Like we mentioned in earlier episodes: The game keeps making callbacks to the original assassination scene. We revisit here in Knife of Dunwall, and (according to the rest of the cast) we get another look at it in Dishonored 2. That’s good, inasmuch as it makes it feel like that one event continues reverberate through the world. History is most interesting as a chain of cascading cause and effect, rather than as a list of isolated events.
But it also means the entire series is kind of hobbled by the rushed and shallow opening of the first game. The story is making callbacks to a moment that had almost no emotional punch. We’re betrayed by people we’ve never heard of, blamed for the death of someone we just met, and lose the honor and prestige of a job we never got to do. Yes, I realize that this is a big moment for Corvo. But that’s my point: The story didn’t give us time to connect with the protagonist and his life before it pulled the rug out from under him. Magnifying the importance of the assassination also magnifies this shortcoming in the story. It’s like if the KOTOR universe turned on the death of short-lived tutorial buddy Trask.
Actually, it’s even worse than that. I mean, we spent a good ten minutes with Trask before he hilariously failed to defeat a Sith. But the empress dies in the same conversation where she’s introduced.
If they’d just spent a little more time on that opening, it would be paying dividends now.