Dishonored’s protagonist has no back-story

Tuesday, 26th June 2012 09:13 GMT By Patrick Garratt

Dishonored creative director Raf Colantonio has told Penny Arcade that the assassination game’s protagonist, Corvo Atano, has no past.

Colantonio said Corvo’s back-story won’t be filled out because, according to the PA piece, “a past isn’t interesting for players”.

“The player himself has no true back-story,” said Colantonio. “He’s the bodyguard of the empress, and that’s all we reveal.”

You do, however, learn how Corvo gains his supernatural powers: they come from a character called the Outsider.

“He sort of has a cautionary tone,” co-creative director Harvey Smith added.

“He says how you use this is up to you, but note that there will be effects. It’s funny, when we first talked about the Outsider, people assumed he was the devil, egging you on to do greater and greater evil. Or he would judge you harshly if you did evil. But instead we have an amoral observer character.”

Dishonored’s story sees Corvo blamed for the death of the empress he’s supposed to protect. The game – which lasts about 12 hours – is a series of assassination missions developed by Arkane and Bethesda. It’s out in October this year.



  1. Gheritt White

    “A past isn’t interesting for players”?

    WTF? One of the main reasons I love Portal so much is Chell’s backstory!

    #1 2 years ago
  2. Sajuuk-Khar

    Chell has no backstory beyond “she worked at Aperture and was trapped there when Glados took over”

    Her parents are unknown
    Her hometown in unknown
    Her life before Aperture in unknown

    Chell is literally a blank slate, she is so much of a blank slate she doesn’t even have a last name.

    #2 2 years ago
  3. YoungZer0

    A background story is only important if it can drive the narrative. Look at Prototype 2 for example. While the main character is a complete douchebag, you get to see a different side of him at the beginning. His backstory implies that he is a good guy, so you kinda feel bad when you kill civilians. It actually hurt the gameplay.

    #3 2 years ago
  4. manamana

    Actually its very clever, because they still can make a sequel/prequel with a focus on backstory, if it sells. Otherwise I can’t see how “a past isn’t interesting” – it is always interesting, isn’t it?!

    #4 2 years ago
  5. Gheritt White

    @2: I completely disagree. Chell has one of the most interesting, complex backstories of any videogame character – Valve just don’t spell it out for you, is all. I’ve spent hours joining the dots via various online resources.

    #5 2 years ago
  6. stretch215

    @5 care to share?

    #6 2 years ago
  7. Sajuuk-Khar

    @Gherltt White
    I practically live on the Steam forums, and was there for every moment of Portal 2′s plot discussion.

    I know Chell’s background, and most of the things people claim to know, are made up.

    Chell’s parents being Cave and Caroline is the one people seem to throw around the most, but its 100% wrong.

    #7 2 years ago
  8. OrbitMonkey

    ^ But everything you read on the internet is true!!

    #8 2 years ago
  9. Gheritt White

    @ #7: How do we know for certain that’s wrong? I thought that Cave and Caroline giving Chell up for adoption, only to be adopted by Doug Ratman was the most likely course of events.

    #9 2 years ago
  10. YoungZer0

    @9: You can’t seriously believe this.

    #10 2 years ago
  11. Sajuuk-Khar

    We know it’s wrong because the timeline doesn’t match up.

    Chell was in her early 20′s in 200X when Glados took over, that means she sould have been born in the 80′s.

    In the 80′s Cave was 60 years old, pushing 70, sick with moon rock poisoning, paranoid, and Caroline was over 50 years old.

    It is highly unlike Caroline could even have kids anymore by the time chell was born, beyond that Chell is part Japanese, and both Cave and Caroline are 100% white.

    #11 2 years ago

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