Although it wasn’t a new announcement for this year, Dishonored 2 has nonetheless become one of the most talked about games coming out of E3 2016. The first game was a big hit that received nominations for game of the year, and also showed a lot of creativity and ambition for an original property. We usually don’t see that kind of confidence going in behind a title unless it’s a reboot or a sequel, so Dishonored getting catapulted into rubbing shoulders with some of the biggest games of the year was impressive and refreshing.
Dishonored 2 looks poised to continue to innovate, providing multiple playable characters, new abilities and enemies, and a focus on more intricate levels. For fans of stealth games in particular, it can be slim pickings in the genre, so Dishonored is a series that taps into an underutilized genre. But there’s also plenty of opportunity to shoot and stab things for anyone looking for some steampunk action violence.
The new game looks great, and we now have an official release date penciled in for this November, so it’s time to jump aboard the hype and discuss the 15 Things We Want to See in Dishonored 2.
15. A GAME THAT EMBRACES STEALTH GAMEPLAY
It’s sad that it’s happened to the genre, but game publishers seem to be incredibly leery of putting out pure stealth games nowadays. The only way Dishonored managed to sneak in a successful stealth game was to hide it behind an action game. The stealth is there if you want it, but you could honestly have an easier time just killing everyone in the game, which kind of defeats the point of sneaking around.
Regardless, the first game was great for stealth enthusiasts because it was at least made with those fans in mind; there was always a way to get ahead without touching anyone or even being seen. The game would even tell you in your end missions statistics whether you ghosted (were never seen once) the level. It was good strategy to get in both casual fans as well as a more fringe genre of fans to include two different play styles in the first game, but hopefully Dishonored 2 makes that a trend and doesn’t forget us ghosts.
14. REFERENCES TO THE THIEF SERIES
Nothing against fans of the Thief game reboot, but many fans of the original Thief trilogy really weren’t happy with that game. It upped the action, offered less alternate pathways for sneaking around, and even limited your ability to jump in certain areas. Taken on its own merit, the Thief reboot can be enjoyable, but it just wasn’t made with its original fan base as the primary target audience. Yet ironically, Dishonored came out before the new Thief, and of the two games, wound up being more like the original Thief trilogy.
The makers of Dishonored definitely didn’t do this accidentally. The game actually includes a nearly word for word homage to the opening of the original Thief when Garrett was being trained how to hide in the shadows. It was a nice wink to fans of the series that pioneered first person stealth games, and we’d like to see more of it in the sequel. Many fans consider Dishonored a spiritual sequel to the Thief series, and it’d be great to see the developers truly embrace that label.
13. CHALLENGING LEVELS WHETHER YOU PLAY AS A PACIFIST OR THE CHAOS ROUTE
We’ve mentioned being happy that stealth mechanics were included in the first game, but there was no doubt that the pacifist play-through was the hard mode of the game. It’s even accentuated by a more unhappy ending than the one you get for playing violently. If you want that upbeat ending, they make you work for it and show some restraint with the bloodshed. But honestly, it was kind of disappointing that the different play styles were defined by one being easy and the other being difficult, rather than players just being encouraged to pick whichever they thought was more fun.
The powers in the original Dishonored were pretty heavily geared towards combat, and stealth players were very limited in nonlethal options. It would be a nice improvement to see the two play styles balanced out more evenly this time around so there’s incentive to try both ways. A big complaint from combat oriented players in the first game was how short it made the game due to just being able to do things like slow down time, and literally blow people away with wind powers. Let’s see the aggressive powers toned down a bit, and the pacifist players get some more options for getting by without a fight.
12. UNIQUE STORIES FOR CORVO AND EMILY
It’s great to see we’re going to get the chance to play as Emily this time around. In the first Dishonored, she was basically a recurring damsel in distress, so the story moving on to the point where she can take care of herself makes for a nice development. And it’s also exciting to hear that she’s going to be differentiated from Corvo by having all new abilities. After all, one of the best things about the DLC of the original Dishonored was getting to play as Daud, who had some tweaked—and even a few totally new—powers that kept the game feeling fresh after so many hours.
But for an experience that truly makes Dishonored 2 worth playing through twice, Corvo and Emily deserve their own stories as well. It only makes sense seeing as how Corvo is older than Emily, and would therefore have met people from before her time who could be old connections. Plus, Emily would obviously have a younger social circle, so she should be more familiar with the new blood in the country.
It would be great to play both characters and get different plot details, or have a character who was an enemy in one scenario be a friend in the other. Done properly, Corvo and Emily could work as two halves of one big story, providing a ton of incentive for players to do a second play through.
