Dishonored Shots Are… Mixed In Quality

Farr farr far farrrr farr farrrrr. Hoff hoff.

Some new shots of Dishonored have appeared. Now that I’ve finished Deus Ex, and thus can no longer anticipate it, I’ve officially decided that Dishonored is going to replace it. Officially. It just looks like it’s going to be everything I want from a PC game. So if it’s not, Arkane are going to find a disproportionate amount of poo in their sock drawers. Meanwhile, five new screenshots have been released. Of which two are good, one is okay, and two are so terrible that if I’d had the cheek to submit them to any editor for a magazine I’d have been hanged in public.

If you want to know why you should be caring about Dishonored, check out Alec’s excellent preview here. Meanwhile, in order of goodness, starting with the goodnessmost:

Exciting action!

Well-dressed gentlemen!

A creepy man!

Some corpses in a bland room!

A light.

I think I’m going to have to go from studio to studio, punishing every single one of them for the appalling screenshots that somehow get allowed out.


  1. CMaster says:


    • Kollega says:

      Is it just me, or Viktor Antonov isn’t even trying to do something different from Half-Life 2? Sure, his style is fairly unique – but surely it could use some variation?

    • JohnnyMaverik says:

      I don’t think there are any shades of Victorian london in Half-Life 2.

      Seriously, if it weren’t for the stalker and APC like models that have been on display, I don’t think anybody would be complaining.

    • Chaz says:

      That’s Victorian London? Well its not how I remember it. There is a distinct lack of hansom cabs, penny farthings and top hats in those pictures.

    • Navagon says:

      That car is such a dead ringer though. You can’t look at it and not think if HL2. It’s not possible.

    • godwin says:

      They both have four wheels. Totally the same.

      link to

      This too,

      link to

    • lurkalisk says:

      Navagon, I think you should look up “dead ringer”.

    • Navagon says:

      Less front bits and more polygons might be enough to get it past copyright law. But it’s not really enough to mask its origins. At least not to me.

      I know the meaning and origin of ‘dead ringer’. This to me looks like a Combine car re-imagined for the Victorian era.

    • soldant says:

      @Navagon: It’s not just you, I thought the exact same thing. The general body shape is very similar, the most glaring omission is simply the part at the front. I’d say it was “inspired” by the HL2 Combine APC… but that might be stretching it a bit.

    • godwin says:

      “Origins”? Now you’re saying it’s ripping off HL2? Or that Antonov is an unimaginative hack? Did you even look at the pictures? Look at them longer, perhaps you’ll come to appreciate nuances in the detailing and not just focus on obvious similarities in colour and distinctive angles. Check out the railcar wheels and entire exposed chassis for one thing. The form of this one isn’t tapered to the front like the Combine one, and on the whole feels much lighter being less bottom-heavy. Look at the full picture too, with the vehicle flanked by those characters, the cobblestone, and the architecture in the background. While you’re at it, maybe look at his other work.

    • nanophage says:

      I don’t think anyone is saying its a rip-off of half-Life 2, but come on… I’m not really even a fan of the half-life franchise *GASP* and its the first thing I thought of when seeing the pics. Something about it just reminds me of HL2, but not necessarily in a bad way. I wouldn’t be surprised if their concept art was done by the same person

      And Ohhhhhhohohohohoh can we please have a swordstick?

  2. G_Man_007 says:

    Let me be the first to say; Steampunk Half Life!

  3. cafe says:

    it all reminds me of half life 2 somehow

    • Bennus says:

      They have the chap who designed City 17 on the art team, I do believe.

    • Chaz says:

      Glad its not just me who imediately thought of Half Life 2 when looking at those shots.

    • cafe says:

      i actually think it’s a good thing. I like the half life 2 look and wouldn’t mind a new game with it…

    • EOT says:

      Well we’re never going to see HL3 so I think this is the best you’re going to get chief.

