The Exo Stranger Needs to Stay Gone.
In the original Destiny, a series of questions remained unanswered? What is the Darkness? What is the Light? What is the Traveler? Who is the Speaker? Who is the Exo Stranger? I’ve written at length on these questions. We need these answers because they’re essential. The Speaker, the Traveler, The Light and The Darkness are all elements that are integral to the world of Destiny. The Exo Stranger is not one of those elements.
In a Kotaku podcast, Luke Smith, director of Destiny 2, commented on the Exo Stranger’s story, a prominent thread dangling loose from the vanilla story.
“We have a bunch of characters who are interesting, but the Exo Stranger is one that always makes me chuckle a little bit. Because I feel that’s one character where we actually wrapped up the arc. She gave you a sweet gun and then dissolved, presumably off to do something else. So I feel like, of all our characters we’ve introduced and exited, we actually exited her effectively.”
Quite a headscratcher. Exo Stranger was one of the weakest elements in vanilla Destiny’s story. In a story that meandered between nonsensical and poorly explained, her character was a weak nucleus. She pulled us between these threads, asking us to question our place within the universe. Many of the questions we have of the Darkness, the Light, the Traveler and the Speaker are ones that she asked us, first.
The real rage towards Destiny’s story kicked off when players reached the end of the story—where the Exo Stranger dematerializes mid-conversation. Did it mean anything? Was there anything material at the center? No, of course there wasn’t. We know this now. It was infuriating then, and it’s puzzling now.
So why do we care about her?
I’m serious. Vanilla Destiny’s story is terrible. I won’t deny the Exo Stranger is a loose thread, but do we really need answers? I genuinely don’t care about her. And I doubt many players do, either. She was little more than a nucleus around which these questions gathered. The Exo Stranger is not an inherently interesting character, and her backstory would be inevitably anti-climactic. She’s merely an observer, as are we.
Luke Smith’s comments that she was “nicely exited,” are wrong from a narrative standpoint. She was not “nicely exited.” But from a lore standpoint? A question standpoint? Players need to understand that the Exo Stranger was little more than a plot device to stitch a bad story together. She served her full purpose. That’s not an indictment of our expectations, it’s an indictment of the story.
In 2015, Luke Smith was given the unenviable job of following up vanilla Destiny with The Taken King. It remains the peak of Destiny: quality story, quality lore and quality gameplay. But now we’re asking him to follow up vanilla Destiny twice. That’s a truly absurd expectation.
The Exo Stranger was so flawed in conception that I never want to see her again. I don't believe there's some abstract version of her character that deserves reiteration. I understand Smith’s willingness to leave her unexplained. Some things don’t deserve explanation. I’m not waiting for Star Wars Episode 9 to re-explain Midichlorians. Some things just deserve to be forgotten at face value. The Exo Stranger is one of those things.
In Destiny 2, the game is taking a tight focus on The Traveler and The Light. We’ll get our answers. If The Taken King is any indication, the answers will be satisfying and the road to them will be filled with glory. The Exo Stranger has no part in it.