Feature Article

Destiny 2 Witch Queen Savathun's Throne World Trailer Breakdown - Everything We Learned And A Lot Of Speculation

There are a few new fascinating clues to glean from the latest look at Destiny 2's next expansion, The Witch Queen.

Trailers for Destiny 2's upcoming expansion, The Witch Queen, have slowly given more and more glimpses of what we can expect when we delve into the strange throne world of Savathun, Destiny's Hive god of deception. Bungie's latest trailer for the game gives us the most in-depth look at the expansion yet, but in small pieces and quick flashes. Still, there seem to be a lot of clues potentially scattered throughout the trailer.

We've poured over the newest look at The Witch Queen to see what clues can be gleaned. It offers a few new insights, raises a few new questions, and gives us plenty of room to speculate on what Guardians will face when they go after Savathun on February 22.

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Now Playing: Destiny 2: The Witch Queen - Savathûn's Throne World

The distant Pyramid

The Pyramid ship in Savathun's Throne World raises a lot of questions.
The Pyramid ship in Savathun's Throne World raises a lot of questions.

The first shot we see in the trailer is that of a Pyramid ship resting in a swamp--something we've known to expect in Savathun's Throne World. Speculation has it that the Pyramid will be the sight of the expansion's raid, but from a story perspective, the inclusion of the pyramid ship in the Throne World is an interesting one. Savathun's ostensible goal in the Season of the Lost has been to rid herself of her worm, which is the source of the Hive's power and also its connection to the Darkness. That has effectively rendered Savathun as an enemy to the Darkness, and that raises the question of what the presence of the pyramid might mean. Is it something Savathun has captured? Is it an opposing force even in her own Throne World?

Rips in reality

Is this the portal to Savathun's Throne World from the real world--maybe Mars?
Is this the portal to Savathun's Throne World from the real world--maybe Mars?

The next scene shows us three Guardians in Witch Queen armor (and seemingly sporting weapons from a new Legendary set as part of the expansion) investigating what looks like a portal or singularity. When it comes to the Hive and the Taken, we've seen weird spots like this before, such as the portals to the Ascendant Realm in the Dreaming City , but this one looks a little stranger and differently composed to the things we're used to. We also get the sense that one member of the fireteam is scanning the thing to figure out what it is. From what we've heard from Bungie, The Witch Queen has an underlying theme of detective work and discovery--you're going to be trying to puzzle out what Savathun's up to--and this particular tear/portal/whatever might be related to that greater mystery. The next major scene in the trailer seems to drop the fireteam right into the middle of the Throne World as we've seen it, so maybe this is an entry point somewhere on Mars.

What're those?

I have no idea what these red things are, but they remind me of some of the weapon effects we see from the Cabal.
I have no idea what these red things are, but they remind me of some of the weapon effects we see from the Cabal.

I don't really have any insights to offer about these strange red glowing balls. More strange energy portals? Cabal firing markers? Something new we're not yet aware of? No idea. Also, is that a gold chest down in the bottom-right corner, or some other bit of weird technology? It certainly does not look to be a Hive device.

Seeing the sights

A lot of shots in the trailer just serve to show off locations and architecture, like this one, where we see Hive buildings in white rather than the usual black.
A lot of shots in the trailer just serve to show off locations and architecture, like this one, where we see Hive buildings in white rather than the usual black.

Next, we see a series of flashes that look more or less like different places within the Throne World, without much indication as to what they might be. Interesting, though, is the strange pink portal-looking doorway. It has a similar shape and composition to the gates to the Ascendant Realm we've seen the Hive build before, but in the context of the Throne World, it seems they might have a different purpose.

Arrival in the Throne World

Savathun's Throne World looks more like an actual city than the Hive's structures usually tend to.
Savathun's Throne World looks more like an actual city than the Hive's structures usually tend to.

Ghost's comments in this shot, in which the fireteam transmats into the Throne World we've seen before, suggest this is the group's first arrival--and that this might be the Throne World proper, where the previous location was not. Of course, the audio here might be lifted from another section of the expansion, which could throw off our speculation. But if we're right that the black energy thing in the first scene is a portal, then we might be seeing the means by which the Throne World is connected to the real world, and maybe specifically to Mars.

