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Destiny players are obsessed with Earth’s moon, here’s why

It’s time to go back this fall

Destiny - three Guardians on the Moon Bungie/Activision
Ryan Gilliam (he/him) has worked at Polygon for nearly seven years. He primarily spends his time writing guides for massively popular games like Diablo 4 & Destiny 2.

When the original Destiny beta began, players woke up on a highway in old Russia near a place called the Cosmodrome. A few missions into the beta, players heard the utterance of Destiny’s most famous meme: “That Wizard came from the Moon.” The line became such a joke in the beta that Bungie removed it, only to add it back a few months later.

Fans cringed at the famous line and celebrated the meme it became. Bungie even made a shirt. But the line hints that there’s more to the Moon than meets the eye. Bungie followed through with that promise in Destiny’s sixth mission, “The Dark Beyond,” where dozens of Hive Thrall spew out of a single doorway on the planet’s surface (“We’ve awoken the Hive!”). Destiny players have obsessed over the Moon ever since.

Players have been asking Bungie to bring back the Moon for years. Numerous Reddit posts throughout 2018 and earlier this year have wondered if Guardians will ever return to the location. It seems they will. In Shadowkeep, this fall’s expansion for Destiny 2, Bungie will return players to the Ocean of Storms area of the Moon. It’s sparked another Destiny meme, Moon’s haunted (a reimagining of another famous Twitter meme), and even took over a recent CNN Twitter comment section.

Why do players love the Moon?

Destiny moon screenshot 1152 Bungie

If you’ve only played through the Destiny campaign, or seen images of the Moon, you may be a bit confused. It’s a big ball of dust with some industrial buildings. As you ride around the Moon in Destiny, the most interesting thing you’ll see above the surface is a giant bottomless pit called the Hellmouth.

It’s a scary location in the original Destiny, with poorly lit corridors. Compared to the bright, post-apocalyptic landscape of the Cosmodrome, the Hellmouth was a dramatic shift in tone for Destiny.

The Moon is also home to some of Destiny’s more memorable missions. In “The Sword of Crota” mission, players wield a giant sword against Hive Knights. Throughout the original Destiny, players disrupt rituals on the Moon, and kill the son of a god. Killing Crota incites a war that plays out in The Taken King expansion. The Moon is also the location where the first secret Exotic mission started, in which players can earn Black Spindle.

From a lore perspective, the Moon always manages to drag players back. The Hive are the most important enemy race in Destiny right now, as they have a direct connection with the Darkness. The Moon is their base of operations. The Moon’s passageways wind deep, but there are plenty of doors left unopened. Something is down there in the Hellmouth, and it’s closer to the Guardian’s home than any distant planet. And that’s what Shadowkeep is playing with.

What’s new on the Moon in Shadowkeep?

Destiny 2: Shadowkeep - a bunker on the Moon
The Moon recreated in Destiny 2.

According the Bungie, the Ocean of Storms and Hellmouth coming in Destiny 2: Shadowkeep are twice the size of the original Destiny’s Moon. Players will explore deeper than they could in the first game. Shadowkeep will also see the return of Eris Morn, a fan-favorite Destiny character closely tied to the Hive.

The Out of the Shadows ViDoc says that Eris woke something up on the Moon. Players aren’t sure what that force is yet, but it’s managed to recreate some of Guardians’ most powerful enemies from both the original Destiny and Destiny 2. Enemies like Crota are back, and players will need to take their phantasms down in the upcoming expansion.

The most mysterious aspect of the Moon is the new red citadel seen in the key art for the expansion. This location will likely be a big part of the Moon’s new surface area. Some of the Hive enemies Bungie has shown appear to mirror the same scarlet coloring as the fortress. Its contents — and the leader of the faction that built it — is unknown.

Returning to the Moon in Destiny 2: Shadowkeep is a nostalgia flex from Bungie. Bringing in old enemies that fans haven’t faced in years adds to that old-school Destiny narrative.

But Bungie is intent on twisting what players know. Though the developer is preserving some original Destiny locations in Shadowkeep, not everything will be the same. We don’t know what role the Moon or the old enemies play in the new expansion. But for a nostalgia pull, Bungie couldn’t have picked a more meaningful location for its fans.

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