Dishonored Honours Us With Details

He looks like Napoleon in rags

Dishonored being, you might recall, the next game from Arkane (now augmented with Deus Ex mega-brain Harvey Smith), and one with a very pleasant whiff of the immersive sim about it. Meaty facts are reserved for the latest dead tree edition of Game Informer, but a new overview gives us the first screenshot and a better sense of what’s going on in this world of optional assassination and rodent-bothering.

So, while the concept art we saw the other day suggested something heavily Half-Life 2y, now we’ve got something with a bit of a New World vibe. You’ll play as imperial bodyguard named Corvo, charged with protecting an empress but falsely imprisoned by a corrupt noble. You get out, of course, because you’re amazing. Of course you are! You’re a videogame hero. But you also have mystic powers such as time-slowing, rat-summoning (it’s this year’s bees) and healing, which you can combine in various ways for added biffosity and clever tactical thinking, such as distracting guards then psychically possessing one of your rodent horde to make good your escape.

It’s making me think of both Skyrim and BioShock 2 to some degree, but there’s also a little Thief and Hitman in there, in that it’s designed to be a stealth and assassination game rather than an all-out actioner. However, the option to unleash untold carnage is in there, with the game world and its story reacting to how aggressive your actions are – but, allegedly, in a non-punitive way.

More over on Game Informer, who will apparently be dribbling out all manner of further factoids over the coming weeks.

Oh, and you’ll also note from the screenshot that there’s first-person sword-fighthing, which perhaps speaks to the Dark Messiah heritage.


  1. McDan says:

    Raven summoning is clearly this years bees, I mean come on, rats? Ravens can fucking fly. Plus its way cooler to pretend you’re the eveil Mastermind who controls the birds in the film Birds than controlling rats and pretending to be a messed up child pied piper who forces them against their will to eat people alive…actually that sounds way cooler, do that.

    Plus rats are so cute!

    • Unaco says:

      Corvo (or Corvus, from which Corvo is derived) is Latin for Raven. They probably missed a trick there.

    • Echo Black says:

      “Corvo” is portuguese for “crow” as well

    • Trayder says:

      Having just played Arx Fatalis, they’ve definitely got a thing for rats. Rats everywhere, all the way through, just before you head to the final battle, rats show up and ineffectually gnaw on you. There’s even giant indestructible super rats included.

    • Ovno says:

      “, personally I don’t believe they exist…”

    • Subject 706 says:

      “Corvus” is actually the genus to which all birds of the crow family belong. “Corvus corax” is the common raven, while “Corvus frugilegus” is the Rook, for example.

      The beauty of RPS, sharing knowledge of common and uncommon things :)

  2. Sami H says:


    • Davie says:

      Hear, hear.

      I would love to see them actually come up with a practical use for spiked metal racks, though. Perhaps give a reason why people tend to leave them propped up everywhere from forgotten basements to crowded city streets, too.

    • lowprices says:

      Seconded on the spikes and fire and rooftops. One of my favourite things about Dark Messiah was the apparent lack of workplace health and safety in faux-medieval times and the amazing discoveries this lead to.

      *Kick* “Hey, necromancers can’t swim!”

      *Boot* “They aren’t fireproof either.”

      *Punt* “And also, they can’t fly.”

      Good times.

      I just hope they’ve gotten a better writer this time. DMMM’s story was atrocious.

  3. Squeeby says:

    Just lost interest. It doesn’t sound anything like what i’d hoped for.

  4. KauhuK says:

    This can be a really good game or a really bad one. I hope Arkane won’t let us down.

  5. Jimbo says:

    Corvo is sooooo dreamy at escaping gaols and protecting empresses and just everything *le swoon*

  6. Binman88 says:

    Something about that screenshot reminds me of Dark Athena. Not sure what exactly.

    Looking forward to hearing more about this game, especially considering the involvement of Harvey Smith.

