Dishonored Devs Describe The Game’s “Inception”

By Jim Rossignol on September 6th, 2012 at 9:00 pm.


Dishonored hardly needs a bigger sell from Bethesda, but this dev diary, featuring Raf Colantonio, Harvey Smith, Viktor Antonov and others, is certainly convincing. They talk about all the aspects we’ve heard before – the complex mechanics, the exquisite world design, the fiction – but more than the words are the in-game scenes that go with it, showing some aspects of the game we’ve not seen much of before, such as you interaction with numerous NPCs, and your escape from prison at the start of the game. I’m fairly certain this is going to be breath-taking, and roll on October. (Not that I don’t have enough to play in the meantime.)

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57 Comments »

  1. JoeGuy says:

    If I want to be cynical I could say they took a Victorian Steampunk bucket of paint and poured it all over copies of Assassin’s Creed, BioShock and Deus Ex and after all the flak and mess was cleaned up, they had something completely new but not ‘NEW’.

    • Imbecile says:

      Sure, its hardly NEW – but often I prefer games that are evolutions rather than revolutions. Not every game has to be an original gem. Frankly I’m willing to bite the hand off of anyone willing to offer a thiefesque experience again. Its just a shame its released on the same day as X-com :(

      • Godwhacker says:

        I was actually a bit surprised to see that the new XCom is going to be a full-priced game- I’d assumed it was going to be a £12 – 15 downloadable affair.

        Whilst I adore XCom- I even finished XCom: Apocalypse- I think I’ll be getting Dishonoured first.

    • remote says:

      I’m not a huge fan of Assassin’s Creed or Bioshock, but to be a bit less cynical I suppose one of the interesting draws of this game is that it takes the good things from a whole bunch of games and shapes them into something kinda-new. I mean, before we talk about Deus Ex or Assassin’s Creed, why not mention Thief? Also, and this is really the big thing for me, Viktor Antonov is the guy behind the visual design of most of Half-Life 2 and I have a feeling that if Valve ever gets around to making another Half-Life game his absence is going to be felt. Well, at least we get to see his work here, and is it ever gorgeous.

    • tetracycloide says:

      Be cynical about the perceived ‘newness’ or lack there of all you want, that sounds like a recipe for fantastigasims in the hands of the people running this thing.

    • LionsPhil says:

      What the heck do you consider “NEW”?

      For any work X, you can describe it as “like Y, but Z” if you’re willing to be fuzzy enough. (There’s logically a base case for X somewhere, but you’re going to be digging into prehistory to find it.)

      • JoeGuy says:

        I’m getting tired of the hyperbole they are building for this game. I already ordered the game, I can spot a good game when I see it. But did you watch the gameplay explanations. They were painful. They literally described stealth by the numbers as if the viewer had never seen it before. They just need to stop the hype machine and just point out what differentiates them more, they treat everything as ‘NEW’ and not just iterated.

        • BoboDaHobo says:

          You gotta remember, they’re not just marketing the game to RPS readers, their marketing the game to console players who may not have even known Thief existed. And this is definitely marketing; the most ideal marketing for games. I’m just happy we’re getting information more in-depth than pre-rendered CGI.

          • JoeGuy says:

            I can absolutely understand they need to get their message across with buzz and explaining mechanics to the uninitiated. Though I have to (politely) give a challenge to watch the video on GameSpot from the Dishonored team explaining Stealth.

            http://uk.gamespot.com/dishonored/videos/dishonored-the-study-of-stealth-gameplay-6393098/

            If you manage to not feel a little talked down to as if the mechanics aren’t obvious, it gives the impression the mechanics are new or you don’t cringe once at the explanations then I’ll concede and let their Hype machine keep on trucken’ bye.

          • Low Life says:

            JoeGuy: You (or I) are not the target audience of that video. The target audience is someone who’s maybe played Modern Warfare on their Xbox, and to him those mechanics are new. Nothing in that video gives me the idea that they’re gloating over the invention of these mechanics – they’re just implying that this is how the game works and that’s something you should know when buying it.

            I don’t feel talked down when the game tells me in a tutorial that the movement keys move my character – there’s a reason those tutorials exist, and that’s because there’s always a person to whom that particular game is the first one (of the kind) they’ve played. I ignore those useless tutorials and move on, just like I do with a marking video explaining those same base mechanics.

    • woodsey says:

      So far they’re apparently ‘copying’ Thief, Hitman, Deus Ex, Mirror’s Edge, Assassin’s Creed, Bioshock and Half-Life 2.

      Comes a point where you’re making so many references to other things to try and explain it that it’s not really all that derivative at all.

    • ChiefOfBeef says:

      I consider the game’s derivative source to be Dark Messiah and Blood Money, the first having been developed by some of the Dishonored team. I can see none closer or any extra needed.

