Yesterday, Bungie revealed a bonkers new Exotic gun coming to Destiny 2 later this month in The Witch Queen: a grenade launcher called Parasite that shoots live Worm rounds (alien parasites shaped like giant slugs). It was an instant hit among the loot game’s faithful and has also ignited a debate over whether Destiny 2’s Worms count as Hive babies or not.
Bungie’s developers were clearly very excited for the reveal of Parasite. “Walk without rhythm and it won’t attract the worm,” game director Joe Blackburn tweeted. Others simply spread worm memes. While the moment might have been engineered to drive fan engagement, the gun also just looks really fucking cool.
But “cool” has never been enough for Destiny players, and sure enough things have started to get even weirder as they’ve begun mulling over the implications of the worm gun. “We’ve finally weaponized babies,” wrote one player on the subreddit. “So the guardians made a gun to launch hive babies at the hive,” wrote another. “That is wrong on many levels.”
This isn’t the first time Destiny fans have gone goo goo for alien ga ga. The player base absolutely lost its mind when Bungie revealed Fallen babies in one of last year’s updates. Memes ensued followed by actual merchandise. It was also a groundbreaking moment for Destiny’s lore, with alien babies getting added to the game just as Bungie was trying to shake the game loose from its failing moral binaries. The new Parasite Exotic takes that to a whole new level. “Season of the Splicer: Protect the Fallen babies! Witch Queen: Yeet the Hive babies!” quipped one player.
But just as some fans have been quick to defend the moral high ground of players’ Guardian characters in the past, those deep in the lore have been meticulously pointing out that baby Worms don’t equal Hive babies. This would normally be the place where I link to and do a close reading of a dozen different Destiny Wiki pages, but the TL;DR version is that Worms and Hive are separate alien races which form a parasitic bond that empowers the Hive but leaves it at the mercy of the Worm.
This was the point user GawainSolus made in a post that recently skyrocketed to the front page of the Destiny subreddit. “They live inside their skulls and eat light,” they wrote. “The closest thing in game to Hive babies we’ve seen are Thrall, and they’re just the youngest combat capable form of the Hive.”
Some players nodded along sagely. Others are still confused. A few resisted this logic. One took it to its logical conclusion: ”We now need a thrall launcher.”
I remain in the camp of those who resist this interpretation, and not just because it’s funnier that way. It wasn’t the Hive that met the Worms, but the Proto-Hive, who upon forming their new parasitic bond became, arguably, a third alien race. By that logic tiny Worms and tiny Hive are metaphysically inseparable from one another and thus both Hive babies. Maybe the treasure trove of new lore that’s sure to drop in The Witch Queen will prove me wrong. Until then RIP Hive babies.
Update: 2/15/22, 10:59 a.m. ET: Bungie released the launch trailer for The Witch Queen today and low and behold it contains important new evidence in the Hive baby debate:
Hive babies might not be worms, but worms definitely seem to be treated like Hive babies!