Well, this is strange.
Earlier this week, Bungie debuted a new trailer for Destiny 2’s Witch Queen expansion, which gave off True Detective vibes, including a large “board” where Ikora tries to connect all the dots between the various Hive Gods and their plans as we track down Savathun.
I’ve almost written about this before, but as fans scanned frame-by-frame like the trailer, as we knew, they found what appeared to be the clearest image of the war god from the hive, Xivu Arath, which we have seen to date.
The problem? This image of Xivu Arath is actually fan art made by Mal E (@ relais314), posted a year ago:
There is no question. It is exactly the same image used.
I spoke to Mal E, who confirmed they weren’t contacted by Bungie for using the art, but thinks they didn’t purposely steal it, and it was just a kind of accident:
âI don’t think this is a criminal act at all, 100% some kind of crazy mistake. I claim absolutely no design theft, my art is referenced in the illustrated grimoire section on The Book of Sorrows and the Sisters, which is one of my favorites! I just wanted to try my hand at drawing my vision of his face but facing forward.
The art that Mal E talks about as a reference is below, this image from the Grimoire showing what we assume to be Xivu Arath in the center, an image that also appeared in that same trailer.
I certainly don’t think Mal E wants the art to be cleaned up from the trailer, but that sort of thing is definitely not meant to happen. I reached out to Bungie to ask how this could have happened and will update when I have a response.
I certainly made the mistake of thinking that fan art was official art for a game, and using it in articles, so I expect something similar to happen here. Bungie has no shortage of extremely talented artists, so obviously they could just drew their own Xivu picture and used it. I suspect this one was found and chosen because it sort of looked like a passport photo you would see on a “crime board” like this.
It is type of a big problem because we haven’t seen an actual image of Xivu Arath after this singular grimoire image, a character frequently mentioned but never seen in the game. But given that the final version we see of Savathun doesn’t look much like this image of the trio, I would expect when we see her she might not look like this after all. We will see.
So, probably just confusion here, but that means it’s not quite an “official” look at Xivu after all. We’ll see if we get a real reveal before or during The Witch Queen.
Update: Bungie acknowledged the confusion and kept the art with permission: