Dishonored video sheds insight on visual style

I’ve been looking forward to Arkane Studios’ Dishonored ever since Geoff wrote up that first trailer back in April. News of Arkane’s commitment to PC development, not to mention the PC release’s plentiful customization options, only whetted my apetite further. But really, what’s fascinated me most is Dishonored‘s unique visual style—the dusky streets with blended architectural styles, the strange machinery, and the quasi-Victorian costumes.

As luck would have it, Arkane has put up a new "developer documentary" video addressing that particular aspect of the game. It’s nearly 11 minutes long and includes plenty of game footage, some concept art, and pretty interesting insight into the creative process going on behind the scenes. Check it out:

I didn’t realize Arkane had a bona-fide industrial designer working on the game. I suppose it’s no wonder, though. From what little I’ve seen, Dishonored‘s game world isn’t just unique and intriguing. It also has a certain plausibility—an internal consistency—that makes the environment seem all the more genuine.

Dishonored is due out on October 9 for the PC, Xbox 360, and PlayStation 3. And I can’t wait.

Comments closed
    • internetsandman
    • 7 years ago

    So he says they’re going for a non-photorealistic art style…..why are people then complaining that the graphics don’t look incredible? I for one thought it was really unique, it doesn’t look as flat as borderlands, it has depth without trying to be something it’s not, I really enjoy this art style

      • SPOOFE
      • 7 years ago

      “why are people then complaining that the graphics don’t look incredible?”

      Gamers today are constantly pissed off that new games don’t completely rock their world all the time, just like when they were kids. And all the kids just emulate the grumpy old “git off mah lawn” guys.

    • Bensam123
    • 7 years ago

    Kinda sad that with that level of detail put into the game, it still ends up looking like borderlands as far as graphical fidelity. They mixed a crapton of pre-rendered scenes in with the actual gameplay footage (that looks like borderlands). They could actually make the game look like those pre-rendered scenes with todays technology if they weren’t pandering to consoles.

    Really a sad thing. So much artistic potential there that just doesn’t make it to the finished game because of the market it’s aiming for… and for some reason they decided not to amp up the graphics and simply put in sliders to limit it for consoles or computers. I still don’t understand why this isn’t done. Pretty much all the game engines games are built off of now days have them by default.

      • internetsandman
      • 7 years ago

      It’s an incredible game, it has amazing voice acting, art, architecture, the gameplay could be out of this world incredible…but the graphics aren’t photrealistic. I DON’T CARE IF THAT’S NOT WHAT THEY WERE GOING FOR, AND SAID THAT SPECIFICALLY IN THEIR VIDEO, IT’S WHAT I WANT DAMNIT. NOT AMAZING GAMEPLAY OR AMAZING IDEAS, I WANT MY EYEBALLS TO ORGASM FROM THE REALISTIC SCENES IN FRONT OF ME

      This is what you sound like if you take all the condescension out of your post, FYI

        • Bensam123
        • 7 years ago

        Really… I thought what I was going for is their potential was limited by the marketing segmented they aimed at.

        Compare the pre-rendered videos to actual gameplay. Big difference. This has nothing to do with believing their art style is bad or game play will be bad. Matter of a fact I’ve even said the gameplay looks good and I enjoy their artistic style… The graphics most definitely suck though. Borderlands. Same waxy, lifeless, manequin style characters with too much shading.

        Seriously some of you need to think before you jump on bandwagons (in this case ‘he’s saying graphics matter and gameplay doesn’t lololol’). I actually expected Washer to make a stupid reply like this.

          • l33t-g4m3r
          • 7 years ago

          Yes, the graphics are limited by the segment they aimed for. That’s pretty much a given, being an Unreal Engine console game. They have stated “commitment” to the PC, however vague that is, so we may yet see increased texture resolution or something. The art style is admittedly going for lesser fidelity, much like the cell shading style of borderlands. Borderlands was still a pretty big hit, and I see lots of people looking forward to the sequel, even on the PC. Graphics are obviously not that important to people once you reach the point of good enough, not to say you shouldn’t put effort into greater fidelity, but there is diminishing returns. This will continue to be a problem until we see the next generation of consoles. It’s the same problem that existed day one of their release. Inflexible hardware. How many years has it been, yet people still don’t get it. Does it really need to be re-questioned every single new port? I don’t think so. This is just continuously beating a dead horse and splattering yourself with the rotting flesh, while the rest of us want nothing to do with it, and would rather enjoy what we do get.

