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Destiny’s Story: the Nature of Evil and Its Corrupting Influence

A Hive wizard in Destiny
A Hive wizard in Destiny

“I don’t have time to explain why I don’t have time to explain.”
The Exo Stranger, unwittingly (or jestingly) explaining Destiny’s lack of in-game story

Destiny (2014), the wildly successful multi-player shooter video game made by Bungie, hints at having a story behind it, but so far it’s pretty much a mystery. Sure, as you go through the short-lived “story” missions in order to open all the game maps, you hear some people speak,[1] but you are forced to come to the sad conclusion that you’re being kept in the dark as to the meaning behind all the fighting you’re doing. I think it’s safe to say that most people, even professional game reviewers, were shocked and disappointed by the real absence of a story in Destiny.

Based on the Beta, which I played, I thought there’d be more of a story and perhaps it would even have more of a recognizably Christian basis. My hopes were deflated after playing the released game, however. Bungie’s own activities jaded me more to the idea of any Christian basis to Destiny, like: insulting XBOX users online and going out of their way to give Playstation users more product for the same cost, and celebrating Halloween but ignoring Christmas (EA’s Garden Warfare, in contrast, was a virtual Advent Calendar that freely gave players fun stuff every day before Christmas during December).[2] My point is, I was biased toward an anti-Christian story before researching Destiny’s lore more, so I found myself surprised at some of what I found.

Most story information, or lore, is found in virtual Grimoire cards that are unlocked, but not readable, as the game progresses. If you want to know what’s on the card, you must read it online. Most, if not all, of these cards’ texts are online so you don’t have to unlock them in-game to read them (but as many fans reasonably complain, who wants to take all the time to go somewhere else and read them?).

These Grimoire cards, in-game dialogue, and other sources were used to construct the story information here, but a note on “lore” language and quality–not much of it is written in a straight-forward kind-of way. Instead, there is poetic and mystery religion sort of texts, official reports, cryptic messages, and broken up conversations. The wide variety of information styles, considered alongside the absence of dates and characterizations, make deciphering the story difficult and very time consuming. The excuse for the dearth of relevant information is that humanity lost it between the Collapse and the present time.   However, humans are flying around in little space ships at warp drive, tiny flying robots called Ghosts in-game can reflesh humans and materialize and dematerialize things, Ghosts can access centuries old data, etc. . . . never mind, Bungie, never mind.

A bit about the game itself before getting to the story. Destiny is a shooter, not an RPG or adventure game, so shooting enemies as well as other players is what this game is about. And showing off rare gear—especially, it’s about showing off. But, why does everything in the game attack you? Why does no one ever try to dialogue with you? Why is it that everyone on “your side” is so mum about the history and meaning of it all? It doesn’t much matter, apparently, as long as you’re a good soldier who is willing to get his or her own gear. When it comes down to it, the in-game story seems to be nothing more than a loose construct to name enemies; but, considering the religio-philosophical web content and that at least one more sequel is coming out, maybe it’s worth trying to figure out the Destiny universe. “The Story of Things: The Basic Story” is followed by “The Story of Ideas: The Philosophical and Religious Underpinnings of Destiny’s Lore.”

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