The Destiny franchise has had some long-running mysteries since its birth nearly nine years ago, and Destiny 2 has only deepened them since it released. So it’s a tad surprising that, after years of offering more mysteries than answers, Bungie decided to drop a massive lore bomb on a random Tuesday in the middle of Destiny 2: Season of the Deep.
The new cutscene, which appears after the week five part of the “Into the Depths” quest, explains the origins of the series’ big bad, The Witness, and even starts unraveling the mystery of The Veil — the MacGuffin players chased throughout the most recent Lightfall expansion, only to learn nothing about it in the end. More importantly, the cutscene finally gives players some information on what The Traveler — the giant space orb that has sat in Destiny’s skyline for nearly a decade — actually is.
[Spoiler Warning: This post contains spoilers for a new Destiny 2 cutscene, as well as the end of the Lightfall campaign. If you don’t want to be spoiled, go play the Week 5 part of the “Into the Depths” questline and complete the Lightfall expansion first.]
The cutscene opens on a group of people from the same alien race that The Witness comes from. Sloane (a long-forgotten NPC) tells the player about The Witness’ progenitors, and how they were suffering alone on their planet. The Traveler, it turns out, was buried on their home world all along.
After being liberated from the planet, The Traveler blessed The Witness’ people with a Golden Age, and they called it The Gardener. This name is significant, as it confirms that The Traveler and The Gardener — thought to potentially be two different Light entities for years — are actually one and the same.
During the cutscene’s depiction of this Golden Age, we see that these people built the ominous Pyramid Ships that have threatened players since the ending of Destiny 2’s Red War campaign. But after “eons” of prosperity, the people grew tired of The Traveler’s silence, and demanded that it give them some form of further guidance. This led the people to search for an entity that The Gardener shared a connection with: The Winnower or, as we know it, The Veil.
This is the most significant lore revealed in the cutscene. Bungie has long teased players about the identities of the prime forces of Light and Darkness — calling one The Gardner and the other The Winnower — and Guardians have spent years speculating who or what they could be. Now we know that The Gardener is The Traveler (a being of pure Light) and The Winnower is The Veil (the Traveler’s Darkness counterpart).
The Witness’ people found The Veil, and in turn, it taught them about the nature of Light and Dark. They discovered that Light is capable of both creation and destruction. So they deemed the Light to be a force of chaos, saying it needed to be tamed. The Darkness was their answer to this chaos, as it was shaped by “thought and consciousness.”
By using The Darkness to tame The Light, The Witness’ people believed that it could create the perfect universe, which they called The Final Shape. This is another significant reveal, as it gives meaning to the name of Destiny 2’s next expansion: The Final Shape.
However, when The Witness’ people attempted to use The Veil to tame The Traveler, the orb abandoned them. Unable to accept that their Final Shape would never come to be, they used The Darkness to merge themselves — all of the remaining members of the species — into The Witness (so named because they had “witnessed the truth in the darkness”).
Since then, The Witness has chased The Traveler through the cosmos in an attempt to “impose meaning on a meaningless universe.” The cutscene ends with an image of the merged Traveler and Veil, which happened at the end of the Lightfall campaign.
In a little over three and a half minutes, Bungie explained the entire setup for Destiny’s Light and Darkness saga, which is set to end with The Final Shape. And while it’s still currently unclear who or what created The Traveler and The Veil (and who knows if we’ll ever get those answers), this is the most information we’ve ever gotten on the origins of The Light, The Darkness, and The Witness.
This cutscene is a welcome taste of transparency after Bungie’s overly cryptic Lightfall expansion. Here’s hoping that the studio sticks the landing in The Final Shape, which it will officially reveal on Aug. 22 in its annual Destiny 2 Showcase.