Even after it was superseded in power, Gjallarhorn remains Destiny's most iconic weapon. Three feet long and embossed in gold, the rocket launcher affectionately referred to as "Ghorn" (pronounced gee-horn) earned rapid fame by outclassing every other gun in Destiny's vast arsenal, its powerful missiles and homing cluster bombs mincing even the toughest enemies in seconds. It was so strong, in fact, that Destiny developer Bungie functionally retired it in its last major update to the game, leaving its stats unchanged as other weapons were boosted to new levels. Gjallarhorn seemed set to be consigned to Destiny history — a happy memory for early adopters.
But now it's coming back.
"I think people will go crazy"
Scott Taylor, executive producer of Destiny's first major expansion in over a year, Rise of Iron, explained how the rocket launcher began its rehabilitation with a late-night text message. "I got a text one night from Chris Barrett — our game director — and he just asked, 'What do you think if we brought Gjallarhorn back?'" Taylor said at E3. "I think people would go crazy," Taylor replied. "Good crazy, or bad crazy?" Barrett asked, to which Taylor confirmed — "Good crazy!"
Rise of Iron also gives Bungie an aesthetic excuse to bring their most famous weapon back. The expansion pack focuses on the Iron Lords, a group of gold-and-silver-armored super soldiers who love two things: wolves, and fighting each other in Destiny's crucible. With its classy gold trim and wolf head motif, the old Gjallarhorn suited their stylings, but the new black Iron Gjallarhorn looks even more like something an Iron Lord would take into battle.
The gun shares the same aesthetic as the upcoming 'Rise of Iron' expansion
Taylor says the weapon will also help shed some light on the Iron Lords' back story. Previously Destiny players' only interaction with the group has been in Iron Banner, a series of regular multiplayer events running since the game's beta period. "We came up with the idea for the game — focusing on [Iron Banner organizer] Saladin — and we were looking for cool stuff to put in once we had this framework," Taylor said. "There's an opportunity there — it thematically matched, and it matches with the tone of nostalgia."
"When you see Gjallarhorn in Rise of Iron it functions in all the ways you want Gjallarhorn to function," Taylor says, suggesting the weapon will keep its homing rockets and cluster missiles. But he also insinuates that it might not be the all-powerful kill-everything "win" button it once was. "We're always balancing the sandbox," he warns.