He’s a robot, a titan, and he died a long time ago, but who was Saint-14 really?
The character has been a part of Destiny lore going back to the launch of the first game in 2014, but players are now more curious about him than ever, because Bungie has revealed that he’ll be a big part of the game’s Season of Dawn when it launches on December 10. His role in the Destiny universe has been hinted at for years but this is the first time players have ever gotten the chance to see him up close and hear him speak in his own voice.
In the new season’s trailer, the enigmatic Warlock Osiris mentions that he tried to save Saint-14’s life by constructing a massive time-altering device called the Sundial. “They call me the greatest Titan who ever lived,” Saint-14 says after punching his way through what looks to be a time-travel portal. While we know based on the trailer that part of this season will revolve around trying to bring the storied character back to life, how he died and what his legacy means for the larger Destiny universe has been confounding Destiny lore sleuths for years.
“He walked out into the demon light. But at the end he was brighter,” reads the description of his helmet, a Destiny year one exotic players grew attached to because of the blinding effect it added to Titan’s bubble shields. That helmet helped ward of enemies while players healed up inside. Through the helmet’s utility, the character became a symbol of courage and protection.
This interpretation of the character was bolstered by several of Destiny 1’s Grimoire cards which act like fragments of the world’s historical record. Saint-14 is mentioned several times in the Osiris Grimoire card as one of the Warlock’s colleagues and friends. They fought together in the Battle of Six Fronts when Fallen were laying siege to Earth’s still unfinished Last City, and Saint-14 later vouched for Osiris. The other Guardians regarded Osiris with suspicion—one of my favourite bits of Destiny lore is that some even thought Osiris was a botched AI experiment from the Golden Age—but Saint-14, being the big, tough, and “so beloved by all the people,” convinced them to accept Osiris as the Vanguard’s head Warlock.
But Osiris eventually bailed on the City, leaving it for Mercury where he could pursue his obsession with the Vex and trying to unravel the mysteries of the Darkness. In the Legend of Saint-14 Grimoire card, added in Destiny’s Taken King expansion, players learned about the following exchange between Saint-14 and the City’s leader, the Speaker:
“I have word that Osiris was seen on Mercury. The Caloris Basin. He’s turned his mind back to the Vex.”
“Mercury? Too many channels to know. You activate one, you start to feed its veins. He threatens our peace.”
“Your duty, my son. You must never forget.”
The Ghost killed the feed and waited for its Guardian’s words.
“Ghost, prepare my Vex arsenal and plot a course for Mercury. That old man is about to wake up hell.”
It wasn’t until Destiny 2‘s Curse of Osiris expansion two years later that players finally learned Saint-14’s fate: he got lost in the Infinite Garden, a virtual realm created by the Vex to try and simulate every possible future, while hunting for Osiris on Mercury. According to the lore around Perfect Paradox, Saint-14’s Vex slaying shotgun, the Titan remained trapped in the Infinite Garden for centuries, killing armies of Vex until eventually they managed to create a machine capable of draining all of his Light. Understandably, Osiris blames himself.
The duality and tragedy that binds the two friends together helps make both characters feel developed despite Destiny’s extremely spartan approach to story, but the story only gets weirder once you go looking for Saint-14’s body yourself. Curse of Osiris’ Not Even The Darkness quest sends you into the Infinite Forest to investigate the Titan’s fate for yourself. Eventually you discover a tomb constructed by the Vex in honour of the heroic fight he put up. While recovering Saint-14’s personal effects in order to reforge Paradox Perfect, your Ghost drops a bombshell. “Saint-14 was one of the first Guardians I ever met, even before I found you,” your ghost says. “I always hoped you’d turn out like him. I wasn’t disappointed.”
What makes this line so intriguing is how it feeds into the story around Perfect Paradox itself. “All I have left is this weapon,” Saint-14 says in the shotgun’s lore description. “The Cryptarchs say you crafted it yourself, built it out of scraps and Light and sheer will, inside the Infinite Forge. I’ll make sure it finds its way back to you. When you gave it to me, I swore I would make it my duty to follow your example.”
The weapon is seemingly part of a perfect loop, one in which the player at some point meets Saint-14 in person and gifts it to him, with the Titan eventually returning the favour centuries later. The plot thickened with the helment’s return in the same expansion. Its new lore description revealed that Saint-14’s crusade was fuelled by a vision of the future in which he saw a Guardian managed to Kill Crota and rebuild the City.
Destiny 2’s meddling with both time travel and simulated realities means there’s a number of ways this could be teased out in later quests and lore discoveries. Maybe the Sundial will let players go back in time and give Saint-14 Perfect Paradox only to learn that his death was a necessary event in order to stave off the worst of all possible futures. Or maybe the Titan’s death was only one simulated by the Vex.
Whatever Saint-14’s new fate ends up being, it’s exciting to see one of Destiny’s smaller stories left to incrementally mature for years finally get its time in the spotlight. Starting today, Bungie is releasing more lore primers digging into the character’s past and which might also hold clues about his future. The studio hasn’t said yet exactly what role Saint-14 will play in the next season, but it seems like a good bet based on the seasonal calendar that December 17’s “Save a Legend” content drop will play a part.