The threads of Destiny’s narrative are far-reaching, touching practically every aspect of the game. Over the past year or so, Destiny players have experienced a narrative unfold around one of the game’s most beloved characters: Osiris. From the death of his loyal Ghost, Sagira, to his increasingly suspect behavior, questions have followed the famed Warlock and former Vanguard commander for months.
At the start of Season of the Lost, the truth was revealed. In case you didn’t already know — SPOILER ALERT — Osiris wasn’t Osiris. In fact, Osiris hadn’t been himself for quite a while. Savathûn, the Sister of Shapes, the Witch Queen herself, revealed to Guardians that she had traded places with Osiris months prior, and had been sowing discontent in the Vanguard ever since, creating rampant speculation and spawning wild theories among Destiny lore hounds throughout the community along the way.
And that’s exactly the way the Bungie Narrative team planned it.
Over the past year the Narrative team has dug deep, planting the seeds of Savathûn’s deception throughout the game in unexpected ways. Today we’re looking back at some of these pivotal moments and talking with the team about what it was like to bring this story to life.
The First Glimpse
The Savathûn/Osiris narrative was the result of countless discussions within the Destiny Narrative team and something that was planned long before it unfolded in the game. The team had an overarching goal of raising the narrative stakes in the game without resorting to killing characters. They also knew they wanted to embed Savathûn into the Last City; as a born trickster, having her impersonate someone and walk amongst the people felt right in line with her character. Furthermore, the Last City was chosen because Savathûn knew it was the last place her sister and rival, Xivu Arath, would look for her.
“From there it became a conversation in the writers’ room about who the best candidate was for her to impersonate,” said Bungie’s Senior Narrative Lead Julia Nardin. “We landed on Osiris because of his relationship with Ikora, his former apprentice, which gave Savathûn the most direct access to the Vanguard.”
The first moment where the Witch Queen took over for Osiris came during Season of the Hunt. Early on, players found a series of audio messages from Mara Sov and Osiris in Zavala’s office. The line where Osiris declared that his Ghost, Sagira, had died in an attack – that was not Osiris at all, but rather Savathûn taking the Warlock’s place for the very first time, beckoning players to the Moon. For extra credit, Savathûn orchestrated the player’s first meeting with Crow, creating the situation where players witnessed him “rescue” Osiris from one of Xivu Arath’s minions.
What followed was a carefully calculated campaign of Savathûn manipulating people and spreading distrust and doubt within the Vanguard. Nardin said one of her favorite examples of this was how quickly Savathûn-as-Osiris tanked the initial meeting between Caiatl and Zavala at the start of Season of the Chosen. As soon as Caiatl proposed the alliance between the Cabal and the Vanguard, Savathûn stepped out of the shadows and began questioning Caiatl’s trustworthiness.