Dishonored EP10: Extra-Strength Sokolov

By Shamus
on Mar 22, 2013
Filed under:
Spoiler Warning


Link (YouTube)

This season reminds me of Alan Wake. It’s a game that does a lot of things right, to the point where I feel guilty for not loving it. I do wonder if it sold well enough to warrant a sequel.

The odd thing about making a sequel is that they named this game after the events of the story. Your character is dishonored. So if they made a sequel, would they have you become dishonored AGAIN? Or would the game take on a new protagonist who is dishonored. By naming the franchise this way, they’ve sort of boxed themselves in to making games about people who lose their honor and must struggle to reclaim it. It’s like calling Max Payne “Guy Who Has His Family Murdered”. Great. Now do we kill them AGAIN in the sequel?

Worse, Corvo’s dishonoring is basically the least interesting or memorable aspect of this game. Looking back, we remember the setting, the plague, the corruption, the Victorian style, and the whale oil. It would be like if they named Half-Life 2 “Dystopian Train Station”.

And of course, I strongly suspect that they would make the typical bone-headed mistake of keeping the same stupid protagonist for subsequent titles. He’s completely devoid of character, so it’s not like we get the enjoyment of seeing the return of someone interesting. But they would feel obligated to shoehorn in a bunch of exposition to explain what happened in the first game. And this would leave us with a bad case of “John MccLane syndrome”, where multiple unrelated adventures all happen to the same guy, thus transforming what was originally supposed to be a quasi-relatable character into some sort of fate-driven superhuman. Of course, you could use the Outsider to justify this, but the Outsider is such a slice of stale dry toast that I can’t bear the thought of seeing him again.

My suggestion: Same world. New city. New protagonist. Keep the Outsider, but have him appear in a completely different form, with a different personality, and a different voice. (The Outsider appears in different forms to different people.) Wipe the slate clean. If needed, we could revisit Dunwall and (say) meet adult Queen Emily, but otherwise we can just make a clean break. Keep what works, throw out what doesn’t, and don’t let yourself get mired in an ever-growing sea of lore and backstory that will repel newcomers without bringing value to returning fans.

Videogame have steadfastly refused to do this, alas. But hey, at least we’ll get to keep that awesome iconic brown-haired white dude that makes the game so distinct.

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From the Archives:

  1. AncientSpark says:

    Well, Dishonored is getting some story DLC about a different protagonist, so *fingers crossed he’s more interesting*

  2. Artur CalDazar says:

    The Alan Wake season actually convinced me to buy the game. On sale, as part of a package deal GoG was offering, but still I paid money for it.

    I don’t see why they would stick to Corvo. Other than not needing to explain why the character has powers, but since the Outsider just gives the stuff away at a whim, that’s not a problem.

    • Sleeping Dragon says:

      Yeah, I may be putting too much faith in those devs but I think they are going to go with a new protagonist, not sure about new city but this seems likely, or if the same city than in a period not directly related to the events of the first game. I mean, I do hope they’ve noticed a lot of people said the world sounds really interesting but there’s little opportunity to explore the lore any deeper.

      Powers are pretty easy to explain, even if they don’t introduce any new ways of getting those and don’t want the protagonist to get them directly from Outsider judging by Daud’s little murder club it seems those who did receive the marks can teach or pass at least some of these abilities onto others.

  3. Let me be the first of many to say…

    It’s Ankh-Morpork!

    This admonishment brought to you by the Ankh-Morpork Guild of Merchants. VILIS AD BIS PRETII (Cheap At Twice The Price).

    • krellen says:

      Like Buda and Pest, Ankh and Morpork are two separate cities that have combined into one. Morpork was the seedier of the two.

      • If sir refers to the Shades, ‘a folklorique network of old alleys and picturesque streets, wherre exitement and romans lurke arounde everry corner and much may be heard the traditional street cries of old time also the laughing visages of the denuizens as they goe about their business private (you have been warned),’ then sir should call a shade the Shades.

    • Neon_Goggles says:

      Now I want to read those books again. The last time i went though the discworld books was about three years ago when i wrote an essay comparing Commander Vimes to Spider Jerusalem.
      They are actually very similar. But they would hate each other so much.

      • Approach the latest Vimes book, “Snuff,” with caution. Vimes becomes quite a Marty Stu character in this novel, in my opinion. He’s practically an invincible superhero, all-wise, untouchable, and barely under any threat.

        • Michael says:

          So, you know, completely unlike Spider Jerusalem for the last 30 or so issues. Spider only has the all-knowing thing combined with an ability to disrupt cause and effect so badly, that effect actually follows cause.

          Though, in all honesty, I really do love Transmet, it’s plot black hole at the end not withstanding.

          • True, but I mostly read Transmet for the dystopian dark humor. If Spider wasn’t being amusing or interesting, at least the setting was.

            I also went in figuring he was basically a kind of futuristic Uncle Duke/Hunter S. Thompson combined with Bugs Bunny: He’d be a bully, use all kinds of wacky things to deliver vengeance, and pop back into shape after having an anvil dropped on him.