  4. The Sombrero Kid says:

    developers can’t take good screenshots because they have no frame of reference, they spend ages implementing those corpse models, or think LOOK AT MY SHADOW! when really gamers don’t give a shit about that stuff unless it has a context those shots don’t have a context.

  5. Unaco says:

    That last screenshot, with the Light, isn’t that bad. I think it’s showing off some deal with the rats and shadows. Notice the rats aren’t in the light at all… they’re staying outside the light, milling around where the light falls on the ground. And the top 3 screenshots are also quite good.

    The corpses in the bland room, I’ll give you though, that is a bit of a lousy screenshot.

    But this is still looking Damn Awesome! I think I’m with you John, in having this my next hotly anticipated project.

    • povu says:

      Oh yeah, that was in the preview right? Rats avoid light.

    • JB says:

      Nice one Unatco, I was just about to post a similar comment re: the rat/light interaction.

      Glad I read the comments before I did that!

    • G_Man_007 says:

      @ JB: Having some Deus Ex withdrawl?

    • Magnetude says:


    • JB says:

      @ G_man_007 – Haha, excellent. I had to re-read my original post. I was wondering what you were on about, then it clicked.

      So in answer to your question, apparently I am, yes.

    • Dozer says:

      Dammit, I just tweeted about it. but it is old news! I am ashamed.

  6. simonh says:

    An appalling lack of anti-aliasing is what I see in all of them, except the one with the angry man it seems.

    That APC has an uncanny resemblance to the combine APCs from HL2 btw.

    • db1331 says:

      SURELY they wouldn’t be showing lolbox360 screens, what with this game being designed with modern PCs in mind and not 6 year old console hardware.

    • Khemm says:

      Is it published by Zenimax/Bethesda? Steamworks forced down your throat for no reason, then? :(

    • db1331 says:


      That’s right. Suck it down and like it, or Steam will tell all its friends what a horrible lay you are.

    • MiniMatt says:

      Yeah does look like attack of the jaggies and some exceedingly sharp shadows (minor pass on the last “light” pic). And the buggy/carriage thing appears to be floating; on it’s not-round wheels.

      I’ll bet half of my cheese & ham sandwich that those are eggsbox snaps.

    • Bhazor says:

      I’m more worried by the textures in the corpse picture. That near wall is truly shocking.

  7. abigbat says:

    Utterly hilarious.

    Can’t wait for this game either.

  8. ResonanceCascade says:

    I hope this game is as good as it sounds on paper. I can see a lot of ways for this to go wrong….

  9. diebroken says:

    I wonder if the carriage section of that vehicle banks into turns at high speeds, that would look cool…

  10. Inigo says:

    Is that car floating?

    • jonfitt says:

      I think the wheels are making contact with the ground like the perfectly hard cylinders they are obviously modelled as.

  11. Rinox says:

    Who cares about super polished graphics? As long as the game plays great.

    • Stupoider says:

      Which we’d love to talk about, if we had some gameplay as the basis of a discussion.

      Alas, screenshots are for looking at.

    • Wilson says:

      Oops, replied to the wrong thing. I agree that gameplay>graphics, not that anyone was arguing against that.

    • LionsPhil says:

      Well, I have to say the art direction is doing nothing for me, and that can be detracting. “Gothy steampunk HL2” may fit the Internet criteria of “string of awsum words”, but doesn’t really look all that compelling.

    • Bhazor says:

      Half Life 2 was a fun corridor shooter and all but I was never awestruck by its set design or art direction. So I am disappointed they’re sticking so close to City 17.

      The one part I did really like in HL2 was the living aircraft/artillery thing but that might just be because I’m a Farscape fan.

  12. db1331 says:

    I’m going to print out every pic released so far and turn them into a flip book just so I can finally see some damn gameplay footage. It will of course be composed entirely of half second jump cuts, so I’ll have to listen to some dubstep while I watch it.

  13. frame says:

    John, which ones of those screens do you consider to be horrible?

