[Largest lore post yet!] What WAS the original meaning of Destiny?

Joseph Staten’s initial vision for the Destiny universe, allegedly deteriorated by Jason Jones in the enigmatic Supercut version, aimed to redefine the limits of narrative in video games. His aspirations were grand, crafting a dense network of intricate allusions, metaphors, and meticulously layered complexity, elevating it beyond just a backdrop for an adventurous sci-fi shooter. Staten’s narrative sought to utilize Destiny as a platform to interrogate and challenge prevailing norms and unquestioned dichotomies that we often accept without critical analysis.

His narrative aimed to challenge players to delve not only into, but also beyond the essence of good and evil, light and dark, black and white, right and wrong, saint and sinner, civilized and savage. It urges them to reconsider what is overrated and underrated, developed and undeveloped, progressive or traditional, natural or technological, rich or poor, devout or heretic, Christian or Pagan, Western or Eastern. Symbolically, it scrutinizes the underlying assumptions of these stark dichotomies, along with the historical and cultural contexts that have given rise to such compelling contrasts.

Staten’s original narrative did not simply offer a captivating and detailed lore for the game to merely satisfy lore channels. Instead, it introduced a revolutionary approach to the gaming experience. Players were no longer just observers or executors of predefined actions. They were inspired to delve into the realm of critical thinking and active participation with the game’s themes. This innovative method amplified the player’s connection with the game, infusing depth and significance to the interactions within the game’s universe.

Contrary to the reactions of those who cast the Speaker as a false prophet serving a false god, I don’t believe the narrative is merely a cliched ‘religion is evil’ plot, as many Reddit atheists might assume - akin to what was depicted in the Halo trilogy. Instead, I propose that the narrative was crafted as a nuanced, perhaps postmodern critique on the nature of history itself - illustrating that it’s not just the victors who write history, but also those with hidden agendas or power to gain.

The narrative unfolds as the player’s character, known as the Guardian, is brought back to life by a (or perhaps their) Ghost amongst the eerie ruins of Old Russia. This resurrection signifies a rebirth into a world teeming with enigma, shrouded in amnesia, and filled with perplexing riddles and grisly scenes of literal skeletons. It’s a world that mirrors our own, lost in the aftermath of an apocalypse. Here, the truth is intricately entwined with a multitude of questions, lying in wait, ready to be unraveled.

The narrative echoes Fallout 3, with one key difference: the main storyline centers around uncovering the very catalyst responsible for the collapse and destruction of the society we might have known, rather than merely attempting to restore what was lost.

The narrative bore a striking resemblance to the inaugural Mass Effect game, but was distinctly set within the confines of Earth and its solar system.

It was reminiscent of the 2013 movie Oblivion, but in a video game format and managed to be less nonsensical.

The scene unfolded in a universe steeped in symbolism, primarily from medieval and renaissance Europe; notable examples include the Celestial Spheres, the Epochs of Civilization, and Motifs of Antiquity. This universe also drew heavily from Alchemy, Biblical Judeo-Christian motifs, Occultism, and other cultural, philosophical, religious, and scientific concepts of the said eras.

Sourced examples:



When viewed as a morality tale, this narrative might have been a tale of disillusionment, much like Halo. For Destiny 1, the focus would have shifted to exceptionalism derived from the broad ideology known as Modernity, rather than exceptionalism rooted in its individual component known as religion.

I’ve observed numerous internet users readily accepting information they come across as the ultimate truth, without questioning its authenticity or considering potential biases. They often neglect to adopt a critical “behind the scenes” perspective.

An example of demonstrating this POV:

One convincing argument is that the Vex were likely engineered by humans, and not, as some suggest, inexplicably powerful and mysterious extraterrestrials. This theory is substantiated by early concept art where the Vex are depicted wielding weapons reminiscent of presumed human technology. Moreover, the design of the Vex mirrors traditional sci-fi architecture, further suggesting human-origin.

Additional evidence can be found in similarities between goblin units and early tower frame concepts. Furthermore, the image of three Vex goblins being manipulated by a red-eyed dark cloud on Earth could potentially be associated with an unused backstory in which the Traveler exploits human technology, releasing the Darkness upon Earth. This theory, although not widely accepted, provides a plausible explanation for the Vex’s origin, and what role they might have in driving the THEME of the original story’s opinion on the deeply connected term “Destiny.”

The Vex and old future technology:




The Vex and The Darkness:

Moreover, why are the Vex referred to as such? What is the original significance of this name? Is this a label intended to be interpreted literally or does it carry an underlying fictional backstory, like Vexx?

Vexx cannon:

Staten’s most contentious narrative assertions revolve around the role of the Traveler. Typically, it’s depicted as a beneficent figure, akin to a savior or messiah. However, in Staten’s original concept, the Traveler — also known as the mother of The Darkness — manipulated humanity’s technology, possibly even the Vex, making them instruments in the annihilation of their creators. This depiction provides a more nuanced portrayal of the Traveler than the one-dimensional image we’re accustomed to.

Contrary to what the Speaker may have led us to believe, it is not the darkness that damaged the Traveler. In truth, it was Rasputin who inflicted harm and crippled the Traveler.

Sourced examples:

Unraveling the mystery of Rasputin would have been pivotal in the original story. Not only does he hold the truth about what truly transpired during the collapse, but he also knows how to prevent another catastrophe. After emerging victorious over a version of Oryx in the Hive’s Dreadnaught on Saturn, you would have liberated his Exo from a cage in the same boss room, only to learn that he was in fact using the Exo as a host. As players, we would have come to understand that the real savior of humanity was not The Traveler, but Rasputin himself. Moreover, The Crow and Osiris would have emerged as more effective guides than the Speaker.

