Southland Tales: Dishonored 2’s Sun-Scorched Bloodflies

Arkane Studios co-creative director Harvey Smith has been talking about the new setting for Dishonored 2 [official site]. Given that Dunwall is my favourite fictional environment of the last few years, I’m sad to be leaving it behind in the sequel but given that the hints to a wider world were such a tantalising aspect of Dishonored, I’m happy to see another region within the Empire of the Isles. Dishonored 2 takes place in Karnaca, “the jewel of the south” and you can learn more about it by watching the video below.

Karnaca is the kind of place you visit while convalescing. It also looks like there might be some sort of aggressive colonial control, or perhaps I’m misinterpreting the uniforms and execution squads. This is the farthest southern reach of the Empire so it wouldn’t be surprising if a more militant police force were needed to keep control, so far from the heart of power. Smith says:

“If Dunwall was modeled after Scotland and England, Karnaca might be modeled after Greece, Spain or Italy. It’s like southern Europe. There are warmer beaches there and people go to sun and recover their health… Our world is not exactly the real world but it’s kind of like our world in the 1850s”

Of course, you’ll want to stay away from the bloodflies while soaking up the rays. They move in swarms and nest in corpses, which allows for a dynamic system in which fresh bodies that you leave lying around risk becoming nesting locations for the pests, which spawn new swarms within them. Dispose of a body and you might not have quite as many airborne problems to deal with.

I sometimes forget how excited I am about Dishonored 2. Going back to reply the first recently, I was surprised by how restrictive some of the level design feels but cheered by how much I enjoy navigating from place to place. Kinetic stealth, I like to call it, that combination of sound, shadow and speed. It’s such a fresh approach after years of crouching and creeping forward inch by inch.

It might seem a small thing but I like that Smith talks about the collaborative process of design, mentioning lead art designer Sebastien Mitton and lead architect Damien Laurent among others. Given that Smith is talking setting and art design rather than narrative, it’s no surprise that he doesn’t mention the dearly departed (from RPS) Cara Ellison. Former S.EXE columnist Cara is a contributor to Dishonored 2’s narrative design. Y’know – the words and all that sort of thing.


  1. ribby says:

    I don’t know if you appreciate typos being corrected, but in case you do you’ve written ‘reply the first’ where presumably you meant ‘replay’

    • NomadSoul says:

      Same here, I love RPS but just about every article I read has a spelling or grammar error in it. I don’t mention it because I don’t want to be an ass but it’s been getting kind of excessive. Sometimes I have to reread the same sentence several times to understand what the author meant to say.

  2. mashkeyboardgetusername says:

    My inner evil bastard reared its head while watching that, as I found myself pondering leaving bloodfly-infected corpses as traps for the guards. Especially as guards tend to investigate bodies…

    • Zenicetus says:

      I’m betting there will also be a magic skill that triggers a bloodfly attack on a guard, like the rat swarm in the first game. I only used that a couple of times… it was nasty.

      • Jackablade says:

        I’m hoping you can use that squidgy magic grappling hook thing to fling bodies full of deadly, deadly bees at people.

  3. Chorltonwheelie says:

    Oooh I dunno. I loved the fat faced, chilly, British aesthetic of Dishonoured (amongst its other treats)…we’ve already got Far Cry. And we’ve got writing from a teenage girl who found her parents Forum magazine stuffed down the back of the sofa? Hope I’m wrong.

    • LionsPhil says:

      On the upside, pith helmets.

    • LennyLeonardo says:

      Beg pardon?

    • damoqles says:

      “we’ve already got Far Cry”
      Well… we’ve already got Dishonoured 1 too.

    • Kollega says:

      I still think we should’ve gotten Morley instead of Serkonos, but that’s just me wanting to see the Scotireland side of the Isles.

    • Harlequin says:

      While from what we see in the trailer I thought the city looks much more like something we’d see in the Caribbean or other Portuguese/Spanish colonies in Southern and Central America, if they’re -actually- drawing inspiration from Greece, Spain and Italy it shouldn’t look all that much like the FarCry games.

    • Det. Bullock says:

      Mediterranean countries are very different from the tropical/asian/african ones you can see in Far Cry.

      • Zenicetus says:

        Yeah, that sounded off. The screenshot in the article header looks like equatorial/tropical cloud forest, not the kind of dry climate and vegetation around the Med.

        • Harlequin says:

          And if you watch the video that’s also present. I live in Brazil and I can attest that that looks exactly like shoreline cities here. Look up any pictures of Rio de Janeiro that show its trees and you’ll say it’s Karnaca. Granted we’ve only seen thirty or so seconds in that trailer, so we could be wrong.

        • Stevostin says:

          Nope. Don’t forget a good deal of the team is from south of France, so they know Mediterranean. My guess is that it looks like places like Corsica (it’s often described one of the most beautiful place in the world, you may want to google it). The “thermal” bits in the description made me think to a famous thermal city in France, Vichy. It’s not an island and it’s rather center of France but it’s not too far either. They probably looked at it as well as Aix En Provence (another gorgeous place), which also has a past as a bath city.

