THE OUTSIDER WALKS AMONG US: Looking back at Dishonored

With November 11th still two months away, my excitement for the release of Dishonored 2 has pretty much reached critical. Pax West has given us another little teaser, so now is the perfect time to revisit the city of Dunwall and get familiar with all of the critical details of the first story.

Dunwall

The original Dishonored was released back in 2012 and received rave reviews, but I actually only started playing it until sometime last year. A travesty, I know, and I didn’t even pick up The Knife of Dunwall and The Brigmore Witches DLC to round off the series until even more recently.

(Full disclosure: when I say I finished the DLC “recently” I actually mean just a few days ago, so you could say it’s still pretty fresh in my mind.)

Despite being late to the party, Dishonored is quite easily one of my favorite games of all time.

Arkane Studios were so thoughtful in crafting that very first scene – Corvo arriving on the boat, the vaguely menacing members of the queen’s court, and the cute game of hide and seek with Emily Kaldwin – all of it designed to immerse you in this strange world.

The tone for the game was established with such ease, I wasn’t even aware of how deep my investment went until the devastating moment that Empress Jessamine Kaldwin lay dying in my arms.

J

(I don’t like to talk about it.)

I think my only complaint about the game, originally, was that it felt unfinished; like there were too many ends left loose. Of course, after playing the DLC that criticism went right out the window.

Since then, I think I’ve spent hours poring over the Wiki in an effort to suck up any information I may have missed.

The writing team has a knack for interesting and subtly crafted lore – it is also skilled at creating deplorable characters and bringing to them a little spark of humanity. I am still haunted by Bundry Rothwild, who made his living farming whale oil but feels immense grief when he hears the whales cry.

Daud

“We make our choices, and take what comes.”

Then there is Daud, another terrible man whose humanity we see laid bare in the DLC. As we get a glimpse into his life post-Jessamine’s assassination, we see a man consumed with regret. The Empress’ murder sets Daud on a path where he will, inevitably, have to face Corvo for what he has done.

It becomes abundantly clear that Daud, like Corvo, was never entirely in charge of his own fate.

So where does the last game leave us? There were plenty of questions still to ask, but I think the biggest question all of us have is: what’s up with The Outsider?

The Outsider

“You find your way into such interesting places, Corvo.”

I find The Outsider endlessly fascinating – and not because he looks like Gerard Way circa my 2006 crush. There have been and will be others like him, which means that the Void and the magic therein actually pre-dates the existence of the Outsider himself.

This sets up the Void as a background character in the story, and while that character is currently represented by The Outsider, the representative will eventually change to suit the whim of the Void.

Pretty cool, if you ask me!

While I try to quash my disappointment that the Outsider character will no longer carry the original iconic voice of Billy Lush, here’s to hoping that his replacement Robin Lord Taylor keeps that creepy feel, and that the Void is explored a lot more in the next game.

So, if you haven’t visited our friends over in Dunwall for a while, I highly recommend you take a trip down memory lane and refresh your memory before the new game comes out. And if you have never read the wiki before, head on over there now.

Just make sure you have plenty of time on your hands for the inevitable link-hopping!

[Daud and Dunwall images sourced from the Dishonored Wiki. Other images created and edited by me.]

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5 September 2016 · 13:32

That Requisite First Post Thing

Being that I was, in a lot of ways, your average English student at the University of Massachusetts, I spent much of my academic career writing papers and prompts and analyses, tirelessly pouring through articles and publications in search of information, and living almost entirely off of on the go lunches and more than a little too much caffeine.

I was altogether privileged when it came to the sort of stuff I was expected to read, but the  danger of the creative mind  is that when faced with something that  it should be doing, it will almost always want to be doing something else. 

You know what I mean.

You’re sitting there, writing this brilliant 20 page research paper on a subject of your choosing… the readings are engaging and numerous, the subject not the least bit exhaustive… but you can’t seem to get into it because your brain has decided it would rather be dissecting the latest Hunger Games movie.

Yeah, I’m talking about that.

So then, with my career in academia at a bit of a standstill– being unable to afford Graduate School at this time, and attempting not to drown in the debt owed to my old University– I finally have found the freedom to write about those other things, but have been so far unable to find the motivation. Again, such is danger of the creative mind. It hardly ever cooperates, and the gap between what you want and what you do is vast and intimidating.

That’s how I got here… But why am I here? Why am I writing this convoluted (read: very me-centered)  introduction to my shiny new and questionably academic bit of blogspace?

This blog was previously a dumping ground for all of my personal musings. I’ve since moved those musings to my personal blog, and have decided to convert this to… that’s right… a space entirely devoted to my analyses of video games and gaming culture.  Probably not the most fiscally responsible way to use my Bachelor’s, but  I’ve never expected that I’d be anything less than fiscally pitiable anyway, so I’m not really concerned.

My inquiring mind has been obsessed with analyzing most things. Call it a preoccupation with the thought process of the creator, or whatever you like, but I can hardly ever let anything lie until I’ve talked it to death or thought myself into a hole.  The idea of starting this blog came to me after finally finishing Bioshock: Infinite about a week ago… If you’ve played the game, you probably understand why my creative mind came out of it’s underused stupor. It was after this that was suddenly struck with both the urge and the motivation (read: obsessive and powerful need) to write about the game. This was followed by the decision to write quite a lot about the game, and other games too. After all… I’ve been looking for a project while I take a break from… well… other projects. What better way to do so than to continue letting my creative juices flow elsewhere?

More on the Infinite article later. It’s likely to be the first thing you see out of me.

So there we are, folks. The how and the why. The rest will come in time, if you decide to stick around… Expect this blog to be filled with feminist dialogue, overly analytic  bits on storytelling tropes, and the occasional (read:  frequent and poorly held-back) gushing over my favorite video game titles.

Now get out of here, or I’ll be forced to repeat myself.

With exuberant welcome,

Megan A. Morgan

(Somekindofcontraption)

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