Sourced examples:

Many people have criticized the original story as being “not good”. However, in my opinion, it was far superior to what we ultimately received in the retail version. It’s important to note that portions of the original story was leaked, and therefore it was a mere plot summary that was inherently detached from the surrounding context and the methods used to present it. Therefore, it’s just as unjust to judge Destiny’s original story as it would be to evaluate every movie solely based on their Wikipedia summaries and side notes about their reception. Judgement should be reserved for the fully fleshed out and contextually presented story itself, not a lacking summarization, especially the ones presented in bad faith.

For example, criticizing Halo for existing was considered “cool” back then (pre-Destiny): https://youtu.be/NRM3l68PyJA?t=1970

Even a tired cliche in video game narratives can be overlooked, and perhaps even appreciated, if the storyteller is adept enough to entirely subvert expectations. If they can effectively utilize the cliche so that it interacts with other aspects of the larger narrative, rather than merely relying on familiarity, it can significantly enhance the player’s overall experience to create a very memorable story.

For example: https://youtu.be/r3s0hwehMV4?t=571

The Traveler, with its widely celebrated ostensible historical contributions, might well have been a profound commentary reflecting the dubious history and propaganda of colonizers. These colonizers were often depicted as bringers of prosperity, yet we also know they are bringers of devastation to the regions they colonized, or more accurately, conquered.

Is it possible that, in an earlier draft, the Traveler was conceptualized as a Dyson sphere, home to dormant interstellar conquerors who regarded the human populations as mere nuisances to be managed? Despite their obliviousness, these humans fully believed that all terraforming performed by the Traveler was for their benefit, rather than for the space conquerors.

Sourced example: https://dorjebellbrook.blogspot.com/2015/09/destiny-traveler.html

Drawing inspiration from the “Justice” episode of The Next Generation, envision The Traveler as an advanced supercomputer, a sophisticated artificial intelligence, or an automated construct. This entity not only bestows upon humanity the profound knowledge of terraforming, but it also assimilates the prevailing narratives and philosophies of the legendary mankind.

Sourced example: https://www.ishtar-collective.net/items/hesperos-type-0-2

In doing so, its objective was to bring to life a utopia - a heaven on earth, an idyllic paradise, a flourishing garden.

Sourced example: https://youtu.be/jR0XJUPNx4E?t=443

However, its interpretation was grounded in a deep-seated observation: Light inevitably springs forth from Darkness. This concept is akin to the historical progression where ‘The Enlightenment’ would not have come into existence without the preceding ‘Dark Ages’ serving as its fundamental basis in the writing of European history.

Sourced example: https://youtu.be/XO3kiHqJQ_8?t=112

After nearly annihilating the human race, The Traveler, if left intact, would initiate the transformation of the remnants into what we now identify as the Vex, beings from the far-flung future. They might be the potential progeny of our species, or a speculative evolutionary offshoot of our lineage brought to realization. These beings revere the Heart/Darkness as a legitimate deity and have intersected with human history (their own past) on numerous occasions. In essence, they bear a certain resemblance to the Metal Men from the movie Gandahar, also known as Light Years.

Sourced examples:

Perhaps the authentic original draft might be a blend of both hypothetical backstories. The Traveler may have journeyed to our solar system through space or time, remained concealed on one of our planets, or it could have even been a creation of humans at some point. This could have been an effort to rival the Warminds. The crux of the matter is that the Speaker is just as deceitful as those “leakers” mentioned in the year late coverup article from Kotaku. He merely elaborates on what he deems necessary for us to hear (to not ask more questions), while keeping the rest obscured or overly simplified.

The Speaker can be likened to a Eurocentric scholar who skillfully veils the Traveler’s exploitative and potentially destructive intentions under the guise of ‘civilization’, ‘progress’, and ‘science’. This facade is maintained throughout a ‘Golden Age’, only to predictably descend into a ‘Dark Age.’ The Speaker propagates a misleading narrative about Light and Darkness, manipulating humanity’s understanding and reinforcing control through these simplified binary constructs. Upon recent reflection, it struck me as peculiar that there is absolutely no concept art for the Speaker available online or in the art book, even a full decade after the game’s release. This is particularly strange considering the Speaker’s iconic status, predominantly due to his distinctive mask and suit.

Perhaps there lies a tantalizing spoiler-worthy twist behind that mask, and the machine he operates as well.

After spending hours scouring Google Images, I’ve managed to find one image that bears the closest resemblance to my quest.

Here’s the link to it: https://cdna.artstation.com/p/users/avatars/000/245/890/large/cd31e48b3a7cb527e5b3a3f5e7c6c685.jpg

If you argue that he wasn’t assigned a significant role in the concept art to be highlighted in his outfit design, then we must ponder over the reason for his existence in the first place. Why was he featured in an unused scene in one of the initial pre-release trailers? What was the rationale behind designing his attire in such a manner? Why did Bungie invest in hiring an accomplished voice actor for a seemingly insignificant role? What is the reason behind the speaker sporadically uttering lines with a seemingly villainous undertone in the base game? Why does the observatory cutscene subtly spotlight the speaker in a red hue, a clever cinematic technique often used to depict villains in a narrative?

When The Darkness and The Exo Stranger were abruptly excluded from the behind-the-scenes of Vanilla Destiny 2, why was the speaker eliminated only to be completely forgotten? What is the function of the machine near the Speaker? Could this ornate decoration have held some significance at one point, perhaps for a particular cutscene? What exactly do the nearby banners symbolize?

