An Exclusive Look At Dishonored 2's Breathtaking Art

by Ben Reeves on May 06, 2016 at 09:00 AM

Concept art usually helps a team dream up a fictional world, but the sketchings and paintings are usually strikingly different from the final digital renderings. Arkane Studios, on the other hand, aims to narrow that gap. The Dishonored franchise has a unique and stylized look, born from its team of visionary artists.

At the beginning of Dishonored 2's development, art director Sébastien Mitton recruited talented artists such as Jean-Luc Monnet, Sergey Kolesov, and Piotr Jablonski. Together this team has produced a wealth of visual inspiration. Here’s a brief taste of some of the team's most impressive works.

The team didn’t seek inspiration from other games. Instead, Arkane looked to master artists in the fields of paintings and sculptures. As part of the character creation process, the team contracted Lucie Minne to mold several physical clay busts, which are now proudly displayed around the office. These busts – as well as several other concept pieces – actually went on display at the Art Ludique in Paris.

This ship is called the Dreadful Wale, and it is the new hub that players return to after each mission. Your chosen hero will have their own room, and there are even a few narrative beats to explore in this hub. The classic paddle steamer served as an inspiration for the Wale, which is powered by whale oil. Players can go into the engine room and see the mechanics of how it works.

Emily’s Far Reach ability is more than just a transportation spell; it can be used to bring enemies and objects to her. This early “storyboard” sketch shows how the power can be used to perform assassinations on distant enemies.

Dunwall had a decidedly U.K. feel, but for the new city of Karnaca, Arkane found a design that was more in line with southern Europe and the Mediterranean coast. You’ll notice that many of the buildings have flat roofs and more ornate windows as is the case in cities like Barcelona. The team also used reference photos from places like Malibu, Cuba, and even Arkane’s hometown of Lyon, France while building out the new city.

To help establish an old historic feel for the city of Karnaca, Arkane looked at old photography from different countries from the 1920s. However, the game is set up in a time period that would be roughly equivalent to the Earth’s 1850s. For references, they used websites like Shorpy.com and looked at the work of Augustin Casasola – the founder of Mexico’s first press agency. Even though the game is full of fantastical elements, the city has a grounded feel as if it could be a real place.

The team wanted to infuse the world of Dishonored with its own unique culture and art. Case in point, this striking image from Piotr Jablonski doesn’t imagine a particular scene from the game. Instead, it is a painting that can be found within the game world that depicts a folktale from the Empire.

Karnaca is facing a massive blood fly infestation, which is causing chaos in the city. Players will see posters like this scattered around the city, which helps flesh out the history of the world.

This is an arc pylon, a lethal defensive turret that can disintegrate anyone within a certain range that it doesn’t recognize as an ally.

This spacey concept piece imagines the Void, the alternate dimension where the godlike entity known as the Outsider resides. The Outsider has seen unspeakable horrors and has been trapped in the Void for thousands of years, which has had a significant impact on his mind.

Check in on our Dishonored 2 hub throughout the month for more features like this video profile on Dishonored 2’s gameplay, exclusive information on Emily and Corvo's revenge quest, and a breakdown of the powers and weapons at their disposal. You can access the hub by clicking on the banner below.