How Should Destiny 2 End?

All things must end, even looter shooters.

Endings aren’t something we often talk about when it comes to live games. But everything ends, and presumably Destiny 2 will wrap up at some point before the heat death of the universe. Now, that’s going to involve a lot of angst over servers shutting down and other logistical issues, but today I want to talk about the narrative of the game. How is this thing going to wrap up?

Bungie has been setting up a showdown between Light and Dark basically since the beginning of Destiny at this point, and we’re closing in on it now. Of course, Bungie has also said that the end of the Light and Dark saga won’t be the end of the Destiny narrative. So when we presumably get our big fight against the Witness in Lightfall or The Final Shape, Destiny is going to continue on in some capacity.

Here’s the thing, though — defeating the Witness probably won’t mean the end of Darkness. Destiny 2 has set up Darkness and Light as competing cosmological forces tied to destruction and creation, respectively, and as the Prophecy Dungeon revealed to us some time ago, a world without Darkness would be a staid one where nothing ever changes. Of course, that might be an interesting — if pyrrhic — way to wrap up the game, but it probably wouldn’t be satisfying to either Bungie or players.

Instead of just a big battle against the Bad Guys, I think a good Destiny 2 ending should embrace the mystical weirdness of the series. This is a franchise where at least a few creatures seem to be aware that they’re fictional characters, where the planets of our solar system are embodied as mysterious entities, and where spacefaring robots create vast simulations of reality. So let’s get weird.

Let’s say the final battle between the forces of the Traveler and the Witness goes poorly. Guardians fight well, but ultimately can’t stand up to the onslaught — maybe a few even defect, seeing the way the tides are turning. But Mara Sov’s got one last ace in the hole, as she tends to do. The egg of the last Ahamkara she’s been holding onto hatches, and she makes a wish. It isn’t simply for the destruction of the Witness, since she’s too smart to make such an obvious move. Instead, she wishes for a change — no more Light, no more Darkness.

The cycle of Gardening and Winnowing that the universe has been going through for countless eons stops. And then the Ahamkara turns to the player — not the Guardian, but the player behind the screen — and asks them what they really want. Do they want peace and quiet? Do they want a life of endless luxury? Maybe, the Ahamkara says, they’ve already had these things at some point in a dream or a past life and tired of them. Perhaps, then, they want adventure, excitement, surprises? And in order to have good surprises, one must, of course, also have the possibility of bad ones.

The player makes a wish, and the Ahamkara are reborn across the universe. The next phase of Destiny begins, with Light and Dark out of the picture and wish dragon-powered cosmic wizards roaming time and space in search of the secrets of the universe. Maybe that’s another game, maybe it’s a TV series, maybe we never actually get more than a glimpse of that world and Bungie moves on to other projects.

Pretty out there, right? But personally, I like Destiny best when it gets weird. Maybe we’ll get more of a sense of what direction the game is heading in later this month, when the next season of Destiny 2 drops and Bungie provides more information during the Destiny 2 Showcase on August 23rd.