E3 2016 has come to a close, and while many games have begun steamrolling the hype train to eventual release town, Dishonored 2 seems poised to take the top spot as Game of the Year on many lists across the internet come year’s end.
With so much hype leading up to this year’s release, it’s inevitable that many new fans will be discovering the franchise in 2016, so let’s take a look back at the groundwork the original Dishonored laid and towards the future of the sequel to help prepare you for the epic gaming experience in store for you later this year.
Here’s 16 Things You Need To Know About Dishonored.
16. What is Dishonored?
With high scores across the internet from both critics and players alike, Dishonored took a step away from competitors such as the most recent Thief game to sit atop the world of first-person action-stealth games.
Dishonored takes place in the city of Dunwall, the capital city of the Imperial government. The city has been ravaged by the rat plague, a circumstance which has left Empress Jessamine’s position of power vulnerable. During the game’s opening sequence, the Empress is assassinated and her daughter, Emily, is taken captive by a then unknown group of assassins.
The player takes on the role of Corvo Attano, the royal protector, and the man who is framed for Jessamine’s death. Corvo is granted powerful abilities by a being known as The Outsider in order to assist in rescuing Emily and bringing those responsible for Jessamine’s death to justice.
Throughout Dishonored, players are given alternative choices in how to complete their goals, using either stealth to quietly complete tasks undetected, or by the using a large variety of gadgets and powers at their control in order to destroy those who have committed this great evil.
15. How choice does (and doesn’t) matter in Dishonored
As players work to take out those responsible for the assassination of the Empress and kidnapping of her daughter, they are given the freedom to go about each mission as they please. Players can choose to use stealthy rogue tactics and sneak past enemies, non-lethally incapacitating those who can not be circumvented, or they can choose to take out enemies with various gadgets such as shock traps or the tried and true method of sneaking up behind a target and putting a knife in their back.
Besides choice in tactics, each mission in Dishonored takes place in a large, open map, and provides players with a multitude of ways in which to get behind enemy lines to reach their objective. Whether you choose to sneak in through the sewer system or descend from the rooftops, the choice is yours, and you have plenty of options on how to approach each mission.
As players complete missions, other characters in the world will react to you differently depending on the choices you make. If you’re going through slaughtering every enemy that gets in your way, some characters who have been friendly and loyal to you will begin to act cold, and possibly even turn on you. Choosing a pacifist playthrough will influence how characters will react to you as well, as some of your collaborators just want everyone dead.
There are different endings depending on your play style throughout the game, but it mostly influences the narrative of the ending and what your “legacy” is. Fear not, regardless of how you approach Dishonored, the end goal is only determined by whether or not you succeed, not how you did so, or what others think of those actions.
14. The World Of Dishonored
The first Dishonored game takes place in the city of Dunwall, capital of the large island of Gristol. Dunwall was once a hub for whaling and fishing, but technological advances thanks to the power of whale oil processing has seen the city take part in a large technological revolution. Whale oil powers many of the machines and inventions throughout Dunwall, providing an almost steampunk feel to the world — with whale oil substituting for steam power, of course.
During the events of Dishonored, the city has been overrun with the rat plague, a terrible disease which seems to originate from the slums of Dunwall. The rat plague plays a key role in the game’s events.
For the sequel, Dishonored 2, the action is moving primarily to the city of Karnaca, the capital city of the southern most island in the Empire. Karnaca hasn’t suffered the effects of the rat plague, and thus has benefitted from the misfortune of other such cities. A favored tourist destination for the rich and powerful, Karnaca has seen an influx of wealth as trade companies move away from undesirable locales such as the plague-ridden Dunwall.
13. Who is Corvo Attano?
Corvo Attano is the silent protagonist of the original Dishonored game, and one of two characters can choose to play as in the upcoming sequel Dishonored 2.
Corvo was born to a lower class family, but quickly rose through the military ranks thanks to his skill. Corvo was eventually made royal protector to Empress Jessamine Kaldwin, a position which raised his social standing, although he still remained reserved, and a mystery to the social butterflies of Dunwall.
