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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.

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