            Vimes, however, is a cop that’s come through several near-death scrapes, and while used to being in the thick of things, was always portrayed as a mortal man. My disappointment with the most recent book is tempered by the fact that Pratchett isn’t himself lately, and if he wants to write a book where a favorite character deflects bullets with his stiff upper lip, so be it. It’s just not up to… wait for it… snuff.

        • MetalSeagull says:

          Thud was a superior book to end the watch series on, and I would rather have seen another book about different characters. But I admire his drive to continue writing. It’s such a sad fate, to have created a world and then to forget you ever did so.

  4. Syal says:

    Actually, the series could also go the direction of the antagonist being the dishonored one in the sequel, possibly with the assistance of the Outsider.

  5. newdarkcloud says:

    For the record, it IS possible to view collected audio-cards through Corvo’s journal. I don’t remember where exactly it is, but it is there.
    Of course, unless Corvo takes meticulous notes and records them all in his journal by hand, it doesn’t quite make sense to have that feature.

    Arcane had it clear in an interview that they had considered Thief style Shadow-mechanics, but felt that they ultimately didn’t jive with the world and didn’t make sense. Shadow still plays a factor, but a much smaller one than it does in Thief.

    Lastly, I think the developers also said that if they did a sequel, it would likely be in another nation or continent in this world they’ve created. Considering that Corvo never leaves Emily’s side in either of the two endings where she is alive, it’s likely that Corvo won’t be returning for the sequel.
    Since the game sold better than Bethesda expected, we can also likely expect a sequel or another game set in this world.

    • Daemian_Lucifer says:

      Isnt there a part of your pause screen where you can read all the collected notes and audio logs(after the inventory and skills)?Though I dont remember if you have to listen to those while in that meny,or if you can just close it and have it play while doing something else.

      Also,this is finally Chris leading the group astray by mentioning something about the game that is not true.So great job on becoming a complete part of the gang,Chris.

  6. Chris says:

    That Halo game no longer really involves Halos at this point. They were barely in 2/3, and by 4 they’re almost nonexistent.

    That Tomb Raider game no longer really has you raiding tombs.

    There’s also the classically oxymoronic Final Fantasy franchise.

    Quake quickly stopped making sense as a name, mostly because it never really made sense to begin with. Shub Niggurath is the main villain, and Quake was the realm she came from? One of the realms? A dimension? Maybe a parallel universe? From beyond the stars? It’s not really made clear and it doesn’t matter because the sequel was all about shooting Stroggs with Strogg guns on planet Stroggos anyways.

    • I’m still upset there was ever a Final Fantasy 2.

      • newdarkcloud says:

        There’s not just a 2, there’s a 10-2.

        • burningdragoon says:

          and soon to be a 13-3. Which even Squeenix must have realized how dumb that sounds, since they’re giving it a slightly more interesting name.

          • Daemian_Lucifer says:

            Seriously,why are they doing this?Final fantasy was defined by it being a completely new story,setting and gameplay in every new iteration,so why are they breaking the mold with these?If they want to give something to the fans,then give them spin offs,but keep the core series unique.*sigh*

            • Klay F. says:

              Why? Because the Japanese fan love Final Fantasy XIII. Squeenix got it into their heads that Lightning is the most popular FF protagonist because in Japan, she kind of is. Its just a classic case of Squeenix not giving two shits about anyone outside of Japan. Its like we’re back in the 90s.

              • Lame Duck says:

                Also, it means they can re-use assets to keep costs down.

                • Thomas says:

                  I imagine they’re looking at the Assassins Creed franchise and dreaming about the money they can make if they don’t have to redesign everything every 5 years.

                  I actually don’t mind (if it makes them more money) on two provisos

                  1) There will be a 15 that is completely different and a 16,17 etc which is being developed simultaneously with -2-3’s

                  2) They make the main franchise entry complete. I’m terrified they’re going to start ending first entries with to be continued’s

            • The Rocketeer says:

              The way I heard it, they broke the bank making the Fabula Nova Crystalis engine, which they then realized was practically useless. It can only be used to make FFXIII, or games very, very similar to it, without a near-total rebuild.

              But since FFXIII is making them a heap of money, especially considering that they’re still recovering from the failure of FFXIV, that’s exactly what they’re doing, and they’d be fools to do otherwise.

              I no longer have the kind of investment in Final Fantasy necessary to be more than annoyed by it, but I do hope that that heap of money they’re making goes toward something worthwhile, and that they learned some sort of lesson from the disastrous development cycles of XII and XIII.

              • Klay F. says:

                All of this makes it even more mystifying that they were so eager to push Versus-XIII by the wayside. Even now, its like they are pretending it doesn’t even exist, and the only time they even acknowledge it is when fans get pissed off. Its well on its way to becoming the Half-Life 3 of Japan.

                • The Rocketeer says:

                  Versus was being developed with a different engine. It’s likely that they never could adapt the FNC (Female Ninja Cloud) engine to the gameplay they wanted from Versus, and then decided against building something to accommodate Versus, for any number of reasons.

