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Destiny 2 is Showing What First One Never Had: Humor, and a Goal

Bungie's marketing so far shows signs that it's learned from its storytelling mistakes.

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Bungie's marketing campaign for Destiny 2 has been frustratingly slow, but we've recently gotten our first real taste of what's to come with the release of a pair of cinematics: first a teaser, and today, a full trailer. While light on the kinds of gameplay specifics that experienced Guardians must be craving after learning their gear and powers won't make the trip, Bungie is smartly leading with signals that Destiny 2 will have aspects that the first game left wanting. Namely: a lighter tone, a sense of personality, and an identifiable goal.

It doesn't seem to be any coincidence that both the "Last Call" teaser and today's "Rally the Troops" trailer lean heavily on Cayde-6, voiced by Nathan Fillion by way of Captain Hammer. He's ostensibly on the right side of the conflict, but he also happens to be a pompous, smarmy jerk. This puts him in sharp contrast with the rest of the denizens of Destiny, a collection of straight-and-narrow, self-serious do-gooders.

The contrast between the noble, virtuous Guardians and Cayde's personal brand as a selfish, blustery jackass is the entire punchline of the "Rally the Troops" trailer. And it's better for it. 

We all like to play games where we have epic adventures, but that's something we experience ourselves and ideally make through immersive storytelling. Simply explaining a struggle of dire importance doesn't imbue it with extra weight. Judging by the first Destiny, it's just kind of boring. Instead, we want to have a reason to spend time inside a world, and giving us a lighter touch makes it more inviting.

The focus on Cayde pulls double-duty, by giving players someone to attach to. Any game with player-created characters can be difficult to latch onto, and many of Destiny's vanilla-flavored mission-givers had as much personality as a Quest Board. Sometimes less. Cayde is one of the few characters who actually feels like a character, so why not use that to your advantage?

That isn't to say that the trailer is completely lacking in seriousness. But this is actually another strength. The one hint of story we get in these Destiny trailers provides a simple premise with a clear, identifiable villain who defines the goal.

Even those who read enough of Destiny's arcane Web site codex to make heads or tails of what actually happened can acknowledge that it wasn't always clear what you were doing, or why. It had no single through-line. Despite the intriguing premise–civilization has been fought back to a single city–the majority seemed like random planet-hopping to decimate a series of alien races before they did some not particularly well-defined thing, for the purposes of conquering the universe, probably. It was, in the words of Homer Simpson, "just a bunch of stuff that happened."

By contrast, these two trailers in tandem use an economy of storytelling to deliver a clear impetus for the action as well as a goal. The "Last Call" trailer teased that something awful had happened to The City, and the "Rally the Troops" trailer confirmed it. The last remaining bastion of civilization has fallen, led by a new villain named Ghaul. It doesn't spend too long explaining why Ghaul is a threat or why we should care about defeating him. Instead, it simply shows that the City has fallen, and Ghaul is the one responsible, and you can go from there. Presumably, the objective of Destiny 2 will be to find and defeat Ghaul. It's a simple, clear goal that should help string the story points with more connective tissue.

(The trailer also slyly slips a story explanation for why your existing character lost all of their gear. Clever, Bungie.)

While we'll be waiting a while to hear more about what Destiny 2 has in store in terms of classes, gear, and mechanics changes, these two trailers have already gone a long way toward making up for the deficit of the first game. Destiny was always a solid, if grind-heavy, shooter. It's easy enough to put faith that Bungie will continue that strength and give itself more flexibility to build on the online compontents. But these premieres actually assuage my concerns about its ability to address other issues that I wasn't sure it was capable of correcting. That fills me with anticipation much more than if it had led with gameplay set to the same dour, aimless tone.

Plus, it's not as if I'm going to pass up tons of loot.

Editor-In-Chief

From The Chatty

  • reply
    March 30, 2017 11:45 AM

    Steve Watts posted a new article, Destiny 2 is Showing What First One Never Had: Humor, and a Goal

    • reply
      March 30, 2017 11:46 AM

      The real news here is: PC VERSION

      • reply
        March 30, 2017 12:38 PM

        My free time is so fucked. Unsurprising but still good news.

      • reply
        March 30, 2017 1:08 PM

        hellloooooooooooo nurse

      • reply
        March 30, 2017 1:40 PM

        Please don't be a shit low FOV jank port...

        • reply
          March 30, 2017 1:52 PM

          Shit. I never even thought about that, feel like there's a good chance FOV will be locked to the console setting. Bungie seems like the type of studio who won't compromise their design in any way shape or form in favor of giving everyone the same exact experience they created. Would also be surprised if ultrawide is properly supported for similar reasons.

          Don't really have a lot to go on aside from the fact that they've been exclusively console focused for such a long time, and in the past failed to recognize the fov issue on different platforms (Halo 2 PC was locked to 70). That was a while ago of course, but I still don't see them fully embracing the different needs on the PC. At least not until they get flooded with hate mail, and even then I don't know if they'd budge.

          Obviously, I hope this is all wrong and they've been paying attention to what other developers have been doing on PC.

          • reply
            March 30, 2017 2:43 PM

            yowch. yeah good point. fuck.

          • reply
            March 30, 2017 2:49 PM

            Bungie are the studio that started the whole micro FOV thing so yeah, I can see Destiny being locked down to something unplayable.

            • reply
              March 30, 2017 3:05 PM

              That's true. Will have to wait and see and hope for the best I suppose :<

        • reply
          March 30, 2017 1:53 PM

          Also Steamworks plz.

