Arkane Devs Reveal Dishonored was Originally Set in Feudal Japan

At GDC Arkane talked about some of the changes they went through when making Dishonored.

by on 29th Mar, 2013

At a Games Developer Conference panel Dishonored's co-creative directors Harvey Smith and Raphael Colantonio along with art director Sebastien Mitton spoke about the changes that were made during the game's development as reported by GameSpot. 

Perhaps most surprisingly Dishonored was originally set, or least intended to be inspired by, Feudal Japan.

"We felt that Japan wasn't good for us, because we don't know this culture as Europeans," Mitton commented. Arkane have studios in France and Texas.

"So we wanted to move the setting to London. We decided to use London because this is a city that Europeans and Americans know very well," he continued.

Of course, Dishonored doesn't take place in London but rather the fictional city of Dunwall.

"I wanted to base my research on 1666," the year of the plague and Great Fire of London, Mitton revealed. "But then we slowly shifted to the 20th century. It's not that we moved to the 20th century. We created a gap between the two periods and mixed them up to create a kind of science fiction." 

Smith also spoke about how the significance of player choice was expanded and made more obvious as development continued.

"We started out super subtle," Smith noted. "The earliest versions of magic in the game were like, you gesture from a dark corner and down the street a candle goes out and it has some consequences. And by the end it was like, lightning bolt!" 

However, some of Corvo's powers were too strong and threw off Dishonored's balance, leading to them being cut. At one point players could pick up any object in the game world and combine it with their powers leading to choactic gameplay.

"There were moments where you could pick up an object, stop time, and throw the object in the world," Smith said. "And people were doing things like throwing several objects in the world and then hopping on them to get higher." 

In the end Arkane decided to balance out the powers to perserve the open nature of the game design.

Bethesda, Dishonored's publisher, have previously said sales of the game were "exceeding expectations" and that it was "clearly a new franchise."   

Next month sees the arrival of Dishonored's story based DLC, The Knife of Dunwall, on April 16th. 

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