Dishonored has brought about a lot of questions since its announcement, with the biggest question being “What the hell is Dishonored?” Once you begin to look past the crazy gameplay videos and broad ideas the game tries to surface, it becomes clear that… Well, Dishonored really is an extensive game that seems to have multiple aspects that need exploring and tinkering with before we can fully understand its potential. Bethesda and Arkane Studios both announced Dishonored through a Game Informer cover story, which revealed quite a bit of information regarding the story and design around the game.
The story revolves around Corvo, a highly regarded bodyguard to a now deceased Empress. Corvo is then falsely accused of her murder and as you can guess, he is none too happy. But he isn’t highly regarded for just any reason; he’s a skilled assassin and also has some special supernatural powers to boot. From there, you will begin your tirade against the people that imprisoned you by joining up with an underground resistance. After that, the story will begin to skew away from a main thread based off your decisions.
The most intelligent part of this moral choice system is that isn’t as much moral choice as it is forcing you to control the things you do out in the world. Dishonored features a “Chaos” system which tracks how much collateral damage you do to the world. This system is meant to engage the player further in everything they do instead of pushing players towards a good or evil path like most other games do so well. It’s a tad similar to Deus Ex’s style of narrative development but Dishonored carves its own personality with its inventive Chaos system.
It’s also becoming clear that most of the story will take place within an island city named Dunwall. Dunwall is a steampunk city that is separated from nearby islands by monster infested waters. Dunwall is far from a nice place to live as not only is it one of the few inhabitable cities left, poverty is an increasing issue that is taking over the population. The fact that the local authority treats their citizens as if they’re dirt on the ground isn’t helping much either.
Another intriguing thing about Dishonored is the talent backing it. We all know Bethesda’s past (Fallout, Oblivion, Skyrim, etc.) but the co-creative director of Dishonored is Harvey Smith, one of the main people behind the Thief and Deus Ex series. Arkane also seems to be strongly touting their varied abilities, stating that no ability will just “do damage or heal you.” To steal a quote from the Game Informer article, Arkane describes the wide range of what you can do with their abilities: “Stop time and knock a bunch of stuff off a table in one direction then book it in another, so the guards search for you in the wrong place. Summon a swarm of rats to attack one guard, but possess one of the rats and escape in the chaos. Every problem has as many solutions as you want it to.” If that doesn’t sound insanely interesting then I don’t know what does.
Shortly after the Game Informer story, Arkane revealed its star studded voice cast that features the work of Academy Award winning actress Susan Sarandon (Dead Man Walking) and Golden Globe winner Brad Douriff (One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest). The stars do not stop there though as John Slattery (Mad Men), Carrie Fisher (Star Wars), Michael Madsen (Reservoir Dogs), and Lena Headey (Game of Thrones) also joined the cast. Sadly, all of these actors play side roles but seeing as there are so many of them, I’m sure you’ll run into them countless numbers of times throughout Dishonored’s duration. An exciting side note for me is that Dexter composer Daniel Licht is doing the score for Dishonored.
After the voice cast was announced, the information released for Dishonored halted and in all honesty, that’s probably for the better. With now knowing how the morality system works and that there are an abundance of abilities to choose from, I don’t want any of the possible surprises hidden within Dishonored spoiled for me. And from how unique and exciting the game sounds, I’m sure there are a lot more surprises to be found once Dishonored releases on October 9th.
Note: Dishonored releases on October 12th for our beloved European readers.