Dishonored’s Corvo once had a voice

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The masked, quite-frequently stab-happy protagonist from steampunk stealth-action game Dishonored is a cipher; a voiceless hero. thing is, he wasn’t originally meant to be.

In an interview with OPM, Arkane Studio’s Raphael Colantonio says that in the Alpha for the game, the developers “added some text input options for Corvo,” but never really took the idea of Corvo having a voice much further.

“To this day, we wonder what the other version would have felt like in the game,” he said.

Like Gordon Freeman and Master Chief, he’s a cipher, a mute protagonist that’s meant to make you, the player, step in to the role of the hero, without his or her voice adding a sense of disconnect – but sometimes it does the opposite, wedging a barrier between the character and the player.

According to Colantonio, Corvo’s silence was a “deliberate choice,” but it’s one that many believe to be to the game’s detriment.

“If we portrayed Corvo angry and seeking revenge, it might offend the nonlethal player who is seeking a stable outcome for the City of Dunwall, and vice versa.”

What do you think? Do you think mute characters help you become the hero, or do you feel more of a connection to a character that has an actual personality?

While I think it worked well with Gordon Freeman, I really think Corvo could have have done with a bit of a personality injection. You might say that it would detract from the “role-playing” aspect (though it’s not a role-playing game), but Deus Ex’ Adam Jensen spoke words – and I felt far more connected to him as a character.

Last Updated: November 5, 2012

Geoffrey Tim

Editor. I'm old, grumpy and more than just a little cynical. One day, I found myself in possession of a NES, and a copy of Super Mario Bros 3. It was that game that made me realise that games were more than just toys to idly while away time - they were capable of being masterpieces. I'm here now, looking for more of those masterpieces.

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