Dishonored is a new IP from Arkane Studios and Bethesda, with the latter publishing the game this time. We interviewed Arkane’s Raphael Colantonio and Harvey Smith, who are both co-creative directors of the project. The game comes out on October 9th for the PS3, Xbox 360 and PC.
So without further adieu, check out what they had to say. Plus, PC gamers are in for a treat.
Kartik Mudgal: Dishonored is something a lot of people are excited for considering the interesting premise, do you think the game will be able to deliver upon those expectations?
Raphael and Harvey: If only we had a crystal ball. Players will have to tell us what they think, but for our part we absolutely love the game. It’s still very exciting for us to play, and we poured a lot of love into Dishonored.
KM: Freedom to tackle any mission as you want, no spoon-feeding, etc. is something that I consider as very aggressive game design. It’s also something we rarely see in games nowadays, what are your thoughts on this?
Raphael and Harvey: Our plans were very ambitious and difficult to pull off, for sure. You can play with different styles, combat or stealth, violence or nonlethal, you can take different powers and upgrade them, changing the experience, you can follow different pathways through the missions (front street, back street, rooftops, swim through the river, et cetera), and the pace is player-driven, slow and thorough exploration or very fast and direct. We give the player an environment rich with options because that’s what excites us as gamers and as designers. Dishonored features a linear series of missions, but each space is very open and hand-crafted; almost a series of mini-open worlds. Most include side missions as well. The game does have options to help players find their way, but all those things can be turned off.
KM: Dishonored is a new IP, and many publishers have mentioned that new IPs don’t really sell all that well unless released earlier in the generation, do you think Dishonored can make a big impact?
Raphael and Harvey: There are always exceptions, based on novelty and quality of experience, and we’re pushing ahead with what we believe.
KM: How did you guys think about the game’s concept, because it certainly does look unique.
Raphael and Harvey: It was a team-wide effort, based in part on our core values (including things like first-person, immersive, cohesive world that is bigger than the game, simulation, stealth and choice). We started talking with Bethesda about making a particular stealth-assassin game that would include the depth afforded by some of those values. Over time our research into historical periods and our artists’ love of specific architectural periods led us in this direction. What we ended up with is not seen very often in games.
KM: The atmosphere obviously plays a big role here in immersing the player. What can we expect from the full game? Are there any levels purely dedicated to scare the living hell out of players like, say, Thief 3 did?
Raphael and Harvey: Horror is not our focus, per se, but it adds some gravity to the situation like hiding in the dark, trying to avoid setting off an alarm, in the time of plague and oppression. That’s deliberate because it gives the player a particular type of drama that comes from interacting with systems.
KM: Were you inspired by any other games? If so, which ones?
Raphael and Harvey: All our lives. Ultima Underworld, System Shock, Thief, Bioshock and many others.
KM: Stealth games are a rarity these days, that too with such an open design. Surely getting approval from Bethesda wasn’t that easy, or am I missing something here?
Raphael and Harvey: Bethesda is a company that has achieved great success with games that are a blend of FPS and RPG. They have a history of trusting creative leaders and giving them what they need. In those ways, they’re the perfect partner for Arkane.
KM: Does this have franchise potential? Provided Dishonored does well of course.
Raphael and Harvey: The world was designed to be bigger than the game; certainly larger than can be absorbed in a single play-through. Right now we’re focused on getting Dishonored out, and we’re not talking about what’s next for us yet.
KM: How much replay value are we looking at here? Are there any post-release DLC planned?
Raphael and Harvey: It’s one of the things we love most. With past games we’ve worked on – like Arx Fatalis or Deus Ex – the first play-through is exciting because of the action and intriguing because you sense there’s more there. Then the second and third play-throughs are more powerful even because you are you have a much clearer understanding of the world.
KM: There are a lot of PC gamers out there who would love to run the game with all bells and whistles enabled. We also know for a fact that Dishonored on the PC is getting special attention from you guys. Is there anything special planned for PC gamers like HD texture packs and the likes?
Raphael and Harvey: The PCs best quality is the chance to run at 60fps. The textures are higher res and you can also up the FOV.
KM: Last but not the least. Do you think developers have maxed out the current generation of consoles? Did you guys at some point thought of a creative idea in Dishonored but were not able to implement it due to technological restrictions?
Raphael and Harvey: Technology is not really the bottleneck, and developers have not come close to maxing out what could be done. The photo-realism graphics race eats up a lot of hardware bandwidth for what could be used for interesting, different features and styles of gameplay. That said, new hardware is always exciting.
Are you going to buy Dishonored? Tell us what you think in the comments section below.