Exploring the Empire of Isles: What We Want in Dishonored 2

Warning! Spoilers for Dishonored and its DLCs, The Knife of Dunwall and The Brigmore Witches, to be found herein. If you haven’t finished those, why are you even here?


The story of Dunwall, the diseased, half-magical, half-steampunk city that serves as setting and centerpiece of Arkane Studios’ Dishonored, is finally at an end.

With The Brigmore Witches DLC launching last week, the tales of Corvo (the royal protector who stopped a coup) and Daud (the assassin who started it) have both been wrapped up. The fate of the empire’s capital city has been decided by many a quick blade and quicker bullet. At this point, a sequel to Dishonored is almost a foregone conclusion; the game was a financial and critical success by all accounts, and its creators have fashioned a vast, deep world that harbors plenty of curiosities that still need exploring.

Where will the Dishonored franchise venture to in the future? The Empire of Isles comprises many more places than Dunwall; that much is made clear by the huge amount of lore players can unearth throughout the game. Having played through Dishonored and read more than our fair share of in-game books about life in the rest of the Empire, we compiled a quick list of what we we’d like to see Arkane do as it heads into franchise country.

5. Dude, What’s the Deal with All These Rats

The Rat Plague in Dunwall cripples the city and very nearly destroys it over the course of Dishonored. It literally devastates the population and turning them into “Weepers,” while also ravaging its economic and political landscape. Players who take on Dishonored and keep the deaths to a minimum (while making other key choices) can pave the way for the combined efforts of scientists Sokolov and Piero to eventually rid the city of the plague. Indeed, the “good” ending of Dishonored suggests that, through the player’s efforts and under Emily’s leadership, Dunwall enters a new golden age.

But we never do find out where the Rat Plague actually came from, or why only Dunwall is affected; as Dishonored begins, Corvo is returning from a mission to seek help from other cities, suggesting that they aren’t similarly afflicted. Documents and information found throughout the game and its DLCs raise weird questions about where the plague came from — namely, that it seems to originate within the city and radiate out, rather than having come to Dunwall by ship or some other means.

It appears that something, or someone, is behind the Rat Plague in Dunwall itself. That said, Dishonored never provides an explanation (at least to our knowledge). Given the supernatural spookiness surrounding The Outsider, Corvo, Daud and Delilah, not to mention Sokolov’s scientific advances, it seems possible that the Rat Plague was created by a person. That person might commit more heinous acts in a future story.

Update: It was pointed out to me on Twitter that Hiram Burrows is responsible for the rat plague, according to an audio log I must have missed. To which I say — dammit. I was finding contemplative studies from scientists about the movements of the rats through Dunwall as late as The Brigmore Witches, and liked the idea of it being an unsolved mystery. Hey Arkane, do us a favor and unsolve that mystery.

4. Adventuring Through the Isles

The Empire of Isles consists of four main land masses: Gristol, where Dunwall is located; Tyvia, the northernmost island; Morley, north of Gristol, and the source of the Morley Insurrection against the empire; and Serkonos, the southernmost island, from which Corvo and Daud both originally hail. Each island is known for various attributes, and there are a few books scattered around Dishonored that cast some light on those locations. Serkonos has a tropical climate and is bustling with tourism, for example, whereas Tyvia has a prison in its frozen wastes that doesn’t even bother with walls — prisoners are free to leave and try their luck walking back to civilization. No one makes it.

There’s a ton of diversity left in the Empire of Isles, and that’s not even counting whatever makes up the rest of Gristol, the largest of the islands. Serkonos in particular sounds like it would be a fascinating place to hang out in and murder folks, especially given the population of pirates that purportedly resides there. We also wouldn’t mind getting a closer look at how the whale economy works by spending some time at sea. Not only are there plenty of new places for Dishonored to go — the ability to explore multiple locations would really open the franchise up.

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26 Comments on Exploring the Empire of Isles: What We Want in Dishonored 2

Kevin

On August 19, 2013 at 5:42 pm

Actually, the Rat Plague is explained in game, its part of the non-lethal route of taking down Hiram Burrows. Hiram and his buddies brought over rats from the Pandyssian continent to the poor districts of Dunwalls in order to wipe out the poor (And therefore poverty). It just spiralled out of control from there.

Said continent that the rats come from is home to all kinds of crazy , not to mention trying to explore it causes people to go absolutely nuts.

Mccrackelz

On August 19, 2013 at 6:26 pm

yup, beat me to the punch, kev.

Phil Hornshaw

On August 19, 2013 at 6:40 pm

@Kevin @Mccracklez

Ah ha! I read a crap-load of documents, but I guess I missed that one. Nice work, guys.

Alex

On August 20, 2013 at 8:45 am

If i recall correctly, the Lord Regent confesses at some point (good ending if you use the radio transmitter way of neutralizing him) that he brought the plague about, to cripple the Empresses’ control, leading to the events of the game itself.

