Sometimes it’s good to be bad.
Today marks the beginning of Destiny 2’s Season of the Drifter, the 6th season of content since the launch of the game and the second of the three seasons on offer to Annual Pass subscribers. It’s entirely based on the titular Drifter, who is a bastard, and I love him.
Destiny is a world of light and darkness, binary powers of good and evil which have been hammered home since the release of the first game. You are One Of The Good Guys, unquestionably, and everyone you fight is A Bad Guy. The campaign of Forsaken, D2’s biggest DLC to date, attempted to sow the seeds of doubt in the mind of the player as to whether or not you’re definitely on the right side, but it fell a little flat after years of being told that The Darkness is out to devour all that is good and pure. Also introduced in Forsaken, though, was The Drifter.
The Vanguard is like a family. Commander Zavala is your Guardian’s stern dad, Ikora Rey is your caring and exasperated mother, and Cayde-6 was your cooler older brother who was raised on teen movies. The Drifter, however, fulfils the role of your sleazy uncle – you don’t even know which parent he’s related to, and he hasn’t been invited to any family get-togethers since The Incident. He brings gifts of alcohol and illegal fireworks, and once arrived at your house in the back of a cop car, something he still insists was all a misunderstanding.
Let me tell you a little about The Drifter. He tells you not to get Scorn blood in your mouth – it’s flammable. He asks if you could cook and eat the “soft part” at the centre of a Vex robot. He whoops more loudly when an entire team gets wiped than at anything else in the system. He probably stinks.
The Drifter has a little game for you to play – it’s called Gambit, and it involves you collecting concentrated chunks of Darkness and banking them for the Drifter, all while throwing forces of evil at your fellow Guardians. Bank enough and you get to go and trouble them yourself, harnessing that dark energy to take down your compatriots. It’s always been very clear – Gambit is an unsanctioned game that plays with powerful and dark forces, but it’s okay because nobody gets hurt. Right?
As the Season of the Drifter approached, Bungie dropped several new pieces of lore which dip further into the mystery of Gambit and the man that runs it, and as it turns out he is a huge asshole. He’s absolutely the worst, and it’s great. He’s one of the Traveller’s Chosen – one of the people selected to be granted conditional immortality thanks to being infused with The Light – and he has eschewed glory in favour of just being an utter ratbag. And it is entirely what Destiny has needed.
There are other Guardians who have gone rogue in the lore of Destiny – one, Dredgen Yor, became so corrupted by the Darkness that his Ghost left him and took his Light with it, leaving him mortal and able to be killed by The Man With The Golden Gun, the righteous Shin Malphur. But since then others have adopted the name Dredgen, sought out the Weapons of Sorrow which are capable of killing immortals, caused havoc all over the system – and as it turns out, Drifter is not only one of them, but possibly the head honcho. He Is A Bad Man And I Love Him Oh No.
The upcoming season asks you to make a choice – you can side with the Drifter, slide ever further down the slope of darkness and pit yourself against the Vanguard – or you can side with your mentors and do what’s “right”. Your choice will offer you a distinct story, and I think it’s very obvious that in this circumstance, two wrongs are alright alright alright.