Dishonored First Look Preview - Meeting a Supernatural Assassin

QuakeCon 2011: From character customization to carnivorous rat summoning, developer Arkane Studios gives us a peek into the world of Dishonored.

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At this year's QuakeCon, we finally got our first look at Dishonored, the upcoming first-person action game from developer Arkane Studios (Arx Fatalis). The hands-off demonstration was hosted by Arkane cofounders Harvey Smith and Raphael Colantonio. Before loading up the game, the pair explained that in Dishonored, you control a supernatural assassin who has been wrongly accused of killing the empress. Your quest for redemption will take you through a series of missions that you will be able to approach in numerous ways, be it stealth, shooting, or something more exotic.

"There's always more than one way to surmount a challenge in Dishonored."

One of the first things we saw in Dishonored was the massive rotting carcass of a shark being ferried downstream. Right around the corner some guards busied themselves by tossing a pile of corpses into a river. These early scenes of death and decay set the tone for the rest of the demonstration. It was later explained that the city our character was in was suffering a plague that had wiped out half of its population so far. The rest were finding other ways to die, either from the hyperaggressive guards or from the packs of carnivorous rats that roamed the streets. However, despite its miserable living conditions, the city looked impressive. With its cobblestone streets, boarded-up townhouses, and high-tech security checkpoints, it had a unique blend of 16th-century London and Half-Life 2's City 17.

Today's mission was to assassinate a crooked lawyer located in the legal district. Armed with only a knife, our character decided to stay out of sight by climbing over some crates onto an empty street. Mobility and stealth will both play large roles in Dishonored. Your character is more deadly than he is durable, so you'll need to pick your battles wisely or risk drawing attention to yourself and being overwhelmed. One of these choice fights was against three blokes assaulting a young woman. By blocking, parrying, and performing stealth kills, our character gained adrenaline. Once he had enough he could perform a gruesome adrenaline kill--such as severing a man's head from his shoulders. This resource takes time to refill, Colantonio said, so in certain cases you may want to save the kill if you know a particularly hard enemy is nearby.

Watching our character stab his way through three grown men caused the poor woman to panic and take off down a dark alley. However, she didn't get far before a pack of rats descended upon her and devoured her body. Rats are a big deal in Dishonored. In large groups, they will attack you unless you're standing under a light source. But when there's only one or two they can actually help you. When our character arrived at the lawyer's lavish estate, Smith explained that there were many paths we could take to get inside. Hopping across rooftops was one, and kicking in the front door was another, but he decided to use a rat.

"As you explore one mission, numerous side missions will become available from the people you meet."

This is where we got to see the supernatural half of our supernatural assassin. A large menu of special abilities was called up in the game, and the possession power was selected. Smith explained that this would let our character take over the minds of small animals. After possession was used on a rat, the perspective changed to the rat's point of view as it scurried through a small hole in the manor. Once it found a secluded corner inside, the rat was released and our hero re-formed where it stood. He then made a quick sweep of the house and stole a magical rune and some blueprints--all while avoiding the guards. On the top floor, he found the door to the target's office. Peeking through the keyhole confirmed the lawyer was inside, so our nimble assassin kicked the door down.

Immediately after doing so, he activated another power: bend time. Everyone in the room froze. They were now locked in time and were powerless to stop our hero from walking up and shooting each of them in the face. Time then resumed, the lawyer fell, and the sirens started blaring. Before the other guards in the house could reach the office, our character used yet another power, blink, to teleport himself out the balcony window and onto a nearby rooftop. He then climbed down to the street level and used the blueprints to reprogram one of the security gates. These transparent screens of electricity were designed to let guards through and deep-fry everything else. Our character reprogrammed the gate to let him through instead. Of course, the pursuing guards found this out the hard way.

As our hero made his escape, the developers took a moment to explain how character customization will work in Dishonored. "We don't like games that unlock powers for you at certain points," Smith said. Therefore, the game will feature a power economy where you can exchange runes (like the one stolen earlier) for new powers. Stronger powers require more runes, so you either save up for the big ones or arm yourself with a lot of lesser ones. You can also collect money and trade it in for new items and equipment to use on your missions. Then there are the bone charms. These items will provide small bonuses to your character, such as a slight improvement to movement speed. They are also randomized when you pick one up, so you never know what you're going to get.

"You can dual-wield certain powers and weapons in combat."

Just before he could reach the escape point, our assassin was ambushed by three armed guards. In response, he promptly used another power to summon a swarm of rats from the ground. These rodents promptly devoured the attackers on the spot, and we noticed a little message that said, "Three guards killed, chaos increased." After the demonstration ended, the developers explained that chaos isn't meant to be a simple good or evil scale. Instead, it's being designed to respond to how the player behaves in the game. Everything, from the difficulty of future missions to the way the story unfolds, will be influenced by this rating. Dishonored will be released in 2012 for the Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, and PC.

