When it comes to leading the team of talented artists at Arkane Studios, one of my guiding principles is:Art is not graphics. Even if you have the best technology in the world, if your design is weak, the final results will be weak. You will have graphics with no clear message. With Dishonored 2, we once again tried to raise the bar with art and design, and it began with the setting. When building Karnaca, we considered every detail – from the tallest mountain peak to the smallest item tucked away in the corner of a room. Here’s an inside look at some of the concept and design work that went into crafting the new setting of Dishonored 2.
Originally meant to be a mood board, Sergey Kolesov pushed the limits here by showing the bay being hit by the sun and rain at the same time, while the mountain blows its dust along the wind corridor.
When you get a feature idea from the game design team, you never know how deep you’ll go in making it feel grounded into the world. The bloodflies ecosystem is a good example of where art mixes with story; showing that animation and gameplay can work well together.
“Imagine Havana or Genoa with spots downtown where you can see giant trees too big to be felled.” This was the brief given to the artist Laurent Gapaillard, who’s one of the most talented pencil artists in the world.
The Shindaerey Peak serves as a natural landmark and helps players orient themselves, no matter where they are in the city of Karnaca. Here, the shot is taken at the train stop before the entrance to the house of Kirin Jindosh (a mad inventor), which overlooks the entire city.
The Dust District
We really enjoy creating meaningful environments and the Dust District is a great example of this: a giant peak with silver mines at its base, a wind corridor that leads to a district at its end, and industrialization of the district with giant windmills – these were the starting points of the development of this area in Karnaca.
Here’s a look at how our artists sometimes transform a concept into a piece of visual narration. You can see here a slice of life from the Dust District.
Built on the vestige of an old fort, the Palace of the Duke is the result of the clash between classical and noble materials with modern lines.
The Addermire Institute
Long ago before the time when the game takes place, the Addermire Institute was a solarium: “Relax and heal all affections of the body in this luxurious, one of a kind establishment, favored by the aristocracy around the Isles.”
Karnaca is the result of years of urbanization including different waves of settlers from Morley, Tyvia, and Gristol, which helps to give it, in addition to the natives, a great lineup of quirky faces.
Map of the City
Thanks to the Serkonan Cartographic Society, some of our maps are topographic! The last wave of settlers was people from Gristol, who came in with money. They started a more structured urbanization with boulevards, a hidden harbor, and even a big canal splitting the island in two, from Quintana Gates to the far North.
A Southern Victorian Interior
With this image we wanted to mix a British curiosity cabinet with a rich interior from Cuba or Italy. The goal was to create a contrast between Dunwall (location of the first Dishonored game) and Karnaca (primary location of Dishonored 2) in terms of tone and lighting.
Here we can grasp the inspiration from our photo trips to Barcelona and see how our visuals are influenced by how the player will move around the environment.
Because the wind and dust can be so violent that it damages Karnaca’s buildings, we came up with the idea of giving buildings in the Dust District diamond shaped blocks to break the strength of the wind on its surfaces. We then added some wind panels to the edge of these blocks, which is what you can see in this image.
The Dreadful Wale
The Dreadful Wale is not just a nice shell of a boat, but a real ship with rooms to explore, which the player will visit many times throughout the game. Like the Hound Pits Pub in the first game, theDreadful Wale serves as your hub between the different missions.