With the final story mission live and its ending cutscene revealed, the Destiny 2 community has been rocked to its core by the events of Season of the Seraph. What started as a solid continuation of the space opera action MMO's ongoing content crescendoed into event that didn't just set the stage for its upcoming Lightfall expansion, but demonstrate just how far the series has come in nearly a decade.
Destiny 2 Season of the Seraph – The Warmind and The Monster
First, a bit of story context is needed for Destiny 2 Season of the Seraph. The Hive war god, Xivu Arath, has deployed new troops to various locations across the solar system. Their goal is to breach the bunkers of the warmind Rasputin, last seen all the way back in 2020's Season of the Worthy, and steal its valuable supply of doomsday weapons. Given that Rasputin had control over things like far future nuclear bombs and an entire network of dangerous space lasers, this cannot stand. Our guardian's goal was to infiltrate these bunkers and extract vital computer data to fully bring Rasputin back online and repel the enemy from the bunkers.
While that set-up frames the player experience of Season of the Seraph, the central narrative digs into some strong themes. Aiding the Vanguard is the AI of Clovis Bray, the brilliant genius behind most of Destiny's fantastical computer technology. But while he may have helped create Rasputin, his attitude is that of selfish megalomania.
Gene manipulation, human experimentation, attempting to destroy The Traveler, all of that and more is in Clovis' history. But that service is short-lived as Clovis' daughters, the guardian Ana Bray and her time-displaced sister Elsie, purge Clovis' AI from the HELM and use what data they have to upload Rasputin into his frame.
Not only did this disrupt the narrative flow of a standard Destiny 2 season, it is where Season of the Seraph pivots into a more philosophical mindset. Rasputin has always been characterized as a larger-than-life entity: This cold and clinical computer intelligence regarded humanity the way a giant regards ants. Now, he was interacting directly with players and major characters, exposing his thoughts, beliefs, and doubts, all because Ana Bray continued to show the AI compassion, harkening back to the Warmind expansion in 2018.
If the first half of Season of the Seraph was about how the darkest parts of human ambition could lead to horrors as illustrated by Clovis, the second half shows how humanity's nobility and virtues can make a weapon of war like Rasputin care and empathize.
Destiny 2 Season of the Seraph – The Road to Lightfall
This all sets the stage for that season finale. Earth's defenses are trapped in a dangerous lose-lose scenario. Broadly speaking, if left undefended, Rasputin's warsat network will be turned on Earth, reducing the Last City to slag. If we turn that same network on the enemy, Earth will be destroyed by Xivu Arath. No matter what happens, the warminds' weapons will always pose some threat to humanity, which is why Rasputin makes the noble choice of purging his code and activating a self-destruct sequence of the warsats, sacrificing himself to save Earth.
But what really elevated this finale wasn't just the spectacle of helping Rasputin put this into motion, it was everything surrounding it. Not only was the mission a genuine challenge, it illustrated one of the most poignant observations Rasputin made in his final moments.
As I moved through the space station, fighting off enemy forces, a bombastic space battle erupted in the background, peppered with allies the community has made along the way. Mithrax's pirate crews, Caiatl's warships, reinforcements from Mara Sov's awoken fleet -- all alliances forged throughout the seasonal stories of the past two years, coming together in a unified front. To paraphrase Rasputin himself, “You don't need a warmind anymore, you have each other.”
That is why the ending of Destiny 2 Season of the Seraph is packed with so much emotion: It's an acknowledgement of how far the world has come. It is the point where the central antagonist, one that has been kept in the margins for almost a decade, finally steps onto the stage. Finally, it ends with The Traveler, this constant source of stability that has been around since the beginning, leaving Earth. The effect is devastating for players who have been around through it all, myself included.
While it's never easy for a live-service game to nail a story across years of updates, Bungie's epic Light and Darkness saga is now entering its endgame. On top of that, it has done so while delivering emotional catharsis, well-developed characters, and keeping millions of players engaged. As for what will come next for this universe, only time will tell.