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A while back, Bethesda announced that it would be publishing a game made by Arkane Studios by the name of Dishonored. As the first big title to be released under the Bethesda moniker since Skyrim, and first fresh IP outside of the Elder Scrolls or Fallout universes to emerge under the banner since Brink, the game has a lot to live up to (and perhaps apologize for).
This upcoming first-person action adventure will put players into the shoes of Corvo, a master assassin, swordsman and marksman trained by the militant arm of the empire in power who once served as bodyguard to the Empress. After being framed for the murder of said Empress, Corvo is sentenced to death, but a mysterious being called “The Outside” reveals that he has bigger plans for Corvo and grants him supernatural abilities, which he then uses to escape from prison the night before his execution. Though The Outsider’s motives have yet to be revealed, the powers he grants Corvo allow him to perform feats such as freezing time for short moments and possessing small animals to do his bidding. The dishonored (ha!) assassin puts these powers to further use after gaining his freedom by taking on assassination missions against members of the Empire he once serve, donning a mask and prowling the rooftops of the city of Dunwall like a grim, steampunk antihero.
The world in which Dishonored is set lends itself well to heroics. Originally based on London, the game’s co-creative director, Harvey Smith (who also worked as a lead on the original Deus Ex), designed the world so that players can approach challenges any way they wish. Stealthily prance across the city’s gritty alleyways and rooftops to catch your target by surprise or charge in with blade, bullets and magic flashing wildly across the screen, leaving only a trail of blood in your wake. The menacing, faceless guards which stalk about the city carry a hint of Half-Life 2 about their appearance, and do well to help suffocate players in this game’s steampunk dystopia, complete with electrified fences and stilt-like mechanical walkers with deadly knife-like talons.
Smith also makes a point of noting that all events which take place within the game happen spontaneously, and that every moving piece within the city has a purpose. Should Corvo come across a group of thugs hassling a defenseless woman, those thugs will have existed previously within the world, rather than being spawned specifically for that scripted event. What’s more, if Corvo were to kill those thugs before said hassling occurred, then that woman would simply go about her day. Ships which haul oil through the canals of Dunwall are important as well, because the oil they are hauling is really used to power certain things around the city. Therefore, following the same principle, if Corvo takes out a tanker delivering oil to a local power station, then whatever functions that station is responsible for powering will cease to operate.
If even half of Dishonored’s many promises are kept, then it promises to be a real fan-favorite and welcome addition to the Bethesda family. The game will certainly have to make a lasting impression on gamers as it builds towards its October 9, 2012 release date. The end of the year is crowded with big names at this point, but with his many bells and fleet of whistles, Corvo should have no problem carving himself a niche in the end of the year lineup.