Harv And Raph: Gabbin’ ‘Bout Dishonored

By Craig Pearson on April 24th, 2012 at 7:30 pm.


I went to Youtube and searched for “that immersive sim that’s being made by the Dark Messiah dude and the guy from Deus Ex“, which I’ll admit was a typo as I was really looking for “Loch Ness monster proof” videos. But to my pleasant surprise it turned up a double-header interview with the lead designers of Dishonored. Game Informer sat down in Arkane’s oddly coloured offices to talk to Harvey Smith and Raphael Colantonio, and while there’s nothing even remotely touching on ancient dinosaurs being trapped in bodies of water (for LochPaperShotgun), there’s a lot of chat about the immersive assassin ‘em up’s systems. They really are looking at the making the game a reflection of the player’s actions, from extreme of violence to the other. But even then Harvey Smith points out: “We do have an ideal player in mind, though. Somme body who listens and is more thorough, and is a little trickier, a little craftier and uses their powers in interesting combinations and exploits the AI.” Music to my ears. Videos have snuck into the post below.

Alec is prepping a megapost on a recent look he had at the game, but until then you can watch Raphael looking cool and nodding, Harvey jiggling his feet, and the woman in the background trying to not stare at the camera.

Part 1

Part 2

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48 Comments »

  1. ResonanceCascade says:

    This game makes me channel my inner Veruca Salt…I WANT IT NOW!

    • Torn says:

      Channel your what now?

      • Matt-R says:

        Think Willy Wonka, and golden tickets.

        Really looking forward to this though I have to say I kinda wish they’d have gone for a more grimy and realistic visual style but yay dishonoured.

  2. BULArmy says:

    So this is the spiritual successor of that one game, from that company, that can’t count to three, right?

    • CorruptBadger says:

      I have no idea what your referring to, care to explain

      • BULArmy says:

        That one game with the free man.

        • ResonanceCascade says:

          Try spiritual successor to Looking Glass/the good Ion Storm.

          • BULArmy says:

            I said that, because of Victor Antonov, the overall design feel is too much HL2, which in my mind is totally awesome.

        • Sian says:

          Because the soldiers on stilts very, very vaguely resemble Striders? Except for the fact that they are not nearly as tall, use two legs, not three, and so forth. No, it’s not a spiritual successor to Half-Life.

          • Fincher says:

            “Very vaguely” on their own maybe, but with the Eastern European architecture, the spotlight and the metalwork in the background it isn’t a far cry from it. Chill out, the similarities between this aesthetic and that of Half Life’s are glaringly obvious.

          • zontax says:

            @fincer
            HL2 and Dishonored have the same lead art-director.

          • Fincher says:

            @zontax

            That’s what I was getting at.

          • Premium User Badge

            lurkalisk says:

            It’s not “glaringly obvious”. There are similarities, but on the basal level that is to be expected from the work of a single person.

            To put it bluntly: It is easily identifiable as Antanov’s work. It does not look like HL2.

          • Fincher says:

            Uh, the silliness with people unable to acknowledge the similarity.

            “It does not look like HL2.”

            Yeah, it does. The cart in the trailer looked like one of the Combine vehicles from HL2, and the electric fence also draws certain similarities with the forcefields. It looks very much like HL2.

          • Premium User Badge

            lurkalisk says:

            Right. That railcar in Dishonored is just like the APC in HL2. You know, since they both sport dark colors and have harsh angles. I guess it’s fine ignoring that the actual body looks altogether different, the wheel spacing is altogether different and that it’s not only a railcar, but rather looks the part (unlike the APC, which looks nothing of the sort).

            By this standard, you should be incapable of distinguishing any commercial vehicle made in the last 50 years.

          • wodin says:

            Those two pics have a similar aesthetic.

          • Fincher says:

            Luralisk, that car, the walkers, and the electric fences, none of them would look out of place in HL2.

          • Premium User Badge

            lurkalisk says:

            Oh, alright then. When you put it that way…

        • zbeeblebrox says:

          Why Half Life and not Deus Ex? The way they describe the morality system seems to be almost exactly like Deus Ex. Half Life doesn’t have a morality system.

