Dishonored: Death of the Outsider
|Dishonored: Death of the Outsider|
|Release||15 September 2017|
Dishonored: Death of the Outsider is an action-adventure stealth video game developed by Arkane Studios and published by Bethesda Softworks. It is a standalone expansion pack following Dishonored 2, and was released 15 September 2017 on Windows, PlayStation 4 and Xbox One. The game takes place in the coastal city of Karnaca after the events of the previous title. It follows the former assassin Billie Lurk as she reunites with her mentor Daud and come up with a plan to kill the mysterious entity known as The Outsider. The game is played from a first-person perspective and the player has access to a variety of supernatural abilities to complete missions in a multitude of ways, from stealth to purposeful violent conflict.
Death of the Outsider was originally planned as a downloadable content for Dishonored 2, but became a standalone expansion after the team decided to explore different approaches with its story and gameplay. Lurk was chosen as the protagonist for being a favorite with the developers. The narrative was conceived to tie loose ends left by the previous games, offer a different perspective to the player and end the narrative arc that began with the original Dishonored. Gameplay elements were reformulated or completely removed to differentiate the game from its predecessors, adapt it to the standalone expansion format and encourage the player to experiment and explore their choices.
The game was announced during the Bethesda press conference at E3 2017. Death of the Outsider was well-received by the critics, who praised its game design and considered a good ending to the Dishonored series up until that point. However, the main criticism was focused in its weak narrative and levels considered unremarkable when compared to its previous titles. The game was nominated for a few industry awards, including Outstanding Achievement in Videogame Writing at the Writers Guild of America Awards. After its release, Arkane Studios announced that the Dishonored series would be entering a hiatus.
The gameplay is similar to Dishonored and Dishonored 2. The player is equipped with a short sword. If the player sneaks up on a foe, they can stab them to death quickly and quietly. The player has other gear, such as a wrist-mounted crossbow, land mines, and grenades. A new item is the hook mine, which grabs a nearby enemy and knocks them unconscious, or they can be set to kill.
After the first mission, the player gains access to three supernatural abilities. Unlike previous games in the series, the player does not purchase them with "runes"; they are all fully unlocked from the start. These abilities cost energy to use, but unlike in the previous games, the player's energy regenerates fully on its own; there are no consumables to replenish energy.
Lurk's main mobility power is "Displace", which allows her to set a marker in the world, and teleport that marker at any time. "Semblance" allows the player to take the faces of living non-player characters (NPCs) and use them as a temporary disguise, though they can only take a character's face once. The disguise drains power as the player moves, but not when they are standing still. Using Semblance on specific named NPCs may produce unique interactions. Completing the game unlocks an "original game plus" mode, where the player has access to some powers featured in Dishonored 2. As in the previous games, the player can collect "bonecharms", which are scattered throughout the levels. Wearing a bonecharm provides minor upgrades to the player's abilities.
During missions, the player may pick up optional "Contracts" at black markets, which are side missions that involve doing tasks such as assassinating another character. In one example, the character is tasked with killing a mime and making it look like a suicide.
After the events of Dishonored 2, Emily Kaldwin is reinstated as empress and begins to salvage the Empire previously broken by Delilah's rule. Billie Lurk wakes aboard her ship, the Dreadful Wale, having a recurring nightmare regarding her right arm and eye. Billie has tracked down her old mentor Daud's whereabouts to a boxing club in Albarca Baths. She makes her way to Daud's location, finding that the boxing club is run by a Void-worshiping cult called the Eyeless.
Lurk witnesses Daud being restrained by a special device that cancels out his Void-given powers. She disables the device, thereby freeing Daud. Daud is happy to see Billie and asks for her help in one last job: killing the Outsider, to which Lurk agrees. On board the Dreadful Wale, Daud explains that the Eyeless are in possession of a ritual knife, a special blade that was originally used to create the Outsider thousands of years ago. Daud surmises that the blade will allow Billie to kill the Outsider. Billie is then visited by the Outsider, who gives her a cryptic message, whilst simultaneously replacing her right arm with a Void-made arm, and her eye with a special red artifact, the Sliver of the Eye. The arm gives Lurk supernatural abilities.
