Destiny 2 Might Have a Legit Parade for You
I love parades. You love parades. Mike Milligan loves parades. The best parades are the ones you earned, and by golly, have we earned a parade. After sticking through vanilla Destiny’s abysmal drop rates, crushing darkness in The Taken King and seizing glory in Rise of Iron, Guardians have stuck through thick and thin to survive into Destiny 2.
There’s a pretty good chance Destiny 2 is throwing us a parade. Not a figurative, or metaphorical parade. A legit, boots on the ground, flags in the air parade. The first hint came from concept art released during E3.
But that alone doesn’t mean there’s a parade. When I first saw it, I assumed it was just a “worldbuilding” concept. Vanilla Destiny had scores of such art pieces. But on Bungie Day, they released three additional images.
These were reference designs for cosplayers. The included all three of the Guardian armor designs featured on Destiny 2 promotional art, from each class. I dug into these, hoping to find story or lore clues.
I found nothing, but a clue in the armor set’s name: “Parade Armor”
Quickly referencing the original concept art, I confirmed: this was the same armor as in the parade. Furthermore, this was the same armor worn by character in the opening Homecoming mission. To cement the Destiny 2 timeline even further, in the Destiny 2 reveal and Destiny 2 Beta trailer, Guardians are wearing this armor exclusively.
Early in the Destiny 2 analysis phase, we struggled with the timeline. Bungie told us that the Homecoming mission wouldn’t be the first in the game…yet we weren’t taking any of our Destiny 1 gear in with us. Destiny 2 is rated T, so we’re not naked.
From a story perspective, I worried that Destiny 2 would lose some in-universe credence if we started the game with an arbitrary set of gear, with no explanation. It breaks continuity, and investment in the story. But it looks like Bungie found a clever solution.
I believe that we start the game in this parade. We’re parading around the Last City, as we’ve always dreamt of doing, before ending up in The Tower—when Ghaul invades. This neatly sidesteps all continuity issues and puts all the pieces in play that make Destiny 2’s opening mission possible.
Beyond continuity, though, I love the idea of a parade. It’s a great idea in and of itself. Destiny’s suffered from a lack of focus and a lack of grounding. Truth be told, I’m killing aliens because it feels good, not because I feel any kinship or debt to the Last City. My investment in the civilization I’m defending is only as deep as the Cryptarch’s generosity on any given day.
Because we are limited to The Tower, and our gameplay is limited to the battleground, each act of violence draws the player further from empathy. Not just for the world, but from the player character. There’s a case to be made this his/her identity is merely a placeholder for our own (consistent with the ‘write your own story’ mentality), but the lack of social feature depth and choice-based storytelling really undermines that.
My character is reduced to whatever basic, routine or carnal instinct I have while playing. I’ve never felt that I’ve truly role played as my Guardian. In GTA Online, I immediately snap into my character’s personality. He’s a silent, but ruthless and efficient CEO of the Armiger Corporation. He can’t drive certain cars or wear certain clothes, because that doesn’t match his personality. The online experience of Destiny should match this level of investment, because a lack of investment in the character detracts from my investment in this world.
Now imagine us, strolling through the streets of the Last City, beneath sprawling banners and falling flowers and across garlands. The crowds praise us for our bravery and we see every man, woman and child we’ve saved.
Destiny 2 is an armor and weapon reset, and we’ve established there isn’t much ‘character’ transferring with our characters. This parade effectively bottles our legends from the past three years and weaves it into the world. That kid waving at you, giddy with excitement? He heard about your flawless Vault of Glass run. The family throwing flowers from the balcony of their home? They remember that time you one-cycled Crota.
You’re all anyone talks about, because you’re a goddamn legend. And when you walk through that parade, and towards your imminent fate at the hands of Ghaul; when the Last City is burning and the Tower lies in ruin; your legend will begin its journey once again. Because this war has an end, and it ends where your legend began: on the streets of that Last, beautiful, City.