    • CorruptBadger says:

      if anything, it is the spiritual successor of both system shock and deus ex and to clarify, the art direction in no way dictates the plot or gameplay mechanics

  3. Drayk says:

    I have high hopes for this game. Both Arx fatalis and Messiah had a really special feel and i loved both of them.

  4. Soggy_Popcorn says:

    Dark Messiah is one of the most underrated games I’ve ever encountered. I cannot fathom how its mechanics haven’t been incorporated into other games yet.

    This is the first game in a very, very long time that I have held high hopes for.

    • Khemm says:

      My only problem with DM was the level design, a bit too linear at times for my taste – but I enjoyed it a lot, I have to play it again some time.
      Arx Fatalis was just as underrated, a really good spiritual successor to Ultima Underworlds. I’d love them to create a sequel.

    • onodera says:

      DMMM was great, but its sophisicated physics-based attacks (other than the mighty boot, of course) were noticeably less useful than regular damaging ones.

      • ChiefOfBeef says:

        Again, largely down to poor level design. There were too few opportunities to make use of the fun stuff, like the map makers hadn’t actually been told to not think of corridors but to actually design realistic fortresses and buildings.

  5. piercehead says:

    Great yawn in the first vid :D

    Shame the interviewer kept asking the same question phrased differently and fed them too much. Still looking forward to what they can come up with this game though.

    • Oof says:

      Aye, I saw these ages ago. RPS, ya done righ’ turn’ me ‘roun’! /shakefist (That is, you had me confused, momentarily.)

  6. Paul says:

    Yes those videos are many months old. Still a good watch for those that did not see those I guess.

    Cannot wait for this game.

  7. CorruptBadger says:

    I just wish you could go agent 47, take over a guys body, poison the target, perhaps possess a rat and disease him. Would be very interesting

  8. DestructibleEnvironments says:

    These videos were uploaded like 9 months ago. Look at me being angry.

  9. Contrafibularity says:

    You know, even putting aside the whole “Ultima / System Shock / Deus Ex / Arx Fatalis /etc. were my favourestest games of all time and space” and the fact this game is bristling with talent, these interviews really bring home to me how much these dudes (f/m) totally get it.

    To elaborate; I think this is the first time I’ve heard developers acknowledge how players themselves fill in the blanks and give meaning to a game they’re playing. Actually it’s not just filling in the blanks because essentially a player’s imagination goes well above and beyond that when he makes connections and interprets the game world / context / etc. and so hearing them describe the Paul Denton thing and the Troll-flute is really great.

    Actually they’re talking about a lot more as well, like how games which actually give you a choice in narrative, approach and so on can be so much more effective in giving depth and meaning to the player (which is a lot more important and a lot less pretentious than it sounds; because it’s the difference between breezing&blasting through a game like it’s a chore, and taking your time with it and really PLAYING and enjoying the experience) and how neither “cosmetic” consequences (the blue or red lightning they mentioned) nor strictly binary ones could ever add something like that to a game. I’ve always wanted to discuss or hear a discussion on what I’ll call “the mental savegame”, which is like the mind’s reflection and perception of a game being played, intertwined with what the player thinks has been done in that game world by the actions and choices made.

    Like these guys, I don’t want to be too hard on (for example) BioWare because at least they’re experimenting, but basically they, like most other devs, don’t seem to comprehend that their often binary (or even threeway) morality choices aren’t even choices per se, but just a character doing what’s optimal for his “character build” (at least in 9 out of 10 times), in much the same way a bankster would automatically accept a company bonus because the game is adding zeroes to your bank account balance – if that makes any sense (I suspect it gets the point across, but I’m no game dev and additionally talking about hypothetical game narrative and mechanics is surprisingly hard and philosophical).

    I think it’s fairly brilliant that they’ve not opted for a strictly morality-based ‘system’, but instead seemed to have asked themselves the question “Wouldn’t it be more interesting if we applied the law of unintended consequences to player actions?” because it seems like they’re bypassing the “binary or cosmetic” problem with player choice altogether. And by not showing the precise mechanics to players, this enables them to take these everyday gaming choices a lot more seriously (if they so desire) which in turn gives them meaning (which like I said isn’t the pretentious keyword many people think it is).

    Also, I love that they mention they want gamers to do unintended stuff and things bordering on AI exploits, but that’s enough fanrant for now, the anticipation’s already killing me.