Also, there sure do seem to be a lot of tomb ships tooling around in the background....

The depths of the Throne World

Still, we can expect dark and dank locations filled with Hive thralls.
Still, we can expect dark and dank locations filled with Hive thralls.

We get a few more shots of Hive-y locations in the Throne World next, and one showing off the new Glaive first-person melee weapon that's coming with the expansion. This shot sees the Guardians exploring some dark depths within Hive structures, and we get a spooky shot of what's waiting in the dark. That seems to be a dormant Hive thrall, and it seems there are quite a few of them waiting for you down there.

Secrets in the dark

Perception and deception are big themes in this trailer, as we can see in this moment when this statue seems to move.
Perception and deception are big themes in this trailer, as we can see in this moment when this statue seems to move.

Of everything in the trailer, this shot feels like it might be among the most important clues. In motion, the statue shown here first has both hands in front of it, before changing to point down the hall--something that almost comes off like a glitch in the Guardians' perception of what they're seeing. Deception is Savathun's whole deal, and it's a theme that seems to run all through the Throne World and this trailer. But personally, I've also gotten the impression that we're not invading Savathun's Throne World, so much as guided into it. The impression from this trailer and others has been less of a war on Savathun than an exploration of Savathun's space. It feels like we're being tested with riddles and clues, and this pointing statue feels in keeping with that impression.

Oryx vs. Akka

Oryx fighting one of the worm gods is a big part of Hive lore--but Savathun's statue commemorating the event seems like it has other implications.
Oryx fighting one of the worm gods is a big part of Hive lore--but Savathun's statue commemorating the event seems like it has other implications.

The Guardians standing against a horde of thralls might get your attention at first, but it's that huge statue in the back of the room that's the real focal point here. That looks to be a commemoration of a major moment in the Hive creation mythology, the Books of Sorrow. According to Hive lore, Oryx battled and destroyed one of the five worm gods: Akka, the Worm of Secrets. Killing the allowed Oryx the ability to commune with the Darkness directly, rather than through the worms as intermediaries, and doing so is how Oryx gained the ability to "take" other creatures (thus becoming The Taken King).

Having this big cool statue in her Throne World is kind of interesting. We know Savathun is on the outs with the Hive at large--her sister Xivu Arath is actively hunting her in the Season of the Lost--but Savathun has told us that family is very important to her. There's also a lingering fan theory that the ultimate goal of at least some of the Hive might be to resurrect Oryx, who the Guardians killed during Destiny 1's expansion, The Taken King. It seems like Savathun holds some reverence for Oryx, commemorating what was probably his greatest deed, so there might be something to the idea that she wants to try to bring Oryx back from the dead. What's more, as best we can tell, Savathun is actively battling the Darkness and the worm gods; that's, apparently, her whole goal with her machinations this year leading up to the Season of the Lost. So maybe Savathun isn't just commemorating Oryx, or just the idea of rebelling against the worm gods--maybe there's more to what this statute means.

Secrets and ciphers

Those numbers all seem significant, but what they're hinting at is still not completely clear.
Those numbers all seem significant, but what they're hinting at is still not completely clear.

Chemistry and alchemy seem to be running themes in The Witch Queen, with various pieces of armor we've seen so far including references to chemical elements. The numbers shown on the title cards between different scenes in this trailer also seem to be calling up chemical elements. As community members on Reddit have already uncovered, the numbers reference the Periodic Table, pointing at the atomic numbers and weights of mercury and sulfur, and the electron configuration for osmium.

What exactly all this points to isn't clear just yet, but considering the fact that Savathun's Throne World seems linked to Mars--which previously was disappeared by the Darkness but seems to be coming back for the new expansion--a hidden reference to Mercury is nothing if not interesting. Osmium, of course, is a big term in the lore of the Hive; before the Hive were the Hive, they were weak creatures who lived on a gas giant called Fundament. Oryx, Xivu Arath, and Savathun were originally three sisters of royalty, the daughters of a guy known as the Osmium King, ruler of the Osmium Court.