Alex

On August 20, 2013 at 8:46 am

Balls, i was beat to the punch, thanks for pointing it out though Kevin and others!

Phil Hornshaw

On August 20, 2013 at 9:02 am

@Alex

Right, that’s what Kevin and Mccrackelz said. Clearly I missed that one (which is infuriating given how much crap I read and listened to — that’s been a question on my mind for sooo loooong). I updated the post up above.

Oruam

On August 20, 2013 at 9:46 am

Actually it seems that the outsider it’s a giant whale-like being, in some of the in-game books there are references to a Leviathan that lurks beneath the ocean, in Brigmore manor there’s a poem about how the ocean seems to rest in the shoulder of the leviathan, like a father carries a son.

My personal thought about the continent and the outsider, they’re both the same that’s why it’s so difficult to be there, he exudes magic through the “land” like swet

Colin

On August 20, 2013 at 9:51 am

They further explained the plague if you watched The Tales of Dunwall that they released… It’s on youtube actually.

KingHaek

On August 20, 2013 at 10:03 am

I’d like to see more adventures in Dunwall. There’s still plenty to do. Maybe a travel from the city to the continent, in a huge ship, where you need to sneak or something :D

Alex

On August 20, 2013 at 10:16 am

I remember reading a book or note somewhere explaining that the overseers music was a math based suppression of the Outsider’s powers.

Daniel

On August 20, 2013 at 1:21 pm

I would like to see

Erik

On August 20, 2013 at 2:38 pm

Whatever you guys do, dont loose the urban element in the sequel. Never do the mistake that ubisoft did with assassins creed 3.

Vlad

On August 20, 2013 at 4:08 pm

Honestly, what I want to see most is a multiplayer. if it was done right, it would be nothing less than legendary.

Mimi

On August 21, 2013 at 8:32 am

I really want to see more about the Outsider. First of all, please confirm all the hints about him being a giant whale flying throughout the space that is the void. It’s a freaking awesome idea. I also think he should not be omnipresent, at least not in case of the future. The whole point of the joy he gets from watching events happen is that he can only predict what well happen, and is pleasantly surprised when someone does something unexpected. He does all this because of the void. The void is frozen reflection of the Dishonered world. It’s also the Outsider’s home. Like any homeowner, he must really want to decortate. So he cause massive changes in the Dishonered world to effect the space he lives in.

Mimi

On August 21, 2013 at 8:38 am

And please no multiplayer. I have always enjoyed Dishonered as a solitary art piece. I know multiplayer is so popular right now, but I really don’t think it fits the mood of the entire game.

Seth

On August 21, 2013 at 7:03 pm

More open world for sure. A would-be overseer perpective would be interesting also.

Phil Hornshaw

On August 22, 2013 at 9:47 am

@MImi

Haha, that’s an awesome analogy. I hope “decorating the void” is something Arkane hears about.

ExpressNumber

On August 31, 2013 at 6:58 am

Would it be silly to suggest that the Outsider and his Leviathan form is another representation of the G-Man from Half-Life?
;)

Phil Hornshaw

On September 3, 2013 at 7:16 am

@ExpressNumber

Agh! Time to make a graphic — Half Life 3 confirmed!

Nolan

On September 16, 2013 at 7:06 am

Can’t Died.

Zachary

On October 1, 2013 at 10:22 pm

why not have the player start out as an inductee of the abbey as a child, and sometime soon after they’re made an overseer, they’re ‘infected’ with the outsiders power, giving a very huge moral conflict. Also, why not give players a choice in which when they receive their powers, they can choose ( Witchcraft, Shadowcraft, and Weaponcraft) for different play styles, and your goal for a period of time is a few low key quest, while developing your abilities while trying not to get caught, maybe eventually getting drafted as the first ex[edition in some time to try to settle pandyssia.

Some Dude

On December 5, 2013 at 4:09 am

People may not like my idea, but I do so meh.
It would be good if you could control the missions, join factions, and explore as you like. My ideas are:
-Character Customization (to an extent)
-Overhauled combat system (not to complex but rely more on stats of different weapons, speaking of which)
-Different weapons with different stats, a sword that’s faster, for stealth kills, and a sword that’s heavy and hits hard, yet clumsy and loud. A gun with a faster reload and greater mag capacity, one that has bullets fly hard and fast.
-New powers with more upgrades. Each power got to stages, there were six active, four passive and most weren’t of much use anyway. How about a third or fourth or fifth level, getting more and more useful.
An invisibility spell, a telekinesis spell a passive ability of less stun duration or easier parrying, why not?
Also most of the stuff on this page is wanted, especially more on the outsider. I think it chooses form depending on who or what it is addressing, it could appear as an old man, much like a husband, to Vera Moray or a comforting yet harsh mother to the unnamed child. And a rendition of the campaign for multiplayer.
Basically a mixture of Dishonored, the Skyrim quest system, a better combat system, and Borderlands/Borderlands 2′s multiplayer system (drop in, drop out). Did I mention armour choosing and weapon enchanting, cause that’d be cool. Sorry for long post, TOODLES!

