Dishonored Hero Almost Wasn't Mute

By Pete Haas 2 years ago discussion comments
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Corvo, the lead character for Dishonored, was silent save for a few text-based dialogue choices. During the game's development, though, Arkane Studios considered giving him more of a tangible personality. They decided against it because of the game's non-linear structure.

"If we portrayed Corvo angry and seeking revenge, it might offend the nonlethal player who is seeking a stable outcome for the City of Dunwall, and vice versa," Arkane's Raphael Colantonio told OPM.

The PS3 super hero inFamous comes to mind. In that game, players could make protagonist Cole into a hero or villain. To accommodate for both possibilities, the voice actor for Cole growled all of his lines. Likewise, love interest Trish talked to him in a pissed-off tone throughout the game as though to make her dialogue fit both good and evil Cole.

Character personality and player choice aren't mutually exclusive options, though. Commander Shepard, for example, is a vivid personality in spite of players being able to play him as "good" or "bad." However, his range of morals is a lot narrower than Corvo. Corvo can decide to slaughter everyone he sees or to leave everyone be. Regardless of how you play Shepard, he's going to kill lots of people. It's just a matter of whether he's occasionally ruthless or benevolent. It's easier to craft a consistent personality for a character when the player doesn't have radically extreme choices for his actions.

I think Arkane could've threaded the needle and made Corvo an engaging personality that fit multiple playstyles. It just would've been a matter of writing and voice acting. I don't know whether I would've preferred that to the mute Corvo, though. It was enjoyable to step into the character's shoes and assign whatever personality to him that I wished. It made Dishonored feel like a true role-playing game.
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