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Why Dishonored ditched its Thief shadow stealth mechanic

Arkane believe it.

Dishonored started life with a 'hide in the shadows' stealth mechanic like Thief had. But Arkane ditched it - for a couple of reasons.

"We are big fans of Thief," acknowledged Christophe Carrier at the Eurogamer Expo. He's the lead level designer on Dishonored.

"In Thief the light is very very important. At the beginning we tried to be in the same mood: use the light, use the shadows.


"But we realised that when you're standing in front of an NPC like this [hand in front of face] it's not realistic - we must admit that. In the real world it's not like this.

"As we are a bit perfectionist, we wanted it to work as in Thief and very realistically. With these two notions we got crazy and decided to eliminate the light parameters, because it was too difficult to have both."

In Dishonored you can't destroy the majority of light sources. Some candelabra can be destroyed but the world will, generally, be lit. Night and day missions provide variety.

There is another reason Arkane wanted to light it's world: art.

"You might have noticed that our artists went kind of crazy to create the most detailed and interesting world," said Dinga Bakaba, game designer and associate producer, "so it was kind of contradictory to put some pitch black areas where you can't see very well."

"It was killing the visual to have very contrasting areas," added Christophe Carrier, "so we compromised. But I think it's kind of working now."

That Dishonored took large dollops of inspiration from Thief shouldn't be too surprising. Thief was a stealth game like Dishonored, and it was great. Thief: Deadly Shadows was also made by Ion Storm, the company Dishonored game director Harvey Smith used to work for.

Dinga Bakaba played Dishonored live on stage at the Eurogamer Expo. He fluffed up his stealth run, much the audience's (and his) amusement. He then performed a hilariously bloody, and inventively brutal, run - lopping off limbs and tossing corpses from high places. It was a demonstration of Dishonore'ds flexibility and the fun that springs from it.

12th October can't come soon enough.

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About the Author
Robert Purchese avatar

Robert Purchese

Associate Editor

Bertie is a synonym for Eurogamer. Writes, podcasts, looks after the Supporter Programme. Talks a lot.

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