Destiny 2’s 10-year story arc is grinding toward its ultimate conclusion, and some questions players have had for years are finally getting answered. One of the loot shooter’s biggest mysteries, like where did The Traveler come from and who are the black alien Pyramids chasing it, was finally revealed in a new cutscene this week and it’s such a big deal I can’t believe Bungie buried it in the middle of Season of the Deep.
After years of vague sci-fi babble about an eternal conflict between the Light and Darkness, Destiny 2 has been ratcheting up the stakes of its cosmic space opera with specifics. 2022’s The Witch Queen expansion revealed revealed the game’s big bad to be The Witness, an ominous force on a crusade to destroy The Traveler, the giant white orb protecting Destiny’s heroes since the game’s original 2014 release.
February’s Lightfall expansion pushed the brewing conflict into an all-out war on Neptune, and opened with The Witness carving a giant trippy, seemingly trans-dimensional scar into The Traveller. The campaign revolved around trying to safeguard an artifact with a strange connection to the big space ball called The Veil, but much to players’ collective disappointment, Lightfall presented few new clues as to who The Witness was or what it was after.
Enter week five of Season of the Deep which just dropped Destiny 2’s single most important cutscene in its nearly decade-long run. In it, a massive alien fish beneath Titan’s methane oceans uses a psychic connection to reveal the origins of The Witness, its fleet of Black Pyramid ships, and, to a lesser extent, The Traveler itself. Essentially, the conflict at the center of Destiny began back when the first civilization came into contact with The Traveler and its power to terraform, create new technologies, and shape the world around it.
But as the civilization crossed the apex of its ascent it became twisted and paranoid, intent on using another artifact called The Veil to control, subjugate, and potentially destroy The Traveler so that its power wouldn’t fall into the “wrong” hands. The Traveler tried to escape, and the civilization committed a mass suicide ritual to turn itself into a single entity called The Witness that has been chasing it across the universe ever since, conquering other alien races it comes across and destroying those it can’t turn to its cause.
At least that’s my initial high-level read on the story told in the cutscene. As with all things Destiny, it’s rich in subtext and gestures at all sorts of interesting and contradictory possibilities. Players are already debating what it means for The Final Shape, the last expansion in the current saga, and where did The Traveler come from originally and why is it seemingly in conflict with The Veil. Are they opposing entities or just complementary forces that have the ability to wipe one another out.
Despite still leaving more questions for fans to speculate about, Season of the Deep’s big reveal is basically the entire setup for the last two years of Destiny 2 heading into The Final Shape. It’s a rare tip of the hand from Bungie who’s infamous for keeping its cards close to the vest. To new players the conflict between the Light and the Darkness might not make much more sense than it did before, but for everyone else it’s setting the stage for a finale players have spent thousands of hours building towards.