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Destiny 2's The Final Shape Collector's Edition Is A 10-Year Nostalgia Trip That Might Turn Tragic

The Final Shape CE calls up fond memories of the original Destiny and leans on lore characters, rewarding longtime fans, but recent story events make it feel more pointed.


The collector's edition for The Final Shape, the next Destiny 2 expansion and the last in its current "Light and Darkness Saga" story arc, is more a celebration of the last 10 years of Destiny 2 than it is the upcoming new content. With the story reaching its conclusion, the collector's edition is a fond look back that's especially rewarding if you're steeped in Destiny 2's lore.

Recently, though, Bungie has started to release details about Into the Light, an upcoming content drop meant to fill the months between now and The Final Shape's launch. Looking at the trickle of information about what's coming next in Destiny 2, it seems very possible that the fond walk down memory lane that is the collector's edition might actually be a memorial.

The centerpiece of the collector's edition is a light-up plastic version of the Tower, the social space where Guardians hang out--although, importantly, this isn't the Tower in Destiny 2. This is the Tower from the original Destiny, which was wrecked during the Red War, the Cabal sneak attack that kicked off Destiny 2's story. The Tower itself is a tiny nostalgia machine for anybody who spent four years running around the original Destiny like I did. In addition to the lights, it also plays sounds through a tinny speaker, like the ambient public address announcements like you would have hard in the game. It also comes with little figurines that represent the Vanguard leaders Zavala, Ikora, and Cayde-6 (although Cayde is hidden in a secret compartment you have to figure out how to open).

Please excuse my scuffed wall.
Please excuse my scuffed wall.

Focusing on the old Tower instead of the new one, even though we've been hanging out in Destiny 2's Tower for much longer, is a pointed choice. It highlights the 10-year journey players have taken with the game and conjures up a lot of nostalgia, for a start. Placing the figurines on the Tower statue when it's turned on will play voice lines from each Vanguard character, but they're not current messages; they're lines from the original game. Bungie is conjuring up the good ol' days of the Destiny experience, both calling back to the game's inception and reminding us of fan-favorite characters and a time before some of the harsher events and traumas were part of the story.

The recent livestream for Into the Light recasts the situation, though. Bungie's key art for the upcoming content drop shows three Guardians fighting the usual enemies, but in a setting that is definitely normal. The image places those Guardians and their adversaries inside the Last City, the location that, with a few exceptions, has been a peaceful, protected place within the game. On the occasions that enemies have found their way past the City's walls, it has been a very big deal. Adding even more to the dread of the scene is the original Tower, standing in the background of the image, with the ships of the Witness's Black Fleet hovering in the sky behind.

As Bungie detailed on its recent Into the Light livestream, the upcoming Onslaught activity is all about fighting this invasion and setting up defenses to hold back enemy forces in the future, but it gives the impression that this fight is altogether more pitched than what we've seen in the past. It makes sense to see Bungie raising the stakes in Destiny 2 as the story careens toward its final battle with its primary villain, the Witness, but an ongoing attack within the City has major implications. This is one of the only locations where people have been able to live safely, and it's densely populated. Fighting a war on its streets is bound to incur casualties.

Gonna say this seems bad.
Gonna say this seems bad.

Looking at it that way, it seems very possible that Bungie is using the collector's edition to turn our attention to the Tower and the City's inhabitants for a reason that might be something more than thinking back warmly on our time there. And that possibility makes my favorite part of the collector's edition altogether more alarming.

Destiny 2 CE's often come with in-universe items that expand on the story related to that expansion. The Witch Queen CE, for example, included schematics of the new glaive weapons it added to the game, which showed the investigation in-game characters conducted in an attempt to divine its origins and understand its capabilities. The Final Shape's collector's edition contains a nostalgic in-universe story item similar to the Tower statue itself: an autograph book signed by and containing personal messages from various Destiny 2 characters.

The story told within the CE is that of Eido, the Scribe of House Light and an ally players worked closely with in the Season of Plunder, traveling around the solar system in hopes of compiling information about the Witness that might give you an edge in the coming battle. As she does so, she discovers an autograph book and winds up offering it to the people she speaks with to sign on your behalf, creating what is essentially a Destiny yearbook.

It's a neat little item that, again, rewards you for being someone who pays attention to Destiny lore. There are a lot of on-screen characters in Destiny 2, but there are way more people mentioned regularly in flavor text and background stories that flesh out what's happening in the world if you're willing to read them. The autograph book includes a few marks attributed to characters you've met while playing before, but the rest is filled with messages from more obscure folks.

There are some funny and emotional moments in the autograph book if you're up on Destiny 2's lore.
There are some funny and emotional moments in the autograph book if you're up on Destiny 2's lore.

The CE goes for some decently deep cuts, too. Included are Marcus Ren, Ariadne Gris, and Enoch Bast, characters who mostly show up in relationship to Sparrow racing and whose lore has been somewhat thin since that activity ended with the original game. There's a note from Didi, Marcus Ren's Ghost and the focus of one of Destiny's best-ever lore entries, "Ghost Community Theater Presents." You get well-wishes from Chalco Yong and the rest of the Hidden agents, the spy Guardians who work for Ikora, and there's a paw print from both Archie, the robot dog from the Season of the Seraph, and a Cabal Warbeast who the book tells us was walking the city with Lord Saladin, the Iron Banner vendor. You get word from Fenchurch, the guy Eververse vendor Tess is always talking about, alongside notes from Eliksni characters such as Niik, the Sparrow-repairing friend of Amanda Holiday. The autograph book even contains a foldout of drawings made by the children of the City that are very cute.

Cute drawings made by the Last City's children become somewhat unnerving if you consider what we know is coming.
Cute drawings made by the Last City's children become somewhat unnerving if you consider what we know is coming.

The autograph book helps make Destiny 2's story feel a little more personal and real in a fun way, especially thanks to the inclusion of a few almost-real-world items, like a Polaroid of the Eliksni leader Mithrax, a character who's become a big deal lately but who was hanging around in Destiny 2's background for years, and a photo of the Vanguard leaders, including Cayde. There's also a whole packet of coupons for the spicy ramen restaurant that you can walk by in the Tower and which gets frequently discussed in lore entries.

But all these nods to specific fictional people and places carry a darker undertone, too. The autograph book is an item that's meant to make Destiny 2 feel a little bit more fleshed out and intimate, to give it a little more humanity. It brings a fun and heartwarming element to Bungie's larger storytelling. But it's impossible not to look at the project of humanizing off-screen characters and bringing them a little closer to center stage through the lens of what we're learning about Into the Light, and the fact these people will soon see war coming to the streets of the Last City.

It seems very likely that the Light and Darkness Saga is going to end on a mostly high note. It's a foregone conclusion that the players will defeat the Witness and win the day. But that doesn't mean we'll get there unscathed--it seems very unlikely to be the case, in fact. And that shines a significantly different light on The Final Shape's collector's edition for fans of Bungie's story and world. Bungie often provides hints and subtle context about where its story is headed with material from outside of the game like this, such as its lore anthology books, and those metatextual additions and transmedia tidbits elevate Destiny's overall storytelling in fascinating and engaging ways. The more I look at The Final Shape CE, the more it seems less like a fun nod to the past and more like a warning about the future.

This fun autograph book, full of cute messages from fictional people, might stop being nostalgic and become tragic. This Tower statue might stop being a souvenir and become a monument. That's a pretty neat and spooky trick for some plastic stuff packed into a collector's edition.

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