Bethesda/Arkane Games’ Dishonored represents the official kickoff of what’s shaping to be a rather light triple-A gaming season. And thank Christ for that lightness, for two big reasons. One, after the 3 month logjam Fall/Winter 2011 turned into, the eternal question of what to throw money down for is answered a lot easier, with only the barest minimum of holes punched into walls, broken relationships, and Gamestop employee pre-order stranglings. Two, it means if your game’s not a sequel, or god damned Call of Duty, enticing players into the world you’re creating is less an objective akin to trying to sell Amway products in Wall of Death during a Cannibal Corpse show, more of an art project unveiling in Soho; a chilled-out, deliberate act.
In Dishonored‘s case, that comparison might be literal, as the deliberation has resulted in three GORGEOUS short-but-sweet animated webisodes, collectively known as Tales From Dunwall. If we’d just gotten more cutscene trailers, crafted out of the gorgeous in-game engine, and if they had the same strong campfire narration by Chloe Moretz, I’d still be sold, but Bethesda went the extra mile and teamed up with ad firm Psyop, who managed to turn the Black-Plague-Steampunk aesthetic into a moody, abstract, hand-drawn, psychofuck dreamworld. It’s beautiful and haunting and sad and more than a little creepy, and I’m pissed there isn’t another 12 hours of it.
Either way, all three episodes are embedded below. The first, “The Awakening”, shows the beginnings of Dunwall’s industrial-supernatural revolution, and the horror of its downfall. The second, “The Hand That Feeds” tells the story of a city boy approached by a force called The Outsider, and given monstrous powers. The third introduces Piero, Brad Dourif’s Q-like character, and the exploit of his genius.
I’m lucky enough to be playing this in less than 24 hours. Look for the review as soon as capable. October 9th for the rest of you. Until then, feast your eyes.