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Dishonored 2 art director introduces the shady characters of Dunwall and Karnaca

Part of Dishonored's charm came from its compelling cast of characters. Whether it was the ethereal, detached Outsider or the band of conspirators who'd betrayed you, every personality in Corvo's tale was unique and memorable. Dishonored 2 is looking to build on that success, with a new setting and new pawns-- er, I mean friends to help Emily take back her throne.

Below, you'll get a nice, close-up look at some of the major players of Dishonored 2, alongside commentary from art director Sebastien Mitton. The best assassin must study up on their targets, after all.

Inventor, alchemist, mystic, iconoclast and painter. We get the job started with the design of the character, and then it’s up to the modeller, animator, scripter and audio engineer to bring him to life.

Luca Abele’s costume reflects his character: It’s authoritative, but tinted with a layer of the grotesque. And it’s hard to hide that we drew some inspiration from Marlon Brando when you look at his portrait...

Just as we brought our expertise to the new characters in Dishonored 2, we also did a pass on the returning figures like the Outsider. Here you can see the silhouette is now more balanced, and some details have been slightly redesigned. 

The team were incredibly excited when we first announced internally that Emily would be the major player in this new opus. We poured all of our love and talent into the design of her look. Part of the inspiration comes from fashion shows and the way tailors work, which lead to this handcrafted costume that reflects Emily’s status, elegance and lethality. 

15 years separate the two games, and our wish was to update Corvo to make him reflect that time has passed, but also maintain some of his iconic look from the first game. Our main focus was on tailoring a new costume that fits his position in society, but also reflects the assassin he becomes once more when the game starts. His coat is well cut and adjusted to allow for greater mobility while he’s using his powers. His mask also got special attention: we’ve changed the material to sewed metal, while the size has been adjusted to his face more closely.

On our shelves in the studios, in the middle of the books from our master painters, stand a few issues of Vogue and l’officiel magazines with all the fashion shows from previous years. That’s where the inspiration comes from when we tackle specific costumes. Delilah’s outfit was another interesting sartorial exercise for us. We incorporated flora into the costume design—half real, half embroidery. 

Karnaca is the home of a variety of ethnic groups with distinctive faces. Clothes are well cut and tailored, while hands, arms, legs, and faces are rough and have stories to tell. Clothing is a medium to show a character’s position in society, but what’s fundamental is the person inside the costume. That attention to detail raised the quality to an unexpected level, where all the city’s inhabitants have a backstory and truly fit within their environment. 

After months of discussions, lots of references, and establishing pillars, we created this, the very first illustration of Dishonored 2. It depicts a ceremony for the Duke and also reveals details of the era and the setting through the dramatization and the situations of the different people shown. 

Clay sculpting allows the artists to set the look and anatomy of a subject after the 2D concept and before the 3D modeling. This saves time for the 3D modelers and helps unify the look of the characters.

These two guards reflect all of the research we gathered and all of the drawings we compiled during production. For example, the native on the right has a lot to share with the work from Agustin Casasola who covered the events of the Mexican Revolution.

There’s no bigger excitement in the art department than when we start those illustrations, and it’s enhanced by having great designs in our hands. The real success of an illustration comes when both the content and the realization are in perfect harmony. Here the bullet points were: Power, Magic, Assassin, Mystery.

Brilliant and twisted! That’s what we’ve tried to reflect visually, with Jindosh’s meticulous appearance and sharp, analytical gaze. We wanted the player to feel as though they were being judged and found wanting.

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