Sourced examples:






While we were initially uncertain about the unveiling of explanations prior to the retail release, the original Destiny did indeed harbor a mystery. However, unlike in the retail version, the major mysteries would have been resolved in Staten’s campaign.

Sourced example: https://youtu.be/ZF6mS01WxzM?t=319

In this innovative narrative, the Guardians - Hunter, Titan, and Warlock - were far more than mere classifications. They bore connotations rooted in mythical and malevolent figures. These chosen names served as a critique of our traditional interpretations and redefinition of terms within themes such as villainy, heroism, and commonplace symbolism, scrutinizing their problematic historical counterparts in legends.

Sourced examples:

The Guardians, a title akin to guardian angels, but simplified like The Traveler and the other titles, could also be perceived as conquerors, reminiscent of the “glorious Knights of the Crusades”, the “glorious Explorers of the Age of Discovery”, or even the “glorious Colonizers during the Scramble for Africa.” Despite their controversial objectives and insatiable appetite for loot, such figures have frequently been romanticized as heroes or even legends in historical narratives. These depictions obscure the harsh truths or amplify the half-truths of the history centered around them, presenting yet another reflection of our ongoing struggle with historical memory.

Sourced examples:

In Greek mythology, the term “heroes” did not necessarily align with our modern understanding of morality. These individuals were considered “good” due to their larger-than-life personas and abilities, yet these very qualities often led to harm for those around them. Who’s to determine that possessing such a grandiose nature automatically qualifies one as a contemporary hero?

This could explain why “Ghosts,” traditionally perceived as supernatural entities charged with the task of selecting their guardians, take considerable time to make their choices. They seek out those who exhibit either utmost subservience or extraordinary power. Guardians like Osiris often fall into disfavor due to a lack of the former trait. Osiris was banished for his quest to gain extensive knowledge by asking questions, the ones that the Speaker and The City deemed ‘heretical’.

In the narrative crafted by Joseph Staten, the concept of the ‘Light’—humorously referred to by Staten himself and then ironically reduced to ‘SPACE MAGIC’ in Retail and subsequent developments—was likely intended to convey a profound meaning in a more tangible manner. The Light might have been envisioned as a sophisticated futuristic technology, comprehensible only to the Speaker. This idea could have served as a religious or philosophical reference, perhaps an allegory to the Holy Flame, the Light of Civilization, or a tangible embodiment of Enlightenment that Guardians wield as a “weapon” just like The Traveler and The Ghosts.

This ‘Light’ could have acted as a potent symbol, blurring the lines between divine intervention and human-engineered miracles. It would have questioned our perceptions of technology and religion, shedding new light on the powers utilized by the Guardians. By blurring the lines between the divine and the human-created, it aligns with the overarching goal of Staten’s narrative to blur moral, cultural, and power boundaries.

Sourced examples:

As suggested by the name references in the Halo trilogy, Staten’s world was abounding with subtle allusions and profound metaphors:

The Heart in the Black Garden, and possibly The Traveler, seem to be clear allusions to the highly controversial book, “Heart of Darkness”.



The title ‘Destiny’ subtly suggests grand themes such as ‘Man’s Destiny,’ ‘The Glorious Destiny of Mankind,’ or even ‘Manifest Destiny.’ These themes are deeply intertwined with a wide array of historical concepts, such as predestination, natural hierarchies, and the more modern notions of progressivism and exceptionalism. They also bear the weight of the so-called “Natural Cycle of Civilization,” a concept that emerges from the belief in “The Best of All Possible Worlds” and the use of so-called science to frame an idea as convincing.

However, these ideas are often built on a foundation of half-truths/untruths, perpetuated or misused by biased or self-serving philosophers, scientists, and leaders. Their narratives frame and reframe these untruths, creating a distorted view of history.

Furthermore, these themes are often presented in a Utopian light, suggesting a world of patriotic or virtuous pride. Yet, when tragedy strikes, contradicting what was prophesied or striking without reason, the flaws in these philosophies become evident or even dangerous. Indeed, ‘Destiny’ challenges the notion of “Philosophical Optimism,” revealing the inherent issues in such a worldview.

Sourced examples:

The recurring theme present in the standard postmodern classifications leads me to speculate that The Golden Age may not have been intended to represent a true utopian period of rapid progress. Instead, it might have been a time rife with geopolitical turmoil and hidden contradictions. The Traveler, both metaphorically and literally, manipulated nations’ weapons against themselves, challenging the narrative of a peaceful and unified revolutionary age. Moreover, it might have been slower and involving more particular topics than what the Speaker’s opening essentialist and evocative monologue lets on.

Sourced example: https://youtu.be/Ny7XhR4URZE?t=99

Similar to how “The Age of Discovery” was actually the “Age of Reconnaissance,” and “The Industrial Revolution” was actually “The Age of Industrialization”; The term ‘Golden Age’ may not be the most accurate description. It might be more fitting to refer to it as the ‘Age of Condescension’, the ‘Era of Power Consolidation’, or even the ‘Epoch of Divided Destiny’. After all, the sight of tanks and the wreckage of countless cars in the Cosmodrome sharply contrasts with the idealized images displayed in the facility’s posters from a time we’re informed was one of unified peace. This contrast prompts us to ask: what narratives are hidden beneath the veneer of this so-called “perfect world”?