          If you’re going to complain, it should be about including extra detail for the PC, using a more up to date engine, or even wanting next gen consoles to come out sooner. However, it is still ultimately up to the developer to decide what they release, and being that they’re using UE3 and going for non photo-realism, I don’t expect a whole lot aside from maybe a texture pack and cheaper prices. I’d say the game’s worth maybe $40 with a texture pack, $30 if not, all depending on how good it turns out. Sure I’ll buy it, but ports are only worth the effort made converting them to PC, as well as how good the game is in the first place. From what I’ve seen in the videos though, gameplay is the selling feature, so that’s what I’m buying it for.

            • Bensam123
            • 7 years ago

            Main thing I pointed out was the actual gameplay vs pre-rendered scenes. I would look at the video again and then look at gameplay footage.

            They already have the models and the textures, they used them for the pre-rendered scenes. They don’t just will pixels out of thin air.

            I disagree about ‘good enough’. Good enough is extraordinarily subjective. Just because your eyes are dead and dull doesn’t mean everyone elses are in the world. I can say this more so if you’ve been stuck on a console for the last seven years and eye candy to you is nothing more then the next iteration of Halo which puts the majority of it’s pixel budget into making the armor shiny. World of Warcraft and cell shaded titles take this to extremes. You could run it on a Wii and it would be fine. Really cell shaded graphics look awfully close to N64 mario with more shading to give it a rougher look.

            It doesn’t need to be a problem either. I don’t understand why people don’t get the whole detail options. You make the game for a higher standard and you lower the bar to whatever it’s put on so it can run it. That’s the whole reason there are options in the first place.

            Hardware is inflexible, software is not.

            I appreciate the comaprison to a dead horse with eye candy, but the argument is quite moot. I think I’ve argued this with you a half a dozen times and none of them do you actually confront the argument where a game can be made for higher standards, like the PC, and have the graphical fidelity turned down for the consoles. You always seem to think that games NEED to be made for the low level standards on the console.

            Once again you’re throwing around photorealism like that’s a bad thing and this game has to be dead and drab cell shaded. I will, once again, refer you to the pre-rendered scenes in the video compared to actual game play. Did you watch the video?

            The people in the video have way too much talent and are striving for way too much just to have it lost on a shitty console port. It’s really sad.

            I really have to address this again. Why are they making two sets of textures for the PC and console? They just make one high fidelity set and turn down the LOD for the consoles.

            • l33t-g4m3r
            • 7 years ago

            CGI doesn’t directly translate into game engines. You have to work within the limitations of whatever engine you’re using, not to mention the hardware limitations of consoles and or the PC. I don’t think I’ve ever seen a game engine match CGI, even on the PC, and there’s a good reason for that. CGI does raytracing, hi poly models, textures, AA, whatever, and that gets rendered in frames per minute, not frames per second.

            Good enough may be slightly subjective, but that doesn’t mean good graphics. The literal translation means it is acceptable and meets the bare minimum requirements to deliver an enjoyable experience. I am no way claiming otherwise, unlike some people.

            Games do need to be made for the low standards of the consoles. PC sales account for what, 10% of the market? It’s a lot of extra work for diminishing returns. The way you currently do cross-platform games with PC detail is either A: Start from the PC and work down, which doesn’t always translate well, or B: Start from the Console and translate up, which usually means using an outdated engine with limited upgrade potential. IMO, it should be instead done simultaneously with the most modern cross platform engine available, while keeping PC graphics non-invasive to the overall console experience. Either way, it needs to be cost effective and easy to do because consoles are the bigger market.

            Why are there two sets? Think about it. You can’t run the high fidelity set on consoles even if you set a LOD. It wastes space on the disk, increases loading times, and may not translate well graphically. No, consoles need their set optimized specifically for the hardware, but if the source material is high res that could be translated up to the PC.

