It has been a long-standing criticism of the Destiny franchise that while the lore and world-building were always top-notch, Bungie had trouble with translating this into truly engaging in-game stories. Destiny has had its fair share of standout story moments, but a very large portion are only ‘ok’ or never get fully resolved. There has simply always been a slight disconnect between the level of storytelling between the missions we play in the game and the lore entries like the fan-favorite ‘Books of Sorrow’.
Thankfully, Season of the Chosen saw a surprising upgrade to the storytelling of Destiny 2 that Bungie has been trying to hone for the past few Seasons.
The storyline of Crow, one of the best new (old?) characters introduced into the franchise, has continued into Season of the Chosen from Season of the Hunt. This is one of the first times that a direct narrative thread has continued across Seasons, apart from the ever-approaching Darkness, which serves to drastically elevate the investment in this particular storyline. Crow’s internal struggle between who he was as Uldren and who he wants to be as a Guardian of the City is some strong stuff and has seen universal praise amongst the community. The discussions that Crow has with Osiris about wanting to reveal himself to Zavala but fearing the possible repercussions draws genuine sympathy from the player, something only strong writing can accomplish.
Another character that inspires similar feelings from the player is the new ‘antagonist’ of the Season Caital, the Cabal Empress. While Caital is framed as a villain in the Season’s opening cutscene she is far from it. The Cabal have been ravaged by the Darkness and Caital is desperate to form some kind of alliance with humanity in order to bring peace to her people. In previous Season’s this character backstory would have likely been relegated to lore entries but in the current Season, this important context to Caital’s character is given its own voice log that can be listened to from the H.E.L.M. The desperation, fear, and determination in Caital’s voice would have been completely lost if only given in written form.
The H.E.L.M is another narrative tool that has been put to great use by Bungie in Season of the Chosen. In this new space, characters such as Zavala, Osiris, Crow, and Saladin are able to transmat in and out to discuss the progress of the conflict with the Cabal. This discussion isn’t just done through disembodied voice comms like in previous Seasons but these characters are actually inhabiting the same space as the player where forms of communication like body language really add to the scenes.
Each week in Season of the Chosen a new part of the ‘Challenger’s Proving’ questline is unlocked. Each step in this quest, while not the most groundbreaking gameplay-wise, progressing the story of the Season in a steady manner. It almost feels like each week you are waiting for the next episode of a T.V show to find out what happens next to your favorite characters. Normally Destiny has big story moments at the beginning and end of a Season but with Season of the Chosen, there is a clear path each week for what you need to do to continue the story of Zavala vs. Caital.
Even the Season’s new Strike ‘Proving Grounds’ directly ties into the flow of the story and isn’t just a generic side mission. At this point in the Season, Zavala has decided to directly challenge Caital to decide the fate of the war, his best Guardians against her best Cabal warriors. This is what the story of the ‘Proving Grounds’ Strike is. As far as I am aware a Strike as a direct tie-in to the main story of the Season has never been done before and I am genuinely excited to jump into the Strike when it becomes available tomorrow to find out how it all pans out.
If you have yet to dive into Season of the Chosen’s content I strongly recommended it, not just because of the top-tier story content but also because of the top-tier weapons that come with this Season. The ‘Challenger’s Proving’ questline is simply a must-play if you are a fan of quality storytelling.