Dishonored 2 is coming out later this year, and it looks to draw a lot of inspirations from the first game while also making a number of changes and improvements. One such change is the decision to give the main characters voices; in the original Dishonored, Corvo was a silent protagonist, but this time around he and Emily both will speak and react to the people and events surrounding them. A recent interview with creative director Harvey Smith has revealed the reasoning behind this change, which stem from a desire to both help direct players’ attention and let gamers connect with the protagonists like never before.
Part of this was inspired by their decision to include voice acting for the protagonist of the first
Dishonored‘s DLC, where you played as a separate character named Daud. In working on that DLC, Arkane realized just how powerful and useful a voiced playable character can be.
“We did no voice for Dishonored 1; it was OK, you can do it. But then we experimented with the DLC, giving Daud a voice. It was crazy how useful it was as a developer. You often get players to a certain point and you really want them to look at this thing, but they just don’t see it. And so sometimes you can have the character go, ‘Wow, look at that!’ [laughs]. That’s a goofy example, but it works.”
— Harvey Smith
On the other hand, Smith also believes that it allows gamers to better connect with the person they’re playing as. While a few may prefer a silent protagonist, ”
many, many more people” have apparently voiced their wish that the studio would have given Corvo voice acting in the first game.
“When something happens [in the game], and [Corvo or Emily] respond in a dialogue, you get a sense of the emotional reaction of the character. There’s a small percentage of players who always said, ‘Please don’t give the characters a voice, let me project myself’ But there’s many, many more people who said, ‘Corvo seemed like a mute machine and I really wanted to feel warmer about him.’ And so, when we started playing with Emily as a character, it was powerful.”
[…] “It makes the game warmer, it gives you more clues, it’s easier for the level designers. You really understand who they are.”
— Harvey Smith
What’s your stance on the silent vs. voiced protagonist debate? Does a voice help you better connect with the character, or does it make the experience seem that much less like you’re the one taking those actions? Are you glad that
Dishonored is switching things up for the sequel? Let us know in the comments!