The Many Lives of Corvo Atano

Written by Joe Martin

September 3, 2012 | 08:18

Tags: #dishonored #dishonored-preview

Companies: #arkane-studios #bethesda #bethesda-softworks

The Many Lives of Corvo Atano

Corvo The Third doesn’t hang around and his feet don’t even touch the ground. A succession of -blink-s and he’s at the far end of the docks, using his mask’s visor to watch the guards even through the thick stone wall. As soon as one turns away he - blink - comes up behind and shoves a blade into his windpipe. Slowly, he fills the canal with bodies until there’s just the tall-boys left.

What to do.

It seems like there’s only one thing for it, thinks Corvo the Third, striding across the bridge and hefting a grenade in his hand. He throws it as high and hard as he can, stumbling the stilted menace with a blow to the back - but that’s all it is. The tall boy doesn’t go down and, when the second grenade goes awry, he doesn’t know what to do. He could - blink - away, but where there’s no land in reach and--

The tall-boy throws a grenade of his own, lighting the night and filling the street with the stench of dead whales; Corvo - blink -s without even knowing where to. The next thing he knows, he’s falling, then choking as he hits the grease-grey water at high speed.

The Many Lives of Corvo Atano
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Above; the cry of alarm and the hammer of serious boots on cobble. Below; Corvo The Third gasps for air and pushes his way past floating bodies. As the boots hammer their way down the steps to the dock, Corvo calmly pulls himself out of the water and, tired, surrenders to the hack of their swords. It’s over in moments.

Corvo IV thinks that he can outrun the guards now he knows where he’s going, but he’s not quite fast enough to outrun the bullets.

Corvo V tries a new approach, swimming down the docks and approaching the problem from another angle, crossbow and sword in hand. He lays down mines, slows down time to make the perfect shot and even possesses a rat to close the distance on particularly difficult foes. He combines all these approaches to tackle the tall boy, along with a blast of mystical wind that returns the tall boy’s own grenades back to sender. Finally, it’s enough - the foe stumbles like a drunken clown before finally collapsing in an ungainly heap and leaving the mansion gate unguarded. Corvo V has done it.

But the victory feels hollow; achieved sloppily and without even a trace of the style he wants to convey. Standing outside the mansion gates, listening to the music and yells from within the high walls, he considers that a life without challenge isn’t worth living - and that street thugs aren’t a challenge when you can bend time or see through walls.

The Many Lives of Corvo Atano
Click to enlarge

It seems like there’s only one thing to do; he walks away...

Samuel watches Corvo The Sixth sit, deep in thought as the boat rocks gently in the water. Every now and then he reaches into his pockets and pulls out some...thing or other. His crossbow, a razor mine, a beating heart covered in plates of dull metal; Corvo considers each for a moment before putting it down again, obviously unsatisfied. Samuel’s reminded of a frustrated child trying to assemble a jigsaw puzzle but unable to find the piece he wants.

Eventually, Corvo seems to settle on a plan. He stands in the boat quite steadily and gazes up at the rooftops beyond the high walls of the dock. One deep breath and he slowly raises his hand towards a nearby chimney. He mutters that maybe there isn’t just one thing to do afterall and Samuel is about to ask what he means when--


Dishonored is being developed by Arkane Studios and published by Bethesda Softworks on PC, PS3 and Xbox 360. It’ll be released on October 12, 2012.
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