If you’re hunting for your next Dishonored fix after finishing Dishonored 2, you’re in luck. This month Arkane are launching standalone title Dishonored: Death of the Outsider.
Dishonored‘s dystopian, clockwork future set a new benchmark for sandbox adventure games, with players given the chance to embody Corvo Attano (or Emily Kaldwin in the sequel) and use supernatural abilities to take down those hoping to overthrow the government.
In Dishonored: Death of the Outsider, you’ll play as Billie Lurk, whom you’ll recognise from Dishonored 1’s DLC and – spoiler alert – as Megan Foster in Dishonored 2. According to Dinga Bakaba, lead designer (game design) on Dishonored: Death of the Outsider, Billie was the most popular character for a new story.
“I think that we liked this character the most because she’s a recurring character to the series,” Bakaba told us in a recent Skype interview. “We introduced her in the DLC for Dishonored as Billie, and she came back in Dishonored 2 as Megan, with a different persona, and I think she’s well equipped with the themes of the Dishonored games. She’s a character who did something wrong, and now has a heavy conscience as a result. That was her character arc in Dishonored 2, but we like the idea that in this game, DOTO, who she is is really coming to the surface. She can’t put her personality aside for much longer, and now she’s on what we see as more of a personal quest. We like the character, we like her themes, and in DOTO we just wanted to explore another badass character from the franchise.”
Bakaba outlined three of Billie’s powers; Foresight, Displace, and Semblance. Foresight allows you to leave your body in a kind of astral projection and explore the area around you. Displace is similar to Far Reach and Blink of the older games, in that Billie drops a marker and can teleport there later. And Semblance allows you to take on the appearance of someone else and walk around like them.
If these three aren’t enough for you, and you find yourself missing Emily and Corvos’ abilities, finishing DOTO will open up what the devs are calling “Old Game Plus”. Essentially, you restart Death of the Outsider with older powers.
“The deal is that, basically, those three new powers you get with Billie are replaced by three returning powers from Dishonored 2; I think two from Emily, and one from Corvo, if I’m not mistaken,” said Bakaba, who also noted the struggles with the new system in DOTO, as Billie is not marked by the Outsider and her powers work a little differently.
“There was a little bit of a thought that had to go into it first to make the powers compliant with the new energy system, and also the upgrades to powers are a little bit different. In general it was pretty straightforward, but also pretty fun for us. There would be times in DOTO when you find yourself missing being able to use Blink or Domino, and you wonder what you would be able to do if you had those powers in the game, so we made a mode for that.”
Of course, having these new powers in your second run-through would make designing the levels particularly interesting.
“There are two ways to look at it,” offered Bakaba. “There is the normal way, because you might think ‘oh, it makes things more complicated because you have to look at things like, what happens if they have this power here?’ and make sure the levels are fun with both sets of powers. Then there is the Arkane way to look at it, which is that it’s always way easier than what we did on Dishonored 2, where we had tones of powers for both characters.
“So, in a way, I would say it was totally manageable because we were used to something way more difficult. We just go about it very pragmatically, and make sure that the metrics for all the new powers are the same, and that there isn’t a situation that you can break a story scene or something if you use a certain ability. It’s a mix of being careful from the get go, plan for anything that might happen, and also be reactive when something arrives, because we’re not perfect, and we can’t imagine everything. I have to say in general, it’s a fun process; to work with a set of tools like that that have the ability to surprise us every now and then.”