    • Khemm says:

      The art style is brought down by low-poly models and horrible looking, low-res, muddy textures.

    • John Walker says:

      I think I’ve given a few hints.

    • Wilson says:

      I’m guessing the last two. Which looked fine to me, I actually found the corpse-room one quite interesting. The light one was slightly odd.

    • Magnetude says:

      I thought the light one was pretty good, it seemed to be showing how you can use light to protect yourself from man-eating rodents. Which is a good thing to show gamers eager to see some of that emergent gameplay they’ve been bigging up.

      That one with the car is awful though. It looks like a good HL2 mod at best. I have much hope that these are low settings shots though, and to be honest if this game is anywhere near as good as it sounds I’d play it in wireframe mode.

    • ChowTOdust says:

      It looks fucking amazing to me. But thats because I know that you can go way off in the distance there. Thats not just backround. And thats why I’m looking forward to this game. Its “open” in its level design, and its the way forward for fps games.

      As per the rules of games development. You have to make levels that need maps to navigate. Isnt that so? Its easy to make a nice screenshot when all you have to render is a corridor.

    • frame says:

      John, sorry, I really don’t see any major issues here that would justify getting “hanged in public”. But it’s not that important, I was just curious what I might have missed.

    • TSA says:

      The lamp one is trying to pander to Thief players, you’re supposed to go “ooh, I know this”, and then discover the detailed and interesting outside.

      The corpse one is trying to be a more unsettling Hammershøi painting.

      The trouble with both are that the composition is uninteresting and bare – for the lamp, that’s sort of the point. Even though the effect fails.

  14. Mistabashi says:

    Yeah, as interesting as the setting and general art style is in places, it’s looking rather dated technically. I hope that’s something that improves in time, but I’m not banking on it.

    Slightly off-topic, anyone noticed that if you click on a picture for enbiggenment then hit the back-button it auto-scrolls the browser window to the top image? For some reason this annoys me greatly…

  15. CommanderZx2 says:

    So this is what happened to Arkane’s The Crossing? It looks like they’ve taken quite a few components from that abandoned game.

  16. rasputinsownbear says:

    Very stylish corpses. Remind me of Pathologic. Actually, the whole steampunkish plague thing does.

  17. Jomonay says:

    You could say, the person who is responsible for releasing these screenshots should be…dishonoured.

    I’m sorry.

  18. TsunamiWombat says:

    Those finely dressed gentlemen are wearing Jackboots. Jackboots with no Horsies = Evil. Everyone knows that!

  19. Jake says:

    Corpse room is probably my second favourite after the vehicle (which looks like a Warhound Titan head crossed with a shopping trolley).

  20. AdrianWerner says:

    I honestly don’t know what Arkane is doing with those screens. The game in person looks far better and the demo at gamesom didn’t have aliasing and AF problems visible in those screens. What’s worse, the screens fail to convey the slightly cartoonish look the game has. Looking at the screens it looks like HL2, in reality the style is quite different..

  21. Sian says:

    Is there a proportionate amount of poo that’s supposed to be in sock drawers? If so, how much?

  22. Narretz says:

    The fact that they have the guy who created City 17 explains why we don’t see Half-Life 3 / HL2 Ep 3. Valve is obviously waiting patiently for him to return!

  23. jesteroony says:

    Great artwork, lookin interesting..

  24. HisMastersVoice says:

    Well, the last screen with the lamp is actually the most interesting since it shows the rats avoiding being exposed to direct light sources. Pretty relevant as far as I can tell. The other ones are juts generic action, environment shots.

  25. Wooly Wugga Wugga says:

    I’m not too fond of Angry Man but the rest each show off different aspects of the Victorian style quite nicely. The corpse room has a nice dingy sparse texture about it, the carriage one has an awesome background,the man in the street one showcases some rich architecture and the rats in the shadows one is rather neat.

  26. Dreamhacker says:

    I don’t think there’s been an Arkane game yet with good graphics.