                  What confuses me is that they decided never to release FFXIII Type-0 outside of Japan, despite its great reviews.

                  • Klay F. says:

                    Huh, are you sure? I’m not doubting you or anything, but why the hell would they even bother making Versus a part of the Fabula Nova thing in the first place? It already has nothing to do with XIII anyway besides crystals, at which point it could just as easily be a spinoff of Crystal Chronicles.

                    • The Rocketeer says:

                      It seems that way. Originally, they said all they were using the Fabula Nova Crystalis (or ‘Crystal Tools’) engine. Then after a while, people speculated that they would use the Unreal 3 engine, which they’d just licensed from Epic. That turned out to be untrue, but then they said they were using a new proprietary engine for the lighting system. THEN they said they would keep the FaNC-E and the new lighting engine for the visuals, and work the gameplay with a THIRD, as-yet-unnamed, likely proprietary engine.

                      In other words, development is a goddamn mess. Square has never been the greatest bunch of coders. They DELIBERATELY chose not to document the FaNC-E, since they “didn’t plan on licensing it.” Yup.

                      Some folks have said that, if anything, it will end up coming out for PS4, but of course S-E hasn’t said anything. It looks like they’re between a rock and a hard place now. Not to put too fine a point upon it, S-E just doesn’t have the code chops to ably port the existing work to a new platform without starting over, but at this rate, if it ever came out for PS3, it would seem like a throwback in more ways than one.

                      This is sort of a non-sequitur, but… in Sleeping Dogs, there’s a Square-Enix costume pack, featuring the regalia of such classic Square and Enix heroes as *drumroll* Agent 47, Adam Jensen, and Rico Rodriguez.

                  • newdarkcloud says:

                    Considering that the Crystal Tools engine is making Lightning Returns, and it’s reported to have real time dynamic gameplay (like a combination of FF XIII and Kingdom Hearts) plus full exploration around towns and such, I have trouble believing this.

                    • The Rocketeer says:

                      Well I’ve got a more detailed comment in moderation, but according to S-E, they started with the Crystal Tools engine, added an additional engine for lighting, and then a third new engine to take over the actual gameplay, with Crystal Tools still on board to handle the graphics.

                      The man himself says so.

                      So yeah, it is, or was, a three-engine project. Funny thing is, the gameplay engine was devised to handle Versus’ more “action-oriented” combat, which I thought was how they were spinning FFXIII’s combat.

    • Lame Duck says:

      SimCity has also retained it’s name, despite the fact that it’s no longer really simulating a city.

    • Sleeping Dragon says:

      In the 2008 Prince of Persia game the protagonist is not a prince… maybe a prince of irresponsible jackasses? (Actually… was he a prince in the first game? I think he was in love with the princess but that’s about as much as I can remember about the topic…)

      The Dawn of War games are set in a W40k universe where the war has been ongoing for at least some ten thousand year.

      The last release in the SimCity series not only has very little “city” in it right now but the “sim” aspect also seems to be lacking. As covered extensively in the last podcast. (Lame Duck beat me to it)

      And all of this without even getting close to all the odd JRPG titles…

      • Alex says:

        “The Dawn of War games are set in a W40k universe where the war has been ongoing for at least some ten thousand year.”

        Yes, but they’re all taking place in the 41st Millenium. It’s not called “Warhammer 30,000” just because that’s when the war started.

    • Kell says:

      Quake would have made sense as the title if the game had conformed to John Romero’s original design i.e. Quake was the player-character thus named for wielding a massive warhammer. That grew in size with each enemy slain. Dr Freud, paging Dr Freud! I’m glad that never came to pass.

      In the fanfic-ish premise that made it into the final game, “quake” was the codename for whatever Lovecraftian entity was sending minions through the slipgates to Earth. Maybe Shub. Maybe another boss monster. Who cares?

      I like that “Quake” simply came to be the anonymous, rather oblique name for an anonymous quodlibet game experience defined by its mechanics, instead of premise or cutscenes or hype. I think the similarity of that experience made the name appropriate for Quake 3. But Quake 2 and Quake 4 ( or Quake 2 II more accurately ) weren’t similar enough to justify the name IMO. id just used the name for those games because of brand recognition.

    • Neon_Goggles says:

      Apparently Final Fantasy is called that because the main game designer had made mostly flops at this point. So he called it final fantasy as if it did not sell well he would quit the games industry and go back to collage.

      But as everybody knows it sold well. Really well.

    • I don’t want to ruin the punchline, but this IM exchange about Tomb Raider is relevant and worth a chuckle.

    • Johan says:

      Saints Row no longer takes place anywhere near the Row (though it still has the Saints so that’s something)

    • Zekiel says:

      And one of my favourite games of all time, Baldur’s Gate 2, has nothing whatsoever to do with the city of Baldur’s Gate.

      In fact even the first Baldur’s Gate is somewhat oddly named. The story isn’t really about the city at all – it’s just where it happens to be set.

