It has been over two and a half years since the last Dishonored game released and I am nothing short of hungry for the next one. Arkane Studios had the decency to confirm last year that Dishonored 3 isn’t in development yet so those like me wouldn’t get their hopes up for a reveal any time soon. In the meantime a trilogy of books were written by Adam Christopher (@ghostfinder on Twitter) that really fleshed out the lore and characters of the world of Dishonored.
In particular, in the second book ‘The Return of Daud’ sees the titular antagonist turned hero get caught up in a street fight where he must defend himself with limited Void abilities and just his two fists. This made me think about other ways the abilities granted by the black eyed bastard, The Outsider, could be used and implemented in future Dishonored games.
Naturally this led to other ideas that I would like to see a potential Dishonored 3 use, and so this week I’m going to talk about what these are and how they can build on an already phenomenal franchise.
Open World Set In Morley
There are five continents we know of in the Dishonored world, four of which are islands that make up the Empire, Tyvia, Gristol, Morley and Serkonos. There is also the far-off largely unmapped gargantuan continent Pandyssia that remains shrouded in mystery as many who venture there to explore it never return.
The games so far have only visited Gristol and Serkonos, and as Tyvia consists of predominantly frozen wastelands, Morley is a clear choice for the setting of the next game. This choice is aided by the fact that the third and final Dishonored book, The Veiled Terror, mostly takes place on Morley and is set after the Death of the Outsider game, meaning that the most recent canon ending can only be found in this book.
I won’t go into spoilers of what happens in the book though I can confirm all the Dishonored books are great reads. One thing I will say however, is how well it sets up Morley as a potential future setting. Dunwall from Dishonored 1 is set on Gristol, which is based on industrial Victorian England, while Karnaca, which is in Serkonos, has a Southern European aesthetic like Greece and Spain. Morley is described as a beautiful island, very much like Ireland in appearance, and so would be able to deliver brand new scenery to those seen in previous games.
Void abilities would certainly need to be built on from previous games, particularly for traversal but more on that later, but in order to compliment this in the best possible way I feel the franchise should embrace the open world genre like many other games now have. This would enable quicker and deeper world building than those seen in the other games, and as the game will be launching on next gen console hardware, will serve to bring the unique Dishonored beauty across in a much more dramatic fashion.
More Void Exploration
The Void, for all its minimalist beauty, is one of my favourite eerie places in video games. A lot like the Beach in Death Stranding, while you can see no imminent threat or danger to your well-being, there is the constant lurking dread that anything can happen at any time. At the end of Death of the Outsider when Billie reaches the Ritual Hold within the Void, the imposing Leviathans slowly sweeping round the blank bright grey sky is one of my all time favourite images from a video game.
Much more can be done within this space, as has been proven above with the Ritual Hold it is far from an empty dimension, and any number of new frightening or exciting creatures or locations could be lurking within its gloom. Just out of sight, just out of reach, evidence or art could exist that changes perception on the workings of the world, and if anyone can capitalise on the potential of this place it is Arkane Studios.
Combining the effects of powers isn’t new but it could be so much deeper. For example, when confronted by a tallboy from the original game, the Rat Swarm ability is useless and the Windblast power doesn’t achieve much other than pushing them back slightly. Imagine if you could combine the two together, sending a swarm of rats either raining down upon the tallboy, or even firing clusters of them as projectiles that burst upon impact, showering enemies within a radius with screeching nashing teeth.
You could also make Blink a much deadlier ability by pulling the pin on a grenade and flinging it, through Blink, into a crowd of unsuspecting guards. This could also be reversed by snapping a guard out of his patrol group and up on to the rooftop you are on, allowing you to execute them by pushing them to their death or by one of the dozen other ways available to you (or you can knock them out I suppose). This was sort of done with Daud’s Pull power, but it wasn’t exactly stealthy, and more often than not the guard being Pulled’s screaming would attract others and see Daud being riddled with bullets while deciding what to do with his potential victim.
A Non-Royal Protagonist
This is very important to me, as I feel a ‘create your own character’ scenario that I have read about in recent years would only serve to damage player engagement with the world and story. Corvo, Emily, Daud and Billie are such memorable characters because they react so well to however the player chooses to play the game. From the brief eulogies they give should players decide to execute key targets, to the way they comment on the world around them regarding the current level of chaos, having a blank faced new character that is different for every player would lose all the connection established between protagonist and player.
When it comes to the social standing of the character we take control of, I feel Daud and Billie display better familiarity with their surrounding in the moment to moment gameplay. While Corvo and Emily are certainly not weak in this regard, playing as wealthy and powerful characters has been done enough already, and I would like to see more down and out characters granted Void abilities and the freedom to do with them as they wish.
More Eccentric Characters
Arkane Studios have never struggled to create memorable and complex characters. Dishonored 1 had Granny Rags and Slackjaw. Dishonored 2 had Duke Abele and Kirin Jindosh. Jindosh in particular is one of my favourite non-playable video game characters for just how eccentric and unpredictable he is. His Clockwork Mansion, easily one the most awe-inspiring levels of a game in recent memory, was as deadly as it was captivating. Granny Rags from the first game also wasted no time in burning the memory of her into your psyche for how sinister and evil she can be whilst exercising her paper-thin facade that she was a helpless and frail old lady.
I would love to see an increase in eccentricity for future titles, as something the franchise is particularly effective at is having background characters play a much more direct role in the flow of the story than they do in other games.
Thank you for reading about what I would love to see in a future Dishonored game. Let me know in the comments or on Twitter @MaliceVER what you would like to see or changes you would make to my ideas that would build on the already brilliant franchise.
If you haven’t read them already I can highly recommend all three of the Dishonored books by Adam Christopher, available now digitally and in paperback, and I will be back to speak to you again soon.