Since exploding onto the scene in 2012, the Dishonored series has gone from strength to strength. Its steampunk background combined with a ‘play your own way’ mentality allowed gamers to see just how far they would go for revenge.
At this year’s E3, Bethesda announced a standalone game titled Dishonored: Death of the Outsider. It portrays Billie Lurk (an ex-assassin and all-round badass) on a mission to, you guessed it, kill the Outsider. If you are new to the Dishonored franchise or a hardened veteran, this is a game you will not want to miss.
Death of the Outsider sees protagonist Billie Lurk return to the sunny streets of Karnaca a few months after the events of Dishonored 2. Accompanied by her old mentor, Daud (antagonist from the first Dishonored and playable protagonist in the accompanying DLCs The Knife of Dunwall and The Brigmore Witches), they attempt to learn the Outsider’s past, his weaknesses, and aim to kill the “black-eyed bastard”.
The game will see you infiltrate the seedy underbelly of Karnaca, facing off against a range of never-before-seen foes. Billie Lurk and Daud must work together to acquire supernatural artefacts that can help put an end to the Void’s emissary.
The Dishonored franchise is known for a few recurring factors. Play your way assassinations, supernatural powers, and steampunk environments with a massive background and lore behind each stage. We can only imagine that this standalone DLC is much of the same from the series.
One of the main reasons that Dishonored is the franchise it is today is your ability to choose how your target dies. By that, we mean the developers add a mind-boggling number of entrances, secrets, and power combinations. This makes each game in the series a perfect fit for almost all AAA title lovers. It also gives the franchise a level of replayability that is not often seen in modern titles by giving gamers multiple endings based on how much ‘Chaos’ they have wrought.
Fancy a playthrough as a silent and just shadow assassin? Want to murder your way through the game and revel in death and destruction? Want to give your targets a fate worse than death? Each choice is yours to make, and Arkane and Bethesda are always on hand to spoil you for choice.
There are three main characters in Death of the Outsider. Billie Lurk, Daud, and the Outsider.
Billie Lurk (Beware Dishonored 2 Spoilers!)
Billie Lurk is a master assassin and the protagonist of ‘Death of the Outsider’. She is Daud’s right hand at the start of ‘The Knife of Dunwall’ DLC and accompanies him throughout his journey to stop the evil witch Delilah Copperspoon from taking over Dunwall. Billie eventually betrays Daud for promised power from Delilah and fights him to the death (or offers Daud her life for betraying him if the player did a low Chaos playthrough). Canonically, she is banished by Daud from the Whalers (Daud’s supernatural assassin gang).
During the course of Dishonored 2, your central hub and transport centres around the Dreadful Wale ship. It is captained by one Meagan Foster, the one-armed ally to Corvo or Emily. She has a tragic past and is often guarded in conversations with the protagonist. By playing through Dishonored 2, you realise that Meagan Foster is actually an alias of Billie Lurk. Whether your game is low or high Chaos, Billie Lurk will seek out her mentor, Daud (as long as she is still alive, of course).
You see her again in the reveal trailer for ‘Death of the Outsider’ breaking an elderly Daud out of what seems like a prison.
Daud is the renowned ‘Knife of Dunwall’ and the leader of the Whalers gang of assassins. He is marked by the Outsider, meaning he possesses supernatural powers from the Void. He was a father figure to Billie Lurk and taught her everything she knows. Daud is Jessamine Kaldwin’s true killer and sparked the fuse for the entire Dishonored franchise. After Jessamine’s murder, Daud fell into a pit of regret and was betrayed by Billie Lurk who thought him weak. He also saved Emily Kaldwin from Delilah Copperspoon in a bid to redeem his actions as an assassin.
The Outsider is a 4,000-year-old entity and the most recent avatar of the Void (the sprawling mass of nothingness and supernatural he calls home). He is the main antagonist of ‘Death of the Outsider’ and is responsible for giving Corvo, Emily, and Daud their supernatural powers. The Outsider was sacrificed by a cult as a boy and became one with the Void. From there, he can see all that has been and all that will be. He is a recurring character in the Dishonored franchise, and conversations with him throughout the series show him as an uncaring and indifferent entity.
As with all Dishonored games, our protagonist, Billie Lurk, is imbued with powers from the Void. For the first time, however, she has not received the Outsider’s mark. Usually, the protagonist is chosen by the Outsider to tip the balance of history.
Instead of using the Outsider’s powers against him (a major case of biting the hand that gives you supernatural powers), Billie utilises a range of artefacts. In his interview with IGN, Harvey Smith (director of Arkane Studios) told fans that Billie uses the eye-mounted Eye of the Dead God, an arm created from pieces of the Void, and the knife that was used to sacrifice the man the Outsider used to be.
Smith also alluded to Billie’s power being centred on her involvement in Dishonored 2. In the same IGN interview, he said Billie “is in one state and in another at the same time, which causes a sort of distortion around her”. This probably explains her ‘Displace’ power showcased in the E3 announcement trailer. It is similar to Corvo’s Blink and Emily’s Far Reach but utilises a placed marker you can teleport to instead of aiming at a point and moving there.
All in all, I am very excited for Death of the Outsider, but I have my reservations. Whilst I adore the Dishonored franchise and everything it stands for (sneaky, stabby, shooting lord of death), I felt a little let down by Dishonored 2 and its lack of original ideas. This didn’t stop me playing through the whole game trying to get every achievement possible, but I felt like I was just replaying the original with better graphics.
Of course, that isn’t entirely the case, and the storylines and settings of both games are completely different, but the core gameplay is almost identical. This is a reservation I have for ‘Death of the Outsider’, that it will just be a re-skinned ‘The Knife of Dunwall/The Brigmore Witches’ but with different characters.
On the other hand, I am optimistic that the protagonist using powers that do not originate from the Outsider will add a fresh spin to the series. If there is anything that Dishonored does well, it’s giving you options. I am hoping that the new protagonist, combined with the new power system, will give fans everything they expect from a Dishonored game without being more of the same.
Dishonored: Death of the Outsider will be released on the 15th September on Xbox One, PS4, and PC.