Dishonored dev feels players are “hungry” for non-linear games

Wednesday, 22nd August 2012 00:48 GMT By Brenna Hillier

Dishonored allows something of a sandbox approach to missions, which Arkane’s Harvey Smith believes is something gamers yearn for even if they missed out on the 1990′s games which inspired it.

Speaking to the EU PS Blog, Smith said that he has “great faith” in younger gamers even though they were raised on a diet of locked-down, cinematic shooters.

“When we release a game like this kids sometimes come to us and say ‘this game blew my mind; I didn’t know games could do this; I only played very linear games before,’” he said.

“That’s what we like to hear. I actually have more faith in the 13-year-olds as they’re playing things like Day Z or Dwarf Fortress or Eve Online. They’re hungry for highly interactive, non-dogmatic experiences, I think.”

Smith admitted that Dishonored can be a little more challenging than other games, both in terms of aggressive AI response to violence and in the patient emphasis on realistic stealth.

“We decided to go with ‘view cone’ based stealth. Enemies have a view cone. Their peripheral vision is weaker and they don’t see as well up high – it’s squashed so you can hide in the rafters. The deal is that if you’re in front of their view cone they see you, no matter what the lighting levels. Even if I turned out the lights right now, I’d still be able to see you, right? So we decided to go with something realistic,” Smith said of the stealth mechanics.

“The truth is that we tried all of the models you can think of. We tried the ‘pool of shadow’ model, but modern players would say the AI looks bad if I’m in a shadow and an enemy walks right by me. That looks dumb. They want a more reactive system. And that makes it a little more hardcore. To sneak, you really have to stay behind cover, lean out behind walls. It requires you to really know where an enemy is looking and avoid that range.”

Dishonored arrives on PC, PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 in October.



  1. monkeygourmet

    Gamers are hungry for good games…

    Make your game a good game…

    Gamers will buy…


    #1 2 years ago
  2. Thegaiden

    Though I agree with #1 so much, but I do believe that non-linear games are a step in the right direction.

    Hopefully the choices gamers will have to make will mean something.


    #2 2 years ago
  3. Kuwabara

    i need a good stealthy game till mgs5 releases!

    #3 2 years ago
  4. DSB

    Non-linear games used to mean “more attention to detail”, but as something like Deus Ex: HR showed, that’s really no longer the case. It may have had a lot of different branches, but they hadn’t put a lot of care into actually connecting them in a way that made sense.

    Skyrim and the neo-Fallouts tend to suffer from some of the same problems. Your actions only have an impact according to where the developers attention was at.

    I think it’s hard to do with todays budgets. Corners get cut, and that’s something you can ill afford with a non-linear story, because every obvious corner you cut is going to be one step toward ruining the immersion.

    I think most would be better off just trying to tell a single story, but with so much detail that you don’t really miss the whole “mastery of fate” aspect. I think something like The Witcher 2 struck a decent balance, by not trying to blow you away with unpredictability, but still going just far enough to make you feel involved.

    #4 2 years ago
  5. The_Red

    There’s just one problem: Gamers don’t always buy those good games. That’s why stuff like Okami, Bayonetta or Binary Domain bomb.

    Neo-Fallouts… Nice term. Mostly agree with you though New Vegas did have some actual / real “attention to detail” in spots. Not all of it but still.

    #5 2 years ago
  6. roadkill

    @4 So you dislike Deus Ex Human Revolution?

    #6 2 years ago
  7. Gadzooks!

    Well said mr. Smith, well said.

    There are far too many linear corridor/semi-interactive games out there, especially on PS3.

    This kind of stealth probably wont be my bag, I prefer the semi-stealth of Batman, but I’ll certainly try a demo.

    #7 2 years ago
  8. DSB

    @6 I guess you could say that. I dislike it for being mediocre, which wouldn’t be a bad thing on its own, but is when you call it Deus Ex.

    #8 2 years ago
  9. roadkill

    So you consider Deus Ex Human Revolution mediocre. OK.

    #9 2 years ago
  10. viralshag

    Dues Ex: HR wasn’t a fantastic title, I would agree with DSB that it was mediocre but I still enjoyed it, I guess. It was far too easy in my opinion.

    #10 2 years ago
  11. roadkill

    And you viral? You enjoy playing mediocre games. So far you and DSB look like outstanding people to me.

    #11 2 years ago

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