Haunted seal constantly throws up interesting story tidbits in the form of conversations between the season’s characters. Throw in the Duality dungeon, a mind heist that tries to literally steal memories from Calus, and that’s a great story you don’t have to read about in the history books, something that makes the storytelling in Destiny 2 healthier, in my opinion. .
If there’s one place I think Season of the Haunted fails, and this is true of a lot of Destiny 2’s storytelling, seasonal or otherwise, it’s in not setting a clear path for the future. Season stories are much better at driving from one to the next significantly than they used to be, but with Season of the Haunted ostensibly done with story beats, it’s unclear what’s next.
Destiny 2 suffers from a “threat” issue most of the time, where the story is less proactive than reactive. More often than not, a new season is about a villain doing something scary, and players and characters struggle to deal with it. Seasons often end with characters standing up saying, “I’m glad it’s over, but who knows what?” [Savathun/Xivu Arath/Calus/The Witness] it is Really planning,” and Season of the Haunted feels the same way. We’ve defeated Calus on the Leviathan, which has, to an extent, resolved that threat – the story ends with the thought that we’re going to spend the next few weeks cleaning up Nightmares like we’re dealing with a bug infestation. But of course the threat still lingers, and we have to wait until August to find out who’s going to land the next hit so we can chase down and shoot them in the face.
It’s an area that I hope Bungie finds a way to deal with in a satisfactory way, recognizing that this is something of a video game problem; each season is usually about fighting some enemy, and in order to provide stakes for that enemy, they must be up to something that we need to stop. There is also a desire to hide information and surprise players; After all, keeping details close to the vest worked extremely well with Season of the Haunted.
However, especially now that we’re heading into Lightfall, and all that the name suggests, I’d like to see some of these seasons conclude on a more active note. In Eris Morn’s last broadcast, we got some hints about where things are going: the Drifter is on the Reef, enacting an unknown plan, and Eris has made discoveries in the Moon Pyramid that sound pretty big. But I wish we were aware of more of that information, or actively researching aspects of it, if only as some sort of background knowledge. Especially lately, Bungie has done a great job of making it feel like the world of Destiny 2 is changing and responding to what’s happening in the story. That approach would be even more powerful if history suggested that we were acting on the information. us obtained by defeating Calus or completing the Duality dungeon, taking time to prepare for the next chapter, but actively helping to shape it.
Still, Season of the Haunted did an excellent job of not only pushing Destiny 2’s story forward and fleshing out its character, but also making it on screen and making players feel like an active part of it, even if all of us what can do is shoot things. We shot the demons and that allowed Destiny 2 characters to deal with them, and that helped make Season of the Haunted one of the best stories Destiny 2 has told, a very high bar given how strong seasonal storytelling has been since Beyond Light in particular. If there’s one area for improvement, it’s finding ways to make players feel responsible for pushing the story into its next groove, rather than waiting and reacting to whatever they are, but given how compelling the stories of Destiny 2, that’s a detail. of a complaint
Closer to the end of the season, we’ll go back and try to take a holistic look at Season of the Haunted, covering its storytelling as well as the content and gameplay mechanics. In the meantime though, that’s my feeling on Season of the Haunted from a story perspective, but feel free to share your own thoughts, areas you felt were strong or specifically resonant, elements you thought didn’t work as well, in the comments below.
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