Sourced examples:

Prior to Destiny 2 resorting to merely name-dropping when fresh, meaningful names were exhausted, characters such as Osiris and the Crow were not simply audio-emitting objects. Instead, they were interactive characters, intricately layered with motivations and evolving through compelling story arcs. Osiris, initially introduced as a guide, was partnered with a robotic assistant—a design concept that was subsequently repurposed for The Exo Stranger. Osiris would haven be an exiled scholar with a energetic personality reminiscent to Doc Brown. He would have been taking refuge in a vex temple on mercury, known as The Lighthouse, a symbol for guidance or clarification. One of the quests involved with him, would have been uncovering mysteries such as The Vex and The Seven Seraphs faction. The Crow, meanwhile, was portrayed as a charismatic and roguish figure, reminiscent of Cayde-6 from The Taken King expansion. Rather than being a mere bystander dispensing loot and exposition, you were actually able to fight alongside him, fully integrating him into the gameplay experience.

Sourced examples:

In the “tutorial mission” of the retail game, the character that occupied the position of The Exo Stranger was originally The Crow.

Sourced example: https://youtu.be/JKoP-5qj8eg?t=906

However, the developers repurposed this character, who was initially intended to serve the Queen, and transformed him into the "Queen’s brother.”

Sourced example: https://i.imgur.com/IQFrAmS.jpg

In the original story, after being captured and brought to a secret base on Mars, the guardian would find out more about The Crow than what “The City” was letting on.

Sourced example: https://youtu.be/H1AscIFtbp8

The Crow, revered as the leader of a group comprised of some guardians who had lost their ghosts (essentially neglected veterans rendered mortal), was a part of the team that included Osiris and his exo assistant. This group, if my judgement serves me correctly, was known as the Binary Star Cult. However, a writer/editor of the game’s grimoire mistakenly referred to them as the “Trinary Star Cult.” This sect was often regarded as heretical, primarily because, unlike other contrasting groups endorsed by The City, their theories not only questioned the role of the Darkness but also cast a shadow of doubt on the role of The Traveler. Their skepticism, particularly their negative perception of The Traveler, led to them being labeled as ‘Heretical’ by the mainstream. The name probably comes from how The Traveler and Darkness are like Binary Stars or how the group brings two suspects into focus rather than one, unlike the theorists in the city.

Sourced examples:

This emblem, two mirrored semicircles, represents the Binary Star Cult’s beliefs. It could potentially symbolize the core relationship between The Traveler and The Darkness, or it might be a reflection of the very nature of The Traveler itself:

However, this richly layered narrative landscape, brimming with depth and complexity, was deliberately kept hidden from public view. A contentious article by Jason Schreier, under suspicion of spreading half-truths via suspiciously significant rumors from alleged Bungie employees still in need of employment, hinted at vague concerns within Bungie’s management about the narrative’s intellectual accessibility. From what they indirectly disclosed and consciously avoided revealing, it sparked new suppositions that they were apprehensive the complex themes and mature narrative structure, reminiscent of Halo, might prove challenging to market to a wide audience intended to ensure the game’s financial success.

The article: The Messy, True Story Behind The Making Of Destiny

This could have potentially distanced them from those seeking a more straightforward shooter experience, including casual or maybe even religious demographics.

Sourced examples:

Moreover, as initially hypothesized, the intricate and non-linear structure of the narrative may have posed challenges to seamlessly dividing it into DLC segments. This could have complicated the game’s monetization strategy, which involves converting what is currently expansion or cut content into DLC.

Critical examinations I think ask the right questions:


In the original version before the reboot, the Guardian would join forces with the Crow to track down Osiris. The storyline would reach a dramatic climax with the unveiling of the truth: the Traveler and the Darkness were not simply binary entities or representations of good and evil. Rather, they were essentially identical entities within a living cosmos, indirectly sustaining each other through their actions, much like the symbiotic relationship between an Acacia tree and an ant colony. After all, a shadow cannot exist without a source of light to cast it, just as there can be no dusk without dawn, no Yin without Yang, no hell without heaven, and no darkness without light. The Traveler brought forth the Darkness after shining its “light” on humanity, mirroring how geometric shapes such as spheres have been historically used by notable inventors to study the properties of shadows.

Sourced examples:

The bond between Traveler and the Darkness mirrors a reimagined version of the mythological relationship between Erebus and Aether, or Hemera. It invites us to understand that the essence of light and darkness is not simply a dichotomy, but rather a unified duality - a collaboration, not a contest. This is similar to the principle of Yin and Yang in Yiguandao, or the binary code in a computer system, where two contrasting elements join to create something far superior than their individual entities.

This concept of harmonious duality, or symbiosis, is vividly encapsulated in the Taken faction and The Garden Heart. Their radiant, luminous glow, set against a backdrop that is traditionally perceived as the embodiment of darkness, serves as a powerful visual representation of the underlying synergy between light and dark, or one and zero.

Sourced examples:

These images subtly suggest the notion that “darkness emerges from or is centered around light”:



The concept of Darkness and its perceived role in The Collapse could potentially be interpreted as an allegory for cyclical or ‘light vs. dark’ theories. These theories were often constructed by self-proclaimed “civilization expert scholars” who sought to understand and manage the onset and aftermath of a Great War in their distinguished Europe.

Alternatively, these theories could also represent their efforts to comprehend the prolonged technological decline that characterized the historical period they referred to as the “Dark Ages.” This term was a stark contrast to the label they assigned to their own era, “The Enlightenment.” Their choice of labels demonstrates a tendency to collectively view all history as a single non-crooked line in terms of distinct periods of progress and decline, or ‘light’ and ‘dark.’