      :-) Pleased that I got to reference Baldur’s Gate for once. Am always sad it doesn’t get more mentions.

  7. Nano Proksee says:

    Damn it. I want to play that sequel now.

  8. Paul Spooner says:

    0:40 So, was this whole first section “unplanned” in the worst possible sense? … or perhaps… the best possible sense? When does it get back on track? Does it ever?

    12:50 You know… you could reconstruct that surface and lighting without much trouble in Blender. Just sayin.

    17:20 Here we see what happens when both the player and the character are sloshed.

    18:45 So, the game would be better sans out-of-place narrative? Mmm, good point.

  9. Alex says:

    Die Hard works fine for the first three movies, because it takes the Goldfinger quote (“Once is happenstance. Twice is coincidence. Three times is enemy action.”) to heart. One guy happening to be in the vicinity of two different terrorist attacks isn’t objectionable to me. The third one drops the idea that it is a coincidence and makes it a deliberate choice by the villain to screw with someone who has personally wronged him.

    • Sleeping Dragon says:

      So here’s a fun thing about Die Hard and artifact titles, when they were showing the first movie here they had a problem coming up with a translation for the title. Also, the kind of building we see in the movie was something you didn’t really see here at that time, even in the biggest cities, so we ended up with “Glass Trap”, and it’s not some kind of idiom or anything, it literally means “a trap made of glass.” Because the building is sorta made of glass… and people are trapped inside, right? Well then the sequels came.

      • False Prophet says:

        Now imagine the first Die Hard had kept the title of the book it was adapting: Nothing Lasts Forever. By the 4th film, they’d be calling it Nothing Lasts Forever: Except This Movie Franchise.

    • False Prophet says:

      Funnily enough, I can point to the exact moment the Die Hard franchise switches from “working class cop who snarks his way through terrorist machinations” to “indestructible superhero”–it’s about halfway through the third film, when McClane is fired 50 ft into the air by a waterspout, but is fine.

      Interestingly, none of the first four Die Hard scripts were intended to be made as Die Hard films. The first two were adaptations of pot-boiler novels, the latter two were unrelated scripts just lying around Hollywood, and John McClane was forced into all of them. Only the 5th film has an original script, and though I haven’t seen it, it’s apparently the worst one yet.

  10. Irridium says:

    “I do wonder if it sold well enough to warrant a sequel.”

    It did. Though Bethesda didn’t specifically say “it’ll be a sequel”, but it did exceed sales expectations and sold very well, so a sequel is all but confirmed, really.

  11. Kell says:

    “Keep what works, throw out what doesn’t, and don’t let yourself get mired in an ever-growing sea of lore and backstory”

    This is what I think Arenanet should have done for Guild Wars 2. Keep the elements that work – the environments, the major races, the type of monsters, the stylisation – but invent a new world to put them in. The world map in particular could have done with being scrapped. But nerd culture is besotted with the notion of ‘lore’. Barf.

    “at least we’ll get to keep that awesome iconic brown-haired white dude that makes the game so distinct.”

    This is too depressing to be funny.

    • Sleeping Dragon says:

      See, I for one love settings (Morrowind) with deep (Morrowind), interesting lore (Morrowind) that goes beyond the bare bones necessities needed to set up the plot (Morrowind), for example the way it was handled in Morrowind.

      But I don’t have a problem with people building on the mechanical side of a game to create another game with a completely different lore. For that matter I much prefer it to “expanding” on the lore of previous instalments in a series by making them more and more generic, as seems to be the case with TES.

      On the gripping hand if you want to reject the old lore than just make a new game rather than try to have your cake and eat it by “rebooting” the world only to retell 90% of the lore as if it’s a new thing while making a different game mechanically.

      Okay, I’m starting to rant so I’ll just go over there and be quiet.

  12. Neon_Goggles says:

    I also have a very Oh god not this part all the time when i’m playing Half Life 2. I kind of look at the icon on steam go “I think i remember this being Fun” And start playing it. It then comes to me how much i hate every part besides the opening sequence until you get the crowbar and the parts with the car on the beach. And then i stop playing.

    Also MGS3 is the only good Metal Gear Solid game.

    • Thomas says:

      MGS3 has the slowest start, backloads almost all the story to the extent that half of it takes place within the final cutscene (basically), has a sneaking system that involves going through multiple menus when you move from a grassy area across a stony area, had two very weak bosses, unmemorable support teams and generally variated in gameplay the least of all the games in the series. And contained no Metal Gears

      This is said without giving clue to how I rank the MGS games

      • StashAugustine says:

        Snake Eater is the only MGS I’ve played, but I loved it. Plot takes forever to pick up, but that last couple hours is just solid gold.

        • Thomas says:

          I love it completely, I wanted to play devils advocate to it though =D

          Unsure if it’s my favourite. It’s between 3 and 4, of the 2 my favourite boss fights are The End, The Boss, The Sorrow, Liquid Ocelot, Octupus and, of course, the ladders.