      I’d be critical if not for the fact that since I started PC gaming it’s always felt like pubs and developers have been seeking inspiration in the wrong games. I’d liked to have seen more games like Deus Ex rather than Doom or Call Of Duty, or Startopia rather than Tropico or Settlers. After the 1997-2001 golden age, fewer games that were inspirational for developers were inspirational for me as a player. Ditto with WoW and EQ spawning a whole generation of uninteresting MMOs when the only one which has had a non-hyped consistently growing playerbase is also one of the least accessible: EVE.

      I thought that Bioshock would push first-person games back in the other direction(but that was at a time when Bioshock was leading people to believe it was less about shooting and more about environment manipulation and survival horror) but it didn’t really materialise as an influential game among developers as much as it was to players. I would have preferred that to a direct sequel with improved shooting- the least fun part of the first game. If Dishonored does it, I think that would be for the better.

    • Adventurous Putty says:

      All art is fan art, as Tim Rogers recently wrote. I once caught Philip Glass ripping off Bach. True story. I gave him a good whipping afterwards.

      • LennyLeonardo says:

        This is true. Novels, films, sculpture blah blah – they all build on previous examples of the medium, and/or of other mediums. With a game like this you can almost call some elements intertext, which is fun and clever when it happens in books. At least according to my old literature lecturers.

        It’s a fine line between referential and derivative, but Dishonered certainly does not look derivative.

      • tourgis says:

        Speaking of Bach, afaik he invented no new forms but rather perfected, modified and subverted what was already there. Our society is obsessed with the new.

    • Shralla says:

      There’s no such thing as the newness you’re describing. Everything is just an evolution and/or a combination of other things, which is fine.

    • Ian says:

      Personally I refuse to consume any item of entertainment if it bears any similarity to anything that has ever happened.

      • JoeGuy says:

        I wasn’t exaggerating or saying it’s not a worthwhile purchase because of it borrows it’s mechanics. My point was as I said above, the hype they try to push is that this is a new concept.

        IGN even decided to do a fluff piece during the week practically telling readers Dishonored brought a renaissance to the genre. Really?

        They should just point out how tight and polished the game is, not lace the internetz with hyperbole about the mechanics being ‘NEW’. It’s irksome putting up with biased journalist pieces from places like IGN just because younger gamers don’t know the difference between refinement of mechanics for that particular IP and nonsense hype.

        It would be just like the marketing for Inversion explaining how cover mechanics and third person shooting works and throwing tonnes of videos about it at us. That would seem redundant to practically everyone.

        • Imbecile says:

          In fairness I think renaissance implies a renewal of interest or a comeback for a particular genre – not that its particularly new. Admittedly I might say that Deus Ex Revolution got there first ( I wouldn’t include Assassins Creed in the same genre at all) , but it doesn’t seem a totally ridiculous statement.

    • SelfEsteemFund says:

      Did you just imply that AssCreed & BioShock were ‘new’ originally?

      • JoeGuy says:

        That wasn’t really implied at all, however I would say with complete honesty those game were more ‘original’ in their gameplay at the time then Dishonored is now and had nowhere near the level of hype behind their gameplay mechanics as Dishonored marketing has been suggesting ever so frequently.

        A new IP does not equate a new game experience all by itself; I want to see the things it does better, does new. Not talking about health and magic bars, using tonics and stealth like these are Alien concepts. I’m really happy to play the game, but not to be told I’m getting something very new. I haven’t felt like the experience has been new for a gamer the last few months unless you play an indie game.

  2. pierrot says:

    My favourite part was when the guy at the end briefly mentioned the possibility of possessing a fish to infiltrate places

  3. kickme22 says:

    A previous gameplay video showed how it works……when you possess something your body “becomes” whatever you possessed (aka your body disappears) and when you leave whatever you possessed your body reforms. It was in the 15 min stealthy vid they released about 2 months ago

  4. jellydonut says:

    You turn into magical mist and enter the possess-ee through their mouth. If it’s a human, they seem pretty traumatized by the whole ordeal.

  5. Satanic Beaver says:

    Shouldn’t that be 10/12/12? Not 12/10/12?

    • SominiTheCommenter says:

      10 December 2012?
      It’s 12 October 2012, so 12/10/2012

    • ResonanceCascade says:

      Our Rock Paper Shotguny friends across the pond would disagree.

    • Valanthyr says:

      Canada & US are about the only countries using MDY format, DMY being the most common.

      • Hidden_7 says:

        Even here in Canada it’s a matter for some debate. I personally am of the D/M/Y school, since smallest to biggest makes sense. One of my friends insists that M/D/Y makes the most sense because it’s a translation of how you’d write e.g. September 7, 2012.

        Interestingly I had an English prof in school that was ideologically against that sort of obsfucating code-language. He’d always harp on about “writing what you mean.” So he was very firm that really it should only ever be e.g. September 7, 2012, and not ever M/D/Y, D/M/Y, Y/M/D or any sort of X/Y/Z anything.

        In any case, it seems an American thing, and like most American things Canada falls somewhere in the middle of American style and British style.

