Arkane Studios’ Dishonored has made a huge reputation for itself by the variety of gameplay, allowing either pure stealth or pure action from players. But originally, it leaned far more in the “sneaking” category.
Citing themselves as huge fans of the Thief series, Dishonored lead level designer Christophe Carrier told Eurogamer how the team originally tried (and failed) to implement light and darkness elements:
“In Thief the light is very very important. At the beginning we tried to be in the same mood: use the light, use the shadows. But we realised that when you’re standing in front of an NPC like this [hand in front of face] it’s not realistic – we must admit that. In the real world it’s not like this.
“As we are a bit perfectionist, we wanted it to work as in Thief and very realistically. With these two notions we got crazy and decided to eliminate the light parameters, because it was too difficult to have both.”
With the way that the game plays now, Dishonored relies more heavily on direct eyesight—although depending on how high the difficulty is tweaked, enemies will be able to spot you in most lighting conditions.
Arkane Studios designer/associate producer Dinga Bakaba also chimed in, noting that purposely obscuring so much of Dishonored in shadow would actually work against the art team, since they spent a lot of time working on design, character models, and heavily detailed environments, which also makes a lot of sense.