To mark yesterday’s global launch of online shooter Destiny 2, developer Bungie teamed up with Japanese dance choreographers Furitsuke Kagyou Air:man to deliver three minutes of subculture appreciation in the form of an extended and increasingly ludicrous Guardian dance-off. The video starts off with what looks like a passable live-action television trailer, like the very one Kong: Skull Island director Jordan Vogt-Roberts produced for Bungie’s English-language marketing launch last week. But it very quickly sheds its air of seriousness as elaborate breakdance moves bleed into a giant, contagious dance battle between Destiny’s magic space warriors.
If you’re wondering what this has to do with shooting aliens with fancy firearms, as Destiny 2 mostly revolves around, it helps to know a little bit about what are known as in-game emotes. As is the case in a number of other online shooters like Blizzard’s Overwatch, emotes are special signature moves your character can perform to express a certain emotion, be it elation or sorrow or spite. In the original Destiny, Bungie designed elaborate emotes for players to earn or buy with real money that ranged from Drake’s “Hotline Bling” dance and Alfonso Ribeiro’s “Carlton Dance” from The Fresh Prince to funky custom dance moves for each of the game’s signature classes.
Dancing has always been central to the emote system in Destiny. It’s not just a popular way to celebrate a hard-earned victory or taunt your opponent in the game’s competitive multiplayer game modes, but also a way to communicate wordlessly with strangers in the persistent game world. This video manages to capture that goofy, lighthearted moment perfectly: when you see another human being out there in the world and your first and only impulse is to bust into a short-lived but bond-building dance-off.