Header image courtesy SyanArt.
Here’s what we know:
1. Bethesda has a press conference planned for E3 2015, on June 14. This will be the first-ever E3 conference for Bethesda.
3. Dishonored sold very well, and has been referred to favorably by Bethesda as “a new franchise,” so a sequel at some point is likely.
And…that’s about it, as far as the actual facts about Dishonored 2 go. It will probably happen at some point, and an announcement at Bethesda’s first-ever E3 press conference would make sense, but as of now we’re not sure.
With all that said, the first Dishonored was a fantastic game, and I, like most fans of the title, have given a lot of thought to what I want out of a sequel. I’ve come up with five things that I think are important to make a hypothetical Dishonored 2 a worthy successor to the first title.
1. A slight change of scenery
Dishonored’s grim Victorian-era feel was a breath of fresh air. It wasn’t set in medieval times, it wasn’t a modern military shooter, and the world felt grounded and real while still embracing touches of the fantastic.
That said, we saw a LOT of the city of Dunwall in Dishonored and the subsequent DLC. Players explored the city from plague-infested sewers all the way to the heights of luxury. Fans have devoured the game’s lore and hunted the world for secrets which fill in more details of Dunwall while also offering tantalizing glimpses of the world beyond.
As entertaining as Dunwall was, I’d like to see Dishonored 2 leave it behind. Some of the dubious “leaks” regarding the sequel have referred to the Isle of Tyvia as a possible setting, and that sounds just right to me. Tyvia is an icy island to the north of Dunwall that’s referenced numerous times in Dishonored, with its own distinct culture, appearance, and locales. Setting the sequel in Tyvia would allow Dishonored 2 to avoid feeling like a retread of the original while still carrying over elements that were important to the first game, such as technology levels, whaling, and mythology.
2. More moral grey areas
Dishonored is set in a conflicted, morally complex world in which “good” and “evil” are eschewed in favor of an ongoing measurement of “Chaos.” As the main character, if you choose to kill a lot of the people you come across (many of whom will be your enemies), you’ll be contributing to an increase in Chaos in the world. High levels of Chaos change the way later missions play out and determine which ending you get.
While the ultimate endings of Dishonored felt a bit too much like “good” and “evil” for me, the use of Chaos in place of good/evil morality was, for the most part, a big success. It provided an incentive to take the often more difficult option of attempting to leave human guards alive (after all, they are only following their orders to kill the man they believe killed their empress) while still allowing for the player to try out more lethal options without feeling as though they were necessarily taking the “wrong” path.
One of the touches of genius in Dishonored is that the non-lethal options you have for dealing with some of the game’s main villains often don’t feel much better than assassination — and sometimes, as is the case with Lady Boyle, they are nightmares. Your non-lethal methods are devious and life-ruining, and with Lady Boyle you deliver the unconscious noble into the clutches of a man who claims to love her. He then takes her away, and she’s never heard from again. It’s chilling, to say the least.
For Dishonored 2 to live up to the high standards of the first title, it should embrace this kind of moral ambiguity. Whether Chaos returns as the underlying metric or whether something even vaguer is used to measure player actions, the further Dishonored 2 moves from clear good and evil the better it will be.
3. A variety of solutions to problems
Many games claim to allow you to “play your own way,” but few are as successful at it as Dishonored. Aside from the Chaos choice discussed previously, the Outsider-granted abilities you can unlock and upgrade over the course of the game enable dramatically different play-styles.
Even within the big choice of “stealth vs. aggression,” you have options. Do you achieve stealth by teleporting from shadow to shadow? Or maybe freezing time and rushing across crowded rooms? Or maybe you like to possess guards and have them walk away and leave you in peace? And your choices for a lethal playthrough are even more varied, involving swarms of rats, deadly projectiles, and bloody melee combat.
Missions in Dishonored place you on large maps, tell you your objective, and then set you free to figure out how to achieve it yourself. Dishonored 2 should do the same thing with larger, more complex maps and even more choices about how to proceed.
Of all the weapons and supernatural abilities in Dishonored, none is more important to the feeling of the game than Blink. It’s the first ability your character gets after being marked by the Outsider, and as such it’s one of the few abilities that everyone who plays has access to, regardless of their later choices. Levels in Dishonored are constructed with Blink in mind, and would often be difficult or impossible to complete without it.
By the end of Dishonored, the use of Blink becomes second nature for many players. The DLC expansion The Knife of Dunwall explored a variant form of the ability, in which Daud’s Blink stops time while he’s aiming it, allowing for interesting mobility shenanigans. Regardless of which form Blink takes in Dishonored 2, it just wouldn’t feel like a proper sequel without it.
5. More awesome songs
Okay, so this one isn’t technically essential, but it sure would be shame if we don’t get a follow-up to Drunken Whaler to go along with Dishonored 2.
While we all wait for official news on a Dishonored sequel, I hope you’ll join me by listening to this song for a full ten hours.[embedvideo id=”rUoYytrvvgs” website=”youtube”]
What do you want to see in Dishonored 2? Let us know in the comments…but please watch the whole video above first!