Everything We Know About Dishonored

Dishonored, Arkane Studios’ new IP about a supernatural assassin, with overtones of Deus Ex and Thief fully present, slinks from the shadows on Oct. 9 (not really — the amount of marketing for that game has been ridiculous).

We’re pretty positive on the game from what we’ve seen in previews, with our review coming at 12:01 a.m. EST on Monday morning. But if you need to know everything Dishonored, you’ve come to the right place. Here’s all the information we’ve compiled about the game short of what we think of it: for that, you’ll have to wait a little longer.

Story

Dishonored places players in an alternate universe and in the role of silent protagonist Corvo Atano, Lord Protector of the Empress of Dunwall. That makes Corvo chief bodyguard for the sovereign of the city-state, which is located on an island and sliced up by a river, as well. At the outset of the game, the Empress is assassinated — and Corvo not only fails to save her, but he’s accused of the crime.

Dunwall is in the grip of a plague. The horrible disease is nearly always fatal, ending in its final stages with the infected bleeding from their eyes and becoming little more than shambling zombies (though not really) with insects nesting in their bodies before they die. It’s pretty terrible.

No one knows what’s causing the “rat plague,” although it’s definitely being blamed on ravenous packs of rats that occasionally attack people in the dark corners of Dunwall. Corvo’s mission was to ask for assistance from the other cities, but he returns with bad news. Upon his return, however, things go badly — assassins, who seem to have the ability to disappear and reappear at will, assassinate the Empress and kidnap her daughter. Corvo tries to fight them off, but is arrested for the crime instead.

It’s pretty obvious early on that Corvo has been framed by high-ranking officials in the government in a secretive coup. They’ve abducted the heir to the throne, and they’ve take n over the government in her absence. Corvo is to be executed — but he escapes, with the help of another group. They want him to join them and assassinate the coup conspirators one by one to restore the true Empress.

The Outsider

After his escape, Corvo is visited by a mysterious man called The Outsider during a dream. The Outsider bestows on Corvo the power to do supernatural things to aid in his assassinations. These include short-range teleportation (Blink), the ability to possess people and animals, and the manipulation of time, among others.

The Outsider is something like Satan in the religion of Dunwall, and to most people, he’s mythological rather than real. Warrior priests known as Overseers are constantly fighting The Outsider’s influence and excommunicating (or outright killing) anyone found to be following his teachings. But it’s unclear whether The Outsider is actually good or evil, or some gray area in between. He helps Corvo, but what he’s actually all about is completely unclear.

Dunwall

The city of Dunwall itself is a bit of a steampunk alternate reality. It subsists on an economy derived from whaling, and it seems the whales of Dishonored’s world have strange properties. It’s from whalebone that The Outsider’s special runes and bone charms are fashioned, which can bestow special powers to Corvo (and which seem to drive regular people crazy and give them nightmares).

Whaling is important because all the electrical power of the city is based on whale oil, which you’ll often see in canisters. Motorized carts, streetlamps, electrified force fields, even munitions get their power from whale oil. It’s highly volatile, which means you can blow up the canisters to great effect.

Removing canisters from the machinery instantly disables most security stations, lights, and other various apparatuses. Whale oil is a huge part of the world of Dunwall, both from a practical standpoint and from one of understanding the underlying issues of the city, which are at the heart of much of Dishonored’s world and backstory.

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3 Comments on Everything We Know About Dishonored

Rho

On October 6, 2012 at 10:07 pm

What is this “BioWare 2″ game you mention in “Combat” section?))) BioShock 2 maybe?

R.J.

On October 6, 2012 at 10:38 pm

Good to hear that the PC version has its own UI. When I’m playing on PC, I like to use lots of hotkeys. It seems silly not to take advantage of all those buttons. The randomization and the ability to create alternate ways of eliminating your target through side missions sounds good.

Phil Hornshaw

On October 7, 2012 at 10:43 am

@Rho

Derp, that’s exactly what I meant. Been writing too much about BioWare this year. Fixed.