Throughout Dishonored, it is made clear that Corvo and Jessamine were in a relationship which they kept private, but this, of course, did not prevent others from noticing. Several characters throughout the game bring up the relationship to Corvo, proving that secrets are hard to keep.
It is also implied during the course of the original game that Corvo may be the father to the captured princess Emily Kaldwin, a fact that has since been verified in the trailers and gameplay we’ve seen so far for Dishonored 2.
12. Who is Emily Kaldwin?
Emily Kaldwin is the daughter of Empress Jessamine Kaldwin and the rightful heir to the throne of the Isles. As we mentioned, it is strongly hinted throughout Dishonored that she could be the daughter of Corvo Attano, which has since been confirmed in the promos for Dishonored 2.
In the original game, young Emily is present (along with Corvo) during the assassination of her mother. She is then kidnapped by the assassins, leading Corvo on a mission to rescue her and return her to her rightful place on the throne of the Empire.
In the upcoming Dishonored 2, Emily has grown up, now in her mid-twenties, and is the Empress. Along with Corvo, she will be the second of two characters players can choose to play. We have seen examples of Emily’s own powers granted from The Outsider, and her abilities will be fairly unique from those of Corvo.
11. Who is The Outsider?
A thousand years before the events of Dishonored, the area which became the city of Dunwall was inhabited by an ancient civilization — which disappeared for reasons unknown. That ancient civilization worshiped a being known as the Outsider. The inscribed whale bone relics and artifacts players collect while playing Dishonored are remnants of that civilization.
Worship of the Outsider is banned in the modern Dunwall, but the supernatural being still makes his presence felt by marking those he deems worthy, thereby granting them magical powers and abilities beyond that of mere men.
The Outsider appears to be neither good nor evil, and simply chooses those he marks because he finds them interesting. The Outsider appears to be the source of all magic in the Dishonored universe, and according to his remarks in The Knife of Dunwall DLC, he has only bestowed his mark upon eight people in the world, some of which players encounter during the game.
It is known that the Outsider was born a mortal man four-thousand years before Dishonored. At the age of 15, the orphaned boy was unwillingly subjected to an occult ritual, which led to his becoming one with The Void — a magical alternate dimension of small floating islands which “hungers for a representational, godlike entity”.
10. Notable Voice Actors In Dishonored
Both Dishonored and Dishonored 2 decided not to skimp when it came to voice acting talent, and both games feature several names you’ll recognize, but may not have realize lent their voice to the characters and world of Dishonored.
The original game featured talents such as Susan Sarandon as the infamous Granny Rags, a character any Dishonored player will remember vividly. Star Wars lead Carrie Fisher provided an alternate voice for the propaganda speakers strewn throughout Dunwall, Chloe Grace Moretz voiced the young Emily Kaldwin, Game of Thrones star Lena Headey also made an appearance as Callista Curnow, and Michael Madsen voiced the assassin Daud, whom players filled the shoes of in both story DLCs.
Dishonored 2 is also busting out some big names for the voice talent of their game, with Daredevil stars Vincent D’Onofrio and Rosario Dawson lending their voices to the game, and the Penguin himself from FOX’s series Gotham, Robin Lord Taylor, will be replacing Billy Lush as the voice of the Outsider in Dishonored 2.
9. Other Games From Dishonored Developers
Dishonored wasn’t the first game from developer Arkane Studios, although the franchise has definitely become the company’s biggest. Prior to Bethesda parent company Zenimax’s 2010 purchase of the studio, Arkane produced two RPGs, 2002’s Arx Fatalis, and 2006’s Dark Messiah of Might and Magic.
Aside from their own games, Arkane Studios also provided development support for Call of Duty: World at War and BioShock 2.
Deus Ex developer Harry Smith served as co-creative director for Dishonored, and Viktor Antonov, the man responsible for the design of City 17 in Half-Life 2, was in charge of visual design for the game.
While many players compare the first-person action and use of weapons, gadgets, and magical powers to the BioShock series, Arkane developers typically site Deus Ex as one of their major influences when creating Dishonored. The original Thief game also served as an early inspiration for the stealth in Dishonored, but developers eventually took a step back from that game’s systems in favor of the line-of-sight stealth mechanics that made the final cut.