11. SMARTER ENEMIES
We’ve come a long way in stealth games. Going back to something like the original Thief, it’s laughable when you’re supposed to be wary of guards who are unable to attack you if you simply jump up on a table, leaving them standing on the floor shaking their fist at you. It’s taken years just for us to reach the point that guards in stealth games are equipped to follow you and attack you no matter where you go. But even now, they can do some pretty ridiculous things that take the threat out of their presence.
The original Dishonored was no different in that regard. They might have guns to shoot you no matter how big of a table you jump up on, but the guards could also be pretty blind. One infamous detail was they couldn’t see through glass display cases, so even when looking right at you as you snatched some valuable from a jewelry counter, they’d just pass right on by.
There’s no point to being stealthy when your enemies are stupid. There are dozens of guards and one protagonist, so we really want to see the guards pose a legitimate threat, and give us a reason to be nervous about them being in the vicinity.
10. THE RETURN OF DAUD AND HIS ASSASSINS
We know Emily Kaldwin is back, and even Delilah Copperspoon from the DLC campaign has apparently returned to cause some more trouble. Both of those characters had the potential to be killed or spared based on player actions, but apparently Dishonored 2 is assuming most players spared some of the more interesting characters. That being said, it would be a real shame if one of the most multi-faceted characters from the original Dishonored was regarded as dead by the story’s canon: Daud.
Daud was effectively the second protagonist of the first Dishonored, with his story taking place concurrently with Corvo’s and giving players a glimpse at another perspective into the events happening in Dunwall. He committed heinous acts, like murdering Emily’s mother, the Empress, but he also proved capable of doing good deeds. If we’re assuming the characters who had the potential to live from the first game will all be doing so, Daud definitely should. It’d be worth it just for the reunion between him and Emily.
9. MORE INFORMATION ABOUT THE OUTSIDER
One of the few characters you weren’t given the choice of killing or sparing in the first game was the Outsider, the one responsible for Corvo’s powers. Players who enjoyed exploring would intermittently come across him throughout the levels and he would offer cryptic clues to future events, or emphasize the balance Corvo walked between good and evil. It was interesting to try and discern what his interest in the story was.
We know for sure that the Outsider will be returning in Dishonored 2, so there is a chance a bit more light will be shed on this mysterious character. He’s obviously a major player in the world’s events, and must have some self-interest behind the strings he pulls. It wouldn’t be surprising if he even became a final boss at some point in the series. But for now at least, it looks like he remains an ally. Though it’s interesting to think how many other people he might be an ally to. If Corvo and Emily turned against each other at some point, who would he be backing up?
8. COMPLEX MORAL CHOICES ABOUT WHAT TO DO WITH THE TARGETS
Stories with multiple endings are always more fun, and Dishonored implemented that in a variety of ways. Whether you were a violent player or a peaceful player effected what future stages would play like, what key characters would be alive, and what ending you got. But another layer on top of that was that each target you were after also offered the choice of a fatal or nonfatal resolution to stopping them.
What added an extra bit of intrigue to dealing with the targets was the nonfatal outcome could often be worse than outright killing them. One target, a set of twins, could be spared, but if you did so, their heads were shaved, their tongues were cut out, and they were enslaved to work in mines for the remainder of their lives. Another target was one who you could ostracize by branding him in the face causing him to lose his status and money, and driving him to live in the street where he would contract the plague and go mad. Sure, you met some awful people in the game, but it made you wonder whether anyone really deserved those things, and what it made of Corvo if you chose to inflict those things on someone.
7. REVISITING CHARACTERS FROM THE FIRST GAME
Building off the last point, it would be pretty interesting to see what some of the targets from the last game are up to now. Dishonored 2 seems to be going forward under the assumption the player spared everyone who could be spared in the first game. So what are they up to now? Which of them chose to reform themselves if they survived? Which of them built themselves up and are looking for vengeance for what was done to them?
Of course, not all of Corvo’s old acquaintances were enemies. He also had a handful of allies who could be spared. We know we’ll be learning more about Emily, but what about the inventor Piero? What about Samuel the boat man who saved Corvo’s life? What about Sokolov, the royal physician who could be swayed to join the rebellion? Obviously, the main characters are the spotlight, but we want to see the after effects of the series’ many side characters too.
6. MULTIPLE ENDINGS THAT CAN REMAIN CANON
While Dishonored 2 looks very cool, one thing that has got to be disappointing other people is, since we’re still following Corvo, a lot of player choices from the first game inevitably get brushed aside as non-canon. The original Dishonored made a big thing about actions having consequences, whether you played with stealth or in a chaotic fashion impacting the world. Each target let you outright kill them, or spare their life. Now, evidently, all those choices were moot. We see that already since Emily is alive despite the player being able to get endings where she died in the previous game.
