Dishonored, the steampunk action game being developed by Arkane Studios and published by Bethesda, has been puttering about in the shadows since the summer of 2011. So, when an image of a greasy-haired man was teased on Bethesda’s Facebook page, most theories assumed he would feature in new Skyrim DLC.
Instead, the trailer released today introduces the man as Corvo, Dishonored’s protagonist, and explains how he gained the supernatural powers which players will use throughout the game. A breakdown of the trailer is just past the jump, along with some juicy gameplay details.
The trailer starts as the camera zooms in on Corvo as he sleeps fitfully in a filthy cell. At first, he dreams of a female voice, who says “When you are near, my heart is at peace. Hurry home.” But he is also haunted by the guilty verdict which landed in him in the cell for apparently killing the Empress.
The mark enables Corvo to use his supernatural powers as he plots his revenge against those who set him up to be executed and works to restore order to the city. Corvo will have a wide variety of abilities at his disposal, and only portion of them are actually shown in the trailer. In August, PC Gamer previewed Dishonored and mentioned double jumping, teleportation, control over time, the ability to possess humans and both possess and summon rats, and the ability to plant steampunk sticky bombs. PC gamer also gave an example of how the powers can play out in gameplay.
The Arkane employee who’s giving the demo summons a pack of rats… Rats move quickly, so he freezes time. Then approaches a rat, and plants a proximity-triggered razor spring trap on its back. Releasing time, he possesses the rat, and walks it around like a remote-controlled bomb.
Moving on with the trailer, we’re taken outside to see the gloomy industrial city outside. Power lines string the streets and power electric rails, on which a noble rides in what looks like a cross between a Victorian carriage and a Hummer. A public address system commands the listless citizens to report suspicious activity in accordance with the laws of the “Lord Regent.”
Talking to PC Gamer, art director Viktor Antonov described the source of the city’s appearance as based in a historic tweak in the Renaissance period.
“The renaissance in England didn’t come through France. It was a weird renaissance that went through Italy, Austria and Germany,” Antonov said. And it’s great to see how that paid off with the realization of city design in the trailer.
Austrian and German influences are also apparent in the character design of Dishonored. Sporting a Prussian helmet and a cloth mask, the guard essentially models two large facets of Dishonored’s setting: its Austrian influence, and the prevalence of the plague.
Further in the trailer, the Hummercarriage encounters a group of shuffling civilians, so a guard decides it’s time to bring in what may be the coolest enforcer of injustice since the Big Daddy. It’s so cool, I couldn’t even get it in one shot. Say hi to the Stilt Police, or “Tall Boys”.
An in-game shot gives a better idea of what the steampunk take on mounted police will look like.
As the civilians are quickly burned out of the street by the Tall Boy, the freed Corvo watches from above. Cue inevitable parkour sequence, but not before a cool-as-heck shot of his metal disguise. Judging by the way all the windows suddenly bloom a pinkish-red as he slides it over his eyes, and the way the lenses move later on in the trailer, it’s fair to say it will probably act as an overlay for the player.
Corvo quickly launches into some slick first-person parkour, which means that on top of comparisons to Assassin’s Creed and The Saboteur, Dishonored will, accurate or not, also probably be compared to Mirror’s Edge. It also means that any screenshots in the sequence are terribly blurry and mostly of Corvo’s arms scrabbling all over the tin rooftops. Corvo does do a leap from roof to roof which looks rather nice, and also gives a good view of the city’s smoggy filthiness.
As he travels, Corvo spots a guard on a balcony. There’s only one way that kind of thing should end.
However! Arkane has said that it is possible for players to get through the entire game without killing anyone, although it would be monumentally difficult. Still, this guy was really asking for it.
Slipping into the manor, Corvo fails to eavesdrop on a conversation between a noble and a guard. Not to be slowed down by this Corvo charges up his hand, and lets himself in.
But obviously, any game could give the player the power of the force. It’s what Corvo does next which is truly badass. Faced with two guards armed with guns and another with a sword, Corvo lazily stops time, moves out of the way of the bullets, and fires a round at each guard out of a very odd looking gun. Apparently Corvo only has a localized ability to move during a time freeze, as the bullets grind to a halt mid-air as they are fired from the gun. As time kicks back into motion, the guards are all killed simultaneously.
After Corvo slits the noble’s throat, a group of guards run in and Corvo uses yet another sweet ability, Blink, to rush out of the window…
… and straight into a pair of Tall Boys.
The trailer ends as Corvo shows down with the Tall Boys. Not much is known about Dishonored’s planned release. Several gameplay screenshots have been available on their website for a while, and do give a little insight as to what the game will look like and what types of weapons Corvo will have. The title will be on the Xbox 360, PS3, and PC, and a 2012 release is expected, but other than that, all the details are still pending.