The folks over at r/RaidSecrets are still noodling away on this one, but if I had to guess, I'd say these chemical codes are related to the Witch Queen Collector's Edition, and it's "Psychometer Replica," which is due to start showing up in fans' mailboxes before long.

Inside the Pyramid

The Pyramid inside Savathun's Throne World may well be tied to the weapon crafting system coming with the expansion, as this image seems to suggest.
The Pyramid inside Savathun's Throne World may well be tied to the weapon crafting system coming with the expansion, as this image seems to suggest.

After a couple of other shots of locations in the Throne World, about which we don't know much, we get this shot that looks like it could be inside the Pyramid. The strange colored blocks here and the way they interact with each other suggest this could be the room you go to in order to take advantage of the new weapon crafting system in The Witch Queen. If that's the case, then the Pyramid imagery makes the whole system feel like another "gift of the Darkness"-type thing, like we saw in Beyond Light. It's a another way the Darkness is trying to tempt us into siding with it, and if Savathun and the Darkness are still at odds even within the Throne World, this could be an indication that the Darkness is providing us with new means to fight back against Savathun.

Expose her lies

Seems like you'll need to do something to your brain in order to see through Savathun's deceptions.
Seems like you'll need to do something to your brain in order to see through Savathun's deceptions.
With the proper sight, you'll find platforms and other things that were previously invisible, it seems.
With the proper sight, you'll find platforms and other things that were previously invisible, it seems.

Immediately after we see a title card with the text, "Expose her lies," we get this shot of a Guardian with something weird happening to their head. The shot after, seen below this one, then shows the fireteam crossing a series of floating rock platforms that were previously invisible. We've seen this sort of thing before, both in the Dreaming City, where Guardians use a substance called Queensfoil to reveal bits of the Ascendant Plane, including hidden platforms, and the Dreadnought in Destiny 1. The Dreadnought is probably the more useful comparison--that was Oryx's spaceship-slash-Throne World, and it seems like Savathun's might be similar. Deception is a major theme of everything we've seen from The Witch Queen so far, of course, but it also seems that means by which you'll change your perception--or by which others might change it (ahem, Savathun herself)--are going to play a part.

The Lucent Brood

Don't forget about Savathun's Light-wielding Lucent Brood.
Don't forget about Savathun's Light-wielding Lucent Brood.

We've known for a while now that a major threat in Savathun's Throne World are Hive capable of wielding the Light, and here we see a Void-infused Hive Acolyte ready to do some battle. Figuring out how Savathun got hold of the Light, and getting it away from her, are also major elements of the expansion.

My three Savathuns

Another moment in which it seems like Savathun might be touching Guardians' minds and manipulating their perceptions.
Another moment in which it seems like Savathun might be touching Guardians' minds and manipulating their perceptions.

Here we have a Guardian falling to their knees, apparently zonked by Savathun's power. Fighting through her Throne World, we really don't have any idea what kind of capability Savathun might have for manipulating the world around us--and with these three versions of the Witch Queen in one place, it seems she may be able to get into Guardians' minds and mess with their perception while we're in her domain. The other two Savathuns here may be illusions, something we've seen before that fits with the underlying theme of deception. Then again, Oryx was able to create "echoes" of himself to go off and complete tasks, so maybe Savathun has a similar power. Or maybe she's just messing with us, Psycho Mantis-style.

Weapons of war

A quick look at a few guns in the expansion--these appear to be the Legendary weapons associated with the Throne World.
A quick look at a few guns in the expansion--these appear to be the Legendary weapons associated with the Throne World.
And this one is an Exotic SMG you can get for preordering.
And this one is an Exotic SMG you can get for preordering.

After a few more shots of locations about which it's tough to speculate or draw many conclusions, we see some shots of Guardians that give a look at some weapons. The ones carried by this Titan, a hand cannon and (maybe) a fusion rifle, look like they might be the Legendary weapons you'll find in the Throne World, given how they have a similar aesthetic. Meanwhile, the one in the hand of the Hunter is the Osteo Striga Exotic SMG you can nab for preordering The Witch Queen ahead of its release.