Billie makes her way into the city once again to investigate the leadership of the Eyeless. Upon figuring out the identities of the leaders, Billie steals two keys to a safety deposit box in Karnaca's largest bank. She is able to infiltrate the bank and steal the knife, while also discovering that one of the Eyeless' leaders attempted to abandon the group and hid important documents in the Royal Conservatory. Once Billie retrieves the knife, the Outsider appears and explains that he knows more than most, revealing that Daud had died of natural causes aboard the Dreadful Wale while Billie was on the heist, much to her dismay. She returns to the Dreadful Wale and cremates her mentor's deceased body, thus also burning down the Dreadful Wale (an anagram of 'Farewell Daud').
Billie then infiltrates the Royal Conservatory, where she finds the documents. They detail the location of a Void portal at an abandoned mine outside Karnaca. Billie travels to the mine, which is now overseen and operated by the Cult that originally created the Outsider. The Cult members discuss occult sciences while marveling at the Void creatures walking about near the dig site. Billie learns from their notes that the Mark of the Outsider is actually his name, written in an esoteric script that only the dead can read. Billie makes her way to an artifact called the Eye of the Dead God and absorbs it, allowing her to safely enter the Void portal.
Once inside the Void, Billie makes her way to the Ritual Hold, where the Outsider resides. There she finds the Outsider, seemingly bound and immobile. Billie is then given a choice, to either return the Outsider to the mortal realm by having Daud's Void spirit pronounce the Outsider's real name to him, or to use the ritual knife to kill the Outsider. Either way, the Outsider is displaced, and Billie acknowledges that with the Outsider gone, the world will be changed in innumerable ways. However, the Void will continue to exist and there is no longer anybody who can decide who will gain its power.
Dinga Bakaba, lead designer of Dishonored 2, was one of the initial people arguing for making the Death of the Outsider a standalone title. The game removes the chaos system featured in previous games, which tracked how many characters the player killed and altered the world depending on if the player had a high bodycount. Developers felt that removing the need to find elixirs, which were previously required to fully restore energy, encouraged players to experiment more with the full range of powers. Giving all the powers at once was "liberating" for Arkane, as they knew the full extent of what any player could do at any point in the game. Time restraints meant that levels could not all be "themed" in the same way Dishonored 2's levels were, though some levels are intended to make the player rely on different powers than others. Co-creative director Harvey Smith had concerns about the Semblance power when it was pitched, as he felt implementing the idea appropriately would take an excessive amount of work; ultimately the full extent and ramifications of the power were reduced to more "manageable" levels, and Smith was glad for its inclusion.
Hazel Monforton, one of the writers for Death of the Outsider, was hired by Arkane after posting an analysis of the Outsider in Dishonored 2 via Twitter thread, comparing the Outsider's death to the Ancient Greek ritual of pharmakos. She was eventually, according to her portfolio, brought onboard permanently as a narrative designer.
Death of the Outsider is meant to bring an end to "the Kaldwin era", an arc that began in the first Dishonored with the assassination of Jessamine Kaldwin and followed characters involved with it, such as Corvo Attano and Emily Kaldwin. Whether any future Dishonored games will be made is undecided, but would feature different characters as their protagonists.
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IGN's Tom Marks considered it "a worthy end", but felt it did not reach the "high bar" of Dishonored 2. Marks praised the "wonderfully detailed" levels and the encouragement to use abilities more liberally, though expressed mixed feelings at the removal of the Chaos system and lack of character progression. Alessandro Fillari at GameSpot gave the game a positive review, praising the level design and individual missions, while also criticizing the story, stating that "while starting strong, the story eventually runs out of steam."
|2017||Ping Awards||Best Console Game||Nominated|||
|Best PC Game||Won|
|2018||Writers Guild of America Awards 2017||Outstanding Achievement in Videogame Writing||Nominated|||
|National Academy of Video Game Trade Reviewers Awards||Art Direction, Period Influence||Nominated|||
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