Destiny 2’s new exotic quest for an old Destiny 1 gun makes reference to an alternate version of one of that game’s main characters only seen in an E3 2013 trailer, breathing a little life back into a story that never made it into the finished game.
Hawkmoon is a small, agile exotic hand cannon that was a PlayStation exclusive for Destiny 1’s first year. Fun and flexible, it was a blast to use and one of the more unique guns in its class, even if it was never in the top tier of deadly weapons. But it didn’t return in Destiny 2, until now. Last week, a new two-part quest went live as part of Season of the Hunt.. Completing both “As the Crow Flies” and “Let Loose Thy Talons” nets you a Hawkmoon with new perks. That’s nice, but it’s the deep cut buried in-between the quests’ steps that makes the gun’s return feel extra special.
Season of the Hunt has also marked the return of The Crow, previously known as Uldren Sov, prince of the reef and murderer of one Cayde-6. Executed for his crimes and reborn as a Guardian by the Traveler’s Light, The Crow has no knowledge of his past, and is busy getting used to his new good-guy status by helping players chase down corrupted Hive and Fallen enemies scattered across the Tangled Shore and Dreaming City.
While the seasonal activity itself is fine, little clips of dialogue with The Crow after completing hunts have teased possible upcoming events and gone a long way toward fleshing out the character’s new identity. “He’s trying to do some things he saw you do,” his Ghost says at one point. “it’s wonderful...and awkward.” And the Hawkmoon quest shows Bungie is willing to dig deep into the character’s past as it begins to turn his tragic tale into one of possible redemption.
As the Crow Flies begins with examining a series of strange anomalies that have taken the shape of gold feathers and are scattered across the solar system. Each comes with a little riddle hinting at its location, and the third, located in the returning Cosmodrome, is one of the more enigmatic. “I’m...somewhere. I know that’s not helpful. It’s a ruin, on Earth, I think. I’m flying, and there’s these...towers and...ships? I land on a broken concrete pillar, and I see...myself? But it’s not me. I don’t think it ever was. I’m saying words I’ve never said, and...the Guardian is there. Yes. that one.”
Each of the hints can seemingly be read as The Crow reflecting on a dream or retracing the steps of a past life, but this one has extra significance given the character’s convoluted origins. It comes off as standard Destiny opaqueness, unless you know about Uldren Sov’s previous past life: He appeared only briefly in Destiny 1’s main campaign before returning for an even more minor role in The Taken King expansion. This wasn’t always destined to be the case though. The game’s E3 2013 trailer showed The Crow pulling a gun on the player in the Cosmodrome, and as Kotaku reported back in 2015, the character was at one point slated to have a much larger role in Destiny 1’s proceedings. That version of the character was eventually abandoned though, and his character model recycled into the current Uldren Sov, after the game’s story underwent some drastic changes late in development.
Now, The Crow is beginning to get his due again, and Bungie is elegantly weaving in nods to this alternate version of the character that eventually died on the cutting room floor. The quest step with the Cosmodrome feather is called The Neverwas, and the “broken concrete pillar” The Crow references sounds awful similar to the one his pre-Destiny 1 self is standing on in the E3 trailer. A broken pillar in the starting part of the Cosmodrome’s Steppes zone is also where the Hawkmoon quest collectible itself can be found.
Destiny players have always been desperate for clues about not just the game’s future but what its creators had intended to be its past, and Bungie has now managed to share a small bit of that in the current game by way of a strange vision mentioned briefly in the game’s quest log. “Bungie took 7 YEARS to bring this back up, and I feel like this was an excellent way to do it,” wrote one person on the game’s subreddit. “Mini TL;DR/Conclusion: Bungie is pandering to old school D1 nerds like me and I love it.”
It remains to be seen whether The Crow will become one of Destiny 2’s principal characters, standing alongside the likes of Osiris, Zavala, and Ikora Rey (perhaps even taking up Cayde-6’s old Vanguard mantle?) or will chart some other, less predictable path. Destiny 2: Beyond Light’s main campaign and subsequent story missions have been surprisingly good, but so far Season of the Hunt has been off to a slow start. The Crow is quickly becoming one of the game’s most intriguing characters though, and hopefully that lasts well beyond the current season.