          So 3 wins that. But 4 has slightly better gameplay, better overall pacing but worse in cutscene pacing and a more complex (which is bad) story but good in retrospect.

          It’s really close I think 4 is my favourite overall but if half of the beginning of MGS3 was cut out and slimmed down, 3 would get it easily

      • The Rocketeer says:

        Hey now! I have a major bone to pick with this.

        Only two weak bosses? *badum-tish!*

  13. SgtRalph says:

    Fastest way to get at that first rune is just to shoot the door open, although then we would’ve missed all the fumbling around to get it and that’d be no fun. Incidentally I’ve found this to be the best way to handle Piero’s spying as well which is seen in the next mission I believe. Scold him then blow the door apart and ask to join Callista before telling her what Piero was doing and leaving.

  14. Brandon says:

    I agree that the exposition really drags this game down, but I have to wonder: Do you guys think this game would have been better if they had LESS exposition, and therefore let it stand entirely on its gameplay, or if it just needs to use the exposition time to tell a better story?

    Which would you prefer to see, and why?

    • Paul Spooner says:

      Assuming you’re asking all commentors and not just the show hosts:
      I would be very happy to see games with less story and more play. Yes, story can produce a powerful emotional connection with the audience. And yes, authored stories are often more coherent and meaningful than emergent game-play narrative. But, linear stories written in advance offer these benefits in direct proportion to the degree that they take control away from the player. Story and agency, as we understand them today anyhow, are in direct conflict.

      • newdarkcloud says:

        I love that Dishonored focused more on the level and world design than the actual story. Yeah, the story is nonsense and predictable, but it serves as an adequate enough framing device and I didn’t really care how nonsense the story was as I was gleefully sneaking and later stabbing my way through the levels.

  15. Sabrdance (MatthewH) says:

    Recalling that I still haven’t got past the Regent, this was my favorite of the first 5 levels.

    I was shocked at how fast the game rescues Emily, and then I was somewhat disappointed how little Corvo interacts with her. I kept going to her tower and wanting to talk, or something -and it never happened. I kept getting books and audiologs.

    Why bother having this seemingly great relationship if you aren’t going to do anything with it?

  16. Daemian_Lucifer says:

    Man that handshake is jarring.Who tilts their whole head to look at their hand while shaking hands with someone?Its just so weird.Like you would expect a junkie in a movie to react “Whoa,dude!We are like,shaking hands and stuff!And they are huuuugeee!”.

  17. Daemian_Lucifer says:

    “(The Outsider appears in different forms to different people.)”

    So thats why he is so bland in this game.He is simply mirroring corvos personality.

  18. Daemian_Lucifer says:

    While it is nice to have the next game in the franchise deviate from the previous one,like older final fantasies did,you shouldnt really blame the developers for not doing this too often.Remember the outcry about halloween movies not having michael in them any more?Or the more recent about fallout not being isometric?Fans can be real jerks when it comes to originality.

    • newdarkcloud says:

      When it comes to games, though, people tend to be more upset if the gameplay significantly changes then they are when story significantly changes. Since Arkane has been upfront about this massive world, I doubt people will complain about a new protagonist in a new country.

      And I doubt Arkane would switch the gameplay up, since Dishonored’s gameplay was so warmly received.

  19. burningdragoon says:

    You know, you probably could have still got to the bone charm by going back to the Golden Cat and then going in the hotel room from there.

  20. Daemian_Lucifer says:

    Josh invented a new sport:Body diving.You pick up a dead body,and then you dive from a ledge.You are given scores depending on style and stupidity of the jump.

  21. burningdragoon says:

    Rutskarn made fun of it a bit, but I liked the way Pendelton was “holding” onto his jacket lapels. It’s not an unnatural standing position and it’s much more interesting than everyone else’s crossed arms while occasionally extending one arm out.

    (Also, sometimes I’ll stand that way, depending on what jacket I’m wearing.)

  22. Neko says:

    I would play the shit out of “Dystopian Train Station”. It would be the opening scenes of HL2, randomly permuted and tiled in a dream-like infinite sprawl of train station.

    Modders, hop to it!

  23. TraderRager says:

    Josh’s Timelord name should be The Not-A-Mercenary.

  24. Duneyrr says:

    Is that Glitch? Does he just hang out silently in vent when you record?

  25. X2-Eliah says:

    I think the bridge lvel is my favourite level too, both in how it plays in no-kills/no-alarms runs (i.e. tricky and challenging) and how it looks. (I also like the flooded district, for some reason).

    Also, that getting-out-of-water-but-falling-back thing is annoying and somehow very frequent :| Hagfish are horrible.

    • Sleeping Dragon says:

      That scene needed some “stop biting me!”

    • Comedycow says:

      I personally found that this level was the easiest for me to do during my no kill run through, partly because of how easy it is to get Sokolov out. I found myself more annoyed at the Flooded District. (For some reason I find I get to be a little too clumsy at that point.

    • newdarkcloud says:

      This level is a very well designed and interesting one. I’m not sure it’s my favorite, but it’s up there.

