Have you seen one of David Bowie‘s last videos, Blackstar? Or, rather, ★?
So, I am not a Bowie fan (I’ll admit that) but I do know the man is a music legend for many. But watching this video, or at least the first four minutes, I couldn’t help but have a single word come to mind: alien. It’s unsettling. My first honest reaction is “how can someone consider this music?” and the scenarios presented – a blindfolded Bowie, a black sun, a dead astronaut, and people… convulsing? – were creepy in a very freaky way.
It took me a couple of days until it “clicked”: That’s the purpose of the whole thing. It’s meant to be alien; meant to be creepy. Even the music itself is unsettling because it’s meant to be odd, alien. I see why some consider Bowie a representation of the alien in all of us.
Back on topic, I couldn’t help but think of Destiny. And no, it’s not because Bowie’s disguise made me think of the Hive and sort of like Eris Morn.
It’s because it made me think of how “un-alien” Destiny is compared to the things we see in Blackstar. Let me explain: Destiny is full of alien races that want to kill us, from the guerilla-like Fallen to the freakish Hive. But the thing is, all of them are quite human and familiar in design.
The Fallen are basically slender humans with extra arms. The Cabal are buff big macho aliens. The Vex (the most lore-freaky race of them all) are humanoid robots (or conceivable robots). The Hive, arguably the alienish race of them all, is insectoid, freakish, yet ultimately stands on two legs (even their Ogres) and moves like one would expect them to. All races do. The quick and agile Fallen, the burly Cabal, the calculated and mechanic moves of the Vex, and the almost feral Hive.
And then I see those guys trembling in the first minutes of Blackstar, together with the odd music, and I’m like “whoa… that’s freakishly unsettling” (particularly that girl in the back).
It makes me wonder why couldn’t there be more… alienish creatures in Destiny. What if the Hive moved more erratically? What if you were in those dark corridors in the moon and saw a Hive Thrall coming at you… not running and ready to claw like the ones we have today, but maybe shaking or moving in a weird way? Or how about an alien race that doesn’t really have a familiar shape? Sure, we have the Ahamkara but have only seen the bones of one.
Now, I’m not saying Destiny has bad creature design. Each of the alien races looks right and works better – the lore behind some of them is truly fascinating, such as the story of the Hive or the dimensional-time-simulation shenanigans of the Vex – but I wonder if we could someday see something truly and unsettlingly alien. The Taken King has conquered multiple civilizations, yet only attacks with Hive and Taken of the existing races (though some of them do move differently than their normal counterparts).
On the music department, even despite some of Destiny’s tracks being amazing (and some have been featured here in Music Fridays) I wonder if we could go more alien. Take the first 4 minutes of Blackstar – it’s music, yes, but it’s so odd at first I was confused. How about an alien world/base that has a reversed track? That’s creepy in its own way.
All this talk reminds me of another video game enemy that is quite unsettling in her own way. I hope you had the chance to play the demo that introduced her to the world.