Dishonored is a great game, and is actually one of the very few stealth focused games that I personally enjoyed. I began my playthrough hacking my way through the poor unfortunate guards, but before long I changed tactics and decided on a Low Chaos playthrough. Ultimately, I was successful, and along the way I actually enjoyed the challenge of having to find my way past the guards, or figure out ways of getting rid of them non-lethally, all while remaining unseen.
However, that’s not to say that it wasn’t without problems. Arkane Studios made a bold attempt to meld action, and stealth and to give you real choice with each mission, but it did sometimes lack cohesion. During a recent interview with The Guardian, co-creative director Harvey Smith addressed this.
“Dishonored was a mish-mash. We wanted to make a first-person immersive game in a fantasy world with some stealth features; it was a homage to games we’d made before or loved. But, halfway through, we were only just figuring out what it was.”
From Harvey’s further comments, it seems like Arkane are looking at this as a way to create something new, without having to start completely from square one as they did with the original Dishonored.
“The map, the calendar, the religion, the culture — it felt really good starting the new project just knowing that stuff. On top of that we were thinking, ‘Well, our swordfighting could have been a little deeper, our stealth could have been more reliable with better feedback, and our UI was slapped together at the last minute.’ Just at every level there was something to deepen or extend or think about longer.”
I think that this is a healthy attitude to a sequel, you take your first game – a very strong foundation – and then build upon it, using what you have learned both during and after development to improve upon that formula and offer something more complete. Personally, I am hoping for more options for non-lethal players, as well as a more robust swordfighting system, and maybe not such a black and white system with the Low vs High chaos. Life is very rarely black and white, and while this is hard to execute in game, I feel like there is definitely a delicate balance that can be struck. Regardless, though, I am looking forward to playing Dishonored 2, and can’t wait to see what Arkane have in store for us.