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The concept art behind Dishonored 2’s menacing characters

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For the upcoming Dishonored 2, much of the focus to date has been on the stunningly detailed new city Karnaca, as well as the huge array of powers you’ll have at your disposal. But the game is also home to what looks like a fascinating cast of characters, including two different playable leads: Dishonored protagonist Corvo Attano, and Empress Emily Kaldwin. But what exactly goes into making a character for a game like Dishonored 2? Below, you can check out a series of concept images that show the likes of Corvo in their earliest forms, along with commentary from Sebastien Mitton, art director on the game at Arkane Lyon.

Dishonored 2 will be launching on November 11th on PC, PS4, and Xbox One.

Dishonored 2 concept art
“The team were incredibly excited when we first announced internally that Emily would be the major player in this new opus,” says Mitton. “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.”
Dishonored 2 concept art
“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,” Mitton explains. “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.”
Dishonored 2 concept art
“Karnaca is the home of a variety of ethnic groups with distinctive faces,” says Mitton. “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.”
Dishonored 2 concept art
“Clay sculpting allows the artists to set the look and anatomy of a subject after the 2D concept and before the 3D modeling,” Mitton says. “This saves time for the 3D modelers and helps unify the look of the characters.”
Dishonored 2 concept art
“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.”
Dishonored 2 concept art
“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,” Mitton says. “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.”
Dishonored 2 concept art
“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…”
Dishonored 2 concept art
“Inventor, alchemist, mystic, iconoclast, and painter,” Mitton says of the character Sokolov. “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.”
Dishonored 2 concept art
“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.”
Dishonored 2 concept art
“Brilliant and twisted! That’s what we’ve tried to reflect visually, with Jindosh’s meticulous appearance and sharp, analytical gaze,” explains Mitton. “We wanted the player to feel as though they were being judged and found wanting.”