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Bungie: Good at setting, bad at story (Fan Creations)

by Kahzgul, Monday, October 23, 2017, 14:43 (2372 days ago) @ INSANEdrive

There's a TL;DR for ya.

I was going to do some kind of overarching post but you've done an excellent job of compartmentalizing the different areas, and as such I feel like responding in kind is probably better.

Then I was going to post a mega-plot summary of the story so far, but screw that. The real failure here is that storytelling isn't happening. Here's how I define a plot arc: At the end of the arc, one or more of these things happens:

- A character learns something.
- The audience learns something.
- The world has changed.
- A character grows as a person.
- A character is able to see the world differently
- The audience is able to see the world differently.
- A character has an epiphany about the nature of life.
- The audience has an epiphany about the nature of life.

That's it. If none of those things happen, then there was no reason to tell the story. At the end of the story you should not simply be older than when the story began.

Sometimes the story of a video game is as simple as "the audience learned how to solve this sort of puzzle." That's fine. Destiny is full of "the audience learned how to solve the puzzle of putting the crosshair on the bad guy's head." But when it comes to a non-game-mechanics story. A plot of the world of the game story. There isn't one. There are myriad opportunities for some of the characters to learn something - like Ikora, who apparently knows everything already, or cayde, who doesn't take things seriously even when his arm is off, or zavala, who is stoic as his only defining characteristic, or hawthorne, who could totally be teaching guardians what life is like when you don't have light and as a result learn from them about the nature of endless sacrifice (or anything, really), but that entire opportunity is somehow completely missed. You would think that immortals, faced with their own mortality, would learn *something* or experience some kind of *consequence* they did not expect, but that shockingly doesn't happen.

Indeed, the story of Destiny 2 is really the story of how we could have learned to see the world differently, but instead fought tooth and nail to preserve the status quo.

It is a story of Bungie, missing every opportunity to tell a compelling story.

And it's still better than Destiny 1. s. m. h.

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Counterpoint: Destiny 2 is fraught with storytelling moments, but they don't cleave together in anything resembling coherence.

Let's look at the raid, though. This is a small story. It is a largely inconsequential story. And yet it IS a complete story. The guardians are invited to entertain the emperor with their light, which he finds beautiful. Cool! But in the act of doing so, we learn that the emperor believes he, too, has mastered mortality, and done so by becoming an infinite number of robots. The characters and the audience learned something about him.

And in one of the adventures on Nessus, we learn (as a totally off-hand throw-away line) that the vex cannot simulate the Light. That's a HUGE discovery that is just tossed aside. But damn, that's a little bit of storytelling there.

On Titan we learn that there's something huge under the water. We see something huge under the water (if we look for it - thanks Insane, for that video link - super cool). What is it? I don't know, but I want to! I want to learn more!

And there's the true failing. The threads are sewn and then dropped. Bungie weaves not a tapestry but a series of broken strings. Some picked up later, but most discarded. It is the Lost of video games, except I cared about the characters on Lost.

I think this game's plot is so frustrating because, like nearly every other aspect of the game, it is rife with promise and potential, and yet by and large it remains untapped. There is enough there to stir the passions and set the mind ablaze with creativity, but not enough to satisfy. If only XYZ, we think. If only ABC, then - THEN we would truly LOVE this game.


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