Fifteen years after Corvo Attano was framed for the assassination of the Empress Jessamine Kaldwin and subsequently gifted with supernatural powers to murder his way to justice, the Empire is once again plunged into political disarray and supernatural upheaval when the young Empress Emily Kaldwin is dethroned and is forced to become an outlaw and assassin like her father, Corvo. What could have been another sequel that just presents more of the same is shaping up to be something very special indeed.
By the end of the first game, 10-year-old Emily Kaldwin had been put through the ringer – her mother murdered, kidnapped by a rogue spymaster and eventually taken under the wing of a supernaturally powered assassin. At 25, Emily is not a fragile creature. She is full of grit and rather than falling apart when her world is once again torn asunder she instead walks the path of an assassin to find justice and retribution. After a prologue playing as Emily, setting up the story and the new city of Karnaca, the capital of Serkonos, players will be given a choice whether to continue playing as Emily or swap to Corvo. Rather than being able to jump between characters throughout the game, players will be locked into this decision, only being able to switch characters on a second playthrough.
Although both characters will have roughly equivalent powers, how they grow with experience and can be modified with the new skill trees will differ greatly. Whereas Corvo retains his Blink ability, allowing him to teleport short distances, Emily instead has a power called Far Reach that acts more like a grapple. Each of these skills is tied to a skill tree that allows the powers to be upgraded in a number of ways – Emily’s Far Reach can be modified to drag targets to her for example – that should further differentiate how the characters play. Both characters will have different narrative experiences in the game as well – whilst the mission structure will remain the same as far as we can tell, both Corvo and Emily will receive different information and dialogue, fleshing out different parts of the story. The developers are hoping that the two characters, the different narrative thrusts and the ability to extensively customise powers will provide a good deal of replayability.
Karnaca, like Dunwall before it, is in the grip of an epidemic during the events of Dishonored 2, but rather than rats, the vermin infesting the city are blood flies. These disgusting carrion eaters have a lifecycle that revolves around corpses, using them as food and as a place for laying their eggs. Adult blood flies are harmless, but swarms of adolescent flies can be deadly. The more corpses left in an area, the more chance there is for a swarm. Players will be able to pile corpses to attract blood flies, to harass guards or, inevitably, for an assassination montage that will appear on YouTube.