Worth noting also is how alive much of Savathun's Throne World seems to be. It's a far cry from the usual blasted, barren locales we associate with the Hive, such as the Hellmouth or the Dreadnought. Generally, the Hive appreciate death more than life, but this might be indicative of how different Savathun is from the Hive we're used to seeing. There's a lot more beauty in her Throne World than any location that's previously been associated with the race.

Oh--and maybe those white Hive things aren't statues after all?

Baby Pyramid pal

Is it like a Ghost...but for the Darkness?
Is it like a Ghost...but for the Darkness?

I have nothing but rampant speculation to offer about this thing, which seems to be some kind of Pyramid ship device that follows the fireteam in a situation that looks like an escort mission. That could be literally anything, but building off my previous wild guesses, here's what I think: It's a bomb.

So let's take as read that Savathun and the Darkness are, in fact, enemies, and not just pretending to be enemies, and that the Pyramid in her Throne World is therefore hostile to Savathun as mentioned earlier (I'm thinking it's maybe similar to the Cabal warship that crashed into Oryx's Dreadnought, providing the Cabal with an entry point to attack the Hive). If the Pyramid is trying to fight Savathun, it makes sense that it would provide Guardians with new gifts like weapon crafting to get us on its side. And it follows that the Pyramid might try to team up with us against our common enemy in Savathun. That's what I think we're seeing here--after coming to some agreement with the Pyramid to try to take down Savathun, we're provided with a device (or maybe even an intelligence, like a Pyramid Ghost) to accompany us in attempting to achieve that goal.

Yeah, that's a reach, so feel free to leave your own suggestions for what the hell this thing is in the comments.

Opposing forces

The Scorn are also in the Throne World. Recently, they've been working for Xivu Arath--so maybe Savathun's Throne World is under attack.
The Scorn are also in the Throne World. Recently, they've been working for Xivu Arath--so maybe Savathun's Throne World is under attack.

We'll skip a few more shots of the Hive doing rituals or whatever they might be up to, and instead focus on the scene in which the fireteam battles the Scorn on a bridge. In the Season of the Lost, the Scorn have shown up in the Ascendant Realm, working to mess up our attempts to reinvigorate the leylines and rescue Mara Sov's techeuns. Ikora and Mara have said that this is an indication that forces aligned with the Darkness, including the Scorn, have all fallen under the command of Xivu Arath. The Hive god of war has been doing her best to find and kill Savathun for a while now, while also mustering as many forces to her side as possible, as we saw in the Season of the Hunt. The presence of the Scorn in the Throne World suggests we're not the only people checking out Savathun's digs--Xivu Arath may well be attacking her there, too.

The mind of Savathun

Some interesting dialogue casts everything we've seen so far into doubt.
Some interesting dialogue casts everything we've seen so far into doubt.

The last of the video doesn't give us much else to chew on visually--it's all just more spooky shots of the architecture you're likely to encounter, plus what looks like a huge bell that is definitely giving me vague Bloodborne vibes. But the dialogue included here is worth considering.

"This Throne World is indistinguishable from my own mind, Guardian," Savathun tells us. "Every step taken, every bullet fired--I keep and count them all. It's not too late to turn around."

To me, this one bit of dialogue informs everything we've seen from the trailer so far. The twisted perspective, the strange moments, the changing statues or landscapes--they're the products of Savathun's mind, and while we're in her Throne World, we're at least partially under her influence. Again, though, that plays into the idea that we're being guided through the Throne World by Savathun; she wants us there, and she has things to show us. Personally, I think the Throne World is much more similar to Calus's Leviathan than to Oryx's Dreadnought, and Savathun's true intentions are in no way obvious to us--at least not yet.

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philhornshaw

Phil Hornshaw

Phil Hornshaw has worked as a journalist for newspapers and websites for more than a decade and has covered video games, technology, and entertainment for nearly that long. A freelancer before he joined the GameSpot team as an editor out of Los Angeles, his work appeared at Playboy, IGN, Kotaku, Complex, Polygon, TheWrap, Digital Trends, The Escapist, GameFront, and The Huffington Post. Outside the realm of games, he's the co-author of So You Created a Wormhole: The Time Traveler's Guide to Time Travel and The Space Hero's Guide to Glory. If he's not writing about video games, he's probably doing a deep dive into game lore.

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