Discussion

137 comments
Zensword
Zensword

This game sounds very interesting. I like the mix of stealth, shooting and powers. Definitely a game I'll keep an eye for

shani_boy101
shani_boy101

Sounds interesting, how about we see a trailer?

ChaosUndivided
ChaosUndivided

Hopefully this comes out just as Skyrim is starting to get boring. Being a Bethesda game it should be similar in feel to the Eldar Scrolls and Fallout with a combined feel of Assassin's Creed (in a FPS style). We will just have to wait and see.

silentsniper321
silentsniper321

Thankyou Bethesda for publishing a new IP. Looks very intertesting

BUNTARG
BUNTARG

New IP and going for some ambitious game mechanics by the sounds of it. We may have seen some of this before in other games, but rolled into one like this with an intriguing visual style....well im willing to wait until i hear and see some more before i pass judgement.

isshiah
isshiah

sounds decidedly unoriginal to me, but we'll see....

KoRniTo
KoRniTo

It's a new IP and I like that. I sure hope they deliver.

nemiisis
nemiisis

Sounds terrible. Defo staying away from this

SoulStalkyr
SoulStalkyr

sounds intriguing, Will be keeping an eye out for more details.

coneman1
coneman1

Wow! This game sounds quite amazing. I can't wait to get my hands on this one, and that's for sure!

uglypinkmoose
uglypinkmoose

looks so awesome sounds so awesome can't wait

EdibleFood
EdibleFood

Tons of talent working on this. The concept sounds like goty material, now i can't wait to see some gameplay

jer_1
jer_1

Sounds pretty interesting, will keep my eye on this one.

omarvision
omarvision

I second that emotion!!! new IP is where it gotta be! That way I feel like I'm actually buying a new game...

kvan33
kvan33

I'm all for new IP's. Hope it's good.

detroithardcore
detroithardcore

I love a new IP, I get sick of remakes. I mean how many WWII games can they possibly make? I love to see studios branch out and risk trying something different, especially when they hit it out of the park.

kenthuss
kenthuss

I Think Dishonored Will Be A Good Game.

xshadowzz
xshadowzz

@ShadowOfKratos It's funny because you have that dude from Crysis in your avatar :P

nizam1986
nizam1986

Looks coool..wanna try tis....

ocstew
ocstew

Looks generic... :\

ShadowOfKratos
ShadowOfKratos

Wow... This generation only has FPS... Give me a break already!!

Shanks_D_Chop
Shanks_D_Chop

@AC2TheTruth We need to see gameplay footage before you can safely say that.

Armored_
Armored_

teleportation in first person? i seriously have my doubts.

AC2TheTruth
AC2TheTruth

it sounds interesting. but i have to be honest here...... the game would fit better with a third-person perspective. because the thing is.(i was not thinking of AC when i thought this up) assasination game is better with a third-person view.......just my opinion.

r2j2612
r2j2612

Hmmm....sounds interesting enough to give it a try..

ThePurpleBubble
ThePurpleBubble

@devrindare It is a first-person game... Not a First-person shooter... Would you say the Elder Scrolls are a series of FPSs?

devrindare
devrindare

this game is 1st person shooter then why its Genre displayed as Modern action adventure

dxBIGBOSSxb
dxBIGBOSSxb

And yes I know Bethesda is not making the game but they are making the game possible... plus, just like with Tim Burton's Nightmare Before Christmas, it may not have been made by Bethesda... but it defiantly has their name written all over it.

dxBIGBOSSxb
dxBIGBOSSxb

Gotta say i'm very impressed so far. Hopefully this becomes Bethesda's Deus Ex game for their world class library of games.

kazumashadow
kazumashadow

I haven't heard of this game until now, but i got quite excited about it. Reminded me a little of series like Thief or Deus Ex but also a little of Half Life.

lazarius12
lazarius12

Honestly I would be interested if it were an open world like the Elder Scrolls games. I fully believe that games need to go in this direction to remain fresh.

AbsoluteSorrow
AbsoluteSorrow

So I thought the game was gunna be cool until it said that it was first person. Only thing meant to be first person is shooters, people.

psycho75
psycho75

looks promising,NOT a simple shooter,thx for that!

mattg90520
mattg90520

Ive been really interested in this since the cover story in Game Informer but rereading this is a lot of the same. I was really hoping for some footage or a trailer.

naomha1
naomha1

Arx Fatalis was a fantastic game that got overlooked by the masses when it was released years ago. Hopefully, this game will be as ambitious and get the nods it deserves when released. Arkane is a great studio and they have an extremely talented team.

stealthyninja81
stealthyninja81

looks like a semie-original game for once. might have to buy this one

GamerLegend10
GamerLegend10

i hope you can use poisons and find inventive ways of using them, i think that would be really cool :)