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Lore and unreliable texts (Destiny)

by Korny @, Dalton, Ga. US. Earth, Sol System, Thursday, July 13, 2023, 10:19 (373 days ago) @ EffortlessFury

There's some buzz around 'retcons' to the Des2ny story.

As far as I can tell, the retcons amount to lore books being 'unreliable', much like real life religious or ancient texts.

How's everyone feel about that? Is this an ok way to retcon? Does it devalue the lore as lore if you know it might not be literally true? Is it a legitimate unreliable narrator device, or just an excuse?


I think the only thing I would want, in general (not speaking about what Destiny does or does not do), from an IP that did this was establishing the possibility for it as early as possible. It's actually one thing that I like about some stories.

For example, Genshin is a game with a relatively strong anthropological angle, where the stories and histories you uncover are usually either allegorical, likely to be biased, or second-hand. There's rarely a definitive source of truth about anything you don't see with your own eyes. However, as with real history, the best guess about the past at any given time is based on the cross examination of all available points of data. We do also have the benefit of many aspects of the story being paralleled by real world locations, history, religions, and fiction. These give us additional meta-level insight into the possible truths.

There's a fun, but weird bit in Genshin where I'm like 90% sure Zhongli assassinated Guizhong, but because he's a playable character, I doubt we'll ever get information that confirms it, but the fact that Hoyo would leave that vague probably means that what everyone says about Guizhong may only be one angle (the universally loved, kindhearted empath God being really good at constructing weapons of war is kind of sus to say the least).
All we have is Zhongli, Cloud Retainer, and Ping's words on the matter, and the somewhat ominous Lore on the Memory of Dust catalyst.

The pieces of the puzzle make a compelling image for sure, and that's just one of the countless ways the game balances what we know and what we don't.

So yeah, I'm more in favor of lore being an interpretation or limited perspective if it makes for a better story, though in Bungie's case a lot of it feels like a cop-out to make the "truth" fit their short-term story goals, and to just shoehorn existing events, people, or objects into new stories.


But all of this is to say that it can be quite enjoyable for lore to be unreliable, as long as you know ahead of time that that's the case.

Yeah, there is a strong risk of "well if everything is subject to change, why should I get invested in anything?" Especially when the retcons completely contradict established information in a way that doesn't make sense. That's one of the reasons why Word of God should be used super sparingly, not as a catch-all way to handwave any confusion.


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