With Dishonored releasing to mostly favorable critical and gamer praise it stands to reason that developer Arkane Studios is already mulling over the idea of a sequel. While Dishonored‘s story — which follows Corvo Attano’s quest for revenge — is of a singular nature, it is presumed that there are more stories to tell in the world of Dunwall.
These days if a new IP hasn’t been planned as a franchise, very few publishers will even express interest in the concept. However, the pedigree of Dishonored‘s Co-Creators Harvey Smith (Deus Ex) and Raphael Colantonio (BioShock 2) certainly helped convince publisher Bethesda that this was a worthwhile property.
As far as sequel talk is concerned Smith tells Kotaku that he does have a few ideas for a sequel, but is equally interested in seeing the “vault door” closed on this world.
“Part of me would love to see future games leverage this world, and part of me would love it if the vault door was just closed and that’s it. This is your one view into the Empire of the Isles and into the city of Dunwall.”
If sales numbers are indicative of critical response (oftentimes they are not) then Smith and Colantonio might be further convinced that revisiting the world of Dishonored is worth it. But the question remains how to believably pull such a feat off? In order to address how a Dishonored sequel might work, a few elements from the first game need to be spoiled, so turn back now if you’ve yet to finish Arkane‘s fantastic game.
In Dishonored, players experience a story that has a pretty definite beginning, middle, and end. Corvo is accused of murdering the Empress, he goes on a quest for revenge, is double-crossed several times, and finally succeeds in placing the Empress’ daughter on the throne. Or at least that’s what happens in the game’s “good” ending.
However, another important story beat in that ending is the death of Corvo. By the time the credits role, and we see that the Empress’ daughter has placed Corvo’s grave in a place of high significance, it becomes pretty clear that Dishonored was intended as a one-off.
Moreover, the game’s town of Dunwall is rid of its vile rat plague, and has entered a new age of prosperity thanks to the player’s efforts. Believably introducing conflict might be pretty difficult given the finality of said ending.
There are a few plot threads that are left unresolved in Dishonored, though, mainly those involving the game’s mysterious ‘Outsider.’ In the game, The Outsider provides Corvo with his supernatural abilities and appears in various places to add a little mystery to the overall proceedings. Unfortunately, his portion of the story doesn’t come to a meaningful end, and is actually one intriguing element that Arkane didn’t provide definite closure on. Whether that was by design or an oversight is unclear, but I was definitely left curious about The Outsider long after finishing the game.
With that being said, it stands to reason that a Dishonored 2 could explore the story of The Outsider in a pre-Corvo Dunwall. In one of the Tales of Dunwall videos — released to provide back-story on the game’s world — it is explained that The Outsider appears to those in need, and bequeaths them with these supernatural powers so that they can achieve a specific goal. Could we see The Outsider appear to someone else, provide them with powers, and experience their story?
It seems possible, but at the same time Arkane would have to find a way to keep gameplay dynamic. Dishonored does an exceptional job of mixing up systems and gameplay experiences in such a way that it feels fresh from beginning to end, but having to return to square one could prove difficult. Giving the player more assassination targets, and some side-story elements, sounds more like DLC than a fully-fledged sequel.
While it’s still too early for talk of Dishonored 2 to begin it’s interesting to consider where the story could go. Harvey Smith clearly has some ideas, and might be interested in spearheading a sequel. But keeping things fresh will be of the utmost importance.
What do you think of a Dishonored 2? Where would you like to see the story go?
Dishonored is available now for the PS3, PC, and Xbox 360.
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