Destiny 2 will be a completely different game once Bungie vaults a number of its planets next month, so one dedicated player took it upon himself to create a cinematic record of each of the game’s campaigns before that happens.
The idea came to YouTuber Jabonte immediately after he heard director Luke Smith announce Bungie’s vaulting plans during a June 9 livestream. He decided to play through Destiny 2’s main questline from start to finish in 1080p at 60 FPS with no voice-over and minimal icons on the screen. Inspired by familiar “all cutscenes” compilations, the goal was to capture the game’s sprawing sci-fi drama, much of which is conveyed through lowkey moments during missions, as naturally and cleanly as possible. No interruptions, sloppy platforming, or accidental deaths. Jabonte would be players’ tour guide through Destiny 2 as it has existed since 2017 and before it goes extinct when the next expansion arrives on November 10.
“Destiny is full of beautiful scenes with incredible music and I felt like we, as players, fly past a lot of the art and beauty of the game without paying it much attention,” he told Kotaku in an email. “I really just wanted the series to be useful for new players to the franchise who wanted to catch up on the story after it gets vaulted, for returning players that need a refresh, or for people like myself that just love the story in general.”
After working for the last several months, Jabonte released Destiny 2: The Series on YouTube last Friday, a 32 episode arc that begins with the Red Legion attacking The Tower, spans the Curse of Osiris, Warmind, Forsaken, and Shadowkeep expansions, and concludes with the final Interference story mission from the current Season of Arrivals. The whole thing clocks in at over 10 hours, but the project itself took much more than that to prepare, produce, and edit.
To make the series feel as authentic as possible, all scenes were recorded in full armour sets from the relevant campaigns and expansions. In a scene where the player confronts Cayde-6’s killer, the Hunter (who better to avenge his death?) is decked out in a full set of Reverie Dawn armour from completing everything there is to do in the Dreaming City. Jabonte said he also spent a fair amount of time choreographing each mission out to figure out how to most smoothly fight through mobs of enemies and where to pan the camera at key moments to get relevant shots of scenes playing out in distant skyboxes.“
“I did multiple takes for pretty much every mission,” said “Jabonte. “I would create two identical guardians, play through the mission on one to get the timing down, call it a dress rehearsal if you will, and I recorded it. Then I would do the real run on the other character. This way I had back up cutscenes and recordings in case I needed to try and grab a different shot of something.”
Even then there were still complications. Ultimately unsatisfied with the initial Dominus Ghaul fight for the final episode of the Red War arc, Jabonte had to wait for it to come around again as a daily heroic story mission. Part of the Curse of Osiris expansion was originally recorded on the wrong settings. An untimely attempt to reset the checkpoint in the Scarlet Keep strike meant he missed the final bit of boss dialogue altogether. “I had to create another character and replay all the story missions up to that point just to grab the boss kill and the voice line to go with it,” Jabonte said.
Watching the outcome of all of this effort, two things are immediately clear: Destiny 2 is a gorgeous game and has a really killer soundtrack. As someone who’s poured hundreds of hours into the game, I already knew both of these things, but it’s been a while since I played the loot shooter just to explore and engage with its lush and thoughtfully crafted worlds. It’s easy to hop in and grind for hours and forget that Destiny 2 has any music at all. In The Series it gets its due again.
“I think us Destiny players tend to try to play the game very fast to just get whatever bounty/quest we’re working on done,” Jabonte said. “It’s all about min/maxing and I know I missed a lot of the smaller details. Taking the time for this project to highlight the environments, hear the music, listen to the dialogue, and read the prompts on screen has definitely given me a newfound appreciation for all that goes into this game.”
Despite putting all of this work in to preserve the sense of wonder and excitement of experiencing Destiny 2’s main story for the first time, Jabonte isn’t against Bungie’s decision to vault it. “I’m extremely glad there’s not going to be a Destiny 3,” he said. “If vaulting things means Bungie can maintain, tweak, and improve the game easier, then I’m completely on board. We’ll have to see how it works in practice, but I trust Bungie.”