Celebrating A Series: Dishonored 3 – It’s Time To Take The Franchise To Pandyssia

PlayStation LifeStyle’s Celebrating A Series looks at some of the best games to come out in recent years and begs us to ask the question: “where is the next entry?” Recently, we’ve covered where Destiny 3 can grow the franchise, why we’re still waiting on Jak and Daxter 4, and what might follow-up Until Dawn. This week, it’s my pleasure to enter your brain space so we can together wonder how Dishonored 3 might continue the series now that the arc of Corvo and Emily is wrapped up.

The original Dishonored is one of my favorite games ever. It’s one of the best additions to a genre that’s easily in my top three: first-person stealth. A good, well-balanced stealth game is hard to create. Sneaking around needs to feel good, levels need to be designed with smart verticality, and combat cannot feel too powerful nor too cheap. Dishonored nailed all of this while being set in an interesting world and backed by a really rewarding narrative. I always loved Corvo’s creepy metalwork skull mask, so when Dishonored 2 was announced and Arkane revealed a Collector’s Edition that came with a replica of that mask, I was all in. If only the mask was designed to be worn. Then again, where would I even be able to wear such a chilling thing?

Dishonored 3

Bethesda’s E3 press conference is coming up fast, and the one thing I’m hoping to see from them is an announcement for Dishonored 3. I know Ricardo Bare went on the record mid last year to let fans know that the series is “resting for now,” so the chances of an announcement are slim. Still, we don’t know what Arkane Studios is working on other than DLC for Prey.

Where can the story of Dishonored 3 go now?

We know next to nothing about what Arkane or Bethesda want to do with Dishonored 3. There are a few key bits of information that we do have to help us speculate on what is next for the franchise.

We know that the game will move away from Corvo and Emily’s stories. So, a whole new cast is likely to be found in a different part of the world. If the current cast of characters is being retired, there is really no way of guessing who might be the star of our next sneaking spree. We can look at what new settings the game could take place in though. From there we could kick around an idea for what sort of character we might see.

We’ve explored a large chunk of the Empire of the Isles. We’ve been to Gristol and Serkonos, which leaves either Tyvia or Morely left to be explored. Maybe we will follow another royal family on one of these two unseen islands. Perhaps it will go the total opposite and tell the story of a beggar tasked with taking down fanatics around the island. Arkane may choose to stay in the Isles to use the similarities in technology and class systems so that players still feel familiar with the series while it’s being revamped.

Dishonored 3

Arkane could also choose to throw that out of the window and fully commit to taking players on a completely new journey. In the unnamed world that Dishonored takes place in, there is a huge landmass to the east of the Isles known as the Pandyssian Continent. This region has not been touched by the series, apart from a few mentions in notes scattered around. Pandyssia, while being a large area, is mostly an unexplored jungle and is believed to be inhabited by small tribes of less advanced people.

If Dishonored 3 takes places some number of years after the current arc, it would be interesting to find ourselves in Pandyssia either as it’s being explored or a number of years after it has been colonized by the Isles. I would be interested in stepping into the shoes of an explorer of this new continent as they discover ancient tribes and their unique supernatural rituals. I find this a fascinating concept given the events at the end of Death of the Outsider, where the otherworldly being who granted inhuman abilities to several people has been taken out of the picture. With him gone, the supernatural side of things is in flux. This new setting would be a great way to bring back the crazy abilities that we’d expect from a Dishonored game while also exploring a totally new dogma surrounding them.

Core Gameplay for Dishonored 3

Let’s get combat out of the way right at the beginning. Dishonored 3 should have smoother and more intuitive combat, but it doesn’t need to be much deeper than it is right now. New skills to insta-kill enemies while in combat or better attack and health values would be really detrimental to the game’s core component: stealth. If engaging enemies head-on is too comfortable, then very little is going to encourage a stealthy approach, which is the heart of Dishonored. Combat is best when it feels like you barely made it out alive. So, let’s keep combat about where it is capabilities-wise while putting some more polish into stealth.

I would love to see more depth given to enemy AI, especially in regards to how they react to a player sneaking about. There has been plenty of times where I have been in a guard’s line-of-sight but was not spotted by the guards. This should absolutely change, but the world needs to be altered along with it. Enemies need to discover the player with complete accuracy, but more opportunities to sneak around them or hide from them when they are patrolling should be present for players.

Dishonored 3

Abilities in Dishonored 3

The character’s supernatural abilities, given that they don’t disappear thanks to Death of the Outsider, could use some more variation. While I loved playing Emily, her powers didn’t feel different enough compared to Corvo’s. Maybe that’s part of the point. It could be that the variety of powers that a person has will be similar between family members, or it could be that The Outsider had a very limited imagination when granting powers. Either way, both the Attano/Kaldwin lineage and The Outsider are out for this next entry, so Arkane should really let their creative minds loose. I think it’s a given that a power similar to Blink, which can teleport players short distances, will be back in some capacity. Most of the levels are designed with it in mind, and that smart verticality that I mention really leans on it. So, if Arkane wants to create levels that are both large and tall, they will need a similar power.

On the flipside, if Dishonored 3 were to take place in jungles of Pandyssia there might not be a lot of verticality in the world. If this is the case, the basic movement power could take the form of a quick point-to-point, dash-like movement. Maybe the possession ability that Corvo had could return and be expanded to control bugs or monkey-like creatures native to the jungles. I hope that it goes way further than this.

As we step out of the Imperialistic setting of the Isles, where the supernatural elements match the commercial theme of manipulating a person and altering reality, into a setting where nature is the defining characteristic, I hope to see powers that are influenced by this new setting. There could be powers that use vines or flora to subdue or distract enemies. The mud could be pulled from the surrounding area, hardened, and used to create a pathway where one otherwise did not exist. Instead of using Blink, which allows you to spot enemies through walls, could we have a group of gnats form overhead enemies to let us know of their location? There are a lot of possible powers that would compliment this setting to separate it from previous Dishonored locations.

Dishonored 3

Final Thoughts on Dishonored 3

There are a ton of places that Dishonored 3 could go and a ton of people who could tell its story. I hope that Arkane Studios uses this chance to deliver something unexpecting and exciting that takes advantage of the Death of the Outsider’s ramifications. While it will be a bummer to not see Corvo or Emily’s return, the franchise is ready for a new cast of characters to take center stage. The gameplay is the greatest strength of the series, and Dishonored 3 will have a chance to add some needed variety will using it to expand upon the lore of the world. Needless to say, wherever Arkane takes the series next, I am confident it will bring something fantastic to players.