  10. aDemandingPersona says:

    I am seeing this as the Deus Ex that the new Deus Ex should of been..

    • wodin says:

      Blimey, everyone on here was raving about the new Deus when it came out, i thought I was the only one who wasn’t carried away with the exultation. I thought it was a good game but nothing mind blowing.

  11. Freud says:

    I feel the same way about this as I do about the next Bioshock game. I don’t need to follow the news because I want to play it no matter what and I don’t really want to know too much.

  12. kud13 says:

    One of the most wanted games, by far.

    These guys are basically saying that on top of using the best stealth of Thief, the multi-path approach of Deus Ex up to 11, they are also making a story, where you don’t “write the story” via choices, but rather, “make the world become what you make it”, in a deeper, more existential self. Basically, based on your actions, the world will ask itself “what would Corvo do?”before painting you (the player) a new picture.

    hmm, put this way, and its an ultra-subtle Messiah Simulator.

    • Shooop says:

      That would be truly incredible, but I doubt it.

      How would you get that level of control by just deciding whether or not to kill someone you don’t have to? How would the developers give that kind of control with such a simple decision and make it feel logical?

      Unless of course there are decisions to more complicated than that.

      • Contrafibularity says:

        As I understand it, by both scripting for the interactive fates of key characters in the game (for example the targets) AND having a simple yet elaborate system where a “score” is kept of what’s done in the game world in general (which I suspect is a little more involving than merely keeping tabs on killed NPCs of various factions or whatever) and equally scripting for various outcomes where, for example, there would be a consequence to killing (for example) guards or City Watch early on in the game, leading to a massive tightening of security of that area (or an adjacent one) when the player returns there in the future. Keep in mind I’m no game dev and this is just a crap example. Who knows, perhaps if you possess enough infected rats you’ll end up spreading the plague some more. The beauty of it is that it’s all behind-the-scenes, there’s no tooltip or quest log detailing the outcome of your actions instantaneously, and you won’t know the consequences exactly until you’ve played it (but you can likely intuit them on some level).

        Though I don’t know why anyone would think this amounts to a “messiah simulator” – you should probably check out RPS’ pre-preview.

  13. alhazan says:

    I’m familiar with the troll flute situation and I probably would have saved, killed it, reloaded, done the birthday present bit. But not because I felt that killing the troll was bad, rather because by killing it I feel like I’m missing part of the game. Anyone else feel like that?

    To take away this incentive to follow a particular path for the sake of completeness there’d have to be some outcome from killing the troll that resulted in an equally deep experience as finding the present etc.

    I’m not suggesting that creating a game like this would be an easy task, but it would be ideal.

    • Drayk says:

      You have a good point. I also tend to play nice ALSO (I naturally tend to be one compassionate paladin of virtue, it sickens me but thats who i am…) because it often provides a more complete game experience. Kill someone and he won’t be there to help you, give you another quest, another gift, another twist in the story.

      Most games have the same problem. Deus ex 1. It’s better if you save Paul (but that alright, it’s difficult you deserve a bonus) Even witcher 2 has the same problem. If you save Lavalette he comes around later.

      Sometimes it makes sense, but if being moral gives you an edge, then it reduce the incentive to play more ruthlessly.

      Look at Bioshock. If you save the little sisters they give you lots of presents that compensate for what you didn’t harvest on them. Playing the good guy should be more difficult, not only more rewarding.

      Thoughts ?

      • PointyShinyBurning says:

        But if you do kill Lavalette you meet his mother and the Nilfgardian ambassador instead. Nothing in the game is a straight good vs. evil choice, anyway, unintended consequences is the name of the plotting game.

      • Jamesworkshop says:

        I think it’s best when rewards are more even and also when the choices are more situational rather than every decision creating a good/bad style path ala mass effect, bioshock 2 i found did the ending good where the ending was split into 3 segments which had multiple choice that could be mixed in depending on the little sisters vs the 3 other human survivors.

        The little sisters themselves gave up more adam from harvesting in bio2.

        For the most part I think choice might be better served if we didn’t obsessively embed morality into it , despite it’s problems I think Alpha protocol had one of the best systems where the reactions of the different characters was the reflection.

