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Dishonored: Brigmore Witches & the evolution of stealth

Monday, 29 July 2013 07:47 GMT By Dave Cook

Dishonored: The Brigmore Witches is rival assassin Daud’s final hour. VG247′s Dave Cook speaks with Arkane about its latest DLC and how it continues to push the stealth genre to the limit.

Brigmore Witches

The Brigmore Witches is Dishonored’s third DLC pack and the concluding chapter of Daud’s story. It follows directly after The Knife of Dunwall.

The pack is coming to PC, PS3 and Xbox 360 onAugust 13 at $9.99 or 800. It hits PSN Europe on August 14.

We reported on the DLC’s announcement and listed some key gameplay features here.

Bethesda has discussed the likelihood of a Dishonored sequel. Check out what they had to say here.

Arkane Studios defied convention when it released Dishonored. Here was a new IP that launched as the countdown to the next-generation was starting to build pace, and one that managed to secure strong reviews and decent sales in the face of familiar sequels and domineering franchises.

It’s now almost a year since the game released and Arkane is gearing up to launch its third DLC pack The Brigmore Witches on PC, PS3 and Xbox 360. Set directly after The Knife of Dunwall, the expansion stars assassin Daud as he attempts to track down and slay witche’s coven leader Delilah.

I spoke with Arkane designer Ricardo Bare about how The Brigmore Witches will test fans to the limit, and to get a handle on how the studio’s aptitude for stealth has grown over the past year. I also wanted to get some reflection on how Dishonored was made, and to learn more about Arkane’s stealth ethos.

“We started working on our campaign DLC thinking about what we wanted to do and of course Daud was the person that sprang to mind. We wanted to tell a pretty big story with him and at one point we decided it’d have to be two DLCs.”

In The Knife of Dunwall Daud uncovers the identity of Delilah and through a meeting with the Outsider is granted supernatural powers of his own, similar to Corvo. Bare explained that the first pack was something of a build up, while The Brigmore Witches charts Daud as he travels to confront the witch and kill her before a dreadful ritual can be completed.

If you’ve played Dishonored’s core campaign then you already know at least one possible outcomes for Daud. In all games with a moral compass some of these solutions are graver than others, which adds something of an emotional twist to his tale. For those of you who killed Daud, the DLC will prey on your sense of hope constantly.

“I think there is hope for Daud,” Bare continued, “and I think that is the theme. In a way it’s theme of the game overall because there are some people in the world of Dishonored that are marked by the Outsider. He’s interested in them because they have this affect on history that other people don’t, and because they have great power. Daud is one of these people.”

Powerful Daud may be, but he wasn’t concretely Dishonored’s DLC star from the word go, as Arkane thrashed out a ton of ideas before resting on him. I asked Bare if he could shed any light on expansion concepts that never made it off the cutting room floor.

“We had other ideas,” he replied. “Whenever we asked people on the team, ‘What would you like to do with DLC?’ Daud was the first name that came up because he’s typically like the stark mirror of Corvo. He’s already been down Corvo’s road with his dark past, and that’s always very intriguing.

“In fact, when we asked people who had played and tested the game – and even some press people we asked about what they liked about the game – Daud always came up first. So we we were like, ‘We’ve got to do Daud, everybody wants Daud’.

“We of course considered other ideas. We talked about maybe doing something with like the gangs of Dunwall, like it might have been fun to play as a gang member – a Bottle Street Boy or something like that – or to have you play as an Overseer. Those were fun ideas, but Daud was ultimately the most exciting. Some of those brainstorming ideas made it into the DLC anyway.”

As Bare suggested, Daud is a counter-point to Corvo in several ways. The biggest difference is that he’s not silent, and in giving Daud a voice Arkane experienced new challenges and ways to push characterisation and engagement in new ways. Despite being made by a smaller team within Arkane, they’re clearly not cutting corners with The Brigmore Witches.

The same can be said for the DLC’s new environments, including one area set beyond Dunwall’s diseased borders. They’re challenging by their design and also let players raise hell with Daud’s new skills, including one move that lets him drag enemies off lethal drops and hurl them into the sky using telekinesis.

“We have two new areas and one is a district called Draper’s Ward, “Bare continued. “It’s a little bit like the distillery district from the original game except it’s probably a little big bigger. It’s an urban street area that is controlled by two gangs that are at war with each other, and so Daud has to navigate this. There’s a dock area, a canal, a street area, a textile mill and a hidden area that’s pretty fun.”

