When Dishonored 2's Death of the Outsider was revealed at E3, its launch trailer (featured above) showcased Billie Lurk slaughtering five baddies before rescuing her mentor Daud. With that, the star of the forthcoming DLC's show was immediately clear—however Daud was once considered as the standalone expansion's central protagonist.
That's according to the game's lead designer Dinga Bakaba, who I sat down with alongside lead level designer Christophe Carrier at Gamescom.
"We spoke to Harvey and we knew we wanted to explore this part of the universe, which is like the underground," Bakaba tells me. "The powerful are the focus of the main games and DLC was the underground, the assassins, the shady figures, and so we wanted to come back to that. We weren't sure at first, but Billie became more and more interesting as we worked on Dishonored 2. There was an option where we could have just told this story through the eyes of Daud, by the way, but I think that would have been the easy road because his powers are known, it would mean less mechanical exploration.
"In the end it was cool to choose Billie because she's intriguing… she went through several interesting stages in her life—particularly in Dishonored 2, her main redemption arc is pretty much done, she's paid her debts in a way. And we're focusing on a more personal quest which is where she wants to find her mentor who now has a crazy agenda. Out of loyalty, she will carry on with his ambitions."
Speaking to Billie's mentor, I suggest to Bakaba and Carrier that Michael Madsen's voice feels made for the role. The pair tell me that securing his services in the first Dishonored game was somewhat of a surprise—particularly given both Bakaka and Carrier are fans of his work. But despite Madsen's professionalism and suitability, Bakaba suggests that working with celebrities, while nice, can be more complicated than working with lesser known actors.
"They may have they own personality and world and sometimes it just doesn't match with yours," says Bakaba. Carrier interjects: "Actually in Dishonored we had to change a character because the acting of the celebrity was not matching the character. I'm not going to say who. It was a very cool actor and very cool acting, but it just didn't match the character."
As for the Dishonored timeline post-Death of the Outsider, it doesn't appear Arkane is quite done with Dunwall and beyond just yet.
"The Outsider is very central to Dishonored of course, but, for example, in this last game, he's not the one giving the power to Billie in the same way that he did with the other ones," says Carrier. "Maybe this marks the end for the Outsider but that doesn't mean it's the end of The Void. It's the end of this Void, but the Outsider is representative of his Void. The Void as a whole will however always exist.
"People tend to think that the Outside is god and if you kill god then everything ends. That's not the case. We're very attached to the IP, we love it, and the end of the Outsider is more like the end of this era. It's more like they are attached to him in a way and ending his storyline is ending this period. We don't know what we're going to do after that, but it doesn't mean that it's the end."
Dishonored 2's Death of the Outisder is due September 15. In the meantime, check out Ian Birnbaum's hands-on at QuakeCon which includes words from Arkane's Harvey Smith.