Nearly each week brings one thing new to Future 2, whether or not it is story beats, new actions, or fascinating new combos of parts that allow gamers devastate one another within the Crucible. Iron Banter is our weekly take a look at what is going on on on the planet of Future and a rundown of what is drawing our consideration throughout the photo voltaic system.
After weeks of plumbing the secrets and techniques of the Leviathan for solutions about Calus’ intentions, we have reached the tip of Season of the Haunted’s story. The season has spent quite a lot of time constructing and exploring the personalities and traumas of characters we have been coping with within the recreation for some time–in a couple of circumstances, for years–while additionally giving us one thing of a path for the place Future 2’s story is headed sooner or later.
So far as seasonal storytelling goes, I might log Season of the Haunted as one among Future 2’s stronger outings. Although it was a bit shorter than a few of the more moderen episodic tales, it used its time to hit quite a lot of emotional beats whereas additionally increasing on the larger world in quite a lot of essential methods. We have realized a stunning quantity of backstory from Season of the Haunted, whereas seeing a ton of character development–not solely in members of the primary solid and present villain Calus, but additionally in Future characters who’ve lengthy since handed on.
First, the Sever missions. The weekly missions every targeted on a single character, and whereas not terribly expansive, they went straight into the psyches of Crow, Zavala, and Caiatl. This acted as a fantastic payoff for Crow particularly, whose arc over the past 12 months and alter has been one among coping with his previous as Uldren Sov. I’ve stated previously that Crow has functioned very well as a semi-protagonist for Future 2, giving us a viewpoint character who hasn’t been doing the entire Guardian factor for a whole lot of years, and thus spends time studying the ropes and questioning the established order. Crow has drifted out of that function some as he is grown, however he nonetheless shoulders quite a lot of emotional baggage and an advanced story that is been unfolding for the reason that Past Gentle growth. Season of the Haunted put a poignant spin on all the things that is occurred with Crow for the final 12 months by letting us watch him grapple together with his inside turmoil, on-screen and in missions.
That very same method has been mirrored with Caiatl, a typically brusque and closed-off character who has hinted at quite a bit occurring beneath the floor, however for whom quite a lot of that battle has been handled in lore drops. We all know quite a bit about Caiatl’s backstory, however she has solely talked about it in matches and begins. Sever gave Bungie an opportunity to show Caiatl’s vulnerability, and that chance has expanded her character in important methods. It looks like Caiatl is right here to remain as a significant member of the solid, which serves to deepen Future 2’s total story as we get a better take a look at the alien races and their cultures–folks we used to solely perceive on the barrel of our weapons at the moment are taking over three-dimensional shapes.
And talking of characters who largely existed within the lore, Sever did a complete lot to humanize Zavala, one thing his character sorely wanted. The stoic chief of the Vanguard has clearly been crushed down over the previous few years of Future 2, however once more, it is one thing that hardly ever seems on display. We have gotten a few figuring out traces of dialogue or deep sighs from Zavala, however a lot of what has gone on with him, like Caiatl, was handled as textual content lore. As such, it has been nice to see Bungie truly present Zavala with some emotional beats. The man has been completely crushed underneath the load of his duties, and it is doing quite a bit for Future 2 to convey that to the forefront.
Other than the tales instantly offered in Sever, although, I have been shocked by how a lot story has been delivered by the gameplay, and the way a lot even smaller moments have added to our larger understanding of what is going on on. All around the Leviathan, you may study concerning the bizarre Eregore fungus, the inside ideas of Calus, and the beliefs and personalities of the Nightmare characters as you are enjoying the sport. All the “Behold” patrol missions are edifying from a narrative and lore standpoint–each one takes you to a spot within the Leviathan the place you scan the setting after which hear from Calus himself about what is going on on aboard his corrupted ship. Pink blobs of power in several patrol zones provide you with insights from characters like Ghaul and Safiyah that additional develop on the personalities of the folks to whom the Nightmares are sure.
And even finishing the various, many Nightmare Containment actions wanted to knock out Season of the Haunted’s seal are always dumping fascinating story tidbits on you within the types of conversations between the season’s characters. Add within the Duality dungeon, a thoughts heist that is actually about stealing reminiscences from Calus, and that is a complete lot of story that you do not have to examine in lore books, one thing that makes storytelling in Future 2 more healthy, in my view.
If there’s a spot I believe Season of the Haunted falls flat–and that is true of quite a lot of Future 2 storytelling, seasonal or otherwise–it’s in probably not laying a transparent path for the long run. Seasonal tales have gotten quite a bit higher about meaningfully main from one to the following than they was, however with Season of the Haunted ostensibly executed with story beats, it isn’t clear what’s subsequent.
Future 2 does undergo from a “menace” drawback quite a lot of the time, the place the story is much less proactive than reactive. More often than not, a brand new season is about some baddie doing a little scary factor, and the gamers and characters scramble to cope with it. Seasons usually finish with characters standing round going, “Glad that is over–but who is aware of what [Savathun/Xivu Arath/Calus/The Witness] is actually planning,” and Season of the Haunted feels type of the identical method. We have defeated Calus on the Leviathan, which has, to some extent, resolved that threat–the story leaves off with the concept we will spend the following few weeks cleansing up Nightmares like we’re coping with a bug infestation. However in fact, the menace nonetheless lingers, and we’re left ready till August to seek out out who’s going to take the following swing at us so we will chase them down and shoot them within the face.
It is an space I hope Bungie finds a way to cope with in a satisfying method, acknowledging that that is one thing of a online game drawback; every season is usually about preventing some enemy, and to supply stakes for that enemy, they should be as much as one thing we have to cease. There’s additionally the need to carry again data and shock gamers; conserving particulars near the vest labored exceedingly effectively with Season of the Haunted, in spite of everything.
Particularly as we’re main into Lightfall, although, and all that title suggests, I might wish to see a few of these seasons conclude on one thing of a extra lively observe. We acquired some hints about the place issues are going subsequent in Eris Morn’s final transmission: The Drifter is within the Reef, enacting some unknown plan, and Eris has made discoveries within the Lunar Pyramid that sound fairly essential. However I want we have been aware about extra of that data, or actively investigating points of it, even when solely in a kind of background lore method. Particularly recently, Bungie has executed a fantastic job of constructing it really feel just like the world of Future 2 is altering and responding to what’s occurring within the story. That method could be much more highly effective if the story steered we have been performing on data we gleaned from defeating Calus or finishing the Duality dungeon, taking a while to organize for the following chapter, however actively serving to to form it.
Nonetheless, Season of the Haunted did a superb job not solely of driving Future 2’s story ahead and constructing out its character, however of doing it on-screen and making gamers really feel like one thing of an lively half in it–even if all we’re in a position to do is shoot stuff. We shot the demons and that allowed Future 2’s characters to cope with them, and that helped to make Season of the Haunted among the finest tales Future 2 has told–a excessive bar given how robust seasonal storytelling has been since Past Gentle particularly. If there’s an space to enhance, it is find methods to make gamers really feel liable for pushing the story towards its subsequent beat, fairly than ready for and reacting to no matter they’re, however given how compelling Future 2’s tales proceed to be, that is a nitpick of a grievance.
Nearer to the tip of the season, we’ll circle again and attempt to give Season of the Haunted a holistic look, protecting its storytelling in addition to gameplay content material and mechanics. Within the meantime, although, that is my feeling on Season of the Haunted from a narrative perspective, however be happy to share your personal opinions–areas you felt have been robust or particularly resonant, parts you thought did not work as well–in the feedback beneath.
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