The first Dishonored game released in 2012, and it introduced the world to the character Corvo Attano, the former protector of the queen who becomes an assassin with supernatural powers to clear his name, rescue the princess (and his daughter) Emily, and perhaps exact some revenge against a list of villainous characters. The game ended up winning over 100 Game of the Year awards and left a deep impression among fans, and the enthusiasm could be felt when the sequel was announced at E3 last year.

Harvey Smith, co-creative director at Arkane Studios took to the stage at Bethesda Softworks’ pre-E3 press conference to explain how Dishonored 2 not only lives up to the celebrated legacy of the first game, but goes far beyond by treating viewers to a first-look at its gameplay. Like the previous game, players will be taken to a steampunk city, and gameplay will blend combat, stealth and mobility to create a variety of different approaches for competing missions. However, the game takes place 15-years after the events of the first game, and players can choose between going through the adventure as Corvo or a grown-up Emily Caldwin, who has her own set of unique abilities. Both characters are fully voiced and offer a unique experience through the game.

The bulk of the game will take place in a city called Karnaca, The Jewel of the South, which has its distinct culture, architecture and feel. The developers made it a point of creating a layered world with an apparent history, like water marks where past floods reached, and old posters peeling from the walls. Smith presented a video showcasing the streets and citizens of Karnaca, and the world is described as a “painting in motion.” The video not only showcased the city streets and buildings, but the capabilities of the Void Engine, built specifically for to bring the world of Dishonored 2 to life.

Dishonored 2 also focuses heavily on the fate of Emily Caldwin, now the queen of Dunwall, and how the events from the previous game shaped her in becoming an adult. A short video established the relationship between the father—Corvo, who is now protector again—and daughter. Unfortunately, Emily’s rule is somewhat short-lived, as a usurper steals the throne from her. Players select a character and use their skills to unravel a conspiracy, embark on a number of unscripted missions, and take back their land.

There are many ways to eliminate targets, and Smith played another video that demonstrated many of Emily’s powers and tools needed to assassinate Vice Overseer Burn to gain favor with a local gang. Actions have consequences, and players are free to do whatever they choose, so they may side with either faction in a gang war, or neither. The gameplay demonstration showed off changing weather effects, like a sudden dust storm that limits the sight of both players and enemies. It also showed open-ended combat, which included sword fighting, guns, powers, and explosives to collapse the elements of the environment onto enemies. Smith noted that all of Emily and Corvo’s abilities could be fully upgraded with an all-new skill tree, which allows for deep customization.


Smith noted that the Dishonored experience is all about options and exploration. The player’s actions will shape Karnaca’s future, and they can complete missions however they want, at their own pace. Players can choose stealth or combat, lethal or non-lethal, methods to get the job done.

The gameplay demonstration finished with a mission called “A Crack in the Slab,” which demonstrates how missions are “built around big interesting themes.” In this case, players explore a ruined manor that has been sealed off for several years. It was wrecked by an occultist event, and the character’s supernatural powers won’t work within its walls. Even time behaves strangely, as players use a device to slip back-and-forth through time from the ruined present, to the past when the manor was lavish and inhabited.

Dishonored 2‘s presentation finished with a world premiere of a new trailer. Bethesda’s VP of PR & marketing concluded the pre-E3 event by announcing the Dishonored 2 Collector’s Edition, which will feature a replica of Corvo’s mask and Emily’s ring. Hines encouraged fans to act quickly, because if the Fallout 4 should be any kind of indication, these collector’s editions tend to sell out quickly. Furthermore, those that pre-order the game both at retail stores or digitally will receive a free copy of Dishonored Definitive Edition, which includes the original game and all its add-ons remastered for current consoles.

Dishonored 2 releases on November 11 for Xbox One, PlayStation 4 and PC.