A Fine Farewell For Cayde-6

"You tell Zavala and Ikora...the Vanguard...is the best bet...I ever...lost..."

Having spent the majority of my free time last week playing through Forsaken and getting a good understanding of what is on offer, I am finally ready to start talking about it on a more granular level. We’ll be spending time over this week talking about the ins and outs of this expansion, but today I want to focus on what is arguably Forsaken’s biggest event, the death of Cayde-6, the catalyst for the content that follows. Being that we already know Cayde dies, I’m going for a full, in-depth, spoiler-filled walkthrough of the events.

We begin where it all ends, Cayde, broken and beaten, his Ghost gone, his injuries severe, and now he is faced with Uldren Sov, prince of the Awoken and historically not a fan of Guardians. Sov, now wielding Cayde’s Ace of Spades, confronts the Guardian and aims the gun, asking if he has any final words. Cayde manages to sit up, look him in the eyes and asks, “How’s your sister?” It’s one thing for Cayde to make a quip like when he knows he’ll be back anyway, but to look his eventual killer in the eyes and make a personal attack, understanding full well he’s not coming back, that’s bold, stupid, and perfectly Cayde. Uldren, not amused by the mention of his missing sister, slowly closes his eyes and fires as the screen fades to black.

Flashback a short time and we get to see Cayde living his best life as he and your Guardian arrive at the Prison of Elders to quell a riot. For the unfamiliar, Cayde has been locking away some of the baddest of the bad in the prison for years (it was also the host of a special activity in the original Destiny). It makes sense to begin here for his final hurrah because this is his work, it is personal to him. After being introduced to Petra Venj (someone we’ll be working closely with throughout Forsaken) Cayde, in classic fashion, jumps straight into the madness with a smile.

It is worth noting that for this expansion Cayde is not voiced by Nathan Fillion, the man who has voice him since the original game. Instead, he is voiced Nolan North, the current voice of your Ghost and most famous for his role as Nathan Drake in the Uncharted series. If not Fillion, North is absolutely the next best choice for the character, but it is rather disappointing that Bungie couldn’t bring back Fillion for Cayde’s final hurrah. It feels like a bit of a slap in the face for fans and the character alike. As good as North is, he’s not the Cayde we know and love.

Regardless of who is voicing him, Cayde was given plenty of charming dialogue that reminds us why we liked him in the first place. He’s not just the comic relief, he is the balance of the Vanguard. Zavala and Ikora are very focused and determined. They’re the leaders that the Guardians need when things look bad and we need something stable and strong to look to. Cayde? Cayde is out there doing things. While Zavala is trying to organize a strike against the Almighty during the Red War and Ikora is on Io contemplating the value of her life, Cayde is getting stuck in Vex teleportation loops so he can get a shot at Ghaul (and maybe a sandwich). Cayde, despite his nature (or perhaps in spite of it), is a man of action, even more so than the others. That’s why he jumps headlong into the Prison because he wants to clean up this mess and not have to worry about getting you or anyone else involved.

Things seem to be getting brought under control when Petra makes the startling discovery that this was no simple prison riot, this was a prison break. Several powerful Scorn Barons and the prince himself were missing…uh oh. Cayde, not willing to let them get away, creates a shortcut and drops into the deepest depths of the prison to halt their escape. We are treated to Destiny 2’s finest cutscene to date and one that very clearly illustrates how skilled Cayde is, all before he makes his most crucial mistake. As he is getting beat up between killing dozens of Scorn, he calls upon his Ghost to help. All the while one of the Barons was in prime position to take a shot at Cayde, surely incapacitating him long enough for their escape, but instead fires at his Ghost, destroying it in a single shot. Light floods the room before dissipating, leaving Cayde once again vulnerable. This time was different, however, as Cayde looked down at his gun, the Ace of Spades, named in memory of his son, and says, “I’m coming home Ace.” Cayde makes his last stand just moments before Uldren deals what will be the killing blow.

Obviously, we arrive too late to save him, returning to the rest of the Vanguard with only the body and the story. Ikora is rightfully furious, believing she should have been there to help, all while trying to reassure us that we’re not at fault for his death. She vows that the Vanguard will get their revenge on Uldren, every Warlock, every Titan, and every Hunter will take the Reef. Zavala, the very same who was willing to lead a suicide assault on the Almighty, refuses to send anyone from the Vanguard, claiming that they do not conquer and that they need to stay focused on rebuilding. Ikora accuses his actions of being cowardly before our Guardian finally finds their voice and claims that “Uldren Sov…is mine.”

So yes, at its core Forsaken is a story of cold hard revenge where we go against the wishes of the Vanguard (only Zavala, Ikora is 100% on board and I love her for it) to avenge Cayde. However, Forsaken is also very much a reminder of what made Cayde Destiny’s best character to begin with. It is in a way a celebration of his life just as it is one of his death. We get the best of Cayde at the right time to make his death meaningful. Whether or not the rest of Forsaken lives up to this, well, that’s for another day. Be sure to keep coming back for more during this week of Destiny!