Dishonored’s Chaos system has a tendency to push players toward more desirable actions. Deathloop’s violent premise can do away with this compulsion.
Arkane Studios has found a niche for itself in the immersive sim genre. Gaining notoriety with the Dishonored series, the studio looks to continue their run of stylistic and violent immersive first-person games with the upcoming Deathloop. Deathloop looks to utilize Dishonored’s mechanics in the next step of a repeatable gameplay loop idea Arkane began toying with in Prey‘s Mooncrash expansion. Instead of fighting alien monsters, though, Deathloop players will have to master a time loop in order to eliminate eight targets before they are reset at the start.
A limited-time PS5 exclusive, Deathloop‘s entire premise being centered around hunting down these targets might help the game avoid a common critique of Dishonored in regards to player freedom. The Dishonored games tend to push the player toward one of two play styles: lethal or pacifist. Both Dishonored games use a mechanic known as Chaos. Put simply, Chaos goes up in relation to the amount of people the player kills, but is also determined by a handful of other actions throughout the game. Killing many enemies and achieving a high level of Chaos results in the game world becoming infected with plague and disease, and will increase the number of enemies in certain levels.
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Different endings can be achieved in both Dishonored games as a result of the Chaos system. This generