The most recent expansion for Destiny 2 has been met with a lot of contention, from the lackluster campaign to the dysfunctional Strand and how Bungie has already disabled some content. But, while Destiny 2: Lightfall has its pitfalls, perhaps one of the best things about it is Neomuna, the futuristic cityscape located on Neptune, the game’s newest playground. And with this new location has come a batch of new lore and characters, including the Cloud Striders and one character in particular—Nimbus.
The Cloud Striders are Destiny’s newest additions to rival the Guardians themselves. Tall, brawny, and uber-strong—these are Neomuna’s greatest heroes at face value. But there’s a lot more to these fabled beings, with Lightfall exploring some Cloud Striders of the past and digging into the history of Neomuna for those players willing to take on the challenge. So there’s no doubt that Bungie has put a decent amount of work into crafting Neptune and its inhabitants, especially Nimbus.
Nimbus is a rookie Cloud Strider, training under the mentorship of Rohan. And they embody the rookie mentality well—boisterous and confident with a short attention span and just a little smug. But they’re also good-hearted and care greatly. They work beside the Guardian and Osiris, not just for the sake of Neomuna but for the sake of all humanity. And maybe because they have a little hero worship for the Guardian, which is pretty cute. But while their personality is a bit cliché (but still fun and channels some Cayde-6 vibes), their physicality also stands out amongst the rest of Destiny 2‘s broad cast of characters.
The two extant Cloud Striders introduced, Rohan and Nimbus, are perhaps the most sensual characters Destiny has ever introduced, especially Nimbus. It’s not just the exposed midriff, skin-tight leggings, piercing eyes, and bulging muscles; it’s the way they move and act that is so gravitational. They defy expectations in multiple ways. Bungie has danced around sexuality in their games to the point where we’ve never seen a bare shoulder or ankle; some characters even wear helmets 24/7 (I’m looking at you, Shaxx). So this alluring character design is a big step in a direction no one really expected. But on top of that surprise, Nimbus is the first non-binary character in Destiny’s history.
I always get excited when I hear of transgender representation, especially non-binary, in video games. It still feels like we don’t see enough of these characters in our everyday media, but we’ve definitely made progress. And Nimbus is a wonderful example of that progress because the most significant impression they give is that their gender does not define them. Where many forms of media make a huge deal out of introducing a character that doesn’t quite settle into the cis heteronormative binary, Nimbus’s pronouns are only apparent through reading the text that comes after completing steps in missions.
While that leads a lot of players who aren’t interested in the story to misgender Nimbus, I personally feel it’s a good move. Lightfall has nothing to do with Nimbus finding or struggling with their identity. Instead, they’re a fully-realized person who knows who they are, and no one questions it. And that’s refreshing. Yes, there should be more tales out there about coming out and living as a non-binary person, but in the context of futuristic, modded humans living on Neptune, it wouldn’t be very relevant. Instead, the fact that there’s no in-story fanfare or drama around Nimbus’s gender makes the inclusion of this character feel natural and genuine. Not to mention, Nimbus’s voice actor, Marin Miller, is non-binary as well. So it certainly doesn’t feel like diversity for the sake of diversity.
But perhaps the biggest surprise is Nimbus’s character design. So many media portray non-binary people as androgynous, white, and thin. And, yes, that’s true for some people. But there’s no one way to perform gender, and non-binary people come in all different shapes and sizes. And Nimbus absolutely shatters that stereotype and shows that at least someone at Bungie understands this concept.
Nimbus certainly has some androgynous features, but their broad shoulders, thick thighs, and dark skin break the mold. Their bulging muscles and popping veins are offset by their accentuated waist, high heels, and form-fitted leggings. Even how they move and interact with other characters lands between masculine and feminine and just feels natural. Nimbus is a fascinating character, and even more so because they defy expectations.
Destiny 2: Lightfall has gotten a lot of flak since its release, but one of the best parts about this new expansion is the introduction of the first non-binary character in this lengthy franchise. And Nimbus is a wonderful character, breaking stereotypes and feeling like genuine work was put into crafting them, from the character design to the choice of voice actor.