"Put the grimoire in the game" (Some spoilers) (Criticism)

by Cody Miller @, Music of the Spheres - Never Forgot, Monday, October 01, 2018, 09:54 (354 days ago)
edited by Cody Miller, Monday, October 01, 2018, 09:58

This was one of the most heard, yet I think least understood phrases uttered by fans over the years. Bungie literally put the grimoire in the game with Destiny 2 and Forsaken, but they got it wrong. We weren't asking for a grimoire reader on our TV screen. We were asking for the lore to be integrated into the fabric of the explorable universe, and tie in with the narrative.

I play some gambit and get my 5th 20 kill streak. I unlock a piece of lore. This makes zero 'sense' from a universe perspective. How does one lead to the other? When you play an adventure game, how do you discover character backstories? You talk to them. You talk to other characters. You find items and clues in the world. That makes sense mechanically and organically. In that sense, the dead ghosts actually made MORE sense than what we have now. You find this thing in the world that has some information stored on it.

But the real problem ties back into dramatic clarity. In that post, I say that at the time we are playing we have no motive or understanding for why we need to stop Uldren. It turns out I NOW know why, but it's after the fact in grimoire. Props to Bungie for finding an in universe explanation for the three week cycle too. But that doesn't do much when you actually need some information about why to care the moment you are playing.

They missed a perfect opportunity. If Riven were introduced during the campaign, we could understand that a Taken Ahamkara wanted the dreaming city because of the things like the oracle engine that do paracausal shit, and that would be bad if it had that power. Perfect explanation and justification for stakes and drama. This would lead into the raid, and ultimately the 'twist', where killing Riven was what Savathun wanted all along. Get it? You give players information to give stakes and make them care, even if at the time it turns out to be wrong. This is fine. It's better than not telling them anything and expecting them to care.

Too much pertinent information is not discovered by us, or relayed to us by characters in game, or inferred from investigation. It's read.

Don't just put the grimoire in the game. Weave it into the fabric. Make an RPG next time. The Destiny universe is too good for an MMO.

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