Posted by Gary Steinman on Bethesda
At BE3 2016, Arkane Co-Creative Director Harvey Smith took to the stage to publically reveal Dishonored 2 gameplay for the first time. Here are the highlights from the BE3 Showcase. Plus, be sure to check out the new official gameplay trailer.
A New Setting
In Dishonored 2, players will return to the Empire of the Isles, but this time they’ll experience most of the game in a new setting. While Dishonored 2 begins and ends in Dunwall – the bleak industrial city of the first game – most of the action takes place in Karnaca, often referred to as the Jewel of the South. The capital of Serkonos – which is the southernmost island in the Empire – Karnaca is a dazzling Mediterranean-inspired metropolis with distinctly different culture and style.
“Our approach to world creation is layered,” Smith said. “Our art and design teams work together to create a strong sense of place, with a well-realized culture based on the factions living there, the architecture, the economy, climate, plant and animal life, and even the food and songs.”
Karnaca is brought to life with the Void Engine: a custom game engine built to support Arkane’s signature art direction and level design, and create atmospheric and exploration-rich spaces.
Choose Your Hero
Corvo Attano returns in Dishonored 2, but this time he’s not alone. He’s now joined by his daughter, Emily Kaldwin. Fifteen years later, both characters have grown. Now 25, Emily is no longer the innocent child from the first game, but a powerful figure who rules the Empire. And Corvo, having restored his daughter to the throne, once again serves as the Royal Protector. On the anniversary of the death of Emily’s mother (and Corvo’s lover) Jessamine Kaldwin, an otherworldly usurper seizes the throne, leaving the fate of the Empire hanging in the balance.
Players will choose to play as either Emily or Corvo. “Emily and Corvo are fully voiced with their own perspectives and emotional responses to the events transpiring around them,” Smith said. Emily is voiced by Erica Luttrell. Corvo is voiced by Stephen Russell. Other actors in Dishonored 2 include: Vincent D’Onofrio (Luca Abele, Duke of Serkonis), Rosario Dawson (Meagan Foster, Captain of theDreadful Wale), Jamie Hector (Vice Overseer Liam Byrne), Pedro Pascal (Paolo, leader of the Howler gang), Sam Rockwell (Mortimer Ramsey of the Dunwall City Watch), and Robin Lord Taylor (The Outsider).
Emily and Corvo have their own unique supernatural powers. Corvo’s powers return from the first game, but each has been extended and enhanced. “We’ve added upgrade trees to all the supernatural powers, allowing you to customize them more deeply,” Smith said. Corvo’s Possession power, for example, can be upgraded so you can chain from host to host – or you can instead hide in corpses or sleeping enemies.
Emily’s Far Reach mobility power can be upgraded to allow you to steal objects from afar, or you can upgrade it to yank enemies toward you and take them out midair. “All of the game’s supernatural powers give you different approaches,” Smith said. “You can go deep with several powers in one playthrough, then switch it up next time, dramatically changing the game.”
Smith also showed off several other new powers that Emily wields, including:
- Domino, which links together human targets, forcing them to share the same fate. In the demo, Emily set a trap, then used Domino to take out multiple foes in one blow.
- Shadow Walk, which lets Emily sneak toward and incapacitate a target.
- Mesmerize, which enthralls several humans and/or hounds, allowing Emily to easily bypass or eliminate foes.
The Dishonored series is all about options and exploration, and Dishonored 2 takes that to the next level with deeper choices and even more ways to play. The game has many different pathways through each mission, but also different approaches – stealth or combat, lethal or nonlethal – and a wide array of supernatural powers that dramatically change the experience.
Dishonored 2 will deliver classic Dishonored gameplay, with missions that include many pathways to explore, creative approaches to reach your targets, and a myriad of ways to combine powers, tools and abilities to tackle any situation. “But this time we’ve put a greater emphasis on big, interesting mission themes – either from a gameplay or a fiction standpoint – making each mission a wildly unique place to explore,” Smith said. Here are three examples:
The Dust District
An industrial area afflicted by the ravaging effects of the silver-mining industry, the Dust District offers a multitude of player choice. For starters, the Dust District earned its nickname due to the terrible storms that occur at random intervals. Players will hear a low, rumbling horn that warns of an incoming storm, which then diminishes the awareness of the characters in the world for the duration of the storm. Players can then use these unplanned storms to strike strategically or sneak past enemies unseen.
The Dust District mission also includes two targets: the leader of the Howler gang, or the local head of the Overseers, a militant religious faction. Both leaders have targeted one another, and players can pick a side by eliminating either target – or try to finish the mission by choosing to side with neither.
The Dust District features neutral territory, along with hostile territory maintained by the two different factions. Your choices will not only affect the flow of the mission itself (for example, one side will no longer be hostile if you eliminate the target from the other side) but also have a ripple effect on the remainder of the game.
The Dust District mission also shows the enhanced verticality in Karnaca. At various times, the BE3 2016 demo shows Emily ascending her way to dizzying heights, using her abilities to climb onto a towering windmill or clamber behind the wooden wind-breakers that protect the tall buildings. The playthrough also revealed Emily’s ability to eliminate targets from above – both lethally and nonlethally.
A Crack in the Slab
Another example of a themed mission, A Crack in the Slab, takes place in a ruined manor that’s been sealed for several years. Due to an occult event, your powers won’t work in this once-posh mansion. Instead you have a special timepiece (given to you by The Outsider), allowing you to peek into the past or the present – and you can slip back and forth between the two time periods.
While we were offered only a quick glimpse of this reality-bending mission, we witnessed several creative ways to use this timepiece, including: stepping back through time to sneak up on a target, then warping back to the present once you are in position to eliminate him; and moving past a locked gate in the past by warping to the present, where only the remnants of the gate remain.
The Clockwork Mansion
With its shifting walls and floors, this location was first revealed in the announcement trailer at E3 2015. “That mission, and everything depicted in the video, is fully playable in Dishonored 2,” Smith said.