Monday, 8 October 2012

But I Digress | Honouring Dishonored

Little people remain the largest market for video games, so you'd think the summer holidays would be packed full of new releases to make the most of a captive audience of kiddies.

But no. This is not the case now, nor has it ever been — more's the pity. Instead, every summer, the industry suffers from what amounts to a drought. Nothing of note happens for a number of months. Summer is the season throughout which I wonder whether it's worth keeping up my subscription to LoveFilm; I replay games as rarely as I reread books, which is to say almost never, so I tend to rent rather than buy outright.

Invariably, though, there's an array of older releases to catch up on that make the holidays tolerable, and to a certain extent gamers have become conditioned to this period of listlessness. We look to downloadable titles for quick fixes. We go back to Battlefield 3 or some other multiplayer game, or revisit a few single-player favourites.

But mostly... we wait. We wait for the flood of new releases unleashed every autumn. And as of today, I think it's safe to say we're almost underwater.

I mean, crikey, I'm already behind! I've been keeping busy with Darksiders 2, Mark of the Ninja and Tales of Graces f, but I've already got copies of Borderlands 2 and the new Resident Evil in my queue, both of which look to be exhausting, 30+ hour affairs.

And there's so much more to look forward to! In the next six weeks alone, Halo 4, Assassin's Creed 3, X-COM: Enemy Unknown, Criterion's Need for Speed: Most Wanted, Far Cry 3 and Hitman: Absolution are all set to be released. Beyond that, the list goes on, and on, and on.

And on.

It doesn't, for instance, include the game I'm most excited to play this autumn. No prizes for guessing that I'm talking - and about time too - about Dishonored.

In case you're wondering why, let me clarify. Dishonored represents something none of the autumn's other contenders can: it's an original IP. A new experience. And there have been precious few of these in recent years. To purloin a semi-famous phrase, everything is a remix — a remake, a re-imagining, a straight sequel or a sequel to a sidequel. Or something.

On which note, go watch these videos. You simply must see and hear Kirby Ferguson's thesis.

To wit, Dishonored too takes its inspiration from any number of previous games. The project leads have been variously involved in Deus Ex, Half-Life 2 and the Thief series. In Dishonored they're evolving several of the systems they created in the first place; unifying a diverse spread of mechanics into a single, story-driven specimen.

In itself, all this is enough to make me moist.

But you know what really excites me about Dishonored? Well, I've been watching the developer diaries, and original IP it may be, but I'm getting a right Bioshock vibe from the footage — and I've adored no game this generation as much as I did and I do Irrational's last. From the propaganda posters to the way the player's powers can be combined in different ways in different situations: thus the way is paved for some experiential uniqueness, at least.

It's not a lot to go on, no, but if I'm right, we might well be talking about Dishonored again in a couple of months, when it comes time to pick our favourite games of the year.

It's coming out tomorrow for PC, PS3 and Xbox 360 in North America, and on Friday in European territories and the UK. I'll be waiting; indeed, antici... pating. Will you?


  1. Well, Arkane did the design/art for Bioshock(2?) so that's where the similarities come from, I think.

    Been looking forward to this for a while though, Arkane did an amazing job with Dark Mesiah, so I'm hoping this lives up to my hype. The only negative here is that it comes out on the same day as XCOM, with Unfinished Swan coming out next week...and then there's nothing interesting till Revengeance in February :/ Looks like I won't be getting myself rid of my DOTA 2 addiction anytime soon.

    1. You make a good point about the art and design direction; I hadn't realised Arkane had anything to do with the Bioshock series.

      And Unfinished Swan looks amazing! I only wish it had come out over the summer, when I had more time to play, and fewer games on the slate.

      But I have to ask: nothing interesting till Revengeance? I'd have figured you for a Hitman man, Severian. Plus there's the Prepare to Die edition of Dark Souls...

    2. Oh, Dark Souls PTD was a day 1 purchase for me on the PC. It's a crap port, but with the DSfix and the ability to run it at 1080p/60fps, it's the best version out there in my opinion. I do hate From for breaking my heart with the new content though...

      Hitman...I may buy it later, but I'll see what GAF makes of it first. Too many games like this end up as pure action shooters and what I've seen of it so far does not look promising to me. Luckily Dishonored is amazing as far as stealth goes and I hope Thief4 will be the same :)
      And looking at upcoming 2012 releases, I forgot about Hawken and The Banner Saga, but that's about it.

      Unfinished Swan does look amazing, yeah. PSN has some really good exlusives these days, with Journey earlier this year and Pupetteer/Rain coming out next year. Tokyo Jungle is fun too, completely insane.

      Have you played FTL yet? Think you'd like it.

    3. In terms of similarity with Bioshock there are also three elements important to consider: same engine, Steampunk-elements and gameplay.

  2. Meh, it's a Bethesda game. Which means it'll be great, but nearly unplayable at launch because of the bugs.

    I'll definitely play it, next summer. When they've had some time to patch things up.

    1. It's developed by Arkane, Bethesda is just the publisher. That's the reason I got interested in the game in the first place.

      And a couple of hours into the PC version I haven't had any technical issues yet.

    2. Spend enough time in the right (or wrong) corners of the internet and you'll hear this opinion often — and it's not hogwash. Not wholly. But allowances must be made, because Bethesda's games are typically epic endeavours that'd be essentially impossible to test as extensively as they need to be pre-release... and for all that there are usually a few issues in need of fixing out of the gate, I've played Oblivion, Fallout 3 and Skyrim at launch, and though they've all had problems, none have meaningfully impacted my experiences. I mean, who gives a fig if the occasional enemy clips? If a single quest objective in an open world of thousands becomes untenable because of some misfiring AI?

      But this is all beside the point. As Severian says, Dishonored is an Arkane game, not a Bethesda joint. Admittedly your powers are a little finicky - Blink in particular - but I'm several hours in and I've seen no technical hitches as yet.

  3. I haven't picked it up yet because I don't have time right now to get completely lost in a game world but I'm hoping to sometime this fall, and I suspect that when I do I will be well and truly lost indeed. I can't wait.