Season of the Splicer Impressively Injects a Synthwave Aesthetic into Destiny 2
With every new season comes a new theme to Destiny 2, in one form or another. Whether it’s the return of a legendary Guardian, or the introduction of a grave threat that takes precedence over the ever-looming Darkness, Destiny‘s up-to-date content generally has an overarching concept behind it. It can be as macrocosmic as Beyond Light referencing the Guardians’ usage of Stasis to fight the Darkness, or as microcosmic as the Prophecy dungeon themed around the strange machinations of the Nine. The upcoming Season of the Splicer brings with it a surprising visual theme based on the Vex, drawing heavily from Synthwave and Tron-like aesthetic inspiration.
Of course, with the Vex being a collective technological conscience who’s very existence stems from an interconnected datascape, this new aesthetic makes a lot of sense for Season of the Splicer. In fact, if ever there was a way to inject a synthwave/retrowave/Outrun-style aesthetic flavor into Destiny 2, contextualizing it with a Vex conflict makes the most sense. With the use of deep, cool colors, alongside the trailer’s synth beat-orchestral mashup, it’s clear Season of the Splicer’s visual style and atmosphere is at least tangentially inspired by synthwave and its various off-shoots. Season of the Splicer is already shaping up to be one of Destiny 2‘s most unique seasons.
Synthwave and its Inclusion in Destiny 2
Synthwave, retrowave, or otherwise known as Outrun, is a cultural and aesthetic phenomenon born in the last decade that stems from a retro-futuristic vision of the internet. Mostly stemming from 1980s pop culture/sci-fi interpretations of networks and technology, many imagined and envisioned the internet as a metaphysical place full of unique geometry and vibrant colors. That same sense of whimsical technology seems to have inspired the latest conflict with the Vex in Season of the Splicer.
Perhaps the biggest evidence of this is the main ally that Season of the Splicer’s narrative content stems from: one of the last sacred “splicers” of the Fallen, Mithrax. Everything from Mithrax’s voice, which is not dissimilar to other Fallen, to their ability to commune with the Vex network and open portals to it, it’s all very reminiscent of synthwave. Utilizing an expert in technology to invade a cyber network, all in the name of eliminating an existential threat to humanity that affects the outside world, the Tron parallels basically write themselves. That being said, the biggest example of synthwave inspirations invading the world of Destiny 2 is the world itself.
A Synthwave Theme is Fitting for Season of the Splicer
Season of the Splicer’s premise begins with the Tower and the Last City being plunged into everlasting darkness (no, not Kingdom Hearts), but it’s not the Darkness itself. Instead, the reason why the sun hasn’t risen over the Last City is because the populace has been subjected to a city-wide Vex “simulation.” Evidently, the Vex’s network holds a secret that contains “the power to extinguish humanity,” presumably linked to the process involving the plunging of the Last City into eternal night. Guardians will have to dive deep into the Vex network to stop the simulation and save the Last City from the Vex’s schemes to take down Guardians once and for all.
That everlasting night envelopes the Traveler and the Last City in a deep purple glow, similar to that of cyberspace imagery that’s often associated with synthwave and Outrun. The usual lines of pseudo-data that symbolized Vex constructs are present and permeating throughout the Last City, adding to the aesthetic, but it’s in the Vex network itself where the true Synthwave inspirations shine brightest. Upon players entering the Vex network for the first time, players are greeted with various geometry painted in blues, purples, pinks, and greens, all akin to Synthwave color scales. Other than cosmetics, this is the first time Destiny has leaned into a Synthwave aesthetic.
Oftentimes, various seasons will build off of unique permutations related to the iconic alien races in Destiny‘s universe. Back during Season of the Undying, the Vex had various overgrown flora on their bodies to establish how old or “timeless” these Vex war machines had become. Season of the Worthy followed a yellow and orange aesthetic, both as a reference to the Warmind Rasputin, as well as the return of Trials of Osiris. Every Destiny 2 season has had a theme based on established designs in the lore, but Season of the Splicer changes things up for the Vex even more. Designing an entire season around synthwave aspects is a bold design choice unique to Destiny 2.
Destiny 2 is available now on PC, PS4, PS5, Stadia, Xbox One, and Xbox Series X/S.