People are always asking, “What have you read lately? Seen any good movies lately?”
I always want to shout, “YES. YES I AM FOLLOWING A GREAT STORY RIGHT NOW.”
Then I remember that it’s inside a videogame and most of my friends don’t play shooters.
So, let me try to explain what this story is and why I’m so fascinated by it.
The game is Destiny 2, which I’ve been wild about since the first trailer launched.
It’s a science fiction universe where mankind was granted Space Magic from this alien orb called the Traveler. Trouble is, a lot of bad aliens wanted the Traveler’s Space Magic, so they tried to wipe out humanity and nearly succeeded.
The first “season” of the story, aliens launch a surprise attack against the Last City, cage the Traveler, and just about win the war. Naturally, your character fights back with the aid of the in-game characters, all of whom are just as well developed as anybody in a movie. When you finally defeat the villain and free the Traveler (or … help it fight back), it’s like the finale to a Marvel movie.
Season 2 picked up a little later. It follows the race of space elves who live out in the asteroid field in this place called the Reef. There, the Prince of the elves, who used to be an ally, unexpectedly murders the most popular character in the game.
So long, Nathan Fillion. This was like watching Mal from Firefly be killed. The entire fan base lost their ever-loving minds and swore eternal vengeance.
The story played out like a revenge western. You hunt down the Prince’s band of alien outlaws and kill them one by one. But as you do, your in-game friend asks over and over, are we doing the right thing? Is this justice or murder? What makes us different from the outlaws we’re killing?
By the time you track down the Prince, you already have a few misgivings about this whole revenge thing. Then you find out that the Prince is being played, too. He’s got this evil space dragon pretending to be his sister and asking him to free it from a prison dimension. He’s busy doing it, but he’s beginning to doubt the whispers, as they ask him to do scarier and scarier things. By the end, the thing outright bullies him into taking that last step and opening the portal.
What comes through the portal is some alien monstrosity that eats the poor guy.
This being a shooter, you unload a few metric tons of lead into the monster and kill it. It spits the prince out as it dies.
The prince isn’t dead, but he’s completely defeated. Your in-game friend begs you to spare his life.
Fade to black.
Despite the whole revenge story, it was a very unsatisfying end to the season. Was it right to kill the Prince, even though he killed our friend? The Prince was being manipulated.
Then the next season got rolling. When the Prince opened the portal, the evil space dragon got out and starts corrupting the space elves’ most sacred city.
The Prince’s sister, the Queen, who had been in hiding, gives the order to kill the dragon and cut out its heart.
One problem. These dragons grant wishes. But they twist the wishes, feeding off the desire of the one making the wish.
The queen takes the heart and wishes that her people would be strong again. The dragon twists this into “strong = corrupted by Darkness”. But somebody, somewhere, engages a time loop at the same time.
So now, the city spends 3 weeks being corrupted and getting uglier and uglier. Then the time loop resets and it starts over. This gives the heroes time to try to find a solution to the corruption curse. Seven cycles in, there’s no end in sight.
And then we find a cutscene of the Prince being resurrected as a good guy.
In this game, Space Magic resurrection comes with a complete memory wipe. Resurrected heroes have no idea who they used to be, and finding out details of one’s past is frowned upon.
That’s as far as the story has gone, but it’s caused endless debate in the fan base.
Can we trust the Prince, who murdered our friend, even if he doesn’t remember doing it?
Should we kill him again?
Should we give him a chance to redeem himself?
What will the Queen do when she finds out that her brother has been resurrected by the Space Magic she hates?
It’s like a TV series. We’re in the middle of the season right now, waiting on tenterhooks for the next episode. People are scouring the game, trying to find clues as to what might happen next.
So, when people ask, “Watch anything good lately?” I want to scream, “YES. YES, I’M STUCK IN THE MIDDLE OF AN AWESOME STORY.”
But none of my friends play shooters.