Blink and you’ll miss it.
If you think about Dishonored, you likely remember sprinting across rooftops and using supernatural powers to teleport across vast distances. You remember zipping into the rafters to silently stalk. You remember blinking towards a target before plunging a blade into their neck.
The original vision for Dishonored looked much different. In fact, stealth wasn’t even a focus.
“The supernatural assassin was always there, but the stealth element being front and foremost, it wasn’t the case as much,” Arkane game director Dinga Bakaba explained. “Blink was not a mandatory power. You didn’t necessarily have Blink. Yes, which might sound like, ‘What?’ when you look at it in retrospect, but yes. I did make a playthrough of the game where Blink was only optional, quite a few times.”
Another thing that evolved over the course of development was the knife, which in the final version is glued to the player’s right hand. Early on, this could be swapped out for a bow and other weapons, but the decision was made to keep it on-hand, with the off-hand used for ranged attacks and powers.
“It’s not like we set out to make the game with the teleportation guy,” Bakaba continued. “Even if it might look like it, because all the level design seems like it accounts for it and everything. But no, actually the teleportation guy emerged during production as the need arose. We wanted players to pay more attention to verticality. We wanted players to be able to do stealth, but fast, and not just wait for the patrols to be over.
“So Blink was a tool for that, but you know what? Why not give it to the players then? And also focusing the player’s attention towards supernatural abilities. ‘Those can be nice. Don’t fear to engage with them! It’s not like one complex system that you might not get good returns from. No, you will have fun with those things. Here is one.’ Sometimes game design choices make your game.”