Dishonored Franchise Is ‘Resting’, Says Arkane Lead Designer

Dishonored Franchise Is ‘Resting’, Says Arkane Lead Designer
Image: Bethesda

Nobody wants to hear that there favourite gaming franchise is taking a break. Unfortunately, this appears to be the case for Arkane’s Dishonored series; despite both instalments being well-received by players and critics (if you ignore the technical issues with the PC version), the developer has confirmed it’s “resting for now”.

Lead designer Ricardo Bare, speaking with VG247’s Kirk McKeand, shared the bad news at QuakeCon earlier this month:

“I can’t say definitively what might happen down the road, anything could happen, but [Dishonored] is resting for now,” Bare tells me. “As far as pure immersive sims go, I don’t know if we’re going to continue to make like carbon copy — this qualifies as an immersive sim and it’s the only thing we’re ever going to make.

It’s no the best thing to hear, sure, but if putting Dishonored on the back-burner means we get more stuff like Prey, then I don’t mind the situation at all.

As Bare himself says, Arkane’s priority has always been “coherent, deep world building and environmental storytelling” and that isn’t changing:

…we’re always going to craft spaces that you feel like you’re visiting, whether it’s Dunwall or Talos 1. It’s just as important a character as the player or the people you meet.

Dishonored is “resting for now” and future Arkane games could incorporate seamless multiplayer and different perspectives [VG247, via TechSpot]


  • That’s very unfortunate to hear. I’ve enjoyed both the Dishonored games and their DLC a great deal. I understand that it had relatively poor performance commercially, and I understand that, as a company, they need to make money – so I do not begrudge them for letting Dishonored “rest”. Indeed, I think Dishonored will be resting for a very, very long time, sadly.

    I am worried for Arkane. I have enjoyed just about everything they have made – except for the last hour or so of Prey (I will say, however, that 95% of Prey was excellent). It seems that the market is not as interested in the sort of games they are experts at making. Those games, however, are the games I am most interested in. They are master world-builders, with an art department that has created visual marvels. They create play-spaces that allow the player to break the game if they are clever enough.

    They are so very talented, and I have enjoyed their work immensely. It is very sad that they are not thriving commercially. I simply hope that Bethesda recognises their potential and allows them to continue to make the sort of games they are so good at making – and, perhaps, given them a reasonable marketing budget for once.

    • Actually really surprises me. I see a lot of news about these games and positive talk about them all the time… Yet poor sales? I really just don’t get it.

      • It’s a sadly common trope. Critical success, commercial failure.
        TV tropes has a page of the stuff that reviewed well but sold poorly (or even made a loss, like Grim Fandango) and for like… 90% of it, I’ve played and loved them! Stuff like: Sleeping Dogs, Earthbound, Beyond Good & Evil, ICO, Okami, Vanquish, Bayonetta, Grim Fandango, Psychonauts, Jet Set Radio, Planescape: Torment, Jade Empire, Neverhood, Panzer Dragoon, Spec Ops: The Line, FreeSpace 2, Titanfall 2, Oddworld: Stranger’s Wrath, Suikoden 2…

        I can’t get over the fact that Grim Fandango actually made a loss. That’s crazy.

      • Marketing. As a game developer myself I know this issue too well. I can make the best game ever but if it isn’t marketed well (or doesn’t have a wide enough appeal) it’s never going to sell well.

    • I own and love everything Arkane’s done, with a partial exception made for Bioshock 2/World at War, which still at worst were merely just ‘very good‘ instead of outstanding. Hell, you could see where they were going with ‘play-spaces you can break’ even back with Arx Fatalis and Dark Messiah. Quality stuff, back then, with a rare focus on player freedom, or at least more apparent options than usual.

      It takes some pretty big balls to develop branching stories and unique endings with closed-off paths meaning you’re developing content that many–if not most–players will never see, but damn if I don’t appreciate it. Prey was one of my favourite games of last year, it really did capture so much of what System Shock 2 one of my all-time favourite games ever.

      I really hope their studio’s strategic-level decisions work out for them.

  • I don’t understand why this is bad news? I love the game and actually welcome the fact we won’t get one for a good few years – absence makes the heart grow fonder/familiarity breeds contempt – for example? Wait too long & the audience may well have moved on I agree, but release too quickly & (likely) you’ll get diminishing returns – do Forza, Gears of War, or Assassin’s Creed have anywhere near the impact they used to? I love the Forza Horizon series but can’t begin to justify buying the new one coming up when i’m only halfway through the previous one that only came out 2 years ago – give me one every 4 years & i’d be all over it…? Perhaps – & naturally this is pure conjecture – the sales of the second were lower than the first to the point they realised this themselves?

    We criticise when games get annualised but then lament when they’re cycled? I agree that when a series gets shelved completely it’s sad, but if Dishonored rests for a few years then it gives people time to miss it & look forward to it again – I actually applaud them for making the decision.

    NB: Weird left field idea; anyone else think a more colorful, humorous Dishonored would go a long way to engaging the people turned off by it? I loved them but a few friends hated it stating dull world/characters – I was thinking of a world similar to Fable, reckon Dishonored would be great in that sort of environment? >sigh< I really would like another (proper) Fable game – that was a decision I definitely didn’t applaud (closing Lionhead – although a few sites have speculated that another studio is working on a full Fable game so fingers crossed!)

    • Should add obviously that the “why is it bad news?” question only applies if it is as they say “just resting”. If it’s dev-speak for “it didn’t make enough so it’s dead” then yeah, that’s tragic… 🙁

  • People keep saying Obsidian should have another go at Fallout but I would be really curious to see what Arkane could do writing the story and quests for one

  • Dishonered 2 did way better than Prey, also Mooncrash didnt do to well cause they released it without hype or marketing at E3 while the games media was too busy to cover it.

    Unless Bethesda is giving them a new IP or part of a large scale project (like Elders Scroll next title) this is bad news to me, Dishonoured is one of ny favourites.

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