There’s a certain cosmic flavour to Destiny, that blends various themes and genres into a tale of humanity fighting an unwinnable war against a galactic backdrop of nightmare fuel. A tale of warriors in a far-off future where the glory days of mankind is waiting to be reclaimed from a threat that desires to snuff us all out for good. In many ways, Destiny feels like a romantic sci-fi flavour of Arthurian legend, of swords and shields clashing on a distant battlefield.
Something that the latest expansion, Rise of Iron, focused its art direction on to evoke a style that is reminiscent of that massively popular show that I’ve never watched called Game of Thrones.
That very first image of the last Iron Lord, Saladin, standing with his back to a broken wall while snow falls around him is peak Game of Thrones, even to a non-fan like me. The armour, the regal bearing and even the wolves were inspired by the HBO show, as art director Shiek Wang explained to GameSpot. “In Game of Thrones, you have these big, long episodes with a lot of different characters,” Wang said.
But then [the show] leaves them for a while. Then they come back and dive super deep into, say, Arya. And you say, ‘Oh my gosh, that’s why she did this, and that’s why the writers chose to do this!’ That’s very much what we’re doing with Rise of Iron.
Destiny: Rise of Iron takes that link a step further, because even the wolves present on Felwinter Peak shared a motion capture actor. “The one literal tie-in is that we used the same dog they used for the Ghost the direwolf in Game of Thrones,” Wang said.
Destiny didn’t have much of a story at all when it first launched in 2014, if any at all. It wasn’t until 2015’s The Taken King that Bungie managed to actually craft some compelling narrative, that focused on the faces that were already introduced in the vanilla version of the game that players finally started caring about these inhabitants of the Tower. “When Destiny first came out, all of these characters were little opportunities: Cryptarch, Xur, Saladin, Petra. We added characters like Variks,” executive producer Scott Taylor added.
And hopefully give us a sequel where we get to play as Cayde. Just Cayde, that is all.