When I fall off of a game, I generally do so permanently. It could be that I didn’t enjoy the story, (Bravely Default) the gameplay, (anything Rockstar makes) or it was an impulse buy that I shouldn’t have pulled the trigger on (too many examples). Sometimes I feel like I’ve gotten my fill of the game as well which is the case for Destiny 2. As you could have heard from our 2018 game of the year deliberations, I had enjoyed the 150 hours or so I had put into Destiny 2 across both PS4 and PC, but much of the new content hadn’t pulled me in enough to play again.
Part of that is due to me wanting to try and play different things for the site and part of it is me feeling satiated with what I had done. This changed after I ran the Last Wish raid which I thought was fun, but it didn’t wow me. However, ever since that point, I found myself sometimes consciously, sometimes unconsciously wanting to go back and try to get to max level to the point where, this previous weekend, I played for seven or eight hours straight finishing the quest to obtain the exotic hand cannon, The Last Word.
What prompted me to do so wasn’t the fun I had had with the raid but a YouTuber called “My Name is Byf” which is a channel dedicated to video game lore with the primary focus being the Destiny franchise. With the news of The Last Word making a return, he put together an hour and a half video explaining the backstory of Shin Malphur, the most recent wielder of the famous hand cannon, his mentor Jaren Ward and the man who killed Ward, the infamous Dredgen Yor. Not only did he tell the story, but he went above and beyond hiring at least one artist to depict various scenes and voice actors to read the parts of several characters.
Video games for me are primarily about escapism and these kinds of universes with deep lore pull me in and don’t let go. After I watched that video, I bought the Annual Pass and began work on obtaining one of the most legendary guns in the Destiny universe. I did the same thing prior finishing off the questline from the first DLC, Curse of Osiris, to get the historic Titan Saint-14’s shotgun. This isn’t to say that every game needs a dense story, but they will be the games that I come back to often due to outside sources like Byf.
It’s the same thing for Halo (Bungie has a thing for making incredibly deep universes). If you didn’t already know, Halo is the lore I love more than anything which you could probably tell from my sentence at the end of a recent podcast, “Let me tell you about the sentient plants that the San’ Shyuum used to ride on their home planet of Janjur Qom.” At the time of this article, there are 22 novels, two seasons of a stellar audio drama, 11 graphic novels (mostly collections of comic book issues), three collections of short stories and two televisions series. I believe that it has the most expanded non-video game material out of any video game franchise (feel free to correct me in the comments). Did developer 343 Industries muck up the story in Halo 5? For sure! But the novels have been stellar this entire time and make me want to dive back into the games along with the fantastic YouTube channels Halo Canon and HiddenXperia which get down into some minute details..
Lastly is a universe that I haven’t delved into for awhile but is unique in the way that I don’t enjoy playing the games all that much: Dark Souls. VaatiVidya is one of the more well lore-based YouTubers and has gone in-depth with the history of the Souls franchise with a mix of genuinely fantastic and alluring storytelling, presentation and a voice that was made to tell history. It got me to play Dark Souls 3 with Chris for more time than I ever thought I would and, even though Chris will deny it, I still intend to finish it one day.
I’m thankful for all of these outside sources helping to keep me invested franchises that I feel like deserve the time. I don’t have a good memory so constantly seeing people in each of the respective communities dedicate time to dig deep and theorize or explain things that a game doesn’t have time to do is captivating. Byf, for example, dug through all of the Grimoire Cards and weapon lore in the original Destiny to discover and construct stories in a sensible way that the rest of us could enjoy. At the end of the day, I love lore and could talk about even more games and franchises than I did here. Come to think of it, maybe I should check to see what kind of Mass Effect lore channels are out there next…