Almost every week brings something new to Destiny 2, whether it’s story beats, new activities, or exciting new combinations of elements that allow players to kill each other in the Crucible. Iron Banter is our weekly look at what’s happening in the world of Destiny and a look at what’s catching our eye across the solar system.
The story of Destiny 2 is one of evolution. While the core of the game has always existed as it is now – it’s about shooting aliens, and shooting aliens is very satisfying – pretty much everything that makes shooting aliens easy has suffered massive changes. Both intentionally and by accident, I’ve covered Destiny 2 throughout its life, and I’ve witnessed every tweak, iteration, change, expansion, season, and patch since its release.
There are very few games like Destiny, if any. I’ve never seen a game go through so many inventions and reinventions, or spend so much time discovering its identity and growing in it so well. I’ve never had a gamepad with me as far as this one has. I haven’t always liked Destiny 2 throughout its history, but I’ve always been impressed by its scope, its ideas, its ambition. In the second half of its life in particular, I think Destiny 2 eventually became the game that Bungie launched in 2013.
It’s both Destiny 2’s fifth anniversary month and my final Iron Banter column as I leave GameSpot and gaming journalism, and consider the big picture of my time covering Destiny 2 – a big part of my career. , as it turns out. And I think it’s this evolution that has made it worth sticking with Destiny 2 for the past five years. It can be easy to forget the way things used to be – that’s why we’ve chronicled some of the biggest changes the game has undergone over the past five years – and that way it can be easy to lose sight of. the ups and downs of the past and how far Destiny 2, the game community, and Bungie have come during this time.
The threads I have about Destiny 2’s past are always weird. Elements of the past that were frustrating and ridiculed at the time are fondly remembered; the strongest moments in the game’s history are also considered to be weaker than they were at the time. Destiny 2 is a hard game to pin down, especially because of memory fog, and that’s made worse by how it’s sometimes talked about. Ideas and interpretations become commonly accepted within Destiny’s large, robust and very active community, and this colors the way things are perceived over time.
For example: the Red War campaign. A conversation I had this week with GameSpot’s David Ahmadi ran the gamut of our feelings about Destiny 2’s vanilla story. it was a big improvement over storytelling back in the days of Destiny 1, while being a campaign that did a lot to introduce the world and characters, while advancing those elements in important, interesting ways. David recalls a wavering tone, too many goofy Cayde-6 moments, and a lack of content. And I would say both things are true; I think we are both right.
There are very few games that exist in a context like this – very few games have the story like Destiny 2. Among video games, it’s unusual to have this shared experience that we all remember a little differently, and constantly discuss and recreate through our interactions with each other. If I had to identify the one reason why I spent so much time paying attention to this game and why I became a (big) fan of it when I actively disliked Destiny, this is it. What makes Destiny 2 fascinating is that it’s more than the sum of its parts. It’s more than the stories it tells, the content it includes, the alien filming that makes it fun, and the community around it.
It’s strange to have so much history shared around a single video game, to occupy it so much space. The seriousness of this, however, suggests to me that the story is worth preserving, and it’s something that I hope Bungie will make an effort in the future. It’s not just frustrating that new players can’t experience old Destiny 2 content, it’s that we can’t see that story again. It’s hard to see where we come from to understand how we got here.
But all the same, it’s a mark of what attracts me to this game: its evolution. There’s something significant about the fact that there are Destiny moments you can’t recover that happened and are now gone. In some ways, it elevates the experience beyond that of just an entertainment product. I know a lot of players struggle with “fear of missing out” or are annoyed that they can’t visit the early game. But I think what’s made Destiny 2 special over the past five years is the fact that he will never be what he was. Preserving history is important as a way of looking back, but the real power of the game itself is that it has changed and can change. It may be more than it is, and we can participate in this adventure and contribute to it.
This is something I hope the creators of Destiny 2 and its community keep in mind in the future. Frustrations are fleeting, but what’s special about this thing is that we’re all here, watching it change, participating in those changes, and maybe changing with it. I’ve spent a lot of time with a lot of video games, but none of them have felt like Destiny 2, both in their ups and downs. Waiting to see where the game might go next, and what its community might become as it goes along, are the reasons I’ve been hanging around for the past five years. And while I may not be covering Destiny 2 or video games anymore, those are the reasons why I’m not going anywhere.
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