            Games certainly can be made for the PC, but you need to be practical about it. Most of the time you’re not going to see an improvement unless the developers start out wanting that, and it needs to be in the budget. Outdated engines don’t translate well, and most of the time they’re cheaper and easier to use for the console. That’s life. Sometimes you catch a break when people want to put forth the extra effort required to make a good PC game, and those people should be applauded and supported, but they’re the exception, not the norm. Actually, things have gotten better, but that doesn’t invalidate the pointlessness of the great console port graphics debate. Just enjoy what there is to enjoy, and avoid the junk. Nevertheless, this is still the PC, and you could just wait for the modding community to improve the graphics.

            • Bensam123
            • 7 years ago

            I never said CGI translated directly in game. But the assets are there and CG is usually what they’re striving for. In game is what they settle for.

            Really it all depends on what level or pre-rendered scenes you’re talking about. Crysis 3 is starting to look pretty close to things like Avatar, most definitely older CG’d movies. Entire games use in game cut scenes now instead of CG and it doesn’t look horrible, because the game engine simply makes it look that good if the assets are there.

            You’re starting to pull stuff out of your ass. Just because stuff is ‘CG’d’ or pre-renderd in advance DOES NOT mean it uses ray tracing, hi poly models, or any of the other things you mentioned. It’s in the same boat as the normal game engine. It depends on how much and how far developers want to go with it. There are no pre-set standards, besides pre-rendered scenes or videos being done before hand and a game being live.

            Good enough is [i<]completely[/i<] subjective. [quote<]...to deliver an enjoyable experience [for me]. I am no way claiming otherwise, unlike some people.[/quote<] For you. That's the most important part. That doesn't apply to anyone else unless they say so. Dude, I don't understand where you go to come up with your logic. They don't need to make a completely separate game for the PC. There isn't this magical divide where they have two separate game companies making two different games because they can't simply port the game from the PC to console or vice versa. Porting is exactly what they do and sometimes really poorly. They can use the same exact assets in both games and they do. Once again you have it backwards. Game engines allow companies to basically take better content and make it look like poo if they want to with graphical options. This is all set up for them already. Like the Cryengine 2 or UE3. They can scale back the graphics to simply run on older hardware. If they make crappy graphics to begin with, they can't simply turn them up. You can't will pixels out of nothingness, so you HAVE to completely remake the assets. That most definitely means a lot more work. Where as one way they would do maybe 50% more work and the other they more then double their workload including doing that original 50% on top of it as they're making what they needed to in the first place. That is what they did with BF3. There weren't extra assets they released for the PC. They released the PC version on the console with scaled back graphics. Higher res textures don't increase load time if they're scaled back to begin with. I don't know how they wouldn't translate graphically. It would look no different then seeing a lower resolution texture to begin with, downsampling is a proper way games deal with this. Yes, it would take up more space on the HD, but when you're looking at console games closing in on 10GB anyway, that doesn't seem all that far fetched. None of this is even a concern if they simply scale the textures down in whatever editing program they're using and save them. Have you ever played with image scaling in paint? It's the same thing. It's a simple text box option. The work is already done, scaling things down isn't a problem. There wont be an improvement unless they actually create better graphics? Yes, I could see that. XD UE3 can do some pretty great things, as can Cryengine 2. Both aren't used to their full extent. Shitty console hardware doesn't entail shitty engines. And no that's not life. I can point out graphics when they look poor and dated all I want. If enough people want better graphics, then they'll do it. PC games never used to be the exception, they used to be the norm. They were ported to consoles instead of the other way around. They were better before they got worse, now they're actually getting back to the point of where they were at before because people realize how old and decrepit console hardware is and makes things look.

    • DarkUltra
    • 7 years ago

    That time-stop event at the end made me very interested…

    • indeego
    • 7 years ago

    Imagine this amount of detail put into a game’s AI. If only.

    • kamikaziechameleon
    • 7 years ago

    I wish the game technology was stronger. I love the art design but in many instances the tech is not able to capture the appearance properly, either because of lacking polygons, hair tech, or because of stiff animations.

    • sunner
    • 7 years ago

    This game wont be mediocre.
    It’ll be either a total flop or a real Masterpiece.

    Cyril, a question about ‘Oct 9’
    Trailer says at end ‘Dishonored 12-10-12’. (?)