Diva 2305

On December 5, 2013 at 11:36 pm

What I love about Dishonored is that there is a character development during the game, or at least a possibility of one. I would like that to be further developed.To me playing Dishonored is as good as reading a good novel. Please continue like that.

Banta-Fwey

On December 29, 2013 at 8:43 pm

1) Do not make it multiplayer. No matter what. Don’t you dare do it, Arkane Studios.

2) Do not make it excessively customizable. Dishonored is primarily an FPS with some minor RPG elements, it is not an RPG.

3) Improve the combat. I know Arkane Studios can do it, and I want to have awesome sword duels with multiple enemies, with awesome ways to kill, disarm, kick, punch, and knock someone unconscious.

4) More weapons and equipment in general. Introduce more non-lethal ways to take out enemies, and make them just as fun and entertaining as lethal ones.

5) Tweak the Chaos system. It seems kind of imbalanced. I’d prefer no Chaos system at all, but I guess you have to make do with what you’ve got.

6) More kickass powers to get around and defeat enemies and solve obstacles.

7) More enemy types and not necessarily human ones either. Maybe throw in some supernatural elements as well.

8) More different and varied environments. Traversing back alleys, rich neighborhoods, forests, abandoned villages, the Void, scary caves and dungeons and sewers, fortresses and towers and castles and so on.

9) Make it much longer this time. 9 missions? Lame. How about we try and go for 20-25 missions, eh? That would keep it interesting. Also, retain the Dunwall City Trials-esque challenges, but make them unlockable, instead of DLC.

10) Corvo is again the protagonist. Set it ten years after the original, with Emily trying to keep the Empire together, and conspiracy which frames Corvo with plotting against Emily, and has him escape punishment, only to go on a crusade to find and kill those responsible and dissolve the conspiracy. Also, make the ending more climactic and exciting. Dishonored’s ending seemed kind of anti-climactic. All that build up, and that’s it?

Caardvark

On May 1, 2014 at 2:01 pm

My idea involves Emily, about 16-18 years olld, having gotten the hang of empressing in different ways depending on which ending you got. She has dissolved the abbey and improved living standards, all but eradicating the plague. On a diplomacy trip to morley (always liked that place), she is abducted by a group of usurpers who kill corvo and pretend Emily is dead, so that they will control the empire of the isles. They brand emily’s face so that she isn’t recognised, and show her, before she passes out, their secret; they have captured the outsider and, with the help of Sokolov, have drained magical juice from his erstwhile yet immortal physical form-this they use to power technology without whale oil (pissing off the whalers and anyone in the whaling industry) and give guards magic powers, which will make them harder to fight. After she blacks out, emily wakes in a red tinted version of the void, with a young woman in red with red eyes standing before her. This is the Interloper, the Outsider’s “big sister”. She tells emily about how her brother’s kinda brash and immature by their kind’s standards, but that she wants him freed anyway, and gives emily powers includinig burning hands, where she can burn yo face with her hands upon contact and such things, all themed around red like corvo’s were around blue/black. She then points her towards people who not so much want her back as hate the new rulers including a potential love interest, where she presents herself as their assassin, using the skills corvo taught her. Piero should be part of the new group, and very disdainful of Sokolov’s acheivment. The AI would ideally be more realistic, getting scared as their numbers dwindle instead of ryshing unto death like a couple of walking nardsicles whenever they see Emily. This would allow for different playstyles; ghost, where nobody even knows you’re there except your target, obviously; non lethal, where you cuddle people to sleep with the power of noogies and hide them away; safist, where you keep them alive, but leave them in pain with broken bones all over; quiet death, where the dead are never found; fear monger, where the dead are found by a couple of unfortunate souls; non lethal extrovert, where you fight everyone, but using non lethal fight moves (come on, we need a non lethal fight mechanic); and psycho, where you staright up.

Austin Jeter

On August 13, 2014 at 7:41 am

I think if they added multilayer that it should be for the campaign somewhat like the new assassins creed unity you get to play solo or get some buddies and sneak around killing the guards now i don’t know what you should do for the main story but i think you will have a epic game if you did something like that.
If the rats are still around then i think the game should invite traveling by that i mean not just dun-wall but a new place. ex: the very beginning of the game corvo was gone for two months why not go their they refuse to help but maybe they had something to do with it maybe they wanted more power over dun-wall so they infested it to wipe it off the map.
i have more but i am not going to go on i think i have some valid points and you should look into them