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Feature: Destiny 2's Cayde-6 isn't hilarious or annoying, he's just very sad


This article contains spoilers about Cayde-6’s past, FYI.

There is an astounding number of Cayde-6 RP Twitter accounts, all jostling for space with handles like @RealCaydeSix and @Hunter_Vanguard (@Cayde6 was taken in 2014, but doesn’t have any tweets). Some of the bios say stuff like ‘experienced RP’ or ‘semi-detailed RP’ and mark when they’re in or out of character with speech marks. Most of them gave up in early 2016; some still use the account for regular stuff, so Cayde-6 retweets a lot of competitions and cute girls’ selfies. Most of the accounts, whether or not they’re still active, riff heavily on noodles, playing poker, and repetitions of ‘Take me with you!’ This last one is based on a throwaway bit of Cayde’s dialogue that could trigger when you closed Cayde’s trading screen in Destiny.

He whispers, ‘Hey! Take me with you. I hate this job.’

Cayde-6 is the Vanguard for the Hunter class in the game. Vanguards are the elite Guardians considered the best of their class (one for each of the three available); a bit like the class trainers in World of Warcraft, they stay in the Tower, the player hub for the game, selling useful bits of gear and dispensing various amounts of wisdom. The Hunter class is focused on agility and high damage, light armour, scouting, and bending the rules. They are, in other words, the rogues. This makes Cayde-6 the rogueiest rogue in Destiny. 

Cayde’s positioning as an irreverent joker who leans on the fourth wall — and occasionally puts his elbow through the window, so to speak — has resulted in a polarising response from a lot of players. Some love him, and find him hilarious, and some find him annoying and try hard, but the truth is that he is an incredibly, incredibly tragic figure, and he could never really have been anything else. 

Cayde-6 Feature
Mal Reynolds, basically Cayde-6 in another life.

I harbour a deep dislike for rogues, mainly from years spent playing Dungeons & Dragons with my ‘friend’ Dean. When Dean is playing a pen and paper RPG he plays essentially the same character but in a slightly different costume depending on the setting (and, on one occasion when he was forced to ditch said character, a character that was nominally a Warlock but that I maintain to this day was three small rogues in a Warlock coat). Dean always pools all his skill points into things like Charisma and Dexterity to get scores high enough that I can only describe them as fucked up. Dean’s character is literally called Knave. 

Dean shares a few traits with his character of choice. He is, for example, drastically late for any social appointment you make with him, but you also don’t mind very often (although on one occasion he did manage to critical fail in real life, when he misread the room and told me he was 90 minutes late for lunch because he ‘was having a really nice cup of tea’, and I got cross). I am telling you this partly because I like the opportunity to publicly dunk on Dean, but also because once you’ve encountered one rogue you already know what to expect from every other rogue. The shenanigans will take different forms, but oh, there will be shenanigans. They will steal things from your character while they sleep. They will run away in a fight because it’s quite funny, then return at the last minute to deliver the killing blow, sharing all of the glory by putting in approximately 1/10th of the effort.

This is true of all pop culture rogues in general, not just player-created ones. The term is ‘Loveable Rogue’, the obvious and possibly most iconic example being Han ‘shot first’ Solo from Star Wars, who is kind of a criminal douche but does the right thing in the end, but it goes back to figures like Robin Hood and ‘trickster’ gods like Loki. It’s stuck in a kind of unbreakable loop because a rogue class is designed to favour charming skullduggery, and rogues in turn tend to like pretending they’re Han Solo-esque, and so on and so forth, feeding back into itself for all eternity. 

Video games have a lot of rogues them because it’s a medium where someone’s stated job can literally be ‘rogue’, as in almost every RPG ever. Cayde-6 is played by Nathan Fillion, and people often describe him as ‘Malcolm Reynolds if he were placed in an administrative role,’ Mal being another loveable rogue in space played by Fillion in the TV show Firefly. Cayde-6 is first and foremost presented as the comic relief in the Destiny series, shouting things like ‘I don’t have time to explain what I don’t have time to understand!’, and frequently describing important meetings and duties as boring and himself as ‘magnificent’. You can see how he stacks up with other characters in one of the early trailers for Destiny 2.