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"I gave you my Mark for a reason. I wanted to know what happens when you take an honorable man's life away, when you push his face down in the mud. What will he do, given the chance?"
The Outsider

Dishonored is a franchise of games and transmedia published by Arkane Studios. It's a New Weird Steampunk Urban Fantasy Stealth-Based Game Immersive Sim with RPG Elements.

It is set in the Empire of the Isles, a Fantasy Counterpart Culture of early to mid-19th Century Europe during an industrial revolution triggered by the discovery and harvesting of whale oil that leads to much social tension. It's led to the ascendancy of science, commerce, and technology over a more archaic social system of corrupt nobility, clergy and gentry, accompanied by the fading and displacement of an earlier tradition in occult magic grounded in the collection of runes and bone charms, that is largely being driven underground by the overseers of the Abbey of the Everyman and their magic-repelling devices. The plot of the games concerns beings who are marked by the Outsider, the mysterious godlike being who lives in the Void, an Eldritch Location residing in the space on the borderland of dimensions and dreams. Individuals with the mark of the outsider, through use of powerful runes and bone-charms, have access to magical powers that allow them to change and shape the world. The Outsider gives his mark only to people who interest him, those whose moves he can't predict and anticipate.

Much of the plot of the first two games concerns a series of coups faced by the Royal Family of Dunwall, with Royal Protector Corvo Attano receiving the Mark of the Outsider to better aid him in his quest for revenge, while the sequel follows the adventures of his daughter Empress Emily Kaldwin. Extended DLC for the first game, and the standalone titles, focuses on the Assassin Daud and his apprentice and ally, Billie Lurk.

So far, the series has the following entries:

  • Dishonored (2012) — The first game in the series which follows the adventures of Corvo Attano, showing how he received the Mark of the Outsider, as he gets framed for the murder of Empress Jessamine Kaldwin, his lover and Queen. Corvo seeks to regain his honor and clear his name, and topple the conspiracies and restore the throne to Jessamine's (and his) daughter, Emily Kaldwin. The first game is set in Dunwall, capital of the Empire of the Isles.
    • The Knife of Dunwall/The Brigmore Witches (2013) — Two-Part DLC for the first game which chronicles the adventures of the Assassin Daud, who murdered the Empress Jessamine. The Outsider offers Daud the promise of redemption: solving the mystery of Delilah Copperspoon, another recipient of his mark, who has formed a coven of witches with designs on the throne of the Empire. Notably unlike Story DLC for other games, both episodes combined are 2/3 the length of the main game, and its events serve as the true prologue and catalyst of the sequel.
      • The Knife of Dunwall is set during the six months between the prologue of the first game and its main events, taking place while Corvo is imprisoned.
      • The Brigmore Witches occurs concurrently with the main game, shortly after Corvo's escape from Coldridge Prison and leading up to his confrontation with Daud.
  • Dishonored: Rat Assassin (2012) — A free mobile game released to promote the first game featuring gameplay similar to Fruit Ninja but slicing rats rather than fruit.
  • Dishonored 2 (2016) — The sequel takes place in Karnaca, the Jewel of the South and Corvo's home city, fifteen years after the events of the first game. The game potentially follows the adventures of either Corvo Attano or a grown up Emily Kaldwin (though tie-in materials suggest Emily as the canonical player character), as they set about toppling and repelling Delilah Copperspoon and her revived coven and new conspirators, who have taken over the throne.
  • Dishonored: Death of the Outsider (2017) — A standalone entry that takes place several months after Dishonored 2 chronicling the adventures of Billie Lurk, former apprentice of Daud, as she travels in the underbelly of Karnaca to reunite with her old boss and set out on one final adventure, to kill the Outsider himself.

Spin-Off / Non-Linear Sequel

  • Deathloop: An action game about a man stuck on an island colony experiencing a Groundhog Day-style time loop as he is hunted by the island's sadistic inhabitants and a mysterious young woman. The game has a significantly higher focus on lethal First-Person Shooter style combat, but has several stealth elements and powers inspired by it's parent series. There are also many subtle and overt references to objects, lore, and mythology of Dunwall.

Comic Books

  • Dishonored: The Wyrmwood Deceit (2016) — Titan Comics series showing a prequel adventure to the second game.
  • Dishonored: The Peeress And The Price (2017) — Titan Comics series set after the events of the second game.


  • Dishonored: The Corroded Man (2016) — A prequel to the second game that explores the region of Tyvia.
  • Dishonored The Return Of Daud (2018) — A novel featuring Daud set during Delilah coup in the second game.
  • Dishonored The Veiled Terror (2018) — A novel focusing on Billie Lurk, taking place after Death Of The Outsider.