    I don’t think there’s been an Arkane game yet without great atmosphere, interesting backstories and amazing worlds.

  27. Zenicetus says:

    What I mostly notice is the lack of people milling about, but maybe that’s explained by a plague scenario or something. Assassin’s Creed series has spoiled me, showing that it’s possible to at least hint at what a real city looks like, including people and not just architecture. Bah, humbug.

  28. Zwebbie says:

    I don’t know, I think the art direction is all over the place with this game. The blocky, straight and utilitarian armoured car here doesn’t blend in with the fanciness of the blue-red coat of a bloke we saw in one of the previous screenshots, or with the light curviness of the stilt police. Some screenshots look like 1840, others like 1940. It feels as if they’ve got a good amount of nice inspirations and designs, but have failed to make one distinct Dishonored style.

  29. Kadayi says:

    Empty environments look empty

  30. Shodex says:

    Since this is a game being built by a team of minds behind some of my favorite games of all time. I’m incredibly excited.
    But at the same time, I’m not feeling much love for the art style like everyone else is. Sure, it’s a lot like Half-Life 2. Half-Life 2 is, in my opinion, the best FPS ever made.
    But, it looks like Half-Life 2 with the saturation slider dragged down. Everything is very grey, and I know that’s because it’s supposed to look that way. But purposefully bland is still bland.

  31. Iskariot says:

    I like all the screens. I want this game.
    But first I will have to finish Deus Ex 3, Batman Arkham City, Skyrim, Assassin’s Creed 4, Mass Effect 3 etc. etc. etc.
    I think I will have to reincarnate to finish all of them.

  32. John P says:

    I honestly don’t see what’s wrong with these shots. The one with the corpses might be a bit bland, but the others are showing off gameplay variety, including the last one. Rats hiding from light is an important factor that ties in with the chaos system: more chaos means more darkness means more rats. The shot was probably originally released to complement a feature which talked about this.

    I dunno. If you look at the Mass Effect 3 screenshots released recently, those are mainly just close ups of creatures, or of man shooting gun.

    The Prey 2 screenshots are mostly some character posing in front of the camera.

    I really don’t know what people expect from screenshots. These Dishonored ones look more like actual gameplay to me, which I prefer. Maybe that’s just me.

  33. JohnnyMaverik says:

    @ John Walker

    Also, that picture is of some rats not a light. To be fair though I’ve looked at it several times and it took pcg labelling it as a pic of some rats before I actually noticed the rats. So you’re right, it is a pretty crap screenshot.

  34. Rindill says:

    John Walker you are worthy of a dunce cap.

    Each screenshot demonstrates something unique: a facet of the game.

    The first shows first person melee combat and the unique character and fashion design. (Lower class)

    The second shows the art direction and obviously influence of Viktor (and the high society of the ruling party).

    The third shows stealth and atmosphere.

    The fourth shows the player while possessing a rat (see how close to the ground the camera is) and demonstrates the plague-ridden environment of the game (dead bodies dumped in now empty buildings…)

    The fifth shows the remarkable AI capabilities of the rats in the game… namely, the mechanic that they avoid the light. The player has hidden himself from the rats by standing right in front of a powerful lamp. What happens when you are trying to hide from a guard in the dark and a horde of rats comes running?

  35. mattratcliffe says:

    If they allow me to run around wearing a top hat assassinating people then this is a day one purchase for me.

  36. TSA says:

    Configuring your APV as a tall buggy is just asking to have it flipped over. Someone should clue them in.

  37. Jackablade says:

    Looks like the developers forgot one of the cardinal rules of dealing with marketers – when you’re taking screenshots of your game in development, make sure you filter out all the crap shots or they’ll invariably be the ones sent to the media.

    I remember the first game I worked on, a Spongebob DS title, spent a good few months where the only released screenshot was one of the titular character standing on a wooden floor with the camera pointing straight down at the top of his head. I bet the punters were pretty impressed by the image of the yellow square in the middle of the brown square with lines on it.