2012's Dishonored was one of those sleeper hits that seems shockingly creative and original simply because it didn't have entire franchises and fandoms riding on it. I gave some of my thoughts on E3 this year, but didn't focus nearly enough on Bethesda's conference. They gave us promise of Dishonored 2, with a fantastic trailer that both presents more of what we're used to, and vastly expands the unique look of the series. In case you haven't checked out out the trailer yet, or simply wish to again, here it is!
Let me take a moment from lusting over this trailer to break down some of the settings, characters, and new features in Dishonored 2. Are you ready for another morbidly beautiful trip to the Empire of the Isles?
Dishonored had some of the best lore I've seen in a AAA release, in that the player had a number of ways to engage with it. You could interact with the Skyrim-esque info dumps strewn across the world. You can exhibit the way the environment is imbued with sombre beauty throughout, or you can simply blaze through the game with only a slight comprehension of the heady forces that guide you. One of those forces is the Outsider, and it seems this ancient trickster god is back for the sequel, narrating the trailer.
I like the idea that, being melded with the void, the Outsider is beyond comprehension for the characters in Dishonored, and simply moulds events from afar. Here, he's laying out Emily Kaldwin's arc, and I have to assume that she is one of his chosen ones who can see him. The first game referenced him appearing in her dreams, so perhaps Dishonored 2 will have her become one of his instruments, mark and all!
One of the genius moves of the first Dishonored was to create an elaborate expansive world map and barely reference it at all! So many fantasy endeavors seek to sit the player down and lecture them about the cool lore the writer came up with, but Dishonored seems to know that the game world is imbued with meaning when it's held back from the player. The mystery and excitement is amped up when it's revealed that this game will take place in Corvo Atano's home-country, Serkonos. You can tell from the trailer that we're now in a hotter climate, with misty skies and bugs plaguing the city. It's a far cry from the dreary Dunwall, yet there are elements of Colonialism on show, with lavish houses built into the side of forested mountains.
We still don't know which of the cities of Serkonos this game takes place in, and I would still be especially curious to see how the game portrays the Pandyssian continent. Still, let's be glad the game isn't set in Morley. There's nothing there!
The decision to situate an older Emily Kaldwin as the central figure in Dishonored 2 is one I called early in the trailer. The idea practically writes itself! Devs at Arkane Studios have reported that, while the player will control Emily for roughly the first 20 minutes of the game, a weighty decision will have them choose either her or an older Corvo through the rest of the story. While I understand that some fans are pleased to assume the role of Corvo once more, I enjoyed playing as Daud so much in the Dishonored DLC that I'm now in a state of wanting to see as many iterations of these darkly powered characters as possible!
Your choosing of Emily or Corvo will also affect the abilities you put to use throughout the game. Emily reportedly doesn't have the Blink ability, but instead uses "Far Reach" (guess what that one does) to navigate the game maps. While Far Reach doesn't sound quite as elegant as Blink, the prospect of Emily running around with Mr Fantastic arms is just something I can't say no to! The trailer also exhibits Emily avoid crushing by becoming some kind of shadowy entity. It reminds me of elements from The Darkness, and I suppose parallels the way Corvo technically loses corporeal form with abilities like Possession.
Are you excited by the new direction Bethesda and Arkane Studios are taking Dishonored? Let us know with a post here on MoviePilot, by voting in our poll, or leaving a comment below!