It’s stuff like that that got Mass Effect 3’s ending a lot of flak. We don’t want Dishonored to run into similar issues, so if Corvo and Emily will be our focal point going forward in the series, that’s great. But then don’t present us with things like the choice of one of them dying. Give us real choices that can remain intact if Dishonored 2 reads the save file from the previous game. Saying we can effect major events and then snatching that away is frustrating.
5. MEMORABLE MISSION GIMMICKS
It looks like a pretty solid deal that we’re going to be getting this request already based on the E3 trailer, but we’re hoping it’s more than just the one unique level we got to see. At E3, the developers gave us a taste of a level where the player infiltrates a mansion where time is in flux, meaning you were able to alter between traversing the level in the past or present at will. Switching back and forth provided new pathways between the ruined building of the present, versus the fully functional building of the past that was filled with guards. It was a very fun looking concept.
The first Dishonored had a lot of fun gimmicks like that. One level saw you given the opportunity to ally yourself with a local pirate gang. Another saw you traversing through a flooded city filled with teleporting assassins. But one of the most fun was a mission that had the potential for the least combat—a masquerade ball where you had the opportunity to take out your target while walking in plain sight due to everyone being in masks. Since it looks like the sequel will be continuing this trend, we’re eagerly awaiting the chance to find out what else the development team can come up with.
4. USEFUL NEW POWERS FROM THE OUTSIDER
There were plenty of cool powers in the first Dishonored, but not a lot of variety in what they did. You had teleportation, x-ray vision, and possession for your nonlethal abilities, but then so many of the other powers you had were combat-oriented. It was cool you could summon a horde of rats, but was it really useful when you already had grenades? And yeah, blowing people away with a gust of wind was neat, but when you could slow down time, why not just use that to run away or kill your enemies at your leisure? A lot of your arsenal was just different methods of killing guards.
We’ve already seen Dishonored 2 has some new powers like the ability to mesmerize enemies, which is a nice start, but stealth players in particular could use more nonlethal abilities. Stuff like super speed, or being able to possess and manipulate machines could add some nice variety. We’ve heard Corvo and Emily will have their own separate abilities, so hopefully that will give the developers room to be inventive and show off two really distinct skill trees.
3. SYMPATHETIC ENEMIES
We’ve already talked about moral choices being a desired aspect for the sequel, but a lot of that in the first game was just the player having to decide what they were comfortable with Corvo doing. As for the enemies, there were a lot of horrible people in the game that almost felt like cartoon caricatures. We found out one of the big villains in the game was deliberately spreading a plague to the city. Where do you find sympathy for someone like that?
Nonetheless, the first game did find ways to insert some complexity for players who sought it. One tool you got was a heart Corvo could wield that would offer hints, as well as tell you about nearby enemies. The heart would reveal details like one enemy hating their cruel job but needing the money to feed their family, or how an enemy was haunted by his deeds and had to drink himself to sleep each night. It added a touch of pity. And a great way to make moral choices matter would be to have villains who have a perspective we can feel for even if we don’t agree with their actions.
2. THE RETURN OF COOL ENEMIES LIKE TALLBOYS, WEEPERS, AND WITCHES
Guards are standard opposition in any stealth game. They’re expected, and while they can keep the tension up, seeing nothing but humans with swords and guns every level can get boring eventually. Fortunately, the first Dishonored did a good job of mixing up the enemy variety, and keeping the most interesting foes you could come across from getting stale.
There were nerve-racking encounters with groups of plague victims called weepers who wandered the street with blood oozing from their eyes. There were enemies who could match your ability to use supernatural powers like Delilah’s witches or Daud’s assassins. And of course there were probably the most striking enemies in the game, the tallboys, men on huge mechanical stilts who were armed with explosive arrows to fire down on their opponents below. We definitely want some fresh adversaries, but it’ll be pretty sad if we don’t get to see any of the fun enemies from the previous game come back to cause some more trouble.
1. THE ABILITY TO POSSESS A WHALE
This one certainly isn’t a make or break request for us, but just one that would be pretty cool to see. Possession was one of the abilities you had access to in the original Dishonored, and you were able to take control of rats and small fish to find some unlikely escape paths. If you leveled up the skill, you could even possess human beings so you could walk in plain sight amongst the guards for a little bit to get through some tricky rooms unseen. So if you can get into the minds of people, who’s to say you can’t do the same on bigger creatures?
Whales are an important aspect of Dishonored, with you discovering charms made from the bones of whales that grant you new abilities, whale oil being a power source for many machines in Dunwall, and you even get to infiltrate a whale slaughterhouse at one point and have the option of putting one of the creatures out of its misery. What we’re saying is, whales are cool, we want a chance to be one in the game, and it’d be especially cool to be able to eat a few guards as one. If that request makes us wrong, we don’t want to be right.
What are you excited for after Dishonored 2’s latest trailer from E3? Tell us in the comments what you’re hoping to see in the game by the time it releases this November!