It's time to bring the Lord Regent's reign to an end as No Trace reaches its man-possessing, pipe-hopping, accident-staging conclusion. This time, it only takes a few tweaks to the day to day running of Dunwall Tower to turn one guard's innocent clumsiness into, well, one guard's deadly, explosive clumsiness.
In preparation for next week's release of Dunwall City Trials, Dishonored's first DLC drop, Bethesda have released a trailer showing off what the challenge pack contains. It's full of creative murder, combat and traversal through the Outsider's fragmented world, and is backed by Dan Bull's Dishonered rap - which is quite good in a "why would you ever do this?" sort of way.
Bethesda sound rather pleased with their sneaky, stabby new frontman Corvo. Speaking to Destructiod, the publisher's VP of PR Pete Hines, said that with Dishonored, "we clearly have a new franchise."
"I can tell you that Dishonored is far exceeding our sales expectations, which is especially cool considering it’s new IP facing a host of well-established franchises this quarter," Pete said. "We did terrific numbers again this past weekend, both in stores and on Steam, where Dishonored was listed as the #1 selling title over the holiday weekend. And Dishonored has really sold well overseas."
Bethesda have just announced the first DLC for Dishonored, titled the Dunwall City Trials. It's a time-trial and score-attack challenge pack that, they claim, will put your combat, stealth and mobility skills to the test.
Oh, bother. Gentlemanly royal bodyguard Corvo Attano seems afflicted by a rather sadistic streak while slaying his way across Dishonored's Dunwall. Bethesda collected a slew of player-submitted creative murders, kills, and assassinations into nearly three minutes of cat-and-mouse, oil-tank candy trails, grenade sniping, and other custom combos, impressively proving how much I suck at this game by comparison.
In this week's episode of No Trace, I ruin Lady Boyle's masquerade ball with a bit of planning, a lot of luck, and a relatively small amount of unplanned crisis. By my standards - and if you've watched the previous episodes in the series, you can make up your own mind about how low that particular bar is set - this is probably the purest execution of the No Trace concept so far. At least in so far as I don't have to deal with rubber aristocrats or murder innocent people to cover my inept backside. As ever, spoilers within.
Dishonored depicted a city in the throes of a commerce- and people-killing plague spread by nests of vermin as Corvo Attano stuck it or snuck it to his wrongdoers. Yet Dunwall also plays host to a secondary epidemic far less sinister in nature: words. Speaking to New World Notes, Dishonored co-creative directors Harvey Smith and Raphael Colantonio revealed the freeform stealther holds "roughly 90,000 words in AI-driven one-liners and spoken dialogue and another 40,000 written words in the form of notes, books, and graffiti." Sticking to the novel-sized script is a sizable cast of around 100 characters, half of which exist in the tattered books, journals, and clippings peppered upon Corvo's journey.
It's No Trace time again! In case you were wondering, 'No Trace Time' is now defined as 'once a week, pretty much.' Thank you for your continued understanding. In this week's episode, I tackle Kaldwin's Bridge in pursuit of the Royal Physician, Anton Sokolov - all the while attempting to leave no evidence of Corvo's involvement whatsoever.
Though not as ludicrous as a Victorian-esque assassin impersonating a British actor impersonating an American vigilante with halitosis, the idea of a speaking Corvo Attano flitting about Dunwall's dankness in Dishonored seems unfeasible—especially after we learned his brooding silence brushed close into "creepy as hell" territory. But that's what Dishonored co-creators Raphael Colantonio and Harvey Smith told OPM UK, even revealing the displaced royal protector's original incarnation as a ninja.
As I discovered in the previous episode of No Trace, making Corvo's assassinations look like accidents isn't exactly a noble endeavor. I've fed innocent people to rats in order to cover my tracks, and in this week's episode I'll put innocent people - and fish - to the blade if it'll help me build a more convincing lie. I am not especially proud of myself. Nor am I especially good at staging a staircase slip-up. I'll let you figure that out for yourself.
