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Dishonored: seven things Arkane cut to improve the game

Lost powers and areas plus some crucial tweaks

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3. You could become a shadow
Strip away their narrative trappings, and Dishonored's powers and tools are fairly familiar - you can teleport, do a Matrix, free-run after the example of Mirror's Edge, double-jump, load your crossbow with tactical ammo types, summon NPCs (rats) to help you and remotely control others. Arkane once had another, rather more esoteric power in mind: the ability to become a shadow and slide along walls in two dimensions. The idea was eventually dropped because it was a nightmare to balance. We'd love to see it in Dishonored 2, assuming Arkane succumbs to the lure of sequelitis.

4. Possession was once closer to Modern Warfare's RC car
Corvo's Possession power also went through several iterations. "The easy way to do a possession mechanic is, as you said, the remote control," Arkane's assistant designer Seth Shain told AtomicMPC in an interview. "Where you stay still and you're just piloting an NPC through the world. Because then there aren't a lot of problems to solve [as designers] - you already have to deal with the problems of an NPC moving through the world. So the fact that the player is now piloting it, it's arbitrary who's piloting it - it could be the AI, it could be the NPC or it could be the player, because all the same rules apply.

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Arkane ultimately plumped for something slightly less easy to balance, however - the player's body merges with that of the target during Possession. "When you're bodily possessing someone and merging with them, suddenly a lot of the rules change and we have a lot more challenges to deal with." Most notably, there has to be space around the Possessed character in order for the player to emerge, and you can't abandon your victim in full view of others without attracting their attention. Possession is thus a rather more challenging, pressured business now than it was when first conceived.

5. Dishonored was originally a HUD-free game
All those options to turn off things like mission objective markers are revealing: Arkane once intended to do without heads-up display. "We tried to be really minimal on UI, and we tried to support mechanics in as many ways as possible without having UI," Shain recalled. "And then we playtested it and playtested it and found as many ways as we could to guide things along, and players eventually stumbled along. But, ultimately, to make the game playable - to make it accessible, we layered the UI, finally, last on top. And now it's just crystal clear and everyone gets it on the first time.

A waste of time and effort? Not quite - Dishonored is a better game for Arkane's determination to minimise intrusive menu elements. "If we'd started with that, if we'd started with UI, we'd just be leaning on that and that would be a crutch. And, suddenly, you'd just be playing the UI. Some people talk about games with radar as if you're just playing the radar - you're not really looking at the world. So we try to make sure that within the world we're doing everything we can to tell that story, and then we support it as well with UI so it's crystal, absolutely clear." Anybody who's ever found themselves following dots on a Metal Gear Solid radar will approve.

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