      • atryus28
      • 7 years ago

      I agree, hopefully with this much time and money thrown at the game I hope it is as great as it appears to be. I haven’t plunked down on a brand new game in forever but this one looks like it might be worth it. Although my financial side still find it hard to give the full opening price when I know in a couple weeks it will be at least $10 cheaper and I won’t have time to play it right away either so….

      • lilbuddhaman
      • 7 years ago

      It’ll be an awesome game but be about 7hours long and have 3-5 DLC’s within 6 months.

      • Cyril
      • 7 years ago

      [quote<]Cyril, a question about 'Oct 9' Trailer says at end 'Dishonored 12-10-12'. (?)[/quote<] That's the European release date. The game is coming on the 9th in North America.

      • krazyredboy
      • 7 years ago

      Maybe it’s in Military Time? 12 October, 2012? I know that isn’t October 9th…but, it’s close.

      • cegras
      • 7 years ago

      It’s from the makers of Dark Messiah, which I thought was small, polished game with a neat story line.

      • kilkennycat
      • 7 years ago

      Fyi: 12-10-12 is the 12th of October 2012 in the UK. Don’t know what they are going to do with the title in Europe…..should be “DishonoUred” in non-American English. However, since the US is likely to be the biggest source of sales, I suspect the US Title might universally stick, even if the game is based on models of early London and its citizens.

    • sweatshopking
    • 7 years ago

    does he say why the graphics look 5 years out of date?

      • Hattig
      • 7 years ago

      “Dishonored is due out on October 9 for the PC, Xbox 360, and PlayStation 3”.

      Two of these platforms are over six years old. The other platform will be a port from the console versions.

      • kamikaziechameleon
      • 7 years ago

      my thoughts as well. Solid art design but the tech looks atrocious.

      • l33t-g4m3r
      • 7 years ago

      Yes. “non-photorealistic art style”.

      • Meadows
      • 7 years ago

      Does it matter?

        • yogibbear
        • 7 years ago

        What SSK says matters to most people, including developers, policy makers, Rupert Murdoch and his wife.

      • BobbinThreadbare
      • 7 years ago

      Other than aliasing on literally every single line, I don’t see what looks bad about it. *shurg*.

      • Washer
      • 7 years ago

      The models look a bit waxy and the lighting isn’t up to the best of titles released in the last year but the game looks good. Personally I find art direction plays a much greater role in how much I enjoy a game’s visuals than photorealistic lighting. There seems to be nice attention to detail in this games style and it really helps immersion.

        • l33t-g4m3r
        • 7 years ago

        Sometimes good atmosphere is more important than graphics. System Shock 2 is a great example of this, as the models were low poly for it’s time, but that didn’t detract from the experience. Games are ultimately judged by the user’s overall enjoyment, not dx11 WTFBBQ graphics. If the story, music, sound effects, level design, gameplay, and graphics don’t properly mesh, you won’t have a good game. I’m happy with any game that can pull that off, graphics or not. This game looks like a combination of Bioshock, Thief/Riddick, and Half-life2, so it probably will be good. Also, people need to start accepting that you aren’t always going to get top notch graphics with a console port, and should generally be thankful that you’re even getting it at all. The only way you’re getting dx11 games is if the developer starts off supporting the PC, or has the extra resources to add content to the port.

        Nevertheless, SSK’s question is either rhetorical, asinine, or both, being that any footage of a console game is going to look out of date, because the hardware is out of date. Duh. The better question would be: Why isn’t there increased detail for the PC, and if so, what’s been added?

          • DarkUltra
          • 7 years ago

          Absolutely. Fallout 1 and 2 had a different feeling to them than Fallout 3. Better voice-acting, more interesting characters and music. Not that wandering around in a 3D world with slow motion action sequences is anything less than awesome.

      • dashbarron
      • 7 years ago

      Shut thy mouth heathen! Harken my words Valvelites, destroy this traitor!

      He does not understand that things like “lighting effects” can make a game glorious.

    • yogibbear
    • 7 years ago

    SHUTUP AND TAKE MY MONEY!

    • Hattig
    • 7 years ago

    So is this some form of Steampunk meets Terry Gilliam’s Brazil meets Assassins Creed?

      • PrincipalSkinner
      • 7 years ago

      Don’t forget the Thief.

      • Duck
      • 7 years ago

      …meets Unreal Engine 3 wax skin moddles.

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