To use their specific words, it is “resting for now”.
Dishoored, Dishonored 2, and Death of the Outsider were fantastic games, bringing the old school style of stealth married with immersive sim gameplay to a larger audience. Unfortunately, the series never quite managed to hit it big with the mainstream- while Dishonored did well enough, Dishonored 2 and Death of the Outsider both failed to gain as much traction in the commercial sense.
It makes sense, then, that Bethesda and developers Arkane will be willing to move on from the series that the market has not shown much interest in for now. Arkane Studios’ Lead Designer Ricardo Bare told VG247 in an interview that the franchise has been put on hiatus for now. He also talked about exploring multiplayer as one of the options Arkane could pursue in a future Dishonored game, were it ever to happen.
“I can’t say definitively what might happen down the road, anything could happen, but [Dishonored] is resting for now,” he said. Speaking specifically about multiplayer, he said that that’s something that could be interesting to explore- though he also points out it will never be just tacked on to the detriment of the game, or the developers’ peace of mind.
“Being able to incorporate more online sharing or multiplayer type stuff, we totally might do that,” he stated. “It’s interesting because, for a while, there was this push with a bunch of big publishers to force teams to include multiplayer modes. I feel this was super destructive because you end up with a team that’s made a really compelling single-player game, but they were forced to tack on this deathmatch mode or whatever.”
For those of you who are worried about what this might bode for the future of Arkane, Bare was quick to allay fears, noting that games with immersive style gameplay, strong world building, and strong storytelling is what the studio excels at and intends to continue to do.
“The things that are important to us as a studio are coherent, deep world building and environmental storytelling – we’re always going to craft spaces that you feel like you’re visiting, whether it’s Dunwall or Talos 1,” he said. “It’s just as important a character as the player or the people you meet. Then it’s improvisational gameplay – giving players a bunch of cool abilities and tools, then saying, ‘You figure it out, you be creative, you own the experience’. And, typically, we stick to first-person, though that’s not a hard rule and we might try other things from time to time.”
It’s good to hear that Arkane won’t lose sight of why it is so popular, and disheartening to hear about the (for now) end of Dishonored. At least, unlike with something like Deus Ex, which was also reportedly put on ice following the weaker than expected sales of Mankind Divided, players have the satisfaction of Dishonroed 2 and Death of the Outsider having wrapped up all loose ends.