Sourced examples:

It’s possible that the Heart in the Black Garden is not simply the heart of any being, but rather, it is THE DARKNESS itself, in its raw, nascent form. This entity could be ensconced within the Traveler, waiting for its moment to awaken.

Our mission, then, is to destroy it, not just to safeguard the universe, but to pacify the Traveler as well. This must be our focus, especially after successfully thwarting the Hive’s superweapon, hidden deep within the Moon.

Sourced examples:

For instance, the Traveler may inherently possess the desire, or rather the hunger, to absolve a planetary culture exclusively for the purpose of broadening their understanding of science and industrialization. Subsequently, the Darkness (its children) would be summoned to annihilate or harvest the impacted culture, so that the culture stops worshiping the Traveler or perhaps fighting over it.

Sourced examples:

(Notice how this looks like the Earth) https://static.wikia.nocookie.net/destinypedia/images/5/53/The_Hunger_perk_icon.png

Regrettably, the original in-game plot twist involving these entities, along with the satirical, uncritical acceptance of them, was omitted in the final cut. This is evident in the tonal shift observed in the Cosmodrome introduction, marking a significant deviation from Staten’s original, darker, and more immediate vision of a world that could have been.

E3 2013: https://youtu.be/Od_A3v3a2vs?t=29

Retail 2014: https://youtu.be/j222kz9Aijo?t=201

Whenever current Bungie employees are interviewed, they often describe things in an unusually vague manner, repeatedly mentioning the creation of a “bright and hopeful” world. This recurring theme subtly lends credence to this hypothesis.

Sourced examples:

Before the release of Destiny 1, who was the actual creator of The Taken or The Plague of Darkness?

Sourced examples:

Also, “Forge of the Gods?”

Sourced example: https://youtu.be/EOudD5XWn4Q

Rumors from play testers underscore the magnitude of what the original content might have been. I’m inclined to believe that only a handful of the Final Cut scenes remained untouched. Likely, these untouched scenes are the Speaker Observatory scene, the Black Garden Heart scene, and perhaps The Exo Stranger on Venus scene.

Sourced examples:

Regrettably, a significant number of cutscenes in the Final Cut were either altered or entirely removed. The story was reduced from an original two-hour narrative, brimming with intriguing characters and their captivating backstories, to a pared-down 50-minute version. Many of those fascinating aspects we’d only caught glimpses of, and some we’d never seen before, were lost. This philosophical exploration was unfortunately absent in the Final Cut, which instead leaned toward a simplified narrative of good versus evil. This is a stark, and somewhat ironic, departure from Staten’s original vision, which was far more philosophically challenging.

Sourced examples:

The final cut’s sanitized and fragmented narrative has significantly diminished the philosophical depth and moral intricacy that Staten’s original vision once embodied. The complex, multi-layered storyline was drastically simplified, either resulting in an opaque recounting of the remaining plot or adopting the ubiquitous feel-good cartoon ambiance.

Sourced example:

Moreover, I bet that philosophical and political dialogues from the real world, if incorporated into the game, would likely be presented in a rather straightforward yet blunt manner. Such inherently political or philosophical concepts would likely mirror a specific, mainstream dominant narrative verbatim, while intentionally dismissing alternative perspectives as if it is invisible or unspeakable, instead of considering them as simply uninformed or misguided ideas to be more or less considered. This narrow and overly restrictive portrayal would not only suppresses genuine discourse but would also impede a holistic understanding of the topic at hand for all parties involved.

Sourced example:

This practice fosters a culture that is overly comfortable with the active manipulation of both the medium and the message, sacrificing the inclusion of diverse perspectives and the promotion of maturity. Such an environment could potentially lead to disillusionment of varying degrees, as external audiences become suspicious of or even obsessed with partial truths, blatant absolutism, double standards, euphemistic language, and the pervasive influence of powerful entities.

Sourced examples:

What I am trying to convey is that either the game, Destiny, delves into political themes or it does not. As it stands, there doesn’t seem to be anything within the gameplay or even within a menu screen that sparks a deep curiosity.

The following is something that truly piques said intrigue:

Currently, I feel that Destiny still falls short in exploring substantial political themes or emotionally stirring philosophies, like in Halo.

Sourced example: https://youtu.be/LtiOIscUl8o?t=351

It doesn’t employ engaging intrigue or compelling narratives that prompt me to draw parallels with the real world or perceive its universe as something tangible. It continues to give off the impression of once being a vessel for a story far grander than the one we receive as scheduled fragments.

If the game were to grapple with a theme that doesn’t neatly align with the traditional Light versus Dark narrative championed by the Speaker, it tends to either forget it (for instance, Pujari’s vision of the Black Garden), mockingly disregard it (such as the Binary Star Cult), or mention it in passing without establishing a substantial link to the on-screen action…

Sourced examples:

…It often falls into the trap of vaguely stating, “Oh, it’s in the gray area, so let’s not delve into it but act profoundly enlightened for merely acknowledging the potential complexity of the Light and Dark dichotomy.” This approach tends to lean heavily on rhetoric that sounds poetic but ultimately rings hollow, particularly when it’s clear that these are vestiges of the original storyline’s themes, used merely to create an illusion of depth.

Sourced examples:

Although it’s placed there, it doesn’t convey any significant information that’s worth remembering in the long term; Its style and substance are as impactful as uttering “Star Horse” or “The Tiger in Space” in casual communication.

