When you think of Dishonored, what’s the first image that comes to mind? Rats, blades, haunted hearts and clockwork mansions? Perhaps it’s cramped streets, a bleeding whale, or an arterial river. For many of us, it’s a city. We asked Rob Dwiar, a garden designer, landscape architect, horticulturist and writer, to look at a specific aspect of those cities. The gardens. There’s a whole lot of meaning locked in the green.
Across two (and a half) games, Dishonored has created an immersive world, rich with intriguing lore, place-specific atmospheres and a believable society. All of that is wrapped in brilliant, believably-designed environments, where a distinct sense of place is always present. Whether you’re exploring palaces or cramped city blocks, navigating mansions or slums, each area has a sense of authenticity as a lived-in space, and the effect is not entirely aesthetic. By looking at the gardens scattered throughout the Isles, we can see how their layered and meaningful design elevates their importance from pleasant environments to important displayers of in-game themes, reflectors of in-game characters and exaggerators of underlying narratives.