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Destiny 2 won’t use Grimoire cards

The story will actually be in the game!

Destiny 2 campaign - three Guardians exploring bunker Bungie/Activision
Samit Sarkar (he/him) is Polygon’s deputy managing editor. He has more than 15 years of experience covering video games, movies, television, and technology.

Destiny received a lot of criticism when it launched in September 2014, but one of the loudest complaints concerned the game’s narrative elements. The issue wasn’t just that Bungie did a poor job of telling Destinys story — what made it worse was that the vast majority of the story didn’t exist inside the game itself.

Anybody who has played Destiny will be familiar with the concept of Grimoire cards, which are unlocked for accomplishing all kinds of tasks in the game — playing a particular strike for the first time, loading into a new Crucible map, unlocking an exotic weapon. The lore of this far-future universe is confined to those cards, which are written in the stilted tone of a religious text. However, Grimoire cards aren’t accessible from within Destiny — there’s no way to read them in the game.

Instead, players have to head to the web to check out their Grimoire cards. They’re available on Bungie’s official site, and on third-party resources like Destiny Grimoire and Ishtar Collective. This isn’t some ancillary extension of Destiny, like Overwatch comics or Team Fortress 2 animated shorts; it’s the core fiction of the franchise’s universe, and players have to go outside the game to explore it.

Bungie is promising that it’s not going to repeat that mistake with Destiny 2.

“The answer to that question is ‘no’ and the reason it’s ‘no’ is because we want to put the lore in the game,” said Steve Cotton, world design lead on Destiny 2, in response to a question from Forbes about whether the game will feature Grimoire cards.

“We want people to be able to find the lore,” Cotton continued. “All the story is told through the Adventures, it’s told through the characters in the world, it’s told through the campaign and it’s told through scannables you find throughout the world.” Adventures are a new element in Destiny 2, unique side missions with their own mechanics and rewards that players will discover as they explore the four planetary destinations in the game.

Bungie’s hourlong Destiny 2 gameplay reveal last week did include some glimpses of how the studio is ramping up its storytelling efforts in the game. Although some Destiny players surely enjoyed unlocking Grimoire cards like they were filling out a binder of trading cards, it’s encouraging to hear that Destiny 2’s story will unfold in the game itself.

Destiny 2 is set for release Sept. 8 on PlayStation 4 and Xbox One; it is also coming to Windows PC at some point. For more on the game, check out what we know about it so far.