Before the release of the Shadowkeep expansion back in September, Destiny 2 Director Luke Smith released a series of three Directors Cuts to help outline the future of the game. One point he made very clearly was that from here forward, Destiny was going to be much more of an “evolving world” than ever before.
Year 2 Season Pass
The three previous seasons of the game, while all great in their own way, felt very separate from each other. The Black Armory had zero connection to Gambit Prime or the Nine. And the Season of Opulence was a callback even further to year one. Bungie was constantly creating these great narratives, but rarely finishing them.
This had the tendency to make players feel like they were left wanting. Constantly being refused resolution to the story lines the game was working so hard to create. Even to this day, questions remain unanswered. Where is Shin Malphur? Where is Uldren (more on him later)? The Nine? What’s going on with the Eliksni House of Light and Mithrax? So many things are still in limbo and it’s killing me!
Changes with Year 3
With Shadowkeep, this was all supposed to change. According to Directors Cut III, seasons would now be much less stand alone products, and more chapters in a single story. Yes, the activities associated with these chapters would be a la carte, but the overarching narrative would remain connected.
It all started with Season of Undying. So named due to our goal of killing the Vex’s Undying Mind, a machine capable of simulating and controlling nearly infinite timelines. Our experience began with the Shadowkeep campaign which introduced us to the mysterious subterranean ship that created the Nightmares that now inhabit our system. Delving into this ship lead to finding an artifact that directed us to the Black Garden.
The Black Garden is a mysterious place that Ikora describes as the “reason” for the Vex. Here is where we experience the Garden of Salvation raid as well as the Season of Undying activity called the Vex Offensive. Our actions in the dark ship and in the Garden have caused the Vex to invade the moon, and the Offensive is how the Guardians are taking the fight to them.
Over the course of the season, we saw Ikora building a mechanism in the tower that we would eventually attach to a portal in the Black Garden. Guardians used this machine to summon the Undying Mind so that we might kill it repeatedly into submission.
Ikora’s plan worked. Guardians killed the Undying mind so many times, that it no longer exists in any timeline, thus it can finally be considered defeated. But here’s where things get interesting. The death of the Undying Mind marked the end of the Season of Undying, and has now caused the beginning of the Season of Dawn. “Caused” being the iterative word, here.
Season of Dawn
Our actions have now unlocked what is the next season of content. Killing the Undying Mind has “fractured” time on Mercury. This has allowed Cabal from the Red Legion to commandeer a machine made by Osiris called the Sundial. The Sundial allows the users to walk through time and see Mercury in the past, present, and future.
A group of powerful Psions have taken over this machine in hopes of changing the outcome of the Red War. It is their hope to reverse our Guardian’s actions such that the Red Legion was never defeated. All of this is thanks to what we did during the previous season.
In addition to this mischief, we are also able to use the Sundial for our own purposes. Thanks to these fractures, we are able to walk the corridors of time to help and to save the great Saint-14. One of the true heroes of the time before the Last City, Saint had died while stranded in the Infinite Forest. With the help of Osiris and the Sundial, we found the exact moment he was killed and destroyed the Martyr Mind the Vex made specifically to kill him.
Now, thanks to our heroism, Saint is a vendor in the tower providing bounties that yield seasonal currency. But this is not the end.
What Comes Next?
Surrounding Saint are a number of rugs and banners that depict the symbolism of Destiny’s Trials of Osiris. This is a pinnacle PvP mode that players have yearned for since it was retired years ago.
This is made more intriguing by dialogue from Saint who hopes to build a Beacon for the lost Guardians. Why is this important? Once players complete their card for Trials in D1, they could visit the exclusive Lighthouse for their loot. Beacon. Lighthouse. Maybe?
One final exciting note comes from a piece of lore on an Eververse ship from this season. The lore tab for the Amnestia-S2 ship discusses a Guardian that is lost and alone. We are able to discern that this guardian is Uldren, who was resurrected as a Guardian late last year. Perhaps this beacon created by Saint-14 will allow Uldren to find his way to the Last City and be re-introduced as one of us.
All together, this new form of storytelling has proven to be deeply satisfying. Seeing the outcome of our actions lead to new experiences is very fulfilling. We ran Shadowkeep so we could get in the Black Garden so we could fight and kill the Undying Mind.
This lead to fracturing time on Mercury which allowed us to use the Sundial. The Sundial blessed us with the ability to find and save Saint-14. This may eventually lead to the return of the great Trials of Osiris and/or Uldren in some form.
While the overall volume of content each season has been scaled back compared to last year, I’m really enjoying what we are experiencing these days. I’m excited to see what comes next and how our actions have a tangible effect on the evolving world.