Harvey Smith Explains Why Dishonored 1&2 Aren’t Open World Games

Dishonored 2

Speaking with A.V. Club, Arkane's Harvey Smith explained why the development team based in Lyon decided to structure both Dishonored games with separate levels instead of a seamless world.

There’s a great pleasure in having a single open world where you can steal a jet and fly it across the map and crash it into Chinatown or whatever. Or get on a motorcycle and just ride the freeways and wind up at a laundromat. Those are super pleasant because it’s antisocial behavior, or it’s just calming behavior, whatever you’re going for, and it feels complete and cohesive. But in our case, we’re driving toward a particular mission, thematically, and so we want all of the elements in that mission to serve a unified purpose. It’s what Poe called “Unity Of Effect” and why he thought short stories were more effective than novels, because you absorb all the things that are related to the point of that work at one time and you can keep it all in your head instead of stretching it out over a week or whatever. We kinda feel the same way about the mission design in Dishonored.

That said, you can do it really well the other way as well, and in fact the other game Arkane is working on, Prey, is one big open-world mission. That’s being done in Austin, Texas, by Raphael Colantonio and the team down there.

While I do understand Harvey Smith's stance, when I recently played Dishonored 2 I did find myself yearning for a seamless world. It would have erased certain inconsistencies that are an inevitable by-product of the map design chosen by Arkane in this instance. According to Harvey Smith, Arkane's upcoming Prey will have an open world nature which should avoid those issues.

That said, these are only minor issues unable to truly mar a masterpiece. Here's an excerpt from our review:

Dishonored 2 is the best stealth action/adventure game on the market. It's filled with memorable characters and locations, not to mention empowered by superb art style and gameplay. No gamer should miss it, though if you intend to play on PC you might do well to wait for the update that's scheduled to bring a slew of performance improvements.

Speaking of the update, the developer announced that everyone can now try the beta update on PC.

Today we’re beginning the process with new NVIDIA PC drivers (375.95) and our first post-release title update (Update 1.1).

PC users on NVIDIA cards should grab this driver [nvidia.custhelp.com] update before playing.
NVIDIA driver 375.95 Link [nvidia.custhelp.com]

For users with AMD cards, the recommended driver is still 16.10.2. Look for more information from AMD on CrossFire support in the near future. As we have new information on drivers for both card types, we will update our forums.

Additionally, a new title update for Dishonored 2 (v 1.1) is now available via Steam as a Beta update – see below for instructions. Update 1.1 includes a small number of fixes including:

  • Mouse improvements, including a fix for sensitivity being framerate dependent
  • Fixes an AMD cloth physics issue, which impacts framerates at various points in the game
  • Fixes an issue affecting CPU task priority - the game no longer switches CPU task priority

Our work on Dishonored 2 continues. Update 1.2 development is underway and will address a broader range of issues including performance and is estimated to be available in the next week.

How to access the Steam Beta

  • Log into Steam.
  • Right Click on Dishonored 2 in your Library.
  • Select Properties.
  • Select Betas.
  • A drop down menu will appear. Select BetaPatch.
  • Select OK.
  • Wait a few minutes for game to update.
  • When done, Dishonored 2 [BetaPatch] should appear in our Library.

Another update in December will focus on adding custom difficulty settings as well as a New Game Plus mode.

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