A compelling game narrative that challenges the dangers of rigidly adhering to the ‘Light vs. Dark’ dichotomy, perpetuated by authoritative figures within its universe, while also redefining the oversimplified beliefs promoted by these figures, is undeniably thought-provoking.

Sourced example: https://youtu.be/Y5NbEjkkPlI?t=339

It’s hardly surprising that such an inherently challenging and complex storyline might be met with resistance from the executives of a major entertainment company.

Sourced example: https://youtu.be/sQufBb2GljI

Speaking of something that redefined a ‘Light’ vs ‘Dark’ narrative in gaming:

A narrative solely centered around “humanity being aided by benevolent aliens” seems like a concept that an individual as technically minded as Joseph Staten may find challenging to pen with sincere conviction.

Sourced example: https://youtu.be/T6wp0Qbf4Cw?t=286

Moreover, the existing narrative is woefully inadequate as it portrays the Traveler and their followers as infallible. The expectation, or more appropriately, the presumption is that they are consistently correct in their decisions. We are not only expected, but also encouraged to believe that they are perpetually right. It seems the authors may subconsciously write the protagonists as making the optimal choices, resulting in the creation of the best possible world. This kind of storytelling is disappointingly one-dimensional and lacks depth.

Within the confines of the game, the traveler remains an embodiment of benevolence, despite being shrouded in mystery. While its intentions are occasionally called into question within the narrative’s backstory, we are never encouraged or led to perceive the traveler as evil or intent on our destruction. Any contradictions or sudden revelations that have arisen to challenge the traveler’s character are countered by the narrative’s insistence that the traveler is, at worst, ambiguously motivated or benignly misguided. The narrative never ventures into the realm of outright malevolence, as if the game’s executives are wary of revealing too much, thereby quelling the rumors.

Sourced example: Reddit - Dive into anything

However, the inadequately dismissed rumors suggest that the traveler was intended to be unmistakably evil or at least deceitfully destructive in earlier drafts. This evidence indicates that the traveler’s character may have been considerably darker before the final version was decided upon.

Sourced examples:


Moreover, the factions were initially designed to symbolize real-world philosophical queries. For instance, New Monarchy suggests the concept of a centralized authority embodied in a Philosopher King, while FWC embodies the notion of the ceaselessly inevitable conflict frequently depicted in written history or philosophy. New Bungie’s apparent eagerness to character assassinate these perspectives, and also kill off their organizations along with the leaders speaks volumes about their stance on this type of diversity in storytelling.

Sourced examples:

Neuromona serves as a prime example of a narrative that is simpler to comprehend than to critique. This is due to the fact that it doesn’t exist within the confines of the original story or our own reality. Its essence resonates with the idea that “one person’s utopia is everyone’s utopia,” as opposed to the more commonly encountered concept of “one person’s utopia is another person’s dystopia.” Regardless, I find the characters who inhabit this premise to be implausibly robust, bordering on the laughable.

Let’s be honest, it appears that Bungie has no intention of narrating the original story, at least as it was initially conceived, in one full vanilla game.

Sourced examples:

The overly simplistic in-game narrative of Destiny, coupled with a backstory that reads like it was written for second-grade reading on a website, is an aspect I find difficult to take seriously when discussed by commentators. To me, it appears to be a clear case of a writer attempting to further someone else’s narrative, yet infusing it with their own notions of what it should and shouldn’t be.

Examples of this:

“Destiny’s lore” doesn’t appeal to me due to its mediocre backstory, which only ever seems to be referenced as an elusive crutch for why the story we encounter within the actual game isn’t as mediocre.

Sourced examples:


I find it hard to anticipate Destiny’s storyline with excitement, much like I struggled to enjoy the narratives of both Destiny 1 and Destiny 2. My main issue stems not from the fact that the Speaker won’t share the details with me, but rather that if he did, it would largely be his own tale (some random’s). It wouldn’t fully encapsulate the perspectives of individuals like Staten.

Sourced example: https://youtu.be/hXP2PcyXiLI

Ultimately, it appears to me that these narratives are nothing more than elaborate fairy tales, seemingly forgotten in their original design to veil darker undertones and aspirations.

Sourced example: https://youtu.be/Zg9edhb4OBs

Arguably, the most severe critique of Bungie’s management of the Destiny franchise is rooted in its handling of game content that was initially intended for the original (VANILLA) base game of Destiny 1.

Detailed analysis of pre-release trailers, previously overlooked but now serving as revealing evidence, suggests that Bungie employed a deceptive strategy. It appears they removed substantial sections of content originally planned for the base game, only to reintroduce it later as supposedly new content for expansions and even the sequel. This astute observation by vigilant fans underscores their disappointment with Bungie’s integrity as a company and “originality” in their games.

Sourced examples:

This assertion is strongly supported by pre-release trailers from 2013, which clearly revealed substantial content from The Taken King. These trailers provided numerous previews of the Dreadnaught and hinted at the introduction of the Taken faction as the fifth enemy group. From concept art to the unmistakable appearance of the Waning Star ship in the E3 gameplay reveal, the evidence is compelling. Furthermore, none other than Joseph Staten starred in a few of these revealing trailers.

Hive Dreadnaught from 2013 examples:



The Taken from 2013 examples:


This phenomenon was not just a mere representation of what was previously inconceivable to some, but it also unabashedly confirmed that an overwhelming majority of the content received from TTK was not merely in its pre-production phase. Instead, it was already fully conceived, developed, and rendered in-engine long enough to achieve a certain level of polish before the release of the original Destiny 1. This content was then surreptitiously held back, only to be strategically marketed later as new content that was supposedly conceived the following year – a move that was undeniably deceptive.

