With all the buzz surrounding triple-A titles such as Star Wars: The Old Republic, Diablo 3, and BioShock Infinite, you'd be forgiven if you haven't yet heard of Arkane Studios' stealth/action RPG, Dishonored. This is Bethesda's newest IP, developed by Arkane Studios, creators of the Ultima Underworld homage Arx Fatalis. Based on a first-person perspective, the game lets you take on the role of an assassin with supernatural abilities, set against a realistic steampunk-inspired city. This city is caught up in the midst of a rat plague, with half of its population succumbing to the affliction. Things get even more complicated when your character gets framed for the murder of the city's empress.
Co-creative director Raphael Colantonio describes the game as a sandbox simulation for assassins, in that the game empowers you to play the way you want to. "The player can arrive at a situation and make a choice. You have a mission, but then there are ways around it if you don't want to be evil," said Colantonio. The game's universe is almost reminiscent of Half Life 2 from a bygone era, but that's no coincidence, since Viktor Antonov, Half Life 2's stunning City 17 designer, is onboard the Dishonored development team. Antonov cites Lovecraft and 1930s pulp fiction as some of the inspiration for the game's surreal environments. Originally conceived as a world similar to England in 1666, it eventually evolved to become a parallel version of a believable future city. The game's potential is further strengthened with Deus Ex lead designer Harvey Smith, who is overseeing the project together with Colantonio.
There's no proper game trailer yet, but you can view the developer's discussions as to the range of possibilities that you can do with your assassin character. Dishonored is slated for a 2012 release on consoles and the PC.