There is something surprising about this week's Destiny 2 reveal, and it absolutely isn't the fact it exists. When a series is touted as having a "10-year plan" in place before the first game has even been announced, sequels are inevitable.
No, what surprised was the tone struck in the two trailers Bungie debuted. Focusing on fan-favourite Cayde-6, voiced by the dependable and charming Nathan Fillion, they give the impression that Bungie is going for a lighter tone in Destiny 2.
Earth's Last City is under attack and the Guardians are fleeing with the remnants of humanity. It's a very bleak premise that will send players "to mysterious, unexplored worlds of our solar system to discover an arsenal of weapons and devastating new combat abilities".
It's easy to imagine this being the basis of a po-faced, over-dramatic trailer setting up a typically darker sequel, but Cayde-6's barside story and attempt at a rallying speech clash with that, to the benefit of both trailers.
Two and a half years on from the release of Destiny, the game has undergone a lot of changes through the release of free updates and paid expansions. The game has steadily improved, starting on unsure footing but becoming a permanent fixture of many player's disc drives.
Speaking purely about its underpinning mechanics, Destiny is first class, but in terms of storytelling Bungie hasn't yet struck a chord. If this is to change however, the lore of the game's setting is at least ripe with potential.
Earlier this year, during an investor call, Activision execs described how the game would feature a "great cinematic story" and "relatable characters". Better characters are certainly what the game needs to improve, and the trailers set that up with the focus on Cayde-6 and the more serious Commander Zavala.
What the trailer implies is that the game will have a greater focus on these characters and characters like them, but also a greater sense of character overall. The reactions from the crowds of Guardians, the sight of actual people – the people players were meant to be protecting in the first game but never saw – all should lend to a world easier to invest in.
It's not like a sense of humour has been absent from the series until now either. Bungie at least tried to pepper Destiny with a few one-liners, and even if they didn't always land, the game would have been even drier for their absence.
Even the original game's trailers tried to capture a sense of adventure and fun, particularly the Become a Legend TV ad, set to Led Zeppelin's Immigrant Song.
What Destiny has lacked is a bit of self-deprecation, as made clear when Bungie decided to remove Peter Dinklage's infamous, ridiculed line, "That wizard came from the moon", following the game's beta.
In the current Age of Triumph live event a reference to the line is made, however, suggesting Bungie is ready to poke fun itself and Destiny, and hopefully indulge its sillier side. More wizards from moons please.
We're not exactly expecting a laugh-a-minute comedy or a script the quality of Portal 2's, but some brevity would go a long way to making Destiny more approachable, and in turn make players more open to the story it tries to tell. Given storytelling is one of the few areas in which Bungie needs to improve with its upcoming sequel, these trailers were a promising first step.
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