What is truly disheartening is observing how many dedicated guardians have unknowingly fallen prey to this manipulative strategy, enthusiastically praising The Taken King as a “groundbreaking expansion.” In reality, it’s more akin to a game without legs being provided prosthetic ones - a semblance of completeness delivered belatedly, with some pieces still missing and nerve damage evident, yet touted as a significant enhancement.

Sourced examples:

TTK isn’t a “breakthrough expansion” as much as Luke Smith wasn’t a seasoned director because the content that they are associated with, was already produced prior to Destiny 1 releasing.

A majority of the work was already done!

When a ton of content we were 99% guaranteed for the first two DLC, was unintentionally revealed on the vanilla Destiny 1’s disc, as a result of flaws in the game’s code, we should have all collectively known that every DLC content we got for it was the result of an amputation rather than a ambitious preplanning.

Sourced examples:

In conclusion, after Bungie accrued considerable wealth from the fruitful partnership with Microsoft, Joseph Staten’s original narrative for Destiny was a daring endeavor to defy the conventional limitations of video game storytelling. His bold narrative sought to elevate the storytelling in games from being dismissively regarded as just a supplementary backdrop to the action, or worse, hopelessly lame.

Staten’s narrative aimed to engage and challenge the player’s cognitive capacities, presenting them with a profound, multi-layered exploration of various narrative themes. This deep dive into the narrative would require the player to engage in thoughtful analysis and reflection, akin to the interpretive process involved in appreciating critically acclaimed movies such as the original ‘Planet of the Apes’ or popular television shows like ‘Doctor Who’ and 'Star Trek’.

Sourced example: https://youtu.be/LtiOIscUl8o?t=229

Also, you did have to read a wall of text to believe you understand what is going: https://youtu.be/YH2DZaQgGcI?t=2657

These examples, like Staten’s narrative, offer deeply layered commentaries and applicable tales of the human condition, all wrapped up in an evocative fantasy or science fiction story. By creating a narrative that was not only entertaining but also intellectually stimulating, Staten strived to revolutionize the way stories are told within the realm of video games.

Sourced examples:

The final cut and subsequent releases we received were markedly different from the initial vision, resulting in a substantial loss of philosophical depth and complexity. Despite this, the subtle remnants of Staten’s original narrative continue to captivate players who discern the prophetic utterances of Truth spoken by the Voice of the Traveler. These hints suggest a potential for a narrative experience akin to that found in Halo – a notion that compulsive gamers find tantalizing.

Sourced examples:

However, unlike Halo, Destiny’s development and marketing budget ballooned to such an extent that the narrative was viewed more as a liability than an asset. This perspective transformed the storyline into a challenge that would require considerable time and resources to rectify fully. Ultimately, the narrative was viewed as a necessary compromise, not intended to be “taken more seriously” but rather as a beacon of hope and optimism.

Sourced example: https://youtu.be/0SaAkv5W4nM?t=774

After all, why take things seriously when you can mindlessly gun down the aliens (forces of the darkness) that had taken our once majestic ancestral worlds (which are rightfully ours), who are all striving to extinguish the final beacon of (our) civilization, and then pretend it’s all sunshine and rainbows?

All in a quest to “become legends” that puts us on par with historical figures such as Leonidas I, Alexander the Great, and King Richard the Lionheart.

I firmly believe that the initial concept of Destiny was aimed to portray a Medieval Fantasy. However, this vision was set to criticize the very core of and themes explored in Medieval Fantasy, and how it was supposed to reflect the “modern philosophy” of its time. It encapsulated a myriad of themes ranging from civilization and its stark contrast with savagery or tribalism, technology, natural hierarchies, and heroism vs. villainy. Generally, Destiny was intended to showcase the predictably of there being two sides; light and darkness, constantly in conflict.

Just image it:

I believe that the middle image is the initial concept of The Crow:

Similar to the evolution of The Sims franchise and the Supreme brand, Destiny’s narrative has ironically become a caricature of its own original premise.

Bungie initially intended to craft a narrative akin to Halo, but with a twist - humans of our world would be placed in the position of the Covenant. However, they now wanted us to believe that such a concept was too “esoteric” for us, to the extent that we weren’t even allowed see it, let alone, judge it for ourselves.

They want us to think that a game with a stripped-out story is an improvement compared to a game with its story intact.

I firmly believe that ever since the release of the first game, Destiny’s lore and story have been intentionally separated from the rest of the game. This strategy was adopted with the sole purpose of appealing to the elusive average young or casual gamer from diverse cultural backgrounds. The lore and story only become blatantly visible if it is deemed suitable for those who show an interest or possess the ability to understand it.

Regardless of the numerous challenges and controversies that Destiny has faced, there will always be a medium to large content creator or a blogger who, much like Atlas shouldering the sky, will boldly champion the game and its evaporating community. They will often assert something along these lines: “Like many others, my hate towards the game actually stems from a cosseted place of deep-rooted affection, fuelling my anticipation for what lies ahead as I believe it still harbors tremendous potential!”

Sourced example:

If Destiny truly possesses such potential, then there should be plans in place to restore and improve upon the following missing features:

  1. Spaceship Combat: There was a time when ships held significant importance.

  2. Player-to-Player Trading: RNG drops/Engrams used to hold a critical role.

  3. Player-to-Player Gambling: This feature could significantly enhance the social experience.

  4. Sparrow Racing: Sparrows and their stats once held considerable significance in the game.

  5. Faction Wars: Factions used to carry weight in the gameplay and the greater narrative.

  6. A Narrative Surpassing Halo: The story was once a crucial element in the game.

  7. A Gaming Experience Beyond Halo: There was a time when Bungie and Halo were the benchmarks in not just video games, but in gaming as a definition.