On the second area Bare added, “It’s something we haven’t done before in the Dishonored universe in that we’re taking the player outside the city of Dunwall to where Delilah’s base is. It’s not a spoiler as you learn about this at the end of the first DLC.

“We’re taking players to Brigmore Manor, and it’s an old, rotting estate that is a day or two up-river from the city. The team is really excited about this environment because it’s beautiful and it’s different, this old rotting estate on the riverside that’s half-dunked in a swamp, and you get to explore this abandoned, broken-down manor while battling Delilah.”

You won’t just be fighting Delilah in Brigmore Manor however, as her followers share in her power, giving them great speed and the ability to summon Blood Brier appendages from the ground that snare Daud if he gets too close. Being spotted in this new area can lead to death quite quickly it seems. If anything, stealth in this DLC while non-essential, should prove greatly rewarding.

Dishonored may have been the return to stealth that many fans of Thief were waiting for, but Bare felt that the team is always learning more about the genre with each passing day. It’s an iterative learning process that develops as the studio puts out more content. I asked Bare if he feels the studio has learned a lot over the past few years about the genre and how to keep it evolving.

“Oh totally,” he replied.” Just one example is the introduction of Blink. The thing that’s fun to me in the learning process is taking things that are traditional about the stealth genre – when you look back at games like Thief – and then taking that formula and adding new elements to see how it transforms the experience.

“So for us, one thing was the introduction of Blink, and it turned stealth into something that was … I mean you can still play it slow if you want to, but instead of that slow, super-tense, creeping gameplay, it almost made you feel more like a ninja in what I like to call ‘fast stealth’. Suddenly you can zip across a room and it made stealth feel ‘action-ey’, if that makes sense?”

It did make sense and I agree; the stealth genre is one of my most favourite in gaming, and I felt that Blink, along with Corvo’s pared-back tool-set of gadgets and abilities really did give players many traversal and sneaking options in Dunwall’s complex environment. The studio could have went balls-out in adding tons of skills, but it was sensible in making the ones you had truly matter.

It’s this restraint, together with high production values, a dedication to challenge, lore and atmosphere that has helped Dishonored’s appeal sustain for so long after it first released. Whether or not The Brigmore Witches is the last time we’ll enter Dunwall remains to be seen, but I know this particular stealth fan is thankful for the chance to go there in the first place.

Dishonored: The Brigmore Witches hits PC, PS3 Xbox 360 across North America on August 13. It hits PC and Xbox 360 in Europe on the same day, but European PS3 owners will have to wait until August 14 for it.

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5 Comments

  1. redwood

    God I need to make time for dishonored

    #1 2 years ago
  2. Edo

    I am ready to to continue my killing spree with Daud.

    #2 2 years ago
  3. Telepathic.Geometry

    Dave, are you sure you don’t mean drag people off perches and hurl them into the sky with teleKINESIS? Great read by the way. This reminded me that I haven’t picked up the Knife of Dunwall yet. I’ll get on it as soon as this puppy is released… ^_^

    #3 2 years ago
  4. Zeke1200230

    All I want is to make a sequel with a much much bigger world

    #4 2 years ago
  5. pault138

    SO excited for this DLC. DISHONORED continues to be my favorite game of the last year and a half. I wish the game wasn’t so judgy about being a psychopath, but otherwise I loved it.

    #5 2 years ago

Comments are now closed on this article.

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    Halo Online is a free-to-play game which will launch this spring in Russia, and is in development with Saber Interactive. According the reveal event attended by IGN Russia, the game was designed to run well on lower-end PCs and runs on a modified Halo 3 engine. The game is set on a secret UNSC space […]

  • SteamWorld Dig Xbox One release expected in late May

    SteamWorld Dig is coming to Xbox One, developer Image & Form has announced. A firm release date hasn’t been announced, but the studio expects the title to arrive on the system in late May. “We’re preparing quite an elaborate Easter egg for the Xbox One version – a gaming thing that we really wanted to […]

  • SMITE celebrating first anniversary with a sale on skins, Ultimate God Pack

    Hi-Rez Studios is celebrating the first anniversary of SMITE with a sale. From today through Friday, March 27, the Ultimate God Pack, which includes all current and future Gods, will run you $19.99. Alll individual pre-launch skins are 50% off, and all Gem Packs will award bonus gems. In addition, from March 27-29, all SMITE […]

  • Borderlands 2 has sold around 12 million copies, says Gearbox

    Speaking with Microsoft’s Major Nelson in his podcast, Gearbox Software boss Randy Pitchford stated Borderlands 2 has sold somewhere around the 12 million mark. As of August 2014, it was announced by Take-Two in its financial report the 2012 game had sold-in 10 million units. Pitchford noted in the podcast he learned of the figures […]

