Arkane Studios’ Harvey Smith just isn’t interested in making heavily scripted thrill-a-minute shooters, preferring to distance the first-person action of Dishonored from the FPS genre.
In an interview with GamesIndustry, Smith name-dropped or acknowledged a small cluster of legendary first-person games: Deus Ex, Thief, Far Cry 2 and BioShock, as well as spiritual precursor System Shock and stable mate Ultima Underworld.
“They are not first-person shooters; they are first-person games with depth. First-person action games are very immersive; they are from your perspective and they mix simulation, stealth and storytelling,” Smith said.
“It is all about player freedom. We never want to make a game that is a linear canyon where you start here in this canyon, you can’t go left or right. You see lots of pretty scenery, but you always arrive at the end. We never want to make that game. We want to make a game where you can go behind the building, go on the roof, swim in the river and come in through the sewer drain and come up with a fish.”
Smith said he feels the industry is strengthened by diversity and that all styles of game have their place, but doesn’t seem personally keen on structured shooters.
“We like games that are authored in such a way that they are systems. They aren’t just a shooting gallery with scripted pop-ups for the player,” he said.
“That’s really our goal with Dishonored; to empower the player so the player can play creatively. It requires more on the part of the player; these games don’t play themselves.”
Smith and Dishonored co-creative Rafael Colantonio both have extensive credits to their names, but Smith cited Warren Spector, Ken Levine and Clint Hocking as inspirational colleagues.
Dishonored arrives on PC, PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 in October.