In the world of Destiny, humanity is on the brink of extinction. With alien threats coming from all directions, humans have hidden behind the massive walls surrounding the last city on Earth, hoping to one day retake the planet and rebuild civilization. But in Destiny 2, the walls of the Last City have been breached by the Cabal faction known as the Red Legion, the Tower has been compromised, and all the gear collected by Guardians, the protectors of humanity, has been destroyed. Needless to say, the setup of Destiny 2's story is rather grim, a sentiment and setup that seemingly clashes with the tone of the game's first two trailers.
Hunter Cayde-6 is heavily featured in both the "Last Call" teaser and the "Rally the Troops" trailer for Destiny 2. In both appearances, the wise-cracking gunslinger doesn't appear to be too worried about the death and destruction around him. However, the destruction of the Last City seems as though it would rank as a catastrophic event in the Destiny universe, which makes Cayde-6's behavior feel out of place.
After all, dedicated Destiny fans have likely spent hours hanging out on the Tower, looking down at the lights of the Last City below. Some players may have made good memories on the Tower goofing off with friends between missions, and to know that it has now been devastated by the Cabal may invoke a somber feeling or need for revenge.
The other Vanguards in the trailer treat these developments more seriously. Commander Zavala, the Titan Vanguard, offers a rousing speech to the Guardians around him to inspire them into battle against the Red Legion. Cayde-6, meanwhile, uses his speech to insult and threaten the survivors, only able to convince them to join his cause by promising "a ton of loot."
The issue isn't that Cayde-6 likes to make jokes, he's the comic relief after all, but the way in which Bungie introduces its stakes using those jokes. Cayde-6 is a fan favorite character for a reason, and his humor helps him stand apart from many of the other characters in Destiny, but having him featured so prominently in both the teaser and world premiere trailer for Destiny 2 undermines the seriousness of what has happened to the Last City and the Tower.
In fact, Cayde-6's nonchalant attitude towards the whole ordeal may make some players question why they should care about what's happening in the story at all. Cayde-6 acts as though the Red Legion isn't a serious threat – he can't even remember the name of the Red Legion's leader, Ghaul – and if this supposed tragedy meant so little to a character that lives in this universe, why should the player care? Compare that to the imminent arrival of Oryx, who was treated as an extreme threat and was the focal point of ominous marketing.
It's possible that the game itself will do a better job of conveying a range of emotions to players instead of focusing on comedy. However, considering past criticism directed at Destiny's story, it seems as though Bungie should have made a better effort to show it is ready to deliver an epic sci-fi tale that takes itself seriously, like many expected from the original game.
For now, some fans may be confused as to what to expect from the tone of Destiny 2's story, but there's still plenty of time between now and launch for Bungie to offer a better idea of what the story will actually be like. Perhaps the gameplay reveal on May 18th will shed some light on the matter, and if not, the open beta this summer should offer some definitive answers on how Bungie will present Destiny 2's setting and story.
Of course, there may be Destiny 2 players that have no problem with Cayde-6's humor in the trailers, and hope to see it just as much in the final game. It seems as though Bungie's challenge will be providing a story that not only makes the fall of the Last City feel like an important event, but also provides laughs through comic relief characters like Cayde-6 to keep it from becoming too depressing. If Bungie is able to strike a balance between these elements, it should be able to provide an experience that appeals both to those looking for an intense sci-fi experience, as well as Destiny fans that are looking for some lighthearted moments to share with friends.
Destiny 2 will launch on September 8, 2017 for PC, PS4, and Xbox One.