Tabletop Games

Web Original

Multiple entries in the franchise use these tropes:

  • Aerith and Bob: The franchise likes mixing a bunch of different names from a variety of cultures:
    • Dishonored 1 has classically English names (Hiram Burrows, Farley Havelock, Custis, Treavor, Callista, Emily), some Anglo-American names (Samuel Beechworth, Billie Lurke, Teague Martin) with real world names from other settings such as the Italian sounding Piero and Corvo (the latter is more often used as a surname than a first name); Russian-Eastern European Anton, and in the case of Daud, an Arabic variation of David. Jessamine is likewise an Old English variant of the Jasmine flower.
    • Dishonored 2 has a lot of Italo-Hispanic names such as Luca Abele, Lucia Pastor, Paolo, alongside Alexandria Hypatia, Aramis Stiltonnote , Breanna Ashworth, with the most out of place name being Kirin Jindosh as a "Kirin" (with that English spelling) is a creature from Japanese folklore.
  • Alternative Calendar: The calendar has 364 days split into thirteen 28-day months, with the 135th day, the Fugue Feast, not belonging to any month. Each month follows the same naming scheme of being the Month of [X], such as the Month of Earth, the Month of Harvest, the Month of Ice, and the Month of Songs.
  • Anyone Can Die: Almost every single character in the franchise that isn't the protagonist or the Outsider in the first two games can fall victim to the player's whims at some point.
  • Asshole Victim: With a few exceptions, most assassination targets and many guards, Overseers, witches and criminals are immoral, cruel and generally despicable people, as the Heart and/or game lore will gladly tell with some bone-chilling examples. Whether murdering them in a variety of gruesome ways (such as burning alive, dismembering with razorwire, feeding to rats...) or subjecting to a Fate Worse than Death, the protagonist can certainly assure the justice is served, even though it isn't pretty (or safe for his/her own sanity).
  • Athens and Sparta: The two major cities featured in the games have this dynamic, with one being a military violent city, and the other being associated with trade, commerce, art and culture.
    • Dunwall, the Capital of the Empire featured most often in the games is shown to have a heavy military and police presence. The first game set during the Rat Plague more or less depicts the city as a Police State with quarantine enforced by the dictatorial Hiram Burrows. The city has heavy Urban Segregation, and gangs run entire city sections, and much of the NPC dialogue more or less paints the capital as a Wretched Hive that disillusions and disappoints everyone who comes there.
    • Karnaca, is the "Jewel of the South". It is brighter and more opulent looking. Where Dunwall was always implied to have been bad and rotten, Karnaca's only faced tough times because of the current Duke Luca Abele. It has more openly altruistic NPCs (like Alexandria Hypatia, Aramis Stilton) than Dunwall does (even Piero Joplin, the scientist who sides with the rebellion is a pervert). The city is filled with street-songs and folk music, and is associated with culture and sophistication, and also agitates in the Low-Chaos ending, for representational government and autonomy.
  • Blending-In Stealth Gameplay: The "Possession" power lets the caster take control of and physically merge with the body of an animal or, with upgrades, of a human NPC for short while, using them as disguise to walk right past the guards. In Dishonored: Death of the Outsider, it is replaced with "Semblance", which lets Billie steal the appearance of an unconscious (but alive) person and thus blend in with hostile NPCs.
  • Blue-and-Orange Morality: The Chaos system is not "good vs. evil", rather, it's "efficiency with minimal loss of life vs. unhinged murder spree". Low Chaos is kept through minimizing the number of corpses on the streets, i.e. reducing food for rats/bloodflies and reasons for guards tightening security and getting more unhinged with retaliation. Still, a Low Chaos protagonist would always do some morally wrong things, ranging from stealing to subjecting victims to a Fate Worse than Death in ways that would make killing them look tame and merciful by comparison. On the other hand, a High Chaos protagonist WILL inevitably get corrupted through the casual disregard for human life, and everyone around will also turn more cruel or cynical.
    • Slightly downplayed in the second game, where many Low Chaos decisions are outright 'good', leading to improving the lives of others rather than not just making them more terrible, and the final Low Chaos choice is surprisingly merciful, ensuring a win-win situation for both the protagonist and the villain.
  • Call a Smeerp a "Rabbit": A few of the animals in the game seem to be similar to real-life animals they share a name with, but not quite. The "whales" have tentacles and glowing oil, the "hagfish" are more like piranhas, and the "wolfhounds" look a mixture of dog and crocodile, though that last one might just be the games' exaggerated art-style.
  • Cold Ham: Most of the characters and the dialogue has a very understated, indirect quality, with the few characters who are comic being The Comically Serious at how restrained and repressed many of them come off like.
  • Early Game Hell: Most games of the franchise are notoriously hard before the protagonist levels up to unlock the full kit of supernatural abilities. And one can play the entire game having them locked out!
  • Eldritch Location: A major part of the setting is the Void, another dimension from which all magic originates. The player visits it a few times in the games, where it is appears to be a large number of jagged rock formations floating in nothingness, some of which contain still recreations of events in the mortal world. People sometimes see it in their dreams, and it's implied that the Void itself possesses some strange intelligence of its own.
