Last Word: Arkane on Dishonored

With Dishonored due to hit shelves tomorrow, we talk with Harvey Smith, Games Designer at Arkane Studios, about his thoughts on the title now it's finished and good to go.

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The city of Dunwall: mixing Victorian design with futuristic, alt-world tech.

Dishonored will be hitting stores soon. How does it feel?

Both I and the whole team are very excited. Although we've worked on games that have done well in the past, this is something special. The experience with Dishonored is unsurpassed.

I play the game myself all the time, on my Xbox 360 at home, and I'm very pleased with the responses I've received so far - although there'll be plenty more.

I've already, before I've even read the reviews, heard stories of people having a "cool experience". It pleases me immensely.

You have worked as the game designer and has been involved in many aspects of the game. What part of Dishonored are you most proud of?

It is honestly very difficult to choose. I really like the artistic style of Dunwall, and the special abilities Corvo gets. But I will only choose one detail: it's how to play the game by improvising. Both action enthusiast and those stealth players will be able to find their own solution to the game's missions.

The divide between the wealthy and the working class is emphasised heavily throughout the game.

What was your vision for the city Dunwall, and how did you do to create it?

I wish I could say that from day one had a great vision, but it evolved organically. We went to London and Edinburgh to do research, and studied the "blue collar" folks, road workers and so on. Initially, we hatched the idea to place the game in London in 1666, which seemed to be a very interesting time. This was the last year of the plague and the great fire was going on. We had no name for the city then, it was simply called 'The City'.

But we also took influences from the future, as well as the Victorian era - a time that is not so common in the game. We mixed eras, adjusted mythology and also added future parts in the game world. I remember I took a post-it note and wrote that Dishonored world belongs to another planet, an alternate reality, and showed it to the team.

Smith believes that the mixture of stealth and action is a big factor in the game's enjoyment.

What about influences from other games and other media?

There is a great deal. System Shock, Thief, Ultima Underworld and Deus Ex are all big influences. But we also looked at films like Anonymous, and Gangs of New York.

What do you want the players to bring from Dishonored after the credits have rolled?

There is a philosophy in the game that we all have forces from different parts of our lives, and it's up to you how to use them. It's actually really good advice in our real life too.

Besides that, I urge people to play Dishonored several times and try several styles. Eavesdrop on people around you and play with stealth capabilities. And have fun, of course!

You can read our review of Dishonored here.

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"Taken as a whole this is something rare: DLC that adds and builds on the experience in the main game, while still providing a storyline that works on its own."

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