Speculation over a notorious batch of supposed Destiny 2 leaks has reached a fever pitch ahead of the Season 15 and Witch Queen expansion reveals. Bungie’s live-service loot shooter is no stranger to data mining deep dives from players and theorizing based on those findings, but what makes the latest ongoing rumoured leaks so notable is how much of them the studio keeps proving right.
Possible spoilers to follow. If you want to go into Season of the Lost with a completely blank slate best to turn back now.
Ahead of Destiny 2’s big annual showcase tomorrow, Bungie posted a 15-second teaser for the Witch Queen reveal today that shows Hive god Savathûn, a character posed as the master of trickery and deceit, walking through a dark lake filled with the bodies of dead Thralls. “Truth is a funny thing,” she says. It’s players first look at a character who has long worked against them in the story, presented in a dramatic way. The teaser also has once again pointed fans back to a huge mysterious swirl of leaks that began circulating earlier this year.
But I’ll get to that in a second. First, a quick taxonomy of apparent Destiny 2 leaks. There was the “Notepad leak” which began making the rounds just days before Season of the Splicer went live in early May. It supposedly came from the raidsecrets’ discord server where fans trade rumours and discoveries, along with an image claiming the file dated back to a week before Bungie had even revealed Season 14. The material included some potentially big stuff, ranging from claims that Osiris was actually Savathûn and that a new element being introduced to the game would be a Thorn-spired power called “vapour.”
Much of this leak has repeatedly proven to be legitimate. It also referenced new anti-cheat software coming to the game. Last week, Bungie confirmed Destiny 2 would be getting BattlEye anti-cheat support next season. The leak said Season 15 would be called Season of the Lost and feature Mara Sov, both of which Bungie recently confirmed that as well. The leak also correctly predicted several upcoming changes to Destiny 2’s sandbox.
But there is also stuff that seems less likely it will come to pass. The Notepad leak mentions a Halo tie-in content that would celebrate Bungie’s 30th anniversary as a game studio. The fact that this year’s Destiny 2 showcase happens on the same day as Microsoft’s next Xbox showcase made this particular detail appear even more convincing. Forbes’ Paul Tassi, however, recently reported that no Halo crossover is currently in the works.
Then in July there was the “Pastebin leak.” It included the Notepad leak at the top as well as a ton of other stuff, including a lot more detail about the upcoming Witch Queen expansion like Savathûn having a dreadnought orbiting Mars similar to the new location from Destiny 1’s Taken King expansion. Some in the Destiny 2 community came to treat the Pastebin leak like it was just the full version of the Notepad leak. Others think it’s simply a master document of sorts cobbling together a bunch of rumours from different sources, and debates over its veracity has fractured the RaidSecrets Destiny subreddit into competing schools of thought. There was one piece of information in particular that was too much for some fans to stomach: Savathûn getting her own Ghost.
2015’s Taken King expansion, regarded by many as the golden age of early Destiny, introduced the Book of Sorrows, an Old Testament-like text that served as the origin story for the Hive and specifically that Savathûn and her siblings powers came from Worm god larvae found deep within their home world called the Fundament that lived inside them as symbiotes.
While Ghosts come from the Traveller (a supposedly benevolent alien power) and can revive Guardians indefinitely, the symbiotes are evil in nature and effectively curse the Hive gods to give into their baser instincts in exchange for power. Some Destiny 2 traditionalists don’t see how Savathûn or any other agent of the Darkness could ever get a Ghost because they’re undeserving. For others, it makes perfect sense given Bungie’s recent emphasis on redemption arcs and building up the moral agency of its previously one-dimensional alien races.
How does this tie back to today’s teaser? In addition to the Pastebin leak, a separate image believed to be from the same source showed rough concept art for the Witch Queen expansion depicting Savathûn with a Ghost. The image was much easier to shrug aside until Bungie confirmed today that the leaked rendering of Savathûn, spiky bone crown and all, is accurate. It would also fit in with theories like the one by GameSpot’s Phil Horshaw that Season of the Splicer wasn’t a full-throated attempt to destroy the Last City so much as a prelude to players teaming up with Savathûn against other foes.
A while back, Bungie expressed growing discontent with the game’s strong data miners and spoiler culture. The proliferation of leaks that only partially turn out to be real makes one wonder if, perhaps, it’s an active attempt to keep players slightly off-base. Misleading ‘leaks’ are not unheard of, Respawn did it last year with Apex Legends by sending out fake details about an upcoming character. Plus, Savathûn is basically supposed to be the Destiny universe’s Loki. So when she calls the truth “a funny thing” in today’s teaser, and the marketing tagline for tomorrow’s event being “survive the truth,” and you have all the ingredients for fans to tumble headfirst down the Destiny rabbit hole.
Fortunately we’ll know soon enough how much of any of this is true. Tomorrow’s Destiny 2 showcase kicks off with a pre-show at 1100 a.m. AEST.