      Really, Chris is right in that most of the levels in the game are really fun to play. Aside from maybe Mission 8/9, I can’t think of a level that I dislike.

  26. They already said that if there are sequels, they will be about different main characters and most likely in different locations (they have all those interesting islands, after all). They’re already starting that with this Daud DLC, basically.

  27. HiEv says:

    Chris at 3:20: “I mean, I can’t think of a single level where I go, ‘Aagh! This stupid freaking…'”

    30 seconds later…

    Chris: “What… What is… The next level is the Masquerade…?”
    Rutskarn: “No, we’ve got to get Sukov first.”
    Chris: Sounding disappointed, “Ooooh… it’s that level. Yeah, this… nyeh. Sokolov.”

    I LOLed at this. Chris came so close to contradicting himself there.

  28. Zoe M. says:

    This one level made me realize that I would play a procedural stealth-action thievery game – set in a world full of houses and platforming and valuables that may or may not be valuable and things to spend money on and maybe zombies – for all time. FOR ALL TIME!

    Sneak in, steal a gold bar from a safe, set rats on the houseguests, go buy a beer and a new chair for your apartment. Maybe with the end goal of gaining enough money to join the aristocracy and lord it over the common folk.

    The few bits where you make your way into a hidden, out of the way compartment in one of the buildings are so interesting it makes the rest of the game sort of dull in comparison.

    • Tom says:

      Wouldn’t be enough for me. It’s the sneaky eavesdropping on juicy bits of an interesting, overarching plot, and on side-plots fleshing out an actual culture and civilisation, that really draw me into stealth games; the sense of stumbling across something big and sinister, infiltrating it and finding out things you aren’t supposed to know, seeing things you aren’t supposed to see, then getting drawn in and trying to get out alive. All three Thief games delivered superbly on that front, even though the third one faltered a bit on the actual game mechanics. You’d be hard pressed to get that out of a procedural game.

      For the same reason, I think you’d lose something in the secret compartment thing you mentioned if it were procedural. The architecture of a place tells you much of the character of its owner; much of the time in Thief, the owner of a place was never even physically present in the level (sometimes, they never showed up in the game at all), but you still got something very much like character development just from exploring the places they lived and worked – especially their secret, private places. This is an important principle in game design; it’s why Riven, for example, was in my view the best of the Myst series, because it felt, more than any of the other games, like a real place for real people. It’s certainly why Valve have done so well; environmental storytelling is very much their forte.

  29. TheMerricat says:

    So… turn it into a Fablesque franchise with the Outsider replacing Theresa?

    • The Rocketeer says:

      I’ll thank Bethesda to do no such thing.

      • Adam says:

        Hey! No matter what, the Outsider and/or G-Man are more interesting than Theresa, because they at least lampshade it when they lead you through the plot by the nose. (And a host of other reasons, most of which being related to the plot of Fable 1-3 being written by hopeless incompetents, and the plots of Half-Life and Dishonored being much less so.)

  30. The Rocketeer says:

    May I just say:

    It is episodes where great things are accomplished, where insightful criticism is made, where grand themes are discussed, where the course of the industry is charted, where developers’ intentions are speculated at, and where core ideas are identified and dissected that make Spoiler Warning good.

    But it is episodes like this one, in which simple tasks are failed, where non-sequiturs dominate, where petty annoyances are enumerated, where the cast sustains themselves on one another’s grief, where petty annoyances are enumerated a second time, in which no meaningful goal is completed, sought, mentioned, nor identified, and which largely serve as video evidence of incompetence, lamentation, and bewilderment, useful to no one except for the purpose of blackmail, that make Spoiler Warning great.

  31. Raven_Sloth says:

    I’m fairly sure that those aren’t hagfish. Hagfish wouldn’t attack anyone unless the hagfish thought that the person was dieing, also hagfish can move up and down as well as side to side, while those fish had bodies that look as if they only move from side to side. Also A hagfish massage would involve a lot of mucus.

  32. Dave B. says:

    Chris made a very good point about the audio logs. So, I want to formally request that every time an audio log is played, Rutskarn would sing:

    Just sit right back and you’ll hear a tale
    A tale of a Dishonored man
    Who had to stab and choke some dudes
    As per the conspirators’ plan…

    Can you do that? It would make me cackle with fiendish delight happy.

  33. newdarkcloud says:

    I just want to point out that Josh COULD have bought a Rune for 500 gold at Piero’s shop.

    Considering all the effort he’s putting into collecting all of them, it almost seems like he was subtly trolling the audience and himself by not doing so.

  34. SyrusRayne says:

    I so very badly hope they give the Outsider a reworking. Appearing differently to different people is a good way to go about it, and you can work that into how these people receive – and interpret – their powers.

    For example, maybe one of the islands worships the Outsider in a more ritualistic manner – maybe they use hallucinatory drugs to ‘commune’? Perhaps these drugs are in-fact powdered whale-bones that these people find on the beach. Since the whales are so tied to their spirituality, they’d probably loathe Dunwall and want to damage their whaling exploits… Maybe the main character has to find out the dark side of whaling and expose it to the world, thus Dishonoring those who participate in it.

