Mar 31, 2017

I Am Sufficiently Whelmed By The 'Destiny 2' Trailer

After a week fraught with leaks, Destiny 2 is finally officially announced, thanks to teaser posters, a teaser trailer, and now a “full” cinematic trailer which was just released a few hours ago.

There are a million takes on the internet about it, but this one is mine: It’s fine.

I mean, I’m not underwhelmed, I’m not overwhelmed, I’m just whelmed.

I sort of like the spot’s concept of splitting these two inspirational speeches between a traditional one from Zavala and a less epic one from Cayde-6, though in practice it’s a bit odd. I thought we sort of got the zany Cayde jokes with the (decently lengthy) teaser trailer a few days ago, so I wasn’t expecting them to play that card again in this, the grand reveal. Granted, the tone is being pulled all over the place on purpose, as that’s the premise of the spot, but I don’t know how I feel about it, and I guess I was hoping for some actual gameplay footage rather than another cinematic. I mean, I don’t think that’s too much to ask with less than six months to go until release.

Instead we really didn’t see anything we didn’t already know, the Cabal are attacking the city and wrecking everything. Zavala is stiff and serious, Cayde is a jokester. I suppose we learned the name of our new Big Bad, Gaal (Gaul?), a Cabal leader.

I thought it was sort of weird to break the fourth wall for a significant portion of the trailer to make it very clear that everyone’s vaults full of stuff were gone, but as Cayde reminds us “there will be tons of loot.” It was less of a subtle nod and more of a clown on a unicycle type of joke. I mean I know that part of the reason the Last City is falling is to give Guardians a clean slate, but it felt more strange than “hilarious” for the first real trailer we see for the game to spend time spelling that out. I don’t know, maybe it’s just me.

I am fully on board with Cayde essentially being the frontman for Destiny moving forward. I think Bungie learned that was a good idea after The Taken King, but with that said, Cayde needs some backup. Not to say that the other voice actors aren’t doing a good job in their respective roles, but of the characters in the game, Cayde is the only funny one, with everyone else playing a straight man. The only other character I think is genuinely funny is Eris, though I don’t think she started out being written that way. If Bungie wants to go for more of a Guardians of the Galaxy vibe, I don’t necessarily have a problem with that, but they’re still a long way from actually making that work.

My hope for Destiny 2 is that we won’t just see cinematics with these characters cracking wise and killing things. I want to go on a mission with Cayde, not just have him in my ear. I want to find Zavala on patrol out in the wild and have him give me a quest there. And I would certainly not mind if my own Guardian(s) had more personalities of their own throughout all this. A game cannot really do characterization all that well when every NPC is stuck in the same spot for three years, and your protagonist is almost fully mute.

I don’t know, I suppose I don’t have that much more to say because there frankly isn’t all that much to go on with this cinematic. We know a release date, beta dates and the fact that the game is now on PC as well, but other than the general premise of a Cabal invasion, 5.5 months out, there’s not a ton to go off of. I guess that’s fine for now, and Bungie will start their endless parade of livestream reveals eventually, but for now, yeah, I’m whelmed.

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