  4. SuicideKing says:

    dearly departed (from RPS) Cara Ellison. Former S.EXE columnist Cara is a contributor to Dishonored 2’s narrative design. Y’know – the words and all that sort of thing.

    She is?! That’s really cool!

  5. Premium User Badge

    gritz says:

    Is Victor Antonov (the HL2 guy) still involved with the Dishonored team, or are his contributions pretty much gone?

    • Kollega says:

      Looks like he’s no longer the art director at the very least. Which actually really sucks, because half the style in Dishonored was Antonov’s brutally efficient, function-over-form machinery.

      • Premium User Badge

        gritz says:

        Yeah that’s a damn shame. He’s one of the truly distinct visions in videogame art.

      • Jigowatt says:

        Sebastien Mitton was actually the art director on the original Dishonored as well as the sequel. Apparently Antonov was the ‘visual design director’ on the first game. I don’t really know what the distinction is there!

      • Stevostin says:

        TBH he seems not to be a “sequel” kind of guy. Moreover the people he’s leaving in charge seems to have what it takes to keep the game series as probably the most visually interesting in AAA gaming.

    • ResonanceCascade says:

      Last I heard, he was promoted/moved over to some kind of design supervisor position for Zenimax. Whatever that means. And I have no idea if that’s still the case.

    • Jigowatt says:

      According to this tweet from Harvey Smith, he’s still consulting with the art team: link to

      • Kollega says:

        That’s good then! Antonov is one of the few art directors in the games industry who legitimately has his own memorable style, so if he’s still on the game in some capacity, it very likely means good things.

  6. Geebs says:

    I hope they finally give the non-lethal players something to do in this one. The everything-but-blackjacking-and-darts-counts-as-lethal-and-gets-punished thing got very old very fast.

    Oh, and is the Stranger back? I can’t wait for more of his riveting dialogue.

    • Kollega says:

      My name is The Outsider, mortal. And you always have to spell it with a “the”, as you might have inferred. That makes it… more interesting.

      • Geebs says:

        Oh, yeah, right…. However could I have forgotten? I loved your monologues, and would never…..get……….distracted…..

        Sorry, I don’t believe we’ve met. You’re the Stranger, right? Good times, good times.

        • MrFinnishDude says:

          Do not listen to this gibbering fool. I am the real Outsider. In fact, I’m writing this on top of a a stump in a notorious Canadian national park. That’s how outside I am!
          I ᴄᴀɴ ᴀʟsᴏ sᴘᴇᴀᴋ ɪɴ sᴘᴏᴏᴋʏ ᴛᴇxᴛ, ᴏᴏᴏOOOOᴏOᴏᴏ!

    • welverin says:

      His voice actor did the voice over for the announcement trailer and Emily is definitely marked by him, so I think it’s safe to say yes.

    • Warserpent says:

      As long as the chokedust and stun mines from the DLC make it into this game, I think non-lethal players will be fine. (If you didn’t play the DLC–stun mines worked about like you would expect a non-lethal mine to, and chokedust allowed you to create a cloud of choking dust so you could escape enemies. Upgrading it made those affected lose their memory of you.)

  7. racccoon says:

    I think the devs watched game of thrones & thought yeah good idea lets go south. ok no, NO! dragons!! but, hey, what about Bloodflies! :)

  8. alms says:

    The flies look positively disgusting.

  9. Stevostin says:

    I really enjoyed Dishonored a lot. But the reason it’s one of my best game of last years is that it’s subtle in its story. There are stuff you can guess or miss entirely. There is barely good or evil characters (and where you belong exactly isn’t clear either). It has some poetic value. All of those things are missing so much from nearly all other AAA games.

    Also, DLC, so great.

  10. sfury says:

    the dearly departed (from RPS) Cara Ellison

    You scared the crap out of me for a second there.. Anyway, good for her, interesting what would they come up with for the story.

  11. Sollymurasaki says:

    Am I the only one that cringed at the community manager here?
    She is obviously just here to be pretty on the scene, and to read her part on her paper when the time is right.
    Pretty cringeworthy I thought.

  12. NomadSoul says:

    It was always my understanding that community managers for games publishers were basically PR people, meant to represent the publisher. Saying that she is just there to be pretty is insulting, especially since this is just a 3 minute clip of someone we have never seen before. I think you are making a quick judgement of someone based on very little. For all we know she is a huge gamer that just happens to have a background in PR or something and this is her dream job.

  13. Punning Pundit says:

    “For all we know she is a huge gamer that just happens to have a background in PR or something and this is her dream job.”

    That’s true of most of the gaming company community managers I know. “Dream job” isn’t quite right, though. It’s more like “step 1 on the way to the gaming dream job”.