    • suibhne says:

      Not sure ’bout you, but it’s the facemask that reminded *me* of Dark Athena.

  7. lurkalisk says:

    Sounds just about as interesting as I expected. Not impressive exactly, but original enough keep hopes up. I’m expecting gameplay to be the highlight of this title anyway.

  8. Unaco says:

    Sounds pretty good. I am cautiously optimistic* about this. I like the Napoleon, Empire sort of vibe… the Sci-Fi with Swords look and feel. Also, Thief + Deus Ex + First Person Sword Fighting is quite the combination.

    *If they let me down, I may turn ephemerally caustic about it though.

  9. faelnor says:

    Okay let’s see if I get this straight:
    – First person sneaker/assassination
    – Raf Colantonio
    – Harvey Smith
    – At least two of the oldest and most involved members of the Thief community on level design, guaranteeing open levels
    – Viktor Antonov
    – Steampunk-ish
    – Swordfighting with what could be PIRATES
    – An arsenal of gadgets
    – A main character named Corvo
    – Possessing rats
    – Promises of advanced AI and game world influenced by the players actions

    Please tell me that PC is the main platform it’s developed for, and then ported to consoles and I’ll think I’ll indulge myself in some BLIND FANBOYISM.

    • President Weasel says:

      I find your list of promising things about this game encouraging. Put me down as intrigued and likely to buy, barring horrible reviews from sources I trust.

    • JP says:

      Some level designers from Deus Ex 1 and Bioshock 2 are on staff as well.
      (They are badasses. I hired them.)

    • Rii says:

      @JP re: hiring folks from Bioshock 2.

      Great, now I don’t know whether to be even more confident that this game will be something special, or less confident about XCOM‘s prospects. :P

    • ResonanceCascade says:

      Hmm, well Deus Ex having good levels goes without saying, but I was also a big fan of the level design in Bioshock 2. So that’s good news.

    • dragonfliet says:

      It sounds like good things, but then I remember that Harvey Smith isn’t just the guy from DX (which is GREAT),
      he’s also the guy from DX 2 (which is AWFUL)
      and Thief: Deadly Shadows (which is AWFUL–except for the Cradle level)
      and Blacksite: Area 51 (which was, well, thoroughly mediocre)
      The plot sounds ripped off from the kind of novel that at $.50 at your bookstore you know might not be worth your money.
      Bioshock 2, while technically solid, was kind of a stale sequel

      Don’t get me wrong, I hope against hope that this is as great as it could be, but there are at least as many red flags as there are positive things to say here. I await more information, but I don’t have my hopes in the sky

    • JackShandy says:

      On the plus side, I hear they’re making games in teams of more than one person, now. So there’s that.

    • Unaco says:

      DX2 wasn’t AWFUL. It wasn’t even awful. It just wasn’t as good as DX1.
      T:DS wasn’t AWFUL. It wasn’t even awful. It just wasn’t as good as T2.

  10. ResonanceCascade says:

    I know what kind of games Harvey Smith likes to try to make, and that makes me REALLY excited. But I also know that the games Harvey Smith actually makes are incredibly hit-or-miss, and that tempers my enthusiasm a bit.

    • dragonfliet says:

      Hit or miss is the wrong phrase. One hit wonder is a little better, with everything else being either mediocre (blacksite, system shock) or awful (DX2, T:DS)

    • Subject 706 says:

      What? In which universe is System Shock mediocre!?

    • N'Al says:

      I played – and completed – System Shock: The First 11 years (!) after it was originally released (and well after having completed System Shock 2). It quickly rose to the top of my all-time favourites list. Mediocre it most certainly is not, no siree!

      Although I can certainly see some people struggling with the game’s convoluted control scheme – something I’m currently going through in Ultima Underworld (19 years!) – which might limit people’s enjoyment of the game.

    • ResonanceCascade says:

      Invisible War wasn’t awful, it just had a couple glaring problems. It’s still a pretty decent game in its own right.