I am convinced that once Joseph Staten reaches a certain age, the supercut may conveniently “leak.” However, it will be presented as Staten’s initial draft, with its flaws highlighted and the evidence of its strengths downplayed. It’s unfortunate for someone like Staten, who is unable to delve into the depth of his past works’ unused concepts, which have been already revealed long ago - a stark contrast to Marty O’Donnell.

Sourced examples:

Per Audacia Ad Astra, Joseph Staten!

However, the most important questions I want to ask is…

What do you think?

What comes first: light or darkness?

Is “light vs. darkness” real?

Is the foretold Destiny you aspire to, even yours?

What is it to become legend?

Who will you become?

Do you perceive the utopian future of humanity as an enhancement or a curse?

Lastly, what WAS the original meaning of Destiny?

Just came across this insightful Reddit thread: I want to replay Destiny 1 and pay attention to the pre-reboot elements. Any clues? : DestinyLore

Additionally, I’ve come to realize that the term “Guardian” and the faction “New Monarchy” might also have been intended as references to Plato’s concept of a “Just Society.”

  1. Plato's political philosophy - Wikipedia
  2. https://youtu.be/OZeqQlmOPgs?t=1100

Now… Let’s consider a hypothetical scenario where the original Destiny game could have been drastically altered or even scrapped…

I surmise that the playtesters were not fans of the story, because, well, it was merely a playtest.

Imagine viewing a film where you are only shown the prologue, a few scenes leading to the finale, and some seemingly incoherent scenes randomly plucked from the middle. Add to that placeholders, early takes, and visible green screens that further detract from the experience.

Here are some sourced examples:


Would you judge the movie’s story based on what you experienced or what you anticipated it to be?

One tester, apparently in a foul mood, condescendingly compared this cinematic in particular to a “sports drink commercial”: https://youtu.be/Ny7XhR4URZE

This is to say, the very few vocal playtesters who experienced the early, unrefined fragments of the story were highly skeptical and critical of what they encountered, to the point of being dismissive.

Regardless of whether their concerns were valid or unfounded, they understood that the final retail story differed significantly from the one they experienced during the playtest. It seemed as though it became an entirely different, smaller and emptier narrative, nothing they could have predicted given the changes in tone, direction, substance, etc.

As one of them tries very hard to admit:

Now, put yourself in the shoes of an Activision executive who hears playtesters’ feedback suggesting the story “needs more work.”

As an executive, you are aware that simply making “good games” isn’t a foolproof strategy for covering production costs, especially in the oversaturated first-person shooter market.

Destiny is no exception. It represents one of the most substantial investments you’ve made in terms of company resources and marketing.

You might somewhat know what happens in the story but not what it is about, so you request a demonstration of the story’s progress to experience it firsthand from what you think would be a player’s perspective.

This was doomed to fail from the outset. The narrative, crafted solely for effective use in a game, is compressed into a glorified movie with rough attributes added post-production. Furthermore, you’re about to witness a bold, unique take on video game storytelling, something you may not particularly care or understand.

If that’s not bad enough, you encounter a scene where the player character basically thrusts his Raze Lighter through the Speaker’s back after the scholar starts ranting like a religious fanatic.

Within minutes, you put two and two together, and from this or maybe this, you see this instead.

You are stunned, did the hero (meant to be the player’s character) just kill a figure resembling the pope?


Then you see this, this, and this again and begin to understand the story’s subtextual elements that your weekly reports couldn’t adequately warn you of.

Why does this game have religious undertones anyway? Is this a… Morality tale?

(As this guy put it: Reddit - Dive into anything)

My goodness! I had no idea that this game would be the video game equivalent of the Passion of Christ!

Why would we want that? Especially when it has to compete with our other game, Call of Duty.


We should have fired that writer as soon as we found out he was producing this kind of controversial content and got away with it!

This story, despite being just that, cannot be the foundation of our investment. We can’t leave things to chance!

Can you guys alter the story to remove the elements we dislike? That should be fairly simple, right?

Even if nothing makes the cut, we are better off with no story at this point.

Five days later, they publicly announce on their website that this Staten guy has “left” the company to “tackle new creative challenges.”

I’m willing to bet if Microsoft had learned about the story under the same circumstances, they would have persuaded Bungie’s management to make more changes than just renaming the Dervish into the Arbiter. They would have forced them to dilute the character or remove him entirely, along with all the story he was involved with, if they could not find the time; which I believe happened to Osiris, Crow, The Speaker, Rasputin, and possibly others we have yet to hear of. They were once central to the main campaign of the original draft, but now they’re just background noise in a few side missions of retail.

It’s disheartening when you’ve worked on creating a universe for your epic tale to draw upon, only to be made to present it in a negative light, and before you know it, your entire work is rejected, chopped up to serve as DLC, and the rest that can’t serve as DLC is discarded. This results in an inferior version at the end of the day.

If a single business-focused individual can significantly alter a movie’s script because it’s “too long”, dark, and doesn’t have a happy ending, then such a thing can undoubtedly occur in the gaming industry as well:

The only difference, however, is that no one, especially not the creator, vehemently attempted to counteract this change after it occurred and the product was sold.

One can only hope that this wouldn’t be the case…?