Bethesda Softworks‘ Dishonored is one of the most hotly anticipated game releases of the fall. When it’s released on October 9th, it will be the first game from Bethesda since last year’s near-consensus Game of the Year, The Elder Scrolls: Skyrim. Dishonored will bring a stealth twist to the open-world gameplay that made The Elder Scrolls and Fallout (Bethesda’s other big series) instant classics. Bethesda has sunk a lot of money into the game’s presentation, pegging Dexter‘s Daniel Licht to compose the soundtrack and hiring big name voice actors like Susan Sarandon, Chloe Grace Moretz, Princess Leia, and Wormtongue. Luckily, we won’t have to wait for the game to come out the get a sneak peek of what to expect from this team.
Bethesda are releasing a three-part web miniseries called Dishonored: Tales from Dunwall. It features Licht‘s music and a narration from Moretz accompanying some beautiful hand-drawn animation from the Psyop studio. Tales from Dunwall will act as a companion to Dishonored, introducing us to some the game’s characters and taking us inside the beautifully (if bleakly) imagined world in which the player will be free to roam. The first short episode has been released on Bethesda’s YouTube channel:
Personally, the feel of Tales from Dunwall reminds me two separate works. Licht’s music and the grisly animation invite obvious comparisons to Dexter: Early Cuts, which also featured both of those qualities. Meanwhile, the overall tone of the episode and it’s ‘looking back on the past’ narrative style remind me of Bioshock, especially when you consider that developers Arkane worked on both Dishonored and Bioshock 2. In my mind, Dunwall is giving us a hint of the flavor that we will find in Dishonored; they’re telling us it will have the exploration of the seedy underbelly of a city in decline that made Bioshock such a hit in combination with the suspenseful sequences of tracking a target and gruesomely murdering him that make Dexter (and its web series companion) so much fun to watch.
I don’t want to make the mistake of reading too much into Tales from Dunwall, which is little more than an ultra slick marketing campaign. The most salient takeaway is that Dunwall is done well (badum tish) and if the full game features the meticulousness and care that was put into this miniseries, then Bethesda will surely be responsible for yet another big hit.