        • Zanchito says:

          But I do not write September 7, I write 7th of September. And TBH, I much rather prefer the Swiss Y/M/D. This way, you can write it without spaces or symbols, just digits, and it auto sorts naturally. But hey, I’m a programmer and I don’t come from an anglo-saxon environment!

          Now, seriously, the way the USA deals with dates and measures is totally backwards, the rest of the universe has standards for that, which actually saves time and money.

          • Kenseu says:

            I disagree about the dates (although, yeah, metric makes the most sense for measurements). Americans write dates month-day-year because that’s the way we say the date, and it seems to make the most sense.

    • Mollusc Infestation says:

      I think the Japanese are the only ones to write dates logically, in descending order of size. 2012/10/12.

      • LionsPhil says:

        ISO 8601 sorts them sanely, too. Pretty useful bit of leverage for getting your way in formatting dates so they sort correctly, that one.

        • particlese says:

          Yeah, ISO 8601 is such a great excuse to have, especially when you normally get a mix of American, Swiss, and German date formats at work. :| The four-digit year makes it totally unambiguous (since you never see YDM unless someone’s being a bum), it makes sorting simpler, and ordinary numbers, after all, are always largest-first. (Unless you read backwards, or there’s some small-first culture somewhere, or someone’s being a bum again.)

          Definitely looking forward to Dishonored, at any rate. >_>

      • somnolentsurfer says:

        In fairness, ascending order of size was a pretty logical standard to adopt before anyone thought they might need to be sorted by dumb machines.

        • Mollusc Infestation says:

          That’s not a nice thing to say about Americans… Oh, i see.

        • LionsPhil says:

          Not really. Descending makes more sense mathematically.

          I suspect the origins of the American format are a direct translation from the written form of “September 7th, 2012″.

          • magos says:

            No, it’s perfectly logical from a spoken-language perspective (from which writing stemmed). The most relevant information when discussing timings at the date level is the day/month component, which is why we often abbreviate a date to ‘fourth of July’ or somesuch. Generally (excepting hung-over New Year’s Days) we tend to know what year we’re in.

            Same thing with the Imperial system. In a time when most people who needed to measure distance or mass had limited access to tools, it made sense to link fixed measurements to notional concepts such as the width of an individual’s hand. Nowadays, with access to cheap, accurate tools, this is less true, but old systems persist.

          • lijenstina says:

            It’s an arbitrary rule that has become a custom or law. Like driving on the left or right side of the road or some grammar rules.

        • RaveTurned says:

          You mean like we do with times? (this posted at 54:09am, UK time)

      • Cut says:

        “in descending order of size. 2012/10/12″

        I’m confused.

        Shouldn’t that be “2012/12/10″ then?

        Oh, wait…

        ;)

      • bill says:

        The Japanese also do addresses in descending order of size. Which seems weird, but actually probably makes a lot more sense.

    • Worcanna says:

      It feels so nice to know the human race can unify on something…wait, no. We can’t even do DATES correctly. If we ever get to the point we decide to use Star Trek’s “Stardate” stuff, we are soooo screwed. :)

  6. Greggh says:

    Oh my, I didn’t know that Laurence Fishburne lent the game his semblance. Good show, old boy!

  7. somnolentsurfer says:

    What odds will you give me it turns out you’ve amnesia, and you did actually do the murder after all?

    • Pantsman says:

      That’s a fool’s bet.

      • Mollusc Infestation says:

        Just you wait, it’ll turn out that you took the bet then got amnesia and forgot about it.

    • Soon says:

      You’re the only one without amnesia and take the opportunity to cast off your reputation as the clumsy, town fool and decide to reinvent yourself as the World’s Greatest Assassin! Because that’s always been your fantasy.

      People are just frightened and confused at their state of oblivion hence the mumblings of “What was that?”, “Who’s there?” and so on. Some are affected so badly they can’t even remember where you were seconds before. You just pretend that’s because you can teleport. Sometimes you tell them you’re a fish, or a rat and they know no better.

  8. Bob says:

    Good Lord! I’m like a kid at Christmas with this game. Just hurry up and be October already.

  9. Rusty says:

    My favorite new bit: the poster recruiting for corpse counter, at around 3:00. Nice touch.

  10. BobbyDylan says:

    This and Xcom: EU, is going to make my October an early christmas!

  11. Hanban says:

    I just can’t get over how much I love the art-direction. Those coats <3

  12. spindaden says:

    BWAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAARM

    • particlese says:

      I was wondering when someone would get to that! I was mildly surprised it wasn’t the caption of that excellent screenshot.

  13. Lars Westergren says:

    Bah, XCom and Dishonored released on the same day. This is not going to be easy. It’s like when Skyrim, LA Noire(PC) and Arkham City(PC) were released on the same day a while back.

    • cspkg says:

      I feel your pain, but I reckon Dishonoured will get my attention first. Pacifist play through and blinking sounds like a treat.