      And Deadly Shadows was legitimately good, it just wasn’t quite as good as the previous Thief games. I stand by my hit-or-miss remark.

  11. Post-Internet Syndrome says:

    You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means.

    link to

    • ResonanceCascade says:

      I always cringe a little whenever I see that word used incorrectly –which is every single time I see it — but I think this battle has been lost, my friend.

    • Wisq says:

      I dunno, seems kinda appropriate in this case, since everything a publisher says about a game before at least giving out review builds is essentially unverifiable and in some cases quite questionable.

    • skinlo says:

      Words evolve to what the majority interpret the meaning as.

    • Mage says:

      You did NOT just redirect me to Wikipedia for a trusted definition of a term, the factoid remains though….

    • Post-Internet Syndrome says:

      Wisq: Well the factoids in this case were to come from game informer, not the publisher.

      And perhaps the wikipedia link was ill-advised. link to actually aknowledges it as a secondary meaning of the word – in North America – so I suppose I will have to accept it. *grumbles*

      But I like the word for its original meaning, so I propose “factette” for this newer one, since the need for such a word obviously exist.

  12. The Sombrero Kid says:

    This game is going to win.

  13. Eclipse says:

    “Oh, and you’ll also note from the screenshot that there’s first-person sword-fighthing, which perhaps speaks to the Dark Messiah heritage.”

    This game will be mine. MINE I SAY!

  14. Daiv says:


  15. destroy.all.monsters says:

    Hmm. Pic looks like a neo pirate in CoH. Harvey’s post DX1 work has been real hit or miss, mostly miss.

    Squinting and beard stroking follows.

  16. Freud says:

    Please be good. Please be good. Please be good. Please be good. Please be good.

  17. Jason Moyer says:

    As long as the focus stays on infiltration and stealth rather than being an emergent-gameplay-optional BioShock clone this will be a day 1 purchase for me. I love both of Arkane’s previous releases and the premise for this is very promising.

  18. Alexander Norris says:

    This has just pulled a Prey 2 on me, I believe (i.e. gone from no interest whatsoever to desperately wanting to see more).

    Also, my skin tingle every time I hear the words “immersive sim.”

    • Petethegoat says:

      Yes, this. Also, you’ve reminded me how excited I am about Prey 2.

  19. DK says:

    Called it – it’s one of the dimensions from The Crossing with a few name adjustments. So there’ll gadgets, there’ll be swords, there’ll be aristrocracy and lots of swords.

  20. Tretiak says:

    Co-op and no video card rape, please.

  21. Farsearcher says:

    I really hope the first person close combat is good. If they could improve on dark messiah and hopefully add a few layers of complexity onto it I’d be a very happy man indeed.

  22. LarsBR says:

    Sounds like the rat’s knees.

  23. Masked Dave says:

    Sounds like a kind of sci-fiy Dark Messiah? Cool.

  24. ChowTOdust says:

    There is so much Thief in this, i can tell… FANBOYISM IGNITED:

  25. MD says:

    My development studio is augmented.

  26. John P says:

    It’s the heritage that excites me. The game has links (in personnel and design) to Deus Ex, Thief, System Shock, Ultima Underworld, plus Bioshock, Dark Messiah, Arx Fatalis. Anyone who thinks of themselves as a Player Of Games should feel at least a deep down twinge of excitement about this.

    • dragonfliet says:

      Eh, except the DX is has links to is also DX2, and the Thief it has links to is T:DS, and the System shock is has links to is the decent, but not awesome first one, likewise for Bioshock (except, you know, in reverse).

      As a Player of Games, I remember that the heritage of excellent games in the series is DX, T2, SS2, Bioshock, the other games being either also rans or absolute abominations; therefore I feel a deep down twinge of nervousness. I know that it will be great, terrible or mediocre and unfortunately those ratios go: 1-2-2. Arx Fatalist and Dark Messiah were interesting, though deeply flawed experiments, and I can only hope that this game lives up to even that.