8. Critical And Commercial Response For Dishonored
Although the excitement level for Dishonored was high prior to release, the game exceeded all expectations when it finally hit shelves on October 9, 2012.
In the week leading up to release, Dishonored held the third spot on Steam’s pre-sale list. During the game’s first week of release, it snagged the number 4 spot in North America, and the number 2 spot in the UK. By the time Steam’s Thanksgiving holiday sale rolled around in November, Dishonored had climbed to the top of the charts during the three day sales event.
Dishonored ended 2012 either on — or on top of — virtually everyone’s Top 10 lists for the year. The game was nominated for dozens of awards, taking home Best Action Adventure Game at the Spike Video Game Awards, and PlayStation Official Magazine gave it their top honors for Game of the Year.
7. DLCs Showed Promise For The Future Of Dishonored
With critics and players alike falling in love with Dishonored following its release in 2012, there was very little negative being said about Arkane’s arrival to the big leagues of mainstream video games. That didn’t stop them from taking some pretty substantial steps forward during the releases of their two major story-content DLCs, The Knife of Dunwall, and The Brigmore Witches.
The most notable lesson learned from the development and release of the base game was found in the tweaks and improvements made to many of the abilities in the DLCs. Daud, Empress Jessamine’s assassin, and the character players played as in the two DLCs, had his own set of powers gifted by the Outsider. Some were similar to those of Corvo Attano’s, and some were unique to Daud. Abilities such as Dark Vision and Blink, which had been the primary tools of Corvo, were improved and refined in the DLCs, showing just how forward-thinking Arkane was with the feel and gameplay of their world.
Also seeing an improvement was the overall storytelling. The pacing and presentation of the story was refined in the DLCs, and having Daud actually be voiced helped set the tone of events surrounding the game, something the silent protagonist Corvo fell short of in the base game.
Those lessons and improvements made in the DLCs are truly shining through in Dishonored 2 from what we’ve seen so far. Both Emily and Corvo will be fully voiced, each with their own abilities — which have looked fantastic in the trailers and gameplay we’ve seen thus far.
6. Delilah Appears To Be A Major Antagonist In Dishonored 2
Speaking of improvements in the DLCs, the witch Delilah Copperspoon, leader of the Brigmore Witches coven, served as the main antagonist in both The Knife of Dunwall and The Brigmore Witches. Delilah provides more of a face and personality to the world than did the smattering of foes Corvo was tasked with taking out in the base game. With so many bad guys involved in the conspiracy to assassinate the Empress, it was easy to lose track of who was who, killing a bit of the motivation for the player.
Arkane apparently knows they scored with Delilah as a big bad, as everything we’ve seen so far from Dishonored 2 indicates her as the primary antagonist of the sequel. She’s present in much of the promotional footage and gameplay we’ve seen up to this point, and a poster included in the Collector’s Edition of Dishonored 2 gives us a likely glimpse into the part she plays in the upcoming sequel.
On that poster from the Collector’s Edition there is a picture of Delilah, but underneath that picture her name is presented as Delilah Kaldwin — Kaldwin of course being the family name of Jessamine and Emily. These elements seem to indicate that Delilah is somehow making an attempt to usurp the throne in Dishhonored 2. With time-travel elements shown during E3 2016 gameplay demonstrations, and Delilah’s own power stemming from her being one of those marked by the Outsider, we’ve been presented with several ways in which this plot could be carried out, but we’re going to have to wait for the sequel’s release to find out for sure what’s going on.
5. How Dishonored 2 Will Differ From The Original
Other than a brand new story, Dishonored 2 will differ from the original in a few key ways, some of which we’ve already touched on. The first major difference players will notice heading into the second game appear the ability to choose which protagonist you play as, either a grown-up Emily Kaldwin, or an older Corvo Attano. Each character will have their own, unique set of abilities, with some similarities, of course, with core abilities. Arkane developers have also talked about a deeper, more diverse upgrade path for those powers, giving players more choice in how they play.
