Gamescom 2011: Dishonored preview

Gamescom 2011

In Dishonored, you will play as Corvos, a former bodyguard to the Empress until her murder was blamed on you. Arrested and detained, you decided that you’re better off righting the wrongs caused here and escape to freedom. Now, you’re hungry for information. You desire to track down Lord Regent who framed you for the murder, and turn to assassination to help you dig deep into the seedy underbelly of the city of Dunwall and find your prey.

The gameplay presented to us showed a full single mission: Corvos was tasked with entering an alms-house that was being used to cover an illegal operation, retrieve some documents and escape. How one goes about those goals is entirely up to the player, and each mission in this free-roaming game will allow you to move and fight in any way you desire. Many buildings in the game world can be accessed in more than one way, and we were told that the central building in the mission – the alms-house itself – had five different point of entry.

As Corvos made his way through the city, we saw a mix of visual styles, architecture and fashion. Our Bethesda host described the world as loosely based on London 1665/6 during the Great Plague, but with a couple of twists. The game features a mixture of future tech, supernatural powers, nods to steampunk aesthetics, and the contrasting aristocracy and disease-stricken lower class citizens found during this time period. Corvos carries a deadly blade and a high-powered pistol that looks like a flintlock with energy pulsing through it. So-called Light Gates refuse access to certain areas for those not permitted by electrocuting them, but Corvos can learn the ability to hack the gates to turn them against the guards, or simply remove the battery that powers each gate, which he does so to enter the restricted area. Corvos will also need to steal access keys for certain rooms that he can’t otherwise get into. To do this, he’ll have to stalk and either kill or incapacitate the guard carrying the right key, and then stash the body or risk alerting the other guards. If any of this sounds familiar, it’s because Harvey Smith, who has worked on Thief: Deadly Shadows, is one of the lead designers on Dishonored.

With the developers of Arx Fatalis and Dark Messiah of Might & Magic behind the wheel, you can expect plenty of swordplay in Dishonored. Corvos can parry enemy blows and counter-attack with his knife, or fire off a pistol or crossbow shot with his left hand, as well as equip a number of combat- and non-combat-focused spells. A few of the available spells are Blink, a short-range teleporter; Windblast, which might as well be called Force Blast; Bend Time, which freezes enemies in time; and Devouring Swarm, which summons a pack of ravenous rats.

While we didn’t get to see all that much of the game, what was shown to us is enough to spark intrigue. We’ll definitely keep an eye out for more information or, ideally, a hands-on opportunity at a later date, and when we do, rest assured that we’ll let you know all about it.