Destiny 2

Theory: The Witch Queen will be set in Old Chicago. Here’s how it fits with Bungie’s recent design decisions, why we may be going there, and where this has been hinted at.

destiny2 1 - Theory: The Witch Queen will be set in Old Chicago. Here's how it fits with Bungie's recent design decisions, why we may be going there, and where this has been hinted at.

This is a continuation of this old post. Since then more discussion about this topic has come out and I want to expand on it more. So, to give a TL;DR of that old post:

  • Here is concept art of Old Chicago
  • This fits with the color pallet of the
    latest?cb=20200611012535 - Theory: The Witch Queen will be set in Old Chicago. Here's how it fits with Bungie's recent design decisions, why we may be going there, and where this has been hinted at.Witch Queen logo
  • This also fits tonally with Savathun, without being similar to other hive zones

Bungies themes in patrol zone design

In D1, there was an overarching theme of "nature taking over" and places being lost to time. Freehold was buried by sand, the Cosmodrome was rusting away, and the Ishtar academy was sinking into the acid below. The only place which didn't fit this theme was the Dreadnought, which was a DLC location and meant to be far out from the other zones.

In D2, it began to stray away from that. It was about being pushed into the wilds. The occupations of the EDZ and Titan were new and Nessus or Io were mostly untouched by humanity. By Forsaken, we had gone completely away from the golden age with the Tangled Shore and Dreaming City.

D2.2 is going back to the original themes, somewhat. We see this in Europa, where it is a city frozen over, with a scrapped together fallen city on top. Perhaps "overtaken by nature and occupied by something new" is a better description. This is in line with the original moon which has since been taken over by red coating or the cosmodrome which has warmed up. The new tone is a departure from previous versions of Europa made in the last few years, which either had no human structures at all, or human structures mostly untouched.

This lines up with an interview Luke Smith gave in October where he says:

I think we're trying to get a little bit back to the feeling of Destiny 1, but updated to how we're thinking and some of the systems that we're using today in Destiny 2.

While he was talking about abilities here, this has also extended to things like strike design in the Glassway, the return of characters like the Stranger and Variks, more open raid mechanics, or the aforementioned patrol design. Old Chigago certainly fits with the original themes of the game, as the city has been nearly overtaken by swamps.

This is what I think people miss when they suggest an out-of-system place like the Sea of Screams, Fundament, or the Distributary. To do those locations justice would mean abandoning the themes they are setting out to create. In a similar manner, locations like Enceladus or Callisto cannot separate themselves from Europa without straying away from these themes. They are both icey worlds and a Nessus-style change to these worlds is not in line with the new tone.

Why would we go there?

Bungie have since revealed that we will see new dark powers in the Witch Queen. Soul-fire is the obvious next choice. We have used it before with Thorn and Necrotic Grips, we have had a year long subplot about guardians using it before the pyramids even arrived, and it is probably the most requested theme for subclasses. Soul fire can even be seen in the Witch Queen poster.

The Witch Queen's tagline in the Past is Prologue video is "Do you know which side you're on?". In an interview with Games Radar, Luke Smith has also said

Rest assured, there are consequences, and the bills for will come due over time

Both of these suggest that guardians may turn on each other in Witch Queen, and Savathun is the most likely person to cause that to happen. In the Dark Future lore book, she is blamed for the guardians turning on the city.

Commander, this all goes back to Savathûn. If we can eliminate her for good, maybe there is hope…


So, if we are learning how to use Soul Fire and possibly turning on eachother, I'd bet we are going to Dwindler's Ridge, the site where Dredgen Yor fell and where the Shadows of Yor began their research. But why would that be in Chicago?

Where is Dwindler's Ridge?

It is unknown where Dwindler's ridge is, but we have some clues. First of all, its on the same landmass as the city. Shin says in Ghost Fragment: The Last Word that

talked about moving on, sometimes, striking out for the City.

Its more or less an open secret that the City is in South America (I'm not going to go into detail about that), so this means Palimon, and by extension Dwindlers Ridge, are in the Americas. We also know it was in the north of the Americas, because shin says in the same lore passage that

Winters were harsh, but the trees and peaks hid us from the world

But that doesn't narrow anything down, we need more. Dredgen Yor's journey is documented in many lore books and goes through the following settlements

From a forgotten settlement in the west to the horrors of North Channel and Velor.From the wilds of the Breaklands to the hateful cold of Durga.Finally, then, to Dwindler’s Ridge, where Darkness met pure, angry fire.

None of these are real places except one, North Channel. A lot of places have this name but one that sticks out is the North Channel in the great lakes, separating Michigan from Canada. Since this area is quite wooded, it is entirely possible for the hunt for Dredgen Yor to take place across Michigan or Wisconsin and end by Chicago.

Ghost Fragment: Dark Age 2 also uses
this concept art which is quite similar in tone to Old Chicago. Chicago is a good bet for the location of Dwindler's Ridge.

If Savathun want to turn guardians against each other, this is the perfect place to lure them. If you want to corrupt guardians, take them to the corrupt guardian. It is also perfect place to unlock soul fire subclasses.

The Vault

We are likely going to have another location vaulted next year. The EDZ is a very good bet for that. It has two strikes, one is ok and the other is a meme. It also has a lot of unused space, most notably Sojourner's camp, much of Trostland, and the Tunnels. Without a raid or paid content of any kind, this location is a candidate for removal. Without it, a 3rd Earth location would not feel as out of place as normal.

In Game Hints

Old Chicago has been name dropped in the Season of the Hunt with the Wild Hunt armor

We tracked the thing all the way to the ruins of Old Chicago, down into the tombs. We weren't hunting it. It was luring usThis thing we were hunting, it was smart. Scary smart. It trapped us in the tombs below Old Chicago; picked off the other fireteams one by one.I've studied the enemies of the Light, and I don't know what lured us to that ruin in Old Chicago and killed all those Guardians. But, I know it was hunting us

Honestly have no idea what this is. Could be one of the creatures from the BA papers, but we do not have enough information. Worth mentioning though as similar name drops for Europa were given during Season of the Worthy. Other example.

In a vidoc before Shadowkeep, a whiteboard with location names can be seen. A raid secrets user noticed Europa on it, as well as some less legible places. One of which is "O Ch"

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