    Outside the world you know is a world beyond. It is a place with a will, a will without a body, an infinite nowhere that shifts and changes erratically. It hungers for a shape, for the concrete, and so it latches on to events and locales that echo across the world, recreating images of the earthly, and yearning to morph into something more real.
  • Fantastic Noir: The games have a very distinct noir quality, thanks to the use of narration and first-person via audiographs and other devices, the overall theme of multiple characters having Dark and Troubled Past, the morally ambiguous nature of the world, and the focus on class inequality, government corruption, and powerlessness. The dialogue also has a distinct hardboiled flavor, thanks to gritty metaphors, such as the Outsider, the ostensible God of the setting, comparing one character's state of mind by noting that it snapped like "a cheap clock".
  • Fantasy Counterpart Culture: Each game is set in a world resembling industrial Europe.
    • Dunwall, the capital of Gristol, is London, capital of Britain, in a variety of different eras. The Rat Plague is modeled on the Plague Year of 1665, but it's mashed together with London from the Victorian era. It's got a filthy river polluted by industry, and the smog and air make the entire sky and atmosphere look gray much like the landscape of London was in the pre-sanitation movement early industrial era.
    • Karnaca is intended to be a kind of 19th Century Mediterranean land with a pinch of South America thrown in, albeit it's not as tied to any fixed historical references unlike Dunwall.
    • The Empire of the Isles is a state that is a kind of constitutional monarchy, but is also somewhat federal since the Empress rules through vassals and is hands-off in how they run. This form of decentralized rule is closer to the Holy Roman Empire and other federal empires and republics. Empress Jessamine at the start of Dishonored despite being the Head of the Empire has most of her authority centered in Gristol, and is struggling to get aid from other vassals to deal with the Rat Plague, while her successor Emily Kaldwin faced problems owing to Serkonos having far too much autonomy from Dunwall.
  • Fantasy Counterpart Religion: There are two major religious and spiritual beliefs in the series:
    • There is the Abbey of the Everyman which is a take on Christianity in its organized religion, based more on the Anglican Church than the Catholic Church, i.e. it is patronized and supported by the Crown and has simultaneous repressive and progressive aspects, i.e. a history of attacking dissenters, heretics, and persecuting magic users and witches (the latter of which was something Protestant Christianity did far more than the Catholics) while also patronizing and supporting science and using mathematics based devices in their activities similar to the Anglican Church which did support the Royal Society in the 1700s.
    • Worship of the Outsider involves creating makeshift shrines made up of wood and other household parts and fashioning them in private and secret while collecting strange runes and charms in the hope for luck and fortune. This resembles Haitian Voudou religion in the creation of shrines and syncretic ritualism, as well as in the manner in which Outsider worshipers generally hide their faith in the privacy of their homes since it is an Illegal Religion by the state. Outsider worship is also associated with witchcraft and the occult similar to the Hollywood version of Voudou.
    • It also has Devil, but No God, The Outsider is real and features heavily in the game, but there's no suggestion of him having any counterpart. The Abbey doesn't have a figure of worship, their teachings are all about how to recognise and resist the corrupting influence of the Outsider.
  • Flashy Teleportation: The "Blink" mixes this and Stealthy Teleportation. It's silent short-range teleportation whose only visual effects are a brief particle effect accompanying the user's disappearance, but not reappearance.
  • Gaslamp Fantasy: The franchise as a whole is this, combining vaguely Victorian-era aesthetics with the otherworldly influence of the Void.
  • Magic Knight: The protagonists are all talented swordsmen and assassins who are gifted by the Outsider with supernatural abilities. Averted in Dishonored 2 if the player decides to reject the Outsider's mark.
  • Not Even Bothering with the Accent: Despite being a fantasy inspired by England and European history, the game series generally avoids emphasizing accents and generally has actors voice their parts in their accents. As such, there are a number of American accents across the games, alongside some Cockney accents for a few characters (such as Slackjaw and some of the background NPC gangsters).
  • Stealthy Teleportation: The "Blink" mixes this and Flashy Teleportation. It's silent short-range teleportation whose only visual effects are a brief particle effect accompanying the user's disappearance, but not reappearance.
  • Two-Part Trilogy: An unusual example. The sequel Dishonored 2 more or less continues the arc and themes from the 2-Part DLC The Knife of Dunwall/The Brigmore Witches for the first game rather than the vanilla story. The Daud DLC had 6 extended missions (2/3rds the size of the first game) and is in effect the true middle part of the trilogy. Most of the supporting cast of the first game is missing in the sequel, either Bus Crash or Put on a Bus, with the exception of Anton Sokolov. The Daud DLC has more returning characters (Billie Lurk, Delilah Copperspoon and the Brigmore Coven) than the first game, in addition to the DLC's plot and backstory being major elements of the plot of this game. The only recurring across all three parts (or 2+2/3rds) is The Outsider.

Alternative Title(s): Dishonored Series