  • Broken Age releasing on PS4 and Vita same day as Act 2 on PC

    Double Fine Productions has announced it will release Broken Age on the PlayStation Store next month. Act 2 will also be released on PC. The full Broken Age adventure will release on PlayStation 4 and Vita on April 28 in North America and April 29 in Europe. It features cross-buy and cross-save. Broken Age Act […]

  • Star Citizen earned another $1 million within two weeks – total hits $76 million

    Star Citizen continues its funding streak with backers pumping another $1 million into the game’s development in the last two weeks. The total earned for the space sim has now reached $76 million ($76,015,532 to be exact) with 851,395 backers contributing to the staggering figure. Star Citizen’s latest update was version 1.1 which included two […]

  • Final Fantasy Type-0 HD, Resident Evil Revelations 2 and Battlefield: Hardline top Media Create charts

    Final Fantasy Type-0 HD, Resident Evil Revelations 2 and Battlefield: Hardline were the big ticket debuts during the March 16-2 period in Japan, with each game claiming the top three slots on the Media Create charts, respectively. Final Fantasy Type-0 HD moved 92,094 on PlayStation 4, while Resident Evil Revelations 2 moved 73,373 units on […]

  • You can now learn English or Spanish on Xbox One with the Rosetta App

    Want to learn English or Spanish? Rosetta Stone has an App for that on Xbox One. According to the language teaching firm, Rosetta Stone’s Discover Languages, the new application teaches English and Spanish by way of immersive simulation. Users will virtually travel to learn vocabulary and grammar “necessary for real-world interactions.” Here’s how it works: […]

  • PayDay 2 and PayDay: The Heist have sold over 9 million units combined

    The PayDay franchise is a lucrative IP for Starbreeze and Overkill, as both games combined have sold over 9 million copies as of November 2014. The company has also sold over 8 million paid DLC packages since PayDay 2 was released in 2013 (via NeoGAF). In its Q2 half year report issued in February, net […]

  • Nintendo wants to “surprise” customers with NX, not expand upon existing hardware

    Nintendo president Satoru Iwata has firm wants to “surprise” players with its new NX system. Speaking in an interview with Nikkei, translated by Kotaku, Iwata wouldn’t go into details on the new system, but stated expanding on a current gaming system would be “dull.” “In the past few years, the idea of what [encompasses] a […]

  • Kojima Station show suspended

    In another episode in the the ongoing kerfuffle between Hideo Kojima and Konami, the publisher has suspended the Kojima Station web show. Recent tweets from the newly created Japanese Metal Gear Solid account confirm that Kojima Station will not be broadcast tomorrow, but would not provide a date for the next episode. The Tweets were […]

  • Watch Battle Royale for free this weekend on Xbox Live

    Square Enix is celebrating the launch of Final Fantasy Type-0 HD by offering Xbox Live members in the UK a free rental of Battle Royale. Starting Saturday, March 28 and through Sunday, March 29, Xbox Live members in the UK will be able to rent Battle Royale through the Xbox Video Store, for free. The […]

  • Bloodborne journal, part 1: managing anxiety on the path to the Cleric Beast

    Bloodborne is both like and unlike the Souls games. Brenna descends into Yharnam with reluctance and trepidation. Need help succeeding in Bloodborne? You need our Bloodborne walkthrough and boss guide. Bloodborne isn’t Demon’s Souls or Dark Souls. Let’s get that out of the way right off. I enjoyed both Dark Souls games, but it was […]

  • PS Store Easter sale discounts MGS: Ground Zeroes, Far Cry 4, more

    The Easter Sale is live on the EU PS Store, with Metal Gear Solid 5: Ground Zeroes for less than £10, FIFA 15 Deluxe Edition for £30 and other savings. Some of the PlayStation 3, PS4 and Vita discounts are valid through April 8, other through April 15. PlayStation Plus members can also take an […]

  • Bloodborne video: how to unlock the first shortcut in Old Yharnam

    Here’s a video for Bloodborne players showing a quick way to unlock the first shortcut in Old Yharnam. It also provides a look at things you may have missed in Central Yharnam and The Sewers, courtesy of VaatiVidya. Don’t forget, we have guides posted for the game with more updates coming soon. Bloodborne released in […]

  • Bloodborne issue prevents summons at Vicar Amelia fight

    A Bloodborne bug has prevented players calling on help to take on one of the nasty early bosses. Bloodborne bosses are significantly easier to take down in co-op. Unfortunately, at least one of them is proving difficult to find help for – and not just because not many players have obtained the Small Resonant Bell […]

