Destiny 2 on Religion: Rise of Evil – Wisecrack Quick Take


Hey Wisecrack, corporeal Jared again. Since Destiny 2 dropped, we’ve been grinding
over public events, the crucible, and strikes. Oddly enough, while playing an amazing thing
happened—there’s an actual narrative to follow this time. Sure, the original had all the Grimoire Cards…
but seriously “Ain’t nobody got time for that.” This time we get a glimpse into the motivation
of the game’s antagonist—and it’s not simple revenge, delusions of grandeur, or
monomaniacal madness. Nope, the main villain of destiny 2 is driven
by the same thing that people run on now: Pride and Envy. Welcome to this Wisecrack Quicktake on Destiny
2. And as usual, spoilers ahead. First things first: a quick recap. Destiny 2 opens with Dominus Ghaul (also known
as Gary)..“today we know our enemy and his name is: “Gary. or Gill… Glen? I don’t know. something with a G,” …the military leader of the Cabal, and his crew, the Red Legion… assaulting the Tower –the last
real city on Earth. Dominus and his crew blow shit up, steal the
mystical Light of the Traveler, a giant planet-shaped God, and kidnap the Traveler’s Speaker,
who is a prophet of sorts. You play as a Guardian, and are now screwed
because without the Traveler’s light you’ve become a mere mortal. So you have go travel the galaxy to restore
the Traveler’s light and defeat Dominus. Destiny has always been filled with Judeo-Christian
allusions and undertones: The Guardians are corpses brought back to life with the Traveler’s
Light like Christian salvation and resurrection; and the game all but says the Traveler is
a God that sacrifices itself for the greater good of the universe a la the crucifixion. “It’s sacrifice destroyed it’s ancient enemy and brought life to the ghosts.” The main characters, the Guardians of the
Traveler’s light, may as well be the guardians of God’s divine light, aka his Heavenly
Choir of Angels. Get it, Guardian angels. This light business is a pretty big theme
in Destiny. The Guardians are literally powered by light,
and when when you die in Destiny 2 we see: “your light fades away.” And what’s the opposite of Light? Well, Darkness. Still not buying the biblical connection? consider this passage: The evil that the traveler fled in the original
Destiny was: the darkness. When you died in Destiny you saw: “the darkness
consumed you.” The loss of light is the central theme in
Destiny. But Destiny 2 gets a little more specific, and borrows heavily from a three-hundred-and-forty year-old epic poem by John Milton — Paradise
Lost. Milton’s poem traces the fall of man and
follows Satan on his journey to get revenge on God: by corrupting his newly created paradise,
and its inhabitants – Adam and Eve. Destiny 2 seems inspired by one of Milton’s
central motifs: the juxtaposition of light and dark. Milton’s angels are represented as light
because of the goodness and illumination of God’s grace. Meanwhile, demons are described via darkness
and their absence of light. Dominus Ghaul, in a way, plays the role of
Satan, whose angel name was Lucifer— or Latin for light bearer. And Ghaul is pretty fixated on stealing the
Traveler’s light. While the parallels between Ghaul and Satan
are intriguing–they’re pretty essential to understanding who you’re fighting. According to the lead designer of Destiny
2, Luke Smith, Gaul is motivated by a sort of inferiority complex. Ghaul was an orphaned space turtle raised
to believe that the Traveler messed up when he chose humanity–Gaul is taught to believe
that he is the greatest thing in the universe since nutella. It shouldn’t be surprising that this is
also Satan’s motivation in Paradise Lost. Lucifer is pissed that he was skipped over
for that big promotion– God gave the number two slot to his son–and so he plots to burn
down heaven and tempt man to turn away from god. Ghaul, by comparison, is pissed the Traveler
chose the Guardians so he kicks them out of the tower and tries to bend the Traveler to
his will. One things that seems odd about Ghaul’s
motivation is: the Consul, Ghaul’s adoptive father, keeps telling him to stop messing
around with the speaker—and to just take the Light. Eventually Ghaul kills the Consul and the
Speaker and takes the light. If he took the light anyway why the hell did
he kill the Consul? Why did he wait so long? The answer is complicated but, to simplify:
Ghaul was holding out for recognition- he is seeking affection and love from a God. but in a messed up way. Recognition has a long philosophical tradition
but we’re going to talk about what it means for our old friend Wilhelm Hegel. For Hegel, people desire a self–a sort of
consciousness–or what some people call subjectivity–and there are all sorts of steps that people take
to achieve subjectivity. Recognition takes place primarily through
vision, and in order for recognition to occur, both subjects need to feel like one another
are worthy of recognition. Most people aren’t reassured by a thumbs
up from Charles Manson– because it it doesn’t exactly scream: “you are doing the right
thing.” But a thumbs up from a role model or a god,
it gives you the warm and fuzzies. Ghaul is searching for validation from what
he considers to be an equal… Because, well Ghaul is basically a god, given
that he is the Emperor of the Cabal… Ghaul’s motivation for recognition comes
from the fact that he was a runt and an orphan who was cast aside and abandoned. Even giant space turtles have low self-esteem,
I guess. Dominus hopes that in decimating the Guardians
he will show the traveler that he’s deserving of the light—that he’ll be recognized
as a true subject worthy of protecting the light. He is willing to do pretty much anything—like
quasi crucify the speaker- In order to get that sweet light, or really, god-like immortality. He’ll even blow up the sun for it. Ghaul believes he is worthy because all of
the sacrifice that he has gone through. Because the Guardians were just picked willy
nilly in Destiny one—Ghaul doesn’t believe that the Guardians have sacrificed anything. And in a way, Ghaul is right. I mean, The Guardians were endowed with immortality
at random–they don’t have any fear of death–they didn’t pull themselves up by their space
boots or anything. They just sort of got lucky. So when the speaker tells him that the traveler
has never spoken to him and that there is no chance in hell he will ever get the light–Gaul
flips out, kills the speaker, and takes it anyway. Even though Ghaul said word for word “I
will not take the light.” It’s here that Ghaul becomes the Villain
of Destiny. Once he kills the Consul and the speaker and
takes the light he rejects the recognition model that governs Hegel’s ethics and goes
straight to thievery and universal domination. In a full circle moment he replicates Satan’s
biggest sin–the hubris to believe that he could ever be an equal to god. So when Gaul is killed in the last fight and
resurrects as a giant marshmallow god thing– he has to ask if the traveler finally recognizes
him–if he finally sees him. But the Traveler can’t see him. So there you have it, a tale of hubris and
recognition. Personally, I love the strong narrative component
to Destiny 2, but I also love just aimlessly walking around, killing stuff, and picking
up loot. I love the micro-transactions a little less. But what do you guys think? Should the game stick to the basics or explore
more of these themes in the future? Thanks for watching, guys! Peace!

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