One of the sleeper hits of 2012, Dishonored has succeeded where so many new IPs have failed - it's pretty much guaranteed itself a sequel, with Bethesda's Pete Hines stating that "we clearly have a new franchise".
So how could Arkane improve on its shadowy steampunk odyssey? Alex Hawksworth-Brookes has a few suggestions.
1. Continuity from the first game's choices
Depending on how far you gave in to your murderous impulses in Dishonored, you'll have finished with either a 'good' or 'bad' ending. Each of these outcomes results in a radically different ending which not only affects the fate of Corvo and Princess Emily Kaldwin, but also that of Dunwall and its citizens.
While it might be a bit much to expect Dishonored 2 to follow on from all of the original's disparate endings, it would be great for the story to take into account the events of the first game, perhaps with the aid of a save import feature. Spared targets could reappear, either as recurring antagonists or as pitiful shells of their former selves, broken by the punishments inflicted by Corvo.
The new story could focus on Corvo and Emily Kaldwin, or an entirely new character. Dishonored's endings offered some explanation as to Corvo's ultimate fate, but they were hardly in-depth, leaving plenty of room for his return in some unmentioned adventure. Regardless of who returns as the protagonist, it's paramount that the sequel acknowledges the events of the first game, and lets loyal players see the outcome of their earlier decisions.
2. Multiplayer - providing it's smart
Multiplayer can be very contentious when developers attempt to integrate it into predominantly single-player games. Franchises like Assassin's Creed and Mass Effect have successfully implemented multiplayer, but the likes of Bioshock 2 and Spec Ops: The Line demonstrate the risks of such a move. That said, Dishonored has numerous elements that could work very well in a multiplayer mode.
Something along the lines of Assassin's Creed's deathmatch mode might be effective, with players hunting for one another in a map populated with NPCs. An objective-based or collection game could be a useful way of showcasing the intricacy of the environments - perhaps players could race to locate and abduct a target.
A puzzle-driven co-op mode akin to that of Portal 2 would also amuse. Giving players different combinations of abilities would foster teamwork - for instance, one player might have to summon a swarm of rats for their partner to possess, giving them access to a lever that opens a gate to the next area. Multiple pathways and the introduction of enemies that can't be overpowered alone would also enhance the experience.
3. A chance to explore Gristol and Pandyssia
The city of Dunwall is a fantastic creation: inspired by the polluted, oppressive society of Victorian London, the city takes players from dank sewers through grisly research laboratories to high society soirees. However, Dunwall is just one location in the world of Dishonored, located on the southern shore of the island of Gristol. With three other large islands in the same archipelago, each with numerous settlements, and the distant, dangerous continent of Pandyssia across the sea, there's plenty of scope for exploration. Those new areas could be used as part of a thrilling chase sequence, with players pursuing a target out of Dunwall and all the way to remote lands.