The rusted, iron-wrought gate clangs shut behind you. Heaving a sigh of relief, you eagerly anticipate the after-action report charting your achievements of another aced Dishonored mission. Alerts: none. Detections: zip. Enemies killed: one. Bodies fou—wait, one?! You didn't lift your blade at all against the City Watch during that run, and you even ensured a shadowy dumping corner in the sewers for the unconscious. "The sewers," you quickly realize, teeming with swarms of infested rats hungering for a fleshy meal. Whoops.
We can look forward to three DLC packs for Dishonored during the coming year. Dishonored: Dunwall City Trials is the first. It will contain 10 challenge maps that will "test and track your combat, stealth and mobility skills." A post on the Bethblog says that an "arena battle against waves of enemy AI," a drop assassination challenge and a straightforward race will be among the challenges on offer. It'll cost £3.99 / 4.99 Euro / $4.99.
Taking on Dishonored's High Overseer without leaving a trace is actually fairly straightforward. The mission directly supports it, and you can see how that approach plays out in the original 'Three Extreme Approaches' video that led to this diary series. So, in the name of finding a better way I've decided to forgo the road most traveled and find a creative new way of toppling Dunwall's most senior religious authority. Using man-eating rats.
The more players entreat Corvo's ruthlessness in Dishonored, the more tempted I become to sully my second full-stealth playthrough with a few slit throats and holed heads. Luckily enough, Dunwall's supernatural assassins enjoy sharing their exceptional moments of glory through recorded snippets of chaos. The murder spree shown here, executed by appropriately named player "Flakked," shows off some clever spring razor usage paired with the still-in-style powerslide. Take a look inside.
I took my first playthrough of Dishonored very seriously. I stealthed my way through slowly, investigating every nook and soaking up as much of Dunwall's atmosphere as I could. That reverence ended the moment the final cut scene concluded. I've enjoyed the experience the developers intended, now it's time to break it apart and have more fun.
This is what trainers are for. Dishonored hasn't been out long, but there are already programs out there that you can run alongside Dishonored, giving Corvo unlimited health, super speed, high level powers, unlimited money and more. Watch these cheats in action as I blast through the first assassination mission, with some help from a rapid fire pistol and dozens of crossbow bolts, in exactly five minutes flat.
Ladies and gentlemen, I'm sorry. In my first video in the 'No Trace' Dishonored diary series - in which I'm going to try to make each of Corvo's assassinations look like a terrible accident - I claimed that we'd get the first proper episode up today. However, we've fallen victim to some terrible accidents of our own. Accidents that involve framerates, and audio syncing, and several much longer words, and which can only be solved through many hours of video conversion and heartfelt penitence.
It's rare that you get a glance inside an art director's sketchbook, which makes the concept art that Bethesda sent over a bit of a treat. Each of the ten images comes with a few words from Dishonored art director, Sebastien Mitton, offering a bit of insight into the lengthy pre-production phase that locked down Dunwall's grimy aesthetic. There's even mention of a cut level set in an insane asylum. Let's take a look.
One of Dishonored's most oh-so-satisfying accomplishments is a Ghost and Clean Hands run, which rewards two Achievements for evading detection and performing non-lethal takedowns for the entirety of your time in Dunwall. The video here shows the complete opposite of that scuffed coin with the circular elimination of six guards in but a few seconds. And it looks simply amazing.
We left discussion of Dishonored out of our latest podcast because only Tom F, Graham and I had finished it at the point of recording: but it's one of the best games this year, and we've got a lot to say about it.
In this podcast special, we talk about our experience of the game in detail, including the plot, mechanics, missions and more. Needless to say, there are major plot spoilers throughout: do not listen to this unless you've finished the game.
Late last week, Chris posted a video showcasing three silly ways to play Dishonored. Some of you have told us that you'd like to see a diary series based on one of these approaches, and we agree! We're not sure which one to do, though, so we figured we'd put the question to you directly.