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Why Destiny fans think the series is headed to Mercury

Spring event The Dawning teased.

Bungie has teased its next in-game Destiny event and - just maybe - hinted at where its sci-fi shooter series may head next: to the planet Mercury.

Any Destiny player who logged in over the past weekend has earned themselves a special emblem, Rising Light. It's a belated sort of New Year present from Bungie.

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'A time to celebrate the past year, and look forward to the next...'

Bungie's message to players advertising the freebie mentions the "Days of the Dawning" - which makes sense, since 2016 has just dawned.

But it also points to a set of hidden items found on Destiny's server back in December, after the game's last update.

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Short quest steps, similar to those found at the beginning of October's Festival of the Lost, are set to kick off Bungie's The Dawning event.

The names of these items - quest steps and masks - reference an upcoming in-game event named The Dawning and are still viewable on the game's servers.

This tallies with a December blog post from Bungie, in which Destiny's next event was said to be another Halloween-style mask-based affair.

But what in the name Xur is The Dawning? The new emblem headed to players may hold a significant clue: it depicts the spires of Mercury's Vex architecture rising up against a backdrop of the Sun.

It's here we move from fact into educated guesswork, but the emblem may also hint at what Bungie has in store for Destiny later this year. Mercury has long been anticipated to feature in Destiny's sequel, expected this autumn.

Firstly, Mercury was once set to make more of an appearance in the original Destiny, as detailed in behind the scenes reports on the game's troubled development.

Destiny's story once featured Mercury inhabitant Osiris as a key character, but he was cut when the game's story was retooled a year before launch. A disciple of his popped up in the game last summer alongside Destiny's House of Wolves DLC, which introduced the new competitive Trials of Osiris event. Various references to the mysterious character also pop up in the game's set of Grimoire lore cards.

Mercury is now featured briefly in Destiny - in a couple of small PVP maps and in a hidden social space only accessible to flawless Trials of Osiris victors. As the only inner solar system planet not yet explorable, its inclusion in Destiny's sequel would seem a fair bet.

But there's more - back in July 2015, a Reddit user posted information on the future of the series, including the then-upcoming The Taken King expansion and "Destiny 2". Various things - such as a new voice for the game's Ghost character and Bungie's decision to stop making smaller DLCs - have since proven correct.

At the time, Destiny's sequel was said to have been subtitled "The Shattered Suns" and include a focus on the exploits of Osiris, who will be a quest giver. Mercury was said to be a major area in the game.

We may hear more of Osiris and Mercury when Bungie officially announces The Dawning event in the coming weeks.

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