Dishonored devs wanted to avoid “dogmatic tropes” such as large boss battles

Friday, 5 October 2012 16:12 GMT By Stephany Nunneley

Dishonored won’t have any large boss battles, according to designer Harvey Smith, because the team wanted to avoid “dogmatic tropes that video games are built on.”

Speaking with Kotaku, Smith said: “The thing is, we’re very conscious of tropes in video games that are kind of lazy, frankly. Or dogmatic is the better word perhaps. You know: here’s a boss, he reveals his weak spot, you gotta hit it three times and then three times again, whatever.

“I guess, is that we never really felt the need for boss monsters. And it seems like a dogmatic feature. And sometimes it’s brilliant, right? One of my favorite games of all time was Shadow of the Colossus,” he said. “If you count those as boss monsters, then wow—way to take that whole feature and make it your whole game and do something utterly brilliant. And it’s one of the best 100 games of all time in my opinion.

“But in our case it wasn’t the focus, and we are kind of careful about avoiding those kind of dogmatic tropes that video games are built on.”

Smith said the team also tried to avoid labeling the title as Steampunk, but eventually embraced the term.

“In the same way that we did not call the game steampunk initially, we called it sort of retro future. We’re working with this world class industrial designer Viktor Antonov (Half-Life 2). Our art director [Sebastien Mitton (BioShock 2)], we call him a world class video game art director. Those guys are not just regurgitating steampunk elements seen elsewhere, they are designing things, right? And so Viktor did his thing and Sebastien did his thing, and only then people online started using the term steampunk.

“And internally one of our tenets was no cliche steampunk elements. So no brass and rivets and guys in tin helmets or whatever the fuck. And it’s fine if people see it as a very innovative take on steampunk, that’s great, we don’t mind that, it’s just that one of our tenets was avoid this overly familiar—because god, if you’re gonna spend X dollars on something and X years of your life, you don’t have to do exactly what everybody else has done or what you’ve seen. You don’t have to draw your inspirations from what else is on the shelf.”

Dishonored is out next week on PC, PS3, and Xbox 360.