    • John P says:

      DX2 had some extremely messy implementation, but it wasn’t awful. Deadly Shadows was a good quality game. Arx Fatalis and Dark Messiah are both excellent. And you said above that System Shock is ‘mediocre’. So … no.

      Look, whether you personally like these games or not, the important point is that Dishonored is one of the few high profile studio games in development that’s proud to be a game. In other words, isn’t corrupted by the trend towards highly controlled rollercoaster rides which has characterised the past decade or so in particular. That’s why I would think anyone who’s slightly cluey about games as a medium would be kind of interested. Whether it succeeds in its implementation or not, the prospect is exciting.

    • dragonfliet says:

      Eh. If you think that the problem with DX2 was messy implementation (and not a systematic failure of bad plot, bad writing, bad acting, shallow choices, poor level design and mediocre gameplay) I am beyond confused. If it weren’t a DX game, it would simply have been a bad game, but seeing as how it was supposed to be the sequel to something bigger, better and more fun (despite its other, major, flaws), it simply didn’t live up to anywhere where it should have been. Likewise with Thief: DS (which was freakishly easy as well as completely gutting the experience of Thief as being a game about, you know, sneaking and planning and not killing). System shock also was not a particularly interesting game. You shot at things and solved some puzzles, but it wasn’t the interesting and unique kind of a game the sequel was. I can’t believe that anyone, honestly, would argue that the first two games were good at all, and System Shock was simply decent and happened to have laid the ground for something great. The Arkane games I would argue are better than any of the others we’ve just talked about, and I would say they were deeply flawed, though definitely fun. Nothing to get particularly excited about, even though I am interested in what they put out.

      Regardless, my point wasn’t that there isn’t anything to be interested in, as, yeah, the promise of options and choices mattering is pretty cool, but I’ve seen far more instances of these promises failing to materialize and I’m more nervous than excited. And with games like Dark Souls, DX:HE, Skyrim and Rage (well, Rage to a lesser extent, it being a run around and shotgun people kind of a game) right on the horizon (not to mention the more plot-driven games such as Uncharted and Mass Effect that you seem to enjoy less, but which I think are tremendously fun and extremely well told), it’s difficult to feel that this title in particular is some kind of a saving grace. It’s something to keep an eye on, but no more so than so many other interesting games, and with a more tenuous history to boot.

    • Trayder says:

      I’m definitely excited. I just played Arx Fatalis and I’m still confused about why the game is good and why I enjoyed it. Every single component of the game is terrible and they haven’t even been put together well BUT the game still works. Much like Deus Ex was a fantastic game despite its flaws.

      If they ever remade Arx Fatalis with what’s been learnt since it would be an instant classic. And if they make this new game with what they already know it’s going to be at the very worst flawed but still good and different.

      EDIT: And just to show the full spectrum of opinions around these games I thought System Shock 2 was pretty damn mediocre, great ideas/plot but just wasn’t that fun to play.

    • VelvetFistIronGlove says:

      @dragonfliet “Eh, except the DX is has links to is also DX2.”

      Except that Harvey Smith was lead designer on DX. Did you forget that?

  27. Dances to Podcasts says:

    Sounds more like a grab bag of ideas rather than any coherent vision now…

  28. Iskariot says:

    This game is on my short list.
    Want more info.
    And concept art.

  29. godkingemperor says:

    But can I make the floor into ice and kick people around on it, like clumsy orc ballerinas

  30. Wooly Wugga Wugga says:

    Willard! Willard!

  31. MiniTrue says:

    Will this game give you oranges to cure scurvy? If it gives us lemons/limes, I will be very upset.

  32. Acosta says:

    Dark Messiah offered one of the best melee in first person I have seen (if you didn’t abuse of the all powerful kick..) I can’t wait to know more, the game looks right in my alley.