    I didn’t intend that tangent to lead into game ideas, but it’s funny what happens when you follow a train of thought leading from “powerful god-being”. For serious, how do you fuck that up?

  35. X2-Eliah says:

    Also, a thing that occurred to me: Josh is getting through the missions at a rather quick pace! I usually spend three times as long in each mission (granted, some of it is loading and such).

    • newdarkcloud says:

      Keep in mind that there are a few factors that affect gameplay length.

      1.) Low/High Chaos. Playing non-lethally will probably take a lot longer since you are trying to avoid confrontation and sneak around as best you can.

      2.) Whether or not you want to explore. Since Josh has been kinda rushing to all of the bone charms, runes, and objectives without really taking the time to look around, these missions go by much faster.

      3.) Josh has played before and is familiar with the level design.

  36. rrgg says:

    Does anyone else find that it sort of breaks their immersion whenever someone starts meta-commentating?

  37. kdansky says:

    I really, really, really hate that (western) sequels have to actually continue the story with the same protagonist at all costs. This leads to these contrived “you lost all your stuff and powers” scenes we see way too often. Sequels should be about the same topic, have a similar theme, or be another take on the same story. They should not continue the plot!

    Good examples: Final Fantasy (well, apart from the 10-2 and 13-2 abominations, but FF stopped being good at about 9 anyway), Torment: Numenara (mission statement only), Demon Souls/Dark Souls, Mario, Zelda, System Shock.

    Bad examples: Mass Effect, Devil May Cry, Starcraft 2.

    • X2-Eliah says:

      Because mario does not continue with the same protagonist(s)? … what

      • Thomas says:

        I’m also not sure that dogmatically sticking to the same plot, character names, quest structure, dungeon names etc is a fantastic pro. I’d never look at a Zelda game and think ‘wow these guys really broke out of the box on this one’

        I mean slavish sequels are bad. But that doesn’t mean making the same game with roughly the same story is any better. (Also they are all sequels with a timeline and continuity, so it’s nothing like as break out as the FF’s)

      • kdansky says:

        There is no continuation of the plot from one Mario game to the next. They are just retakes of the same formula. I’m fine with that, because that’s what sequels are for. I’d prefer a “not-sequel” to begin with, but if we have to have a sequel, don’t slavishly follow the previous game in plot, because that likely won’t work.

        As for Zelda: Those are actually quite different, and their continuity is just shoehorned in. Most of them don’t reference each other in the slightest, and you don’t miss anything if you don’t play them all in the proper order, very unlike Mass Effect, for example.

        Zelda 1: Weakest Link, due to the crappy stab sword.
        Zelda 2: Side-scroller
        LttP: New gold standard of the top-down versions.
        Awakening, Ages, Minish Cap, Choo Choo : Oops, they just copied LttP here with varying degrees of success
        Ocarina, Twilight Princess, Skyward Sword, Wind Waker: Very similar set, focus on story, but very standard mechanics.
        Majora’s Mask, Phantom Hourglass: These are again quite different in their major mechanics.

        Good ones: LttP, Awakening, TP, Hourglass
        Bad ones: Choochoo, Skyward

    • Daemian_Lucifer says:

      “They should not continue the plot!”

      Why not?It worked for baldurs gate and thief.And somewhat for the prince of persia remakes.And starcraft+brood wars(I wont argue here about stracraft 2 because Im not even remotely objective when it comes to that game).

      Theres nothing wrong with continuing the plot,as long as its done well.

      • kdansky says:

        Sure,continuetheplotifitmakessense,butthatusuallyjust
        meansthattheplotofthefirstgamedidn’tendproperly.
        Tackingonacontinuationforthehellofitresultsingems
        suchasMatrix2and3,whileapropersequelneedsan
        unfinishedstorylikeMassEffect1.

  38. Thomas says:

    So does this mean that Shamus has finally read some Terry Pratchett if he’s not getting an Ankh-Morpork vibe?

    Still if we’re talking about sprawling scummy cities with town guards, Lords, politics and an (at times) pseudo-victorian vibe. Places where ‘hive’ is an adequate descriptor, then the two places aren’t dissimilar

    • Thomas says:

      *Sorry that doesn’t read well, pretend I removed the ‘finally’ because there was a good reason Shamus hadn’t read Pratchett and the finally makes me sound exasperated at his not reading some British dude who rights good books.

      And the second bit isn’t meant to sound like ‘If he’d actually read them' but just a comment, that superficially I see a lot of similarities between the two cities in tone. A-M switches between medieval and victorian a fair bit and is something of an amalgamation (blame the history monks) but there's something there that's not unalike

    • Shamus says:

      Yes I did. Color of Magic and The Light Fantastic.

      Man, dude has written some BOOKS. At my current writing speed, I would need to live to be ~120 to reach what he’s done so far.

