A Wild Theory About Destiny's Story

Illustration for article titled A Wild Theory About Destiny's Story

Many people seem to think that Destiny's story is, well, lackluster. But what if most people are missing one big key thing about the story?


Buckle up, because it's time for a bonkers theory about a video game.

So, according to the Destiny wiki, this is the story:

Many generations ago (shortly after present day), the emergence of a gargantuan construct known only as "the Traveler" ignited a Golden Age of technology and exploration for humanity.[1] Initially the Traveler settled on Mars, where it shared its knowledge and technology with humanity, and a city grew around it.[2] With the assistance of the Traveler and its enigmatic technology, humanity tripled its lifespan, terraformed planets and moons, and expanded its civilization beyond Earth and throughout much of the solar system.[1][2]

The Golden Age would last for centuries, but human civilization fell victim to a cataclysm of extraordinary magnitude, known as the Collapse.[2] A malicious entity known as The Darkness, an ancient enemy of the Traveler, waged a campaign of destruction against civilization. Few managed to survive the devastation.[2] Forced to withdraw to Earth, mankind's homeworld, the embattled sphere made its final stand, where it sacrificed itself to save the remnants of humanity.[1][2] The Traveler is now silent and dormant, while those who survived united to build The City beneath it, establishing the last bastion of civilization in the solar system.[1][2] A powerful defensive aura remains projected over the City by the Traveler.[1][2]

The City has come under attack throughout the years, mysterious alien species probing its defenses for weaknesses.[1][2]You are one of an army of warriors known as Guardians that call the City home, individuals that have taken a stand to reclaim what has been taken from us.[1][2] Guardians have harnessed the Traveler's energy to create powerful abilities that allow them powerful offensive attacks, defensive counters, and increased mobility.[1][2] Guardians seek to uncover the mysteries of humanity's downfall and reclaim what has been taken from them.[1] These exploits lead them to rediscover and reclaim old worlds, once part of mankind's civilization but now occupied by deadly extraterrestrial species and threatened by the return of the Darkness.[1][2]

The Guardians are all that stand between the dark forces that seek to destroy civilization and those who take refuge within the City.[1][2] It is their duty to rebuild from the ashes of defeat, to ignite the once great flame of human civilization, and be the light that shines through the darkness.[1][2] Their failure would mean the destruction of the human race.[1][2]

Pretty straightforward. I'll summarize: you are the good guy, because guardians fight to keep the traveller safe from THE DARKNESS. The darkness, as the name suggests, is an evil thing, as it ended humanity's golden age. The traveller, meanwhile, is keeping everyone safe from further doom.

Hold up, though. Are we really sure we play as the good guys? Are we really sure the traveller is a positive force worth saving? It's not like we know much about it, or even the darkness, for that matter.

...yeah, this is one of those twists. Redditor neocitron posted a "crackpot theory" recently, which has made me reexamine what I think I know about Destiny's story. They explain:

I was patrolling around the moon yesterday and was silently stalking Fallen Dregs trying to listen to alien banter. I moved too close and startled one of them, who turned around and gurgled in broken english (kind of how the Grunts in Halo did) "It's the Darkness!" before firing away at me... Wait.

Are. We. The. Darkness?

The more I think about it, the more it makes sense... WHY ELSE would aliens be relentlessly fighting us without much justification? Although I can't explain why the alien factions would be fighting each other. Maybe the Traveler is a weapon and we simply don't know it because we're under its spell? And the alien factions don't trust each other with the Traveler's power?

Damn... This is why I love the open ended narrative Bungie creates, it eventually gets sifted down and sharpened over years of questions and added content to the worlds.


And some commenters in the thread elaborate further:

Maybe the traveler has been to their worlds and caused great destruction. Maybe he needed a new army, we think we fight for the light but we are actually making the universe a much darker place. The Speaker has always seemed like a shady guy to me. It's an interesting point of view.

This is blowing my mind right now. Think about it, the names of some of the enemies are Wizards, Knights, Acolytes but we're Titans, Hunters, Warlocks, which have negative or evil connotations to them. Titans in Greek mythology, hunters just killing things, warlocks wielding dark magic...

I'm discussing it with a few friends and it's starting to make sense. We're basically an army of undead. And this whole space fantasy theme, makes the theory seem plausible. What about the Vex? What if they're like Cylons? Why haven't we seen any other humans elsewhere?

So many questions...I'm not sure if I'm entirely sold, but every little detail seems to connect. This could be huge!

Read some of the card backs. On the back of "Legend: The Black Garden":

I am Pujari. These are the visions I have had of the Black Garden.

The Traveler moved across the face of the iron world. It opened the earth and stitched shut the sky. It made life possible. In these things there is always symmetry. Do you understand? This is not the beginning but it is the reason.

The Garden grows in both directions. It grows into tomorrow and yesterday. The red flowers bloom forever.

There are gardeners now. They came into the garden in vessels of bronze and they move through the groves in rivers of thought.

This is the vision I had when I leapt from the Shores of Time and let myself sink:

I walked beneath the blossoms. The light came from ahead and the shadows of the flowers were words. They said things but I will not write them here.

At the end of the path grew a flower in the shape of a Ghost. I reached out to pluck it and it cut me with a thorn. I bled and the blood was Light.

The Ghost said to me: You are a dead thing made by a dead power in the shape of the dead. All you will ever do is kill. You do not belong here. This is a place of life.

The Traveler is life, I said. You are a creature of Darkness. You seek to deceive me.

But I looked behind me, down the long slope where the blossoms tumbled in the warm wind and the great trees wept sap like blood or wine, and I felt doubt.

When my Ghost raised me from the sea there was a thorn-cut in my left hand and it has not healed since.


From the card "Enemies : The Darkness:"

The card mentions varying ideas on what The Darkness is from the point of view of different groups on Earth.

Certain positions - often labeled heretical - imply that the Traveler itself triggered the Collapse, or that it knew the Darkness was coming for it and hoped to use the Solar System as a sacrifice or a proxy army. The Binary Star cult is one notable example.


I dunno if I'm fully convinced, but I'll admit, I kind of love this theory. It's fun. More importantly, it's making me reexamine things in Destiny to see if perhaps there are some subtleties I missed about the story. This theory doesn't change the way Destiny is written/the delivery, or the fact that you have to go outside the game to learn some of the lore, but it does make things more interesting. I'm particularly fascinated by the idea that critics are dismissing the story, whereas fans are digging in deeper and seeing what they can find.

What do you think? Is this what is actually going on in Destiny's story, or is this theory just a bunch of hogwash? Have you noticed anything that would contribute or debunk the darkness theory? Let us know in the comments.



I thought the "Wild Theory about Destiny's Story" was there is one.