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Destiny 2 game director is still discovering secrets about his own game

Destiny 2 Witch Queen
(Image credit: Bungie)

Destiny 2 game director Joe Blackburn recently learned of a subtle Vanguard tribute hidden in plain sight, and admittedly we're as surprised as he is. 

"I was yesterday years old when I learned that the level up icon is Ikora’s bond," Blackburn tweeted this week. Based on another tweet referring to Blackburn's work on the Vosik fight in the old Wrath of the Machine raid, this symbol was chosen many years ago, which is also news to us. 

Blackburn has been at the reins of Destiny 2 for quite some time but was apparently only recently informed of this throwback by another Bungie staffer, publishing art lead @eclittlejohn, which just goes to show how easy it is to lose track of little details among the game's countless moving parts. 

This may come as a surprise to some players since leveling up really isn't a thing anymore. Today, we just boost the Power level of our character by putting shinier and shinier pants on them. Apart from the season pass, which uses the same symbol for XP thresholds, we haven't actually gained traditional experience in ages. But back in the day, you leveled your character and then added Power (or way back in the day, Light) on top of that, sort of like the reverse of the base Power and Artifact Power we have now, so level ups were much more common. 

Incidentally, this throwback has also reminded us that Destiny used to force you to level up your guns to unlock their final perks on top of increasing their Light level, and now we're really grateful that we only see Ikora's bond on the season pass now. 

We'll be seeing a lot more of Ikora in the Destiny 2 Witch Queen expansion. 

Austin Wood

Austin freelanced for the likes of PC Gamer, Eurogamer, IGN, Sports Illustrated, and more while finishing his journalism degree, and he's been with GamesRadar+ since 2019. They've yet to realize that his position as a staff writer is just a cover up for his career-spanning Destiny column, and he's kept the ruse going with a focus on news and the occasional feature.