Creative director Harvey Smith talks about what Arkane Studios hopes to accomplish with Dishonored 2, drawing a comparison with From Software’s Demon’s Souls.
It’s almost a cliche at this point for studios to compare their output to From Software’s enormously popular Souls series. Today, Arkane Studios was the latest developer to jump on the bandwagon — but in this case the frame of reference isn’t difficulty or gameplay, but the way Dishonored 2 looks set to buck industry trends.
One of the things that fans love about the recently released Dark Souls 3 is the fact that it is necessary to delve deep into the game’s world to really understand its lore and its narrative. The problem with developing a game like this is that many players are going to miss out on large swathes of content.
That content takes time and money to produce, so it’s often a difficult proposition for the people making financial decisions behind the scenes of major developers. However, in an interview published in this month’s edition of Game Informer, creative director on Dishonored 2 Harvey Smith argues that there are more important things than the game’s sales performance.
“If you make all your decisions based on what you think is selling well, you end up with this kind of indistinct mess,” said Smith. “Whereas if you go with what is in your heart as a gamer, that’s kind of how we think. It doesn’t make financial sense, but counter-intuitively, that’s how you get rewarded financially.”
Smith would go on to make a direct comparison with Demon’s Souls, noting the way that the game bucked industry trends and spawned a major franchise in the process.
“It broke every rule that a AAA publisher would tell you was smart thinking at that moment, and it launched this franchise and this team,” he said. “We think similarly. There is a lot of our game that nobody sees. We’re throwing away huge amounts of work from that perspective. But from our perspective, that’s what makes it special.”
Smith also notes that Dishonored 2 will not feature co-op. According to him, the style of calculated gameplay that team is trying to construct simply wouldn’t work quite as well with another player by your side, even if the dual-protagonist set-up of the sequel seems tailor-made for a co-op mode.
It’s interesting to see a developer talking so candidly about the way video game development can be swayed by the financial pressures of the industry. However, anyone looking forward to Dishonored 2 will certainly be reassured by the fact that Arkane Studios is putting the needs of the player ahead of the needs of its accountant.
Dishonored 2 is set to release for PS4, Xbox One and PC on November 11, 2016.