  • Mass Effect 3 on sale on EU PSN, but not free

    Mass Effect 3 is discounted on the European PSN, but it’s not free. Update 2: The option to add to cart now lets you choose between the free trial or full version. The full version is on sale for £6.49 or £5.84 for PlayStation Plus members. The free trial is of course is still available, […]

  • Elite: Dangerous Race to Elite winners announced, one player makes £10,000

    The winners of Elite: Dangerous’ Race To Elite competition have been announced, with one player receiving the grand prize of £10,000. Back when Elite: Dangerous launched, developer Frontier announced a competition that would award players to first reach Elite rank in trading, exploration, or combat, a prize of £1,000 each. The grand prize – £10,000 […]

  • GTA 5 Online Heists guide: How to make the most money with Special Bonuses and Elite Challenges

    You’re not hitting heists for the good of your health. Here’s how to max cash rewards. Money. GTA Online players love it. Greenbacks are the core of the entire experience, allowing you to buy the best weapons, vehicles and stupid haircuts. Heists, as promised, gives more opportunities than ever to earn serious cash, but once […]

  • PlayStation 4 firmware update 2.50 coming tomorrow

    PlayStation 4 firmware 2.50, codenamed Yukimura, is due for release tomorrow, March 26. Firmware update 2.50 for PlayStation 4 will be launching tomorrow, March 26, Sony has announced. Codenamed Yukimura, the system update is promised to bring suspend/resume feature, trophy sync improvements, accessibility options, and much more. 2.50 has been in beta testing a while […]

  • GTA 5 Online Heists guide: adversary modes, daily objectives, free roam challenges and more

    Heists aren’t the only addition in GTA Online’s latest DLC – there’s a lot of content that can earn you big RP and cash payouts. GTA 5 Online Heists guide: adversary modes, daily objectives, free roam challenges While heists are the talking point and big payoff after more than a year of waiting, there’s a […]

  • Battlefield Hardline: what’s the best Police sniper rifle?

    What’s the best bolt-action, Police sniper rifle for the Professional class in Battlefield Hardline? Let us help you answer that question. As you’re probably aware, Battlefield Hardline weapons are class specific and faction specific. This makes deciding on a good weapon and loadout much harder than it was in Battlefield 4. Which is where Westie […]

  • Evolve 1.3 patch nerfs Wraith, adjusts Kraken

    Evolve is receiving a new patch that aims to put an end to the Wraith’s dominance. Evolve developer Turtle Rock outlined a few of the changes coming in patch 1.3. The patch brings balance changes to the monsters – mainly the Wraith – as well as other various changes to Hunters’ tools based on player […]

  • Bloodborne: watch the opening 40 minutes

    The opening minutes of Bloodborne really do set the stage for what’s to come. They’ll also help you decide if this game is for you. Arekkz Gaming has captured the first 40 minutes of Bloodborne. Complete with the opening cutscene, and the first few obstacles you’ll face. The video is commentary free, so wear headphones […]

  • YouTube will relaunch livestreaming service with focus on eSports and gaming – report

    According to industry sources, Google is preparing to relaunch YouTube’s livestreaming service with a focus on eSports and gaming. According to anonymous sources speaking to TheDailyDot, Google is planning to bring back YouTube’s livestreaming service. The company is said to have started recruiting around 50 engineers with experience in the field, “a pretty big statement […]

  • I think I’m too old for Final Fantasy 15

    Final Fantasy 15 was nine years in the making – and counting. Are we the same people we were in 2006? Final Fantasy 15: Episode Duscae A demo available for PS4 and Xbox One. Offers a couple of hours of gameplay. More if you jump over the borders. Bundled with Final Fantasy 15 Type-0 and […]

  • New multiplayer mode for Splatoon announced

    Nintendo has sent over three screenshots for Splatoon along with information on the Wii U another of the title’s multiplayer modes. Called Ranked Battle, it keeps track of each player’s online ranking. Splat Zones is one of the additional ways to play online in this mode. It differs from Turf War, which is the main […]

  • 2015 WoW Arena World Championship has a $250,000 prize pool

    Blizzard has announced the WoW Arena World Championship will culminate at BlizzCon 2015. World of Warcraft 3v3 Arena teams from around the globe will compete for spot at the 2015 WoW Arena World Championship and for a share in the $250,000 prize pool. Online qualifiers will be held for North America, Southeast Asia, Australia, New […]