The DNA of Dishonored
Five games/series that reflect the heritage and influences of Dishonored
BioShock is a game known for many things, chiefly its narrative. Of course, we don’t know enough about Dishonored yet to evaluate its narrative structure, and that’s perfectly fine. No designer or publisher wants spoilers flooding the internet months before a game is released, so it’s understandable that our knowledge has been limited, but there is enough information floating around to show some commonalities between these two titles.
A majority of the narrative in BioShock was relayed using audio tapes found in the environment, listening to announcements made over the PA system, and reading propaganda posted in the walls of Rapture. Dishonored also seeks to use the environment to tell the history and lore of its locale as well as using notes, NPC conversations, and political mouthpieces. As in BioShock, it’s completely possible for the player to ignore all these messages and just play the game, and it requires active searching to actually discover all these plot devices. For those of us looking for meaning and depth in our games, the resulting immersion is well worth a little extra effort.
BioShock did some other fantastic things besides tell an amazing story; it of course gave you some amazing superpowers and a unique playground to use them in.
It’s already well known that Corvo will be given some pretty crazy abilities in Dishonored, but that’s nothing new. Power ups granting superhuman abilities have been around long before even Mario was using mushrooms and flowers to double his size and shoot fireballs from his hands. What BioShock did differently was allow the user to use these powers with the environment to accomplish some crazy things. Say you’re at the end of a hallway with a half dozen angry denizens of Rapture charging toward you. What do you do? Seeing a convenient oil slick in front of you, you wait for a few of your opponents to set foot in it, then light it up with your ignite ability. The three or four that survive see the wall of fire and take an alternate route through an adjacent room that will bring them directly behind you. Normally, this would be a cause for panic, but you realize that you’ve hacked the security camera in that zone already, and only a single survivor emerges, followed closely by a security drone summoned by the camera. You take a few steps backward and allow the bot to finish off the last of your enemies, surviving the encounter without firing a single shot.
It doesn’t take a wild imagination to find the common ground here. We’ve already seen some of the crazy things Corvo’s powers allow him to do. One popular story is how a player surprised the developers during play testing as he was being fired upon by a guard. In response to the assault, he used the time freeze ability to stop the projectile in midair, then possessed the guard, and then positioned him in front of his own bullet before releasing the time freeze, causing the guard to indirectly die by his own hand. That’s not all, there’s potentially hundreds of ways to use your supernatural abilities in any given situation, just watch the trailer we posted not too long ago.