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Catch Up On Destiny Before The Final Shape With This Short…Ten-Hour Video

Destiny’s preeminent lore historian has got your back heading into launch week

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A screenshot of a trailer for The Final Shape. Commander Zavala is surrounded by several Guardians at a campfire.
Image: Bungie / Sony

Destiny 2 is reaching a pretty remarkable milestone next week when it launches The Final Shape, an expansion set to wrap up the story the series has been telling ever since the first game launched in 2014. To some, this moment means everything, but there are others who couldn’t even begin to understand the magnitude of it all. That’s because Destiny’s lore, much as I love it, is nearly impossible to glean in obvious ways. Thankfully, though, there are some folks trying to make it a little easier.

The YouTube creator My name is Byf, whose career revolves around documenting Destiny’s expansive and confusing lore, is one such person, and he has just premiered a ten-hour video detailing the history of the series. Every major plot beat in the game, from the earliest moments of the first Destiny all the way to the currently ending season, has made the cut. Even elements of story that occur before the first game are featured in the video. The whole thing is immense, daunting, and also thoroughly necessary.


Byf’s video, which does feature timestamps and should probably be viewed episodically, begins by establishing the world of Destiny, its many factions and characters, and the history that shapes it before we jump into the first game. The events of the original title make up the shortest parts of the video, accounting for about five chapters over the course of about an hour. The bulk of the story really begins to kick into gear at the beginning of Destiny 2, once Bungie more or less figured out a direction for the more ambiguous elements of the franchise, like the enigmatic Darkness, and introduced seasonal stories, which are coincidentally being phased out next week.

Destiny has always had incredibly Cool™ lore, but both installments in the series have fumbled its presentation. The first game would direct players to read Grimoire cards—which contained dense and pulpy sci-fi novellas—that could only be found on the Destiny app, meaning there was little to no way for anyone to find the game’s most interesting writing within Destiny itself. Destiny 2 has done a much better job of giving players codexes that are packed with books detailing ongoing conflicts and other interesting lore tidbits from around the galaxy. However, these tomes are buried beneath Destiny 2’s poor and convoluted UI, which only gets worse the more you look at it, and is fortunately being streamlined in The Final Shape, among countless other changes.


While Bungie’s toiled away at mechanisms to better implement its own interesting background stories into the actual Destiny games, it has also been telling an ongoing story with a lot of moving parts and big ol’ proper nouns. Matters have only worsened on this front considering how many stories have been stripped from the game and tossed into a vault, like all of Destiny 2’s seasonal storytelling and the vanilla campaign that it launched with! It’s hard to manage a game, but it is even harder to get into Destiny and its narrative due to how acutely its developers have bungled it all in the ensuing years. You can understand now why so many fans of Destiny are clamoring for a new game, a new saga, and a fresh start.


For reasons like this, folks like Byf have been a bit of a lifeline for the story-savvy fans of Destiny. Much like Vaatividya clarifies and documents the intricacies of From Software’s famously obtuse oeuvre, Byf is tracking all the narrative twists and turns happening in Destiny’s fore and background. Whenever I’ve fallen away from the game, Byf’s lore videos have always managed to get me caught back up and reminded me of one of the reasons I’ve loved these games for almost ten years. It could have the same magical effect on you all.


The Final Shape is out next week. If you’re ignoring the recent leak like me and knocking out your last few in-game tasks this weekend, just do yourself a favor and have Byf’s video on in the background. Hell, throw it on while you’re preloading the thing during maintenance. Even if you don’t memorize every last bit of it before the expansion drops, I promise you’ll at least have a newfound (or renewed) appreciation for all the cool shit Destiny’s done over the last ten years.