        For me the opening and closing of doors from support characters alignment, dialogue and interaction is more valuable to me as a player than an extra damage boost or points on a sliding scale morality meter.

        I would like to see things like say a dynamic system (somewhat like valves AI director) where the goody two shoes stealth players find levels where security is even more beefed up in numbers than it would be for a more aggressive players who has reduced the numbers of security personnel by killing them in previous levels.

        Conversely the brutal players find the enemies with lower numbers but leaves the enemy taking no second chances and reacts by only sending the best or maybe having fewer numbers, increasing the equipment load outs of the individual to the point where direct action might now be suicidal unless the player plays a bit more stealthily or at the very least more judiciously.

        Throwing a curve ball at the different play styles, as while human revolution was good the stealth to me felt a little easy, aside from boss fights the difficulty settings really had no impact on the ghost style characters even generally it didn’t feel progressively harder as the game went on and it felt a bit like a sop to a certain kind of play style, i.e play it this way and we’ll make the experience easier.

        • kud13 says:

          Human revolution’s greatest flaw was its Experience system–it assigned more points for stealth takedowns than for bullet-kills. WHich makes sense in real life, but in a game, to gamers it sends an obvious message “if you want all the points, play this way. And hack everything, because that gives you points, too!”

          Alpha Protocol handled this issue really well with its “perks” system, providing you different bonuses for different decisions, that clearly suited your play–your “reward” was a logical consequence of your actions.

          with Dishonored, they repeat the word “aggregate” over and over–which suggests that it’s not a particular decision about “whether I kill X or Y in mission Z” that will result in consequence “will A be nice to me or a jerk in mission B”, but rather “will the amount of deaths and carnage I cause in missions Z, R, S, and Q make A in mission B, C in mission D and E in mission F” act in a way i’d think of as being a jerk, because they see the world is a dangerous place after hearing about Z, R,S, and Q, and they need to watch their own skin first and foremost?” and note that “being a jerk” doesn’t mean being hostile to me per se, could be (from what I understand), someone telling us how they chased out a pregnant mother and her family out of this apartment on the street to set up this safehouse–being a cold, ruthless bastard to someone else, because I walked up to the brothel in mission X, froze time and slit the throats of everyone there, leaving no witnesses, and that’s the kind of message the city’s getting.

          • Jamesworkshop says:

            I don’t think that was flawed exactly

            XPs only function was to give you extra praxis points but what actually did you need for combat in terms of augments.
            Thinking of hacking as system of gaining XP it falls short in some ways as you end up spending XP just to get XP the only thing that saves it is praxis kits that can be picked up for free or paid with by money that had minimal impact on the game, of course it’s also hard to avoid XP.

            You got more XP because you need it and less when you don’t, what XP to spend on augmentations helps you score a headshot easier, not many is the answer.

            It was not natural in a real world way, hacking a computer won’t allow me to absorb more recoil from a gun, but in a rule based framework like a game it actually fitted quite nicely, the only way to max XP is never use 75% of the abilities you spend XP on.

            For a non lethal player even the Weapon upgrades are mostly worthless,
            stungun
            tranquliser rifle
            peps gun

            None of them are upgradeable

            I do wish Alpha Protocol was better made as the design is near perfect, actually I did think of making a cross of Alpha Protocol and Crysis 2/human revolution since most abilities fit more or less on top of each other when comparing Alcatraz and Adam Jensen, the only difference is as an action game the abilities are not mutually exclusive and are not as hard won.

            Cloaking/glass shield
            speed
            super jump
            strong punches
            stealth kills/takedowns
            Marking enemies using visors/mark and track
            air stomp/icarus landing system
            Covert ops/silent running
            blindspot(from multiplayer)/flash bang protection
            power mode/recoil reduction
            nanovision/see through walls

            They do work slightly differently, tagging enemies is not limited to 7 like mark and track is, nanovision isn’t quite as good, Glass shield doesn’t have the duration of the nanosuit cloak but is much better in combat as gun fire doesn’t instantly drain it and even silencers don’t help a great deal.

  14. Bobby Oxygen says:

    If they manage to pull off half the stuff they’re talking about, this could be a really interesting game.

  15. Emeraude says:

    Probably the only upcoming game that has raised my hopes and interest in a long time.

    Hopefully they will deliver.