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            March 30, 2017 3:11 PM

            im guessing windows store exclusive

            • reply
              March 30, 2017 3:17 PM

              It's published by Activision so steamworks is a good bet, they're still using that for all their Call of Dutys and other various PC games.

              Although with Destiny I could see Bungie doing their own launcher and friend service thing like Rockstar or someone else, just because. I still imagine it will be sold on Steam if that's the case.

        • reply
          March 30, 2017 3:11 PM

          honestly I've never had too much of an issue with FOV. I just cannot get my brain wrapped around using a dual thumbstick controller for shooter games.

          • reply
            March 30, 2017 3:15 PM

            Dude FOV never used to bother me either, I swear like a switch went off and those tight FOV games started giving me the weird nausea/vertigo and some eye strain. Very hard to eplain. The 21:9 monitor makes it like 100x worse for me too, if the game won't let me adjust it at least a little bit.

            The controller thing... I actually credit Destiny on the PS4 for *finally* getting me comfortable with FPS types on a controller. I'm not Nacho Cheese Dorito Extreme good with a controller, but playing the game and aiming where I want when I want definitely clicked with Destiny and made me better, finally.

      • reply
        March 30, 2017 3:06 PM

        This will be the first time I ever play or see Destiny, I've never even seen a screenshot of the game. SO PUMPED.

        • reply
          March 30, 2017 3:35 PM

          you think it will have 21:9? Im thinking they might not because of the so called advantage in mp :(

          • reply
            March 30, 2017 3:39 PM

            I didn't even think about that :(

            • reply
              March 30, 2017 3:41 PM

              thats all I think about lately when I buy a pc game. Im almost considering getting another 16:9 monitor for games that dont support it.

              • reply
                March 30, 2017 3:59 PM

                Thankfully few games don't support it, but it's really annoying when they don't, or do it poorly (like overwatch)

      • reply
        March 30, 2017 4:32 PM

        The best part about this is nothing from Destiny 1 carries over to 2. I can swap to PC and not miss out on anything, except the PS4's timed exclusivity content.

      • reply
        March 31, 2017 1:03 AM

        I never played halo on pc. How does it work. The console games are so reliant on fixed turn speeds and autoaim. Do they just turn that off for pc

      • reply
        March 31, 2017 8:57 AM

        Hear, hear! :D

    • reply
      March 30, 2017 11:53 AM

      To be fair to the first game, they achieved this with The Taken King as well (with the full gang including humor from Cayde), but of course it took them a year to get to that point, which many people shelved it forever by then.

      Destiny 2 basically will take the same polished talent that was seen in TTK with storytelling & content, but applying it to a new game.

      I am pretty certain the results are gonna be pretty epic

      • reply
        March 30, 2017 3:29 PM

        I wonder why the story was so poor in the original launch. Bungie does storytelling fairly well.

        • reply
          March 30, 2017 4:34 PM

          There's a long story about how they had to redo the entire story at one point. It was either they fired the writer, or the writer left. I want to say it was the latter since it was the guy who did the music (Marty O'Donnell) they fired.

    • reply
      March 30, 2017 12:49 PM

      Looking much better so far

    • reply
      March 30, 2017 1:05 PM

      Sign me up

    • reply
      March 30, 2017 1:12 PM

      The collector's edition can be yours for the low low price of $250.00:

      http://www.bestbuy.com/site/destiny-2-collectors-edition-playstation-4/5822428.p

      • reply
        March 30, 2017 1:16 PM

        Sure but... Do you really need the solar powered messenger bag with built in light? These kind of overpriced collector's editions don't bug me because it's just useless physical junk.

      • reply
        March 30, 2017 1:23 PM

        Still amazes me that there are enough landfill-hoarding chumps who buy this shit.

      • reply
        March 30, 2017 1:39 PM

        pretty expensive and ugly looking purse

        • reply
          March 30, 2017 3:21 PM

          I am pretty sure that is a bundle of fabric swatches.

      • reply
        March 30, 2017 1:55 PM

        Yeah...no thanks, I just really want the steelbook case thanks Bungie.

      • foo
        reply
        March 30, 2017 2:11 PM

        this is because idiots keep preordering things. no, stop. never, ever preorder a video game

        • reply
          March 30, 2017 2:50 PM

          But the guy at gamestop said they'll run out if I don't pre-order! And they don't know when they'll get more (true story)

          • foo
            reply
            March 30, 2017 3:09 PM

            tell them about this thing called 'the internet' that doesn't run out of stock

        • reply
          March 30, 2017 3:33 PM

          Well, I preorder digital so I can preload it, buy yeah, otherwise, no.

      • reply
        March 30, 2017 3:34 PM

        I don't mind ultra-expensive CEs when they have cool stuff. However, this appears to not have cool stuff.

      • reply
        March 30, 2017 3:39 PM

        That CE is total fucking garbage lol

        • reply
          March 30, 2017 3:40 PM

          but for you it has paracord in it.

          • reply
            March 30, 2017 3:55 PM

            I'll take 6.

      • reply
        March 30, 2017 4:34 PM

        lmbo at anyone who buys this

    • reply
      March 30, 2017 2:05 PM

      On an unrelated note, how come all Shacknews Youtube embeds disable Fullscreen?

    • reply
      March 30, 2017 2:42 PM

      AND PIG SLOP FOR EVERYONE!

      *masses cheer*