The final season of Destiny 2 Year 3 is just days away, and when it starts, Bungie will officially reveal the expansion coming this fall. And so the cycle of Destiny will be completed once again: a great expansion launches and is swiftly followed by inevitably weaker seasons which have little to do with that expansion. And boy is it time for a new cycle. Year 3 has not been great and players really need something to look forward to. That said, even as a lapsed Destiny 2 fan, I am quite looking forward to the next expansion. Bungie has always delivered on fall releases, and based on the few teasers we've gotten so far, the next expansion may finally tie together a full seven years of foreshadowing and woefully unresolved stories.
Bring it all together
A short new cutscene was added to Destiny 2 with the latest reset, confirming what dataminers uncovered earlier this year: the infamous pyramid ships, which were introduced in the Red War campaign and are said to be harbinging the Darkness itself, are getting close. To be precise, they've just reached Jupiter, which has suddenly become an extremely important planet thanks to a separate expansion teaser (opens in new tab) showing Eris Morn plotting a course through Europa, one of Jupiteer's moons. To top it off, we've also got a creepy audio file (opens in new tab) which seems to be hinting at a new race of aliens.
I was thrilled to see that Eris is back, and she seems to have picked up right where we left her in Shadowkeep – that is, channeling incredibly strange and ominous energy. Assuming the 2020 expansion does continue the story which began in Shadowkeep, it will be the first time in Destiny's history that Bungie actually sticks with a storyline for multiple consecutive expansions, nevermind seasons. For a game that's repeatedly failed itself by jumping erratically between disparate stories, that's a pretty big deal, and a seriously promising development.
And it doesn't end there. Where there's pyramid ships, there's probably Mara Sov, the Awoken queen who we haven't seen since Forsaken. Mara has always appeared during galaxy-endangering events like the Taken invasion, and she was openly investigating the pyramid ships back in Year 2. This is super exciting, not just because Mara is an awesome character who deserves more screen time, but because it also suggests that Bungie is trying to connect the plot threads it's been spinning for years. And when I say years, I'm not talking two or three years. Oh no, this goes all the way back to a GDC conference in 2013 before the original Destiny was even released.
The origins of the pyramid ships
The pyramid ships didn't take center stage until Destiny 2's Red War campaign, but they were first shown at the aforementioned GDC talk, with Bungie jokingly suggesting that (opens in new tab) "a good game needs giant onyx pyramid ships." The same talk also gave us concept art showing Bungie's first stab at an icy destination as well as a new alien race, which would have been the fifth race at the time.
Now, all of this was made and presented when Destiny 2 was just a far-off idea buried in a contract with Activision, so I don't want to treat it as gospel. A million things have changed in Destiny in the past seven years, and plenty of stuff has been thrown out. That said, with nothing more than 70 seconds of cryptic audio and 20 seconds of Europa footage to go on, I think these GDC snippets make for cool and useful references. Because there are some striking parallels between these bits of concept art and the teasers for the next expansion.
First, Europa. We know Eris is on Europa because it's Jupiter's only icy moon, and this lines up with descriptions of the moon in Destiny's universe. Europa was once home to a human colony but it was destroyed in the Collapse, the Darkness' opening salvo. Europa is now said to be dotted with cities buried in ice, which fits with the concept art above. It also jives with the lore for the Solar Sails ship (opens in new tab) which was just added in the Season of the Worthy. This reads:
"What did they find out there?"
"Everyone's being tight-lipped. Whatever it is, it's important enough to drag us out here. We're not the only ones, either."
"Wish we were going to Titan instead. Hell, anywhere but Europa. Was hoping not to spend my summer on a frozen tundra."
Again, I don't want to put too much stock in ancient concept art, but we can safely assume several things based on all this. One, Bungie has toyed with an ice-themed destination before, but it never actually made one (no, the ice tunnels on Mars don't count). Two, Bungie had already settled on the concept of pyramid ships when it first wrote Europa into the Destiny universe. And three, the possibility of travelling to Europa is mentioned within Destiny 2. Given all of that, it would make sense both canonically and thematically for us to head to Europa to fend off the second coming of the Darkness, if that is indeed what the fall expansion is about.
A new alien threat
Speaking of the Darkness, let's talk about that fifth race of aliens. To be fair, this concept art is fairly barebones. We've got a shadowy humanoid figure, ethereal black smoke, and a pyramid motif. You could reasonably argue that this concept eventually evolved into the Taken, which are also all-black and shadowy. However, you could also argue that the pyramid motif suggests this race is linked to the pyramid ships, and that's the path of reasoning I want to follow, if only because it's more fun.
We know for a fact that none of the existing alien races – Fallen, Hive, Cabal, Vex, Scorn (technically Fallen), and Taken – are piloting those pyramid ships, so it's safe to assume that a new enemy type will be added this fall. We also know that a powerful alien race remains unaccounted for in the universe of Destiny 2. And we know this thanks to two entries in the Black Armory Papers which resurfaced following the release of that creepy audio file.
Entry 68 (opens in new tab) in the Black Armory Papers reads:
"They are here. They are real. I can't believe we were so... right… and so wrong. To think that we could stop this. To say we were naïve would be an understatement. We simply didn't know. Their power. Their strength. It's insurmountable. As they draw closer, all we can do is hide and hope that the facility doors will be strong enough. It's utter chaos out there. Too many put their faith in the Traveler. I don't know what sort of answers people expect from a gigantic ball in the sky. It remains silent, as always."
Spooked yet? Well, here's entry 71 (opens in new tab):
"Last night we awoke in the middle of the night to the sound of something pounding on the walls. It roared and stomped and howled in frustration… until it found the doors. They didn't hold. I never saw it. We were too occupied blindly firing around a corner. I just remember the smell of wet earth, and a sound I've never heard before. Like a machine being stretched and then compressed. When it was over, we'd lost members of our Black Armory family and the thing - whatever it was - got away."
I want to focus on entry 71, because the sensory descriptions here are surprisingly important. I don't know about you, but I think that "a machine being stretched and then compressed" is a pretty good description of that creepy audio file, particularly the metallic sounds at the end. And if these things smell like wet earth, they aren't Taken, which are said to smell like ozone (opens in new tab). Come to think of it, I don't know if the Taken even existed during the Black Armory era of the Golden Age since Oryx may not have ascended yet, but I'm going to stop that train of thought now because if this sentence gets any nerdier my lower brain may give out.
The point is, all of this supports an overarching theory: the pyramid ships will bring a new alien race as well as the impending destruction of life and Light as we know it when we meet them on Europa this fall, seemingly with both Eris and Mara at our side, in a fight to reclaim long-lost frozen cities and bring closure to multiple storylines which go back many years. I said earlier that Destiny 2 players could use something to look forward to, and even if all this is just a theory, I'm definitely looking forward to seeing what Bungie has planned for us this fall.