Bethesda's brand new IP, Dishonored
, was announced
ten days ago. The first-person action game will take players on a journey through a linear series of levels, but will allow players to make choices that affect the way that the game pans out. Developer Arkane Studios, whose main Xbox 360 contribution has been assisting development of BioShock 2 (Xbox 360)
, has Raphael Colantonio and Harvey Smith on their creative team - two of the masterminds behind Deus Ex
. This influence shows in the gameplay details summarized from an exclusive Game Informer
hands-on preview in their August edition. Here is what we know so far:
The game is set in the 17th Century in the large city of Dunwall, where poverty and wealth live side by side. Dunwall is located on the island of Gristol, and is surrounded by other islands that support minor civilizations themselves. The city is powered by oil harvested from monstrous whales that live in the surrounding waters, but these creatures (and others) also make travelling between islands a risky business, and has resulted in separating Dunwall from the rest of the Pandyssian continent, part of which can be viewed in the map below. For further information on the continent of Pandyssia, I would recommend visiting Game Informer's interactive Dishonored World Map
The population of Dunwall has been stricken with a rat-borne plague. Half of the residents are dead, and more are terminally ill from the infection. To add to their troubles, an evil regime influenced by greed leaves people living in fear and propaganda blasting from loudspeakers. Lord Regent took over when the former Empress was murdered five years ago. An underground opposition group seeks to end the tyranny, and has hired you to assist them, with promises of a reward if you are successful.Dishonored
is a game about revenge. Players take on the role of Corvo, the former bodyguard of the Empress. He was wrongly convicted of her murder, and is more than happy to take on the regime responsible for his incarceration in prison over the past five years. Corvo has a mobility that would make most people jealous, including a natural double jump. He also has skilled fighting techniques, the ability to improvise powerful gadgets, and supernatural powers (more on these later).
Basic abilities such as sprint, lean and sneak will be available. When defending, players will be able to utilise a timing-based parry ability, and there will be a dedicated block button. Lightning-fast dagger strikes will help when you're on the offensive, along with other weapons, such as crossbows.
Earlier, we mentioned supernatural powers. The Outsider is an entity that is the source of all of the magical powers in the world. Neither devil nor angel, The Outsider can not be defined, even though it walks among the community. Its nature and intentions are unknown, but a lucky few people have been influenced by this entity, and have acquired supernatural powers; Corvo is one of these people. Four of his known abilities are Bend Time, Windblast, Celerity (supernatural speed), and Blink (short-range teleport).
Players will be able to customize their hero with three different 'paths' to upgrade:
• Powers - different powers are unlocked and upgraded when the player spends runes that can be found throughout the world. Many powers have multiple upgrades. However, there are not enough runes in the world to be able to upgrade everything in a single playthrough, so players will have to make careful choices.
• Gadgets - examples of gadgets include spring razor traps, sticky grenades, and different types of ammunition, like sleep darts. Players need to increase their wealth by using underhand means, such as cutting paintings out of frames, or filling their pockets with other people's jewellery so that they can upgrade tools. Passive buffs like increased carrying capacity are also available in this path.
• Charms – there are 40 whalebone charms throughout the world, and these have mystical properties. However, players can only hold 12 charms in a single playthrough, and each of these is randomly selected from a master list. They gift the player with unusual powers, such as a mana refill when they drink from a fountain or a health boost when they eat certain coloured rats.
The Hounds Pit pub serves as a hub between missions and is the base for the resistance organization. It is here where players can upgrade their powers and gadgets, get information on the state of the world, or receive their next mission.The creature on the left is a Tallboy. They have armour plating and explosive arrows, and are deadly enemies.
The gameplay places a heavy emphasis on stealth assassination. Players will be able to use different combinations of powers and tactics to create different results for a single situation, so the game will vary for everyone. A "chaos" system will keep track of the collateral damage that you cause, and the world changes as a result of your actions. The development team is trying to include non-lethal ways of removing every target from the equation.
One of the player's powers can summon a pack of AI rats that react to their surroundings in a realistic way. If there are sufficient numbers of rats, they will attack people. They will seek food, so they will clean the bones of nearby bodies and make them easier to dispose elsewhere. Players can also possess one of the pack, so that you can escape through tunnels that are too small for human passage. However, things can backfire. Non-playable characters can panic at the sight of rats, and more guards will be alerted to the scene. You're also not immune to the rats; if you are sufficiently wounded, the rats will attack you instead.
In a conventional stealth game, the simplest approach to disabling a watchtower in the middle of an open square involves avoiding the search lights. Players creep from cover to cover and avoid all patrolling guards. In Dishonored
there is an alternative approach. Players can climb a nearby building, and once at the top, a sequence involving Celerity, double jump and Blink allows you to cover a large distance across the yard and land on top of the tower.
The game's levels are designed so that players can experiment. Players can mantle onto any face that is at a 30 degree angle (or less); all chains and ropes can be climbed too. Exploration is rewarded by "goodies", and side missions are also sprinkled across the world. Players can listen in to the conversations of NPCs, and these can give additional hints during missions. There are dialogue options when players talk to NPCs, but these are not common occurrences and only happen when players have a choice to make. The conversation doesn't stop the action, and everything is kept in a first person perspective - there are no dialogue trees to be seen.
For more gameplay details, I really would recommend reading the Game Informer article yourself. Dishonored
is due to be released in 2012.