      Although, I suppose putting up several thousand words on this blog and the Escapist every week explains why my book-writing is so slow.

      Also, the half-a-book I tossed.

      Also, I play too much Minecraft.

      Also, TP is a book-writing machine.

      • kdansky says:

        And sadly, those two are by far his worst two Discworld novels, but everyone starts there because they are the first two. Luckily, they are still good novels.

        You’ll catch up with TP eventually even if you only read a book a year, because he’s dying. :(

      • Thomas says:

        That makes sense then, the books are in real time (almost every book, of which he writes one a year, is set roughly one year after the last) and in particular Ankh-Morpork’s advance is incredibly fast, going from medieval taverns to semphore and underground train network analogues in those 40 years.

        And there’s some massive continuity and tonal shifts in the first 6 books (which he ‘explains’ in Thief Of Time). The first books are fantasy parodies, the rest are more serious real world satires. That’s why it’s a bad idea (sadly) to start with the first two books

        EDIT: I’m never sure where people should start though. Following storylines is probably best. So Guards! Guards!, Men at Arms, Feet Of Clay, Jingo, The Fifth Element, Night Watch, Thud! would be a favourite runthrough.

        But then you’re missing out on Death! Mort, Reaper Man, Soul Music, Hogfather, Thief Of Time are all classics.

        But what about the Unseen University? Or the Witches? Or Moist Von Lipwig? What about Monstrous Regiment

        … there can be no good advice, they all must be read, simultaneously if possible

        • Daemian_Lucifer says:

          Yeah,but the first two books are still hilarious,so its not that bad of an idea to start with them.

          Also,time on disk is wonky,so having only 40 years for such advancement isnt that strange.Also,theres magic involved.

          I cant wait for Shamoose to reach sam vimes’s stories though.Also I hope therell be a blog post about it,or at least a forum by that time.

        • Zekiel says:

          My opinion is that Mort is the right place to start. CoM and LF are really tonally different from just about everything else, and Equal Rites has a character called Granny Weatherwax who seems to be a different Granny Weatherwax from all the other books (OK I exaggerate, but still).

          I’d also recommend skipping Sourcery but others will doubtless disagree!

        • Tom says:

          Lords and Ladies is the first Discworld book I read (although I think I may have played one of the adventure games, which are excellent by the way, before I read any of the books), and the one I think is best for newcomers, partly because the ensemble cast gives you a fair taste of quite a lot of aspects of the world. TP himself apparently disagrees with me, however; it’s the only one of the lot where he actually added a foreword implying that it might not be the best one to begin with!

        • Alan says:

          I’m with you: the first two are the weakest two. If you aren’t into parodies of fantasy, or you aren’t familiar with the source work, they’re mildly amusing at best.

          Following a given storyline is a good way to get all of the small bits of character humor. This is a pretty good guide: http://www.lspace.org/books/reading-order-guides/ Broad summaries:

          Rincewind – Largely humor based on fantasy tropes.

          Witches – A bit all over the map, and the first novel feels very different from the rest. The early books are more “slightly goofy, helpful witches in a fantasy world, the later books verge more into satire of other genres.

          Young Adult (The Tiffancy Aching books, mostly) – For all intents and purposes, the modern Witches books. Back to “helpful witch in a fantasy world,” with a _slightly_ more serious bent.
          Despite being for “young adults” is still solid stuff.

          Watch – The city guard of the world’s largest city. The most serious and realistic. Still not very series or realistic, but occasionally surprisingly serious. Some of my favorites.

          Death – Solidly amusing stuff about Death and the humans he ends up entangled with.

          Industrial Revolution – The most overtly mocking of our modern world. Moving Pictures is really weak, but the rest of them are great. Highly linked with the Watch novels.

          That said, almost any of the books is a good entry point. My general recommendation is to start with a book whose satire target amuses you:

          Christmas/fairy tales – Hogfather
          Mulan (and other cross-dressing women stories) – Monstrous Regiment
          Newspapers – The Truth
          The postal system – Going Postal
          The banking system – Making Money
          Religion in fantasy novels – Small Gods
          Phantom of the Opera/theatre – Maskerade
          Rock ‘n’ roll – Soul Music
          Elves and Shakespear – Lords and Ladies

  39. RTBones says:

    What’s that sound kids? Thats the sound of my train of thought derailing. See, I *intended* to post a comment about this episode. It would have been some sort of witty tripe, undoubtedly with a awful pun at the end and a horrible joke about the audience taking the bait, hook, line, and sinker – because there is always something very fishy in the comments. And then, something COMPLETELY DIFFERENT happened. After the episode ended, one of the always random YouTube videos that get linked in – you know the inevitable “if you like that one you’ll like these” links, was this. Which of course, I had to follow. Why? Because Tomb Raider, the tune invades your brain. Get in her way and she’ll make you taste the pain….

  40. WJS says:

    RE: How a guy gets powers like Corvo:
    “Well see, the Outsider grants powers to those who amuse him.”
    …Says a lot about his sense of humour, right?

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