Why Is Bungie Committing to a Completely Mute Protagonist in Destiny 2?

Published: September 27, 2017 11:00 AM /


Destiny 2 trailer

One of the most surprising "features" of Destiny was the fact that throughout the whole game, your protagonist was very ... quiet. For the most part, it was apparently up to your Ghost to talk to people and advance the plot, although your character did manage to sneak in a quip or two every once in a while. It wasn't a great system, but all things considered, your character's inability to speak wasn't as crippling to the story as the lack of story to begin with. Things improved a bit with the game's DLC, but for all intents and purposes, your character was still rather non-expressive, and people were eager to let Bungie know that silent protagonists should remain a thing of the past. When Destiny 2 came around, it was assumed that Bungie got the message that silent protagonists tend to take you out of the moment more than anything else, but that is clearly not the case. This time, the character that you created, that you will spend hours finding gear for, that is essentially your portal into the world of Destiny, is quite literally mute, as in they never say a single word throughout the whole game.

That's not to say that silent protagonists don't exist in more modern games at all, but it takes the right context to make them work and to give them character. The Doomguy from DOOM is a perfect example of this in that he's obviously not going to be a chatterbox, seeing as how everyone on Mars is dead and it's pretty hard to make conversation with corpses and demons, but through his actions, you still get a sense of who he is. By the end of the game, Doomguy will have saved a sentient AI even though it was completely unnecessary at the time; destroyed an Argent energy production facility despite Director Hayden's numerous protests that the Argent energy will give humanity access to unlimited power; and rediscovered his past as Hell's most feared adversary—all without saying a word, exposing him as an individual who has at least some grasp of the concept of the bigger picture, if nothing else. Compared to Destiny 2's main character, the Doomguy may as well be a character from a Shakespearean play, for his body language speaks volumes about his personality.

It is thus rather perplexing why Bungie decided to make your character in Destiny 2 completely incapable of being anything more than a gun with some arms attached to it. From a practical sense, perhaps Bungie didn't want to spend time and resources on recording dialogue for a protagonist who didn't have a preset gender or species. If that were the case though, then why did none of the game's cutscenes make up some crazy reason as to why your character couldn't talk? Destiny 2's opening cutscene gave Bungie the perfect opportunity to do so, yet they did not take this chance to show that maybe your character suffered some traumatic neck wound, and due to the Traveler's imprisonment and your Ghost's subsequent loss of power, your Ghost could only repair the most vital parts of your body that are necessary to keeping you alive and combat-ready, or even more simply, massive psychological trauma from seeing dozens of Guardians die. Cayde outright begs for you to talk at one point in the story, which shows that Bungie is quite aware that your character is mute, and yet, not a single peep. Ghost could have replied with something about keeping your mind in a temporarily comatose state so that the two of you could survive in some kind of symbiotic relationship while the Traveler was weakened, or for that matter any line that could have given more insight into the relationship between Ghosts, the Light, and their revived Guardians; instead, we got a mildly amusing gag at best. There were so many possible ways that the game could explain why your character has the personality of a sack of rocks, but not once did Bungie entertain such a concept other than to practically throw it back into the player's face.


Destiny Classes
It is rather ironic that the stalwart defenders of humanity lack one of the most basic aspects of humanity themselves.


Frankly, if you were to consider Bungie's past work with the Halo series and its relatively amazing cast of characters, it is borderline disgraceful that Destiny 2 has a completely mute protagonist. It certainly doesn't help that your character, who is supposed to have vanquished legions of alien warriors and their gods, who is potentially even more powerful than the leaders of the Vanguard itself, apparently can't say yes or no, which is something a toddler can do. The feeling that you are nothing more than a passenger on your own adventure at best and a cold, emotionless tool to be used at someone else's will at worst is inescapable by the end—you never have any input into anything, never get to sigh as you face down the same foes that you did years before, never get to do anything more than grunt and shoot while others talk over the radio about what the best course of action is. It is a sad day indeed when a microtransaction vendor has more to say in a pseudo-MMORPG than this hero of the galaxy that is supposed to represent the player on their grand journey across the cosmos.

Have a tip, or want to point out something we missed? Leave a Comment or e-mail us at tips@techraptor.net

Hello there! :)
| Staff Writer

Anson is a Writer at TechRaptor and has been playing games for as long as he can remember. As far as he's concerned, games are one of the greatest forms of… More about Anson

More Info About This Game
Learn more about Destiny 2: The Witch Queen
Release Date
February 22, 2022 (Calendar)
Purchase (Some links may be affiliated)