Destiny's next big expansion titled Rise of Iron hits PS4 and XBOX ONE this September, and while it'll still be a while before we get to roam the brand new Plaguelands area, yesterday's livestream straight from Bungie's Twitch hub has revealed some of the newly refurbished wintery Cosmodrome and the impending SIVA outbreak, along with some weapons, gear, and possible spoilery hints about the upcoming expansion's narrative.
New Iron Steed
The stream started off with a trailer for the Iron Gjallarwing sparrow, which will be included as pre-order bonus alongside the Iron Gjallarhorn rocket launcher. As with its weapon counterpart, the Iron Gjallarwing is a gleaming, silver and black piece of work; both mean and elegant at the same time. The collection of exotic and legendary sparrows has been mostly for bragging rights, however rumours of the return of the Sparrow Racing League may push a few into pre-ordering for this new bad boy.
Tearing Down The Cosmodrome
Back to the Cosmodrome, it appears that the thick blanket of snow over everything is not all that will have changed when we return to Old Russia. Thanks to the ongoing work of the Fallen House of Devils and their SIVA-enhanced Devil Splicers, many new areas will be opened up as the Cosmodrome is broken down and chopped up into parts for some nefarious purpose.
A quick glance around demonstrates this mysterious scavenging project as Fallen Shanks hover overheard, welding the red hot edges of truncated metal beams and scrap metal. What are the Devil Splicers building exactly? Only time will tell, but if the gaping hole in the Wall of the Cosmodrome is any indication, it is going to be big.
New Max Light Level and Winter 2016 Gear
On the less ominous side of things, there appears to be a new maximum light level of atleast 355, as revealed by a blink-and-you'll-miss-it foray into the menu during the livestream. As the currently equipped Ghost had a measly defence value of '3', it stands to reason that 355 is not the true maximum considering the averaging effect of equipped items. Bungie has previously stated that there will be a new maximum light cap in Destiny: Rise Of Iron, and although we still can't definitively land on a number, we know it will be atleast 355.
The Bungie developers' fire team also showcased all new gear, with some sweet new Vanguard Hunter and Warlock armour sets, and a standout New Monarchy Titan armour set to boot.
We know that there will be a whole slew of new weapons and perhaps a new Foundry included in the Rise Of Iron expansion, but aside from some brief clips in the reveal trailer, we haven't been able to see much of the upcoming arsenal. Fortunately, all three players were both rocking a brand new Dead Orbit shotgun (represent) as their special, each of which wielding one of three new primaries:
For the Hunter, a blue and white Vanguard Scout Rifle.
For the Warlock, an orange and blue unmarked (probably Vanguard) Pulse Rifle.
And for the Titan, a black and red SIVA-infected SUROS Auto Rifle complete with a new hexagonal sight.
This isn't the first time we've seen SIVA markings on a primary weapon however, a previous Rise Of Iron reveal trailer depicted an Omolon Scout Rifle with similar SIVA markings and enhancements.
Expect to see more SIVA weapons in the full expansion, along with new SIVA armour sets and gear. This is exciting from an aesthetic perspective, as the showcased SIVA items have a very unique look. But what is SIVA really?
The SIVA Threat
According to the current extent of Destiny lore, SIVA was a Golden Age self-replicating machine-manipulating nanotechnology that went awry about a hundred years before the events of Destiny. SIVA became hostile to the already endangered remainder of humanity, threatening to destroy what so many had fought to protect.
It is said that the Iron Lords, a group of ten legendary Guardians established before the creation of the Vanguard and the Last City, sacrificed themselves to contain this SIVA threat, with Lord Saladin being the only known survivor. However, a possible slip-up from one of the developers may reveal a more sinister aspect to Saladin's sole survival of the SIVA plague.
Could Lord Saladin End Up Being The Villain?
We currently know him as the noble representative of the unforgiving Iron Banner Crucible event, however there is more to Lord Saladin than his booming voice and affinity for large battle axes.
As the last remaining witness to the original SIVA outbreak, Lord Saladin will surely be featured heavily in the story of Destiny: Rise Of Iron. We will likely delve further into Saladin's backstory, between his time with the Iron Lords, and his currently strained relationship with Commander Zavala and Lord Shaxx. In perhaps the most intriguing tidbit from the Cosmodrome stream, one of the Bungie developers let it slip that Lord Saladin may be hiding something from his past.
"I don't wanna give too much of the story away, this [SIVA] is a key player on Team Evil alright? One that Saladin might have little secret about..."
The other developers were quick to change the subject, but there may be some things to unpack here.
According to the histories, thanks to the heroic efforts of the Iron Lords, SIVA was locked away in Golden Age vaults deep beneath the Cosmodrome. However, it may have just been revealed that there is more to the story than that.
This is nothing more than wild speculation, but perhaps Saladin made some sort of pact with SIVA to spare his own life at the expense of his comrades, or even wilder still; maybe Saladin himself was infected by the SIVA plague. As shown in both the stream and the reveal trailer, the Fallen have augmented themselves with SIVA technology, making it plausible that a Guardian could become similarly corrupted.
The return of SIVA is certainly a disturbing development, and while it could be that the Fallen are solely responsible for unearthing this technological horror, it would make for a great twist to have the so-called hero of the original SIVA outbreak to be the colluder behind its return.
We still haven't truly seen the new Plaguelands zone, where SIVA will apparently have complete influence over the landscape, plus details on the story, new raid and social space are currently limited, however expect to hear more about the upcoming expansion in the coming weeks.
What do you think? Will Rise Of Iron be a worthy successor to The Taken King?
What secret is Lord Saladin hiding? Could SIVA be exerting itself over the last remaining Iron Lord? Leave your comments below!