After rumors of Dishonored 2‘s potential absence at Bethesda’s E3 2015 Press Conference, in a style befitting the game developer, they surprised everyone by showing off the stealth action release’s official cinematic trailer alongside two of the company’s other heavy-hitting franchises, Fallout 4 and Doom. Although ardent fans of the first-person game have been anticipating a sequel for the series since the initial installment debuted a few years back, it looks as if those gamers won’t have much longer to wait, as Dishonored 2 will soon finish the second half of the franchise’s incomplete story.
As far as Dishonored 2‘s production team over at Arkane Studios are concerned, the upcoming sequel is far more than just a continuation of a business venture. In fact, the France-based video game developer has much more to investigate in terms of the motivations and drive behind the follow-up’s new protagonist, Emily Kaldwin. When speaking in an interview with Mashable at E3 2015 a few weeks back, Arkane’s co-founder and Dishonored 2‘s co-director Raphael Colantonio explains that Emily is essentially the heart of Dishonored‘s story, saying, “Emily in the first one was really an anchor to the world. There was not much worth saving other than her. So she became really interesting to us.”
For those of us who are unfamiliar with the nuts and bolts of the first game’s plot, the story starts with Emily as the daughter to the murdered Empress Jessamine Kaldwin. After Jessamine’s assassination, for which her mother’s bodyguard-turned-assassin, Corvo Attano, is framed, Emily is soon kidnapped. Eventually, players take over the role of Corvo, who also happens to be the girl’s father, to ultimately rescue her, and put her under his protection. Essentially, Emily becomes an ethical barometer of sorts for the way gamers choose to play as Corvo.
In reference to the young heroine’s evolution in the series, Dishonored 2‘s other co-director Harvey Smith says:
“She’s special because she’s watching you. If you play very violently, she changes in the game. So people were interested in Emily. You have this privileged girl who, instead of living the life she would have lived, got interrupted by this tragic event. But then she was raised by Corvo the rest of the way. So who would she be as an adult?”
Set roughly 15 years after the game’s previous chapter, Dishonored 2 is an exploration of Emily’s adult life as a young monarch. Almost immediately at the beginning of the second entry, an invader arrives on the scene attempting to usurp Emily’s rule, which sends her into hiding so as to begin her plans for revenge.
As we have been previously informed, Emily is one of two playable characters – the other being Corvo, who has returned to dish out more mystical magic, engage in more sword fights, and inhabit the shadows near his enemies. However, gamers have to decide which one to play as for the entirety of the game. Once the selection is made, there’s no switching back.
While the protagonists have contrasting move sets, their quests are the same. Much like Dishonored 2‘s precursor, variety is the spice of life, as players upgrade their skill tree to acquire certain supernatural abilities, and the game becomes a richer experience with each playthrough since fans can’t unlock everything in a single campaign. However, Emily’s powers evolve a bit differently than Corvo’s, as her Far Reach tendril-shooting skill not only helps her grapple from place to place like Corvo’s Blink ability, but it also allows her to stick to walls like Spider-Woman and lets her pull enemies toward her for quicker assassinations.
Additionally, the fans’ selection of hero or heroine not only influences gameplay tactics, but also the story, as both characters are fully voiced this time around. This feature affects how players perceive the narrative, as co-director Smith says, “Corvo’s an older guy, he’s coming home for the first time to Serkonos. Emily is like an empress outlaw on the run, and she’s young, she’s 25. So their perspectives are very different.”
With a bevy of new attributes and a dark, in-depth fictional history like the first game, Dishonored 2 is sure to be a treat for fans of the brooding steampunk and Victorian era-inspired universe. And should there be gamers out there who haven’t experienced the previous title, it’s highly recommended to pick up the Dishonored: Definitive Edition once it drops in August for next-gen consoles.
Dishonored 2 is set for release some time in 2016 for the PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and PC.