Another major step forward for the franchise will be having each of the two playable characters fully voiced. As we saw in the two DLCs for the first game, a fully voiced protagonist helps give players a sense of who their character is, and provides a much more solid footing for that character’s place in the world of Dishonored.
The last big difference players will notice will be the setting of Dishonored 2. Most of the gameplay will be taking place in the city of Karnaka, as opposed to the Dunwall setting players of the first game are more familiar with.
4. Character Choice In Dishonored 2 Will Provide Unique Experiences
Touching one more time on the choice of playable characters in Dishonored 2, Arkane is promising high replayability for those gamers who love going back and seeing everything there is to see.
Not only will both Corvo and Emily each have their own set of powers, providing a unique gameplay experience for each, but as we’ve mentioned, each will be a fully voiced participant in the world. Providing the player with the thoughts of both Emily and Corvo will offer a different experience when playing with each character, as each will have their own perspective of the world and other characters will treat each differently.
3. What We Know About The Dishonored 2 Story So Far
Dishonored 2 takes place 15 years after Corvo rescued princess Emily Kaldwin and secured her place as the rightful heir to the Imperial throne. We’ve heard a now adult Emily refer to Corvo as father a few times in trailers, and it seems father has been teaching daughter a few of his fighting tricks. Combined with the mark from the Outsider, Emily will be just as capable of taking out her enemies as Corvo will be.
The official story synopsis for Dishonored 2 says that an “otherworldly usurper” has claimed Emily’s throne, and as we mentioned earlier, all signs point to the witch Delilah as that culprit. In order to regain her rightful place on the throne, either Emily or Corvo must leave the capital city of Dunwall and head to the once glorious city of Karnaca on the southern isle. There the fight will take place to remove the usurper from the throne.
While the art style and technology may be similar to that of Dunwall in the first game, Dishonored 2 developers have spent hundreds of hours creating a unique culture for the residents of Karnaca, and it should provide a fresh new location for the game to take place.
2. Dishonored 2 Is Poised To Exceed The Original In Every Way
The original Dishonored was an unbridled success for developer Arkane Studios and publisher Bethesda. It surpassed every expectation in terms of both sales, and critical reception. Many considered it the surprise hit of the year, and the game grabbed several Game of the Year honors when it released in 2012.
With all that being said, Dishonored is still considered a bit of a sleeper when judged against other more mainstream titles such as Bethesda’s big release from 2015, Fallout 4. That is about to change with Dishonored 2.
Bethesda took center stage at E3 2015 for the first time with their very own press conference, and in doing so put themselves in a position to really shine a spotlight on the games they develop and publish. At E3 2016, that spotlight shined brightest on Dishonored 2, and Bethesda pushed it just as they would an Elder Scrolls or Fallout game, the two major tentpole games of the company for decades.
With Dishonored 2 receiving the mainstream spotlight prior to its release that the first game mostly missed out on (and Bethesda oh so conveniently giving it the same launch window Fallout 4 received last year), all eyes are on Dishonored 2, and as long as the game lives up to the expectations of players and critics, the second game in the series could prove to be a blockbuster on par with anything else to come out in 2016.
1. When Is Dishonored 2 Coming And On What Platforms?
Now that you know a little more about Dishonored, and just how great a game it truly is, you’ll probably be wondering when you’ll be able to get your hands on Dishonored 2.
Mark your calendars for November 11, 2016. Barring any unforeseen delays (which at this point seems unlikely) that’s the day the gaming world will be calling in sick to work to play the hell out of Dishonored 2.
And of course, if you can’t wait that long, you can always pick up a copy of the original Dishonored right now. You can usually catch it pretty cheap during a sale from online retailers, and along with the two fantastic story DLCs, The Knife of Dunwall, and The Brigmore Witches, you’ll have a fantastic time AND be better prepared to enter the world of Dishonored once again this fall.
Did we leave out any of your favorite Dishonored factoids? Are you planning to suddenly come down with the flu on November 11th? Let us know in the comments.