I think the unnecessary hype that surrounds nearly every gaming release is one of the true evils of our industry. At the risk of perpetuating this ill practice, I hope to turn people’s attention to the recently announced Dishonored. Whilst most games don’t need any more hype, Dishonored seems to have gone under the radar for a fair few people. If you haven’t taken the time to check out Dishonored, there are a variety of reasons that you should be keeping your eye on it.
Set for a release sometime next year, Dishonored is a first person stealth game set to grace the Xbox 360, PS3 and PC. I know, you’re already yawning at the thought of yet another first person based action title. Before you damn Dishonored too much though, just consider another famous first person gaming franchise based around stealth. Ever heard of the Thief games? Hell yeah you’ve heard of them. You’ve heard of those games before because they were awesome, so don’t knock Dishonored immediately just on account of genre. It could turn out to be something special. In fact I can almost guarantee it will be something to look forward to on account of the all star cast who are working on it.
Taking the reigns on the Dishonored project are a super group of game designers. Harvey Smith is one of the premier names on the team, who you may remember as the lead designer for Deus Ex. Little else needs to be said about someone who was so intensely involved in such a revolutionary title. He is also joined by Arkane Studios founder Raf Colantonio, who you may remember for his work on such games as Dark Messiah and Arx Fatalis, two games one should not smirk at. The man behind Half Life 2’s City 17, Viktor Antonov, is also assisting with the game’s art direction. With this kind of team at the helm of the proverbial ship, we can only see Dishonored as sailing toward sunny shores.
As far as story is concerned, there isn’t quite as much to get your hopes up for. Players control Corvo, a man charged with protecting and guarding the royal Empress. Following her assassination during a coup by the lord regent, Corvo is framed for her murder. After escaping his captors, Corvo must then wreak his vengeance upon those responsible. So yeah, it sounds kind of generic so far. That said, it’s all in the details, so Dishonored may yet wow us in the story department as more information comes to light. There is certainly potential there.
Gameplay details are equally thin on the ground, but we know that there will be a heavy focus on Corvo’s supernatural powers, as well as his uncanny ability to assassinate his adversaries without detection. Morality is set to play a very large role in the proceedings as well, with the game world and storyline being altered by players’ actions. Those who sneak through the game will have a very different experience to those who commit to a veritable blood bath. The game will supposedly not judge players for their actions or coerce them one way or another, rather it will be behind the scenes actions and story elements that will be altered.
One element of gameplay that does sound interesting is the way skills and magics are handled. Rather than using separate skills with just one affect, players will need to combine various abilities in dynamic ways. Take combining a force push type spell with bullet time to allow you to throw things off a table as a distraction for example, or disturbing a rats’ nest and then possessing one of them to help you escape detection. It seems like Dishonored will be testing gamers brains as well as their reactions.
With an all star cast and an interesting sounding game world, Dishonored definitely has what it takes to make a splash when it releases in 2012. Considering how many damn sequels we see nowadays, it’s also nice just having a new IP to get excited about. Even if you are tired of the continued flurry of new FPS titles, the works the team have done on titles like Deus Ex and Thief should be enough to get you interested. I’d never suggest anyone completely board the proverbial hype train, but I’d certainly recommend keeping your eyes peeled as more info comes in on Dishonored.
Update: Having literally just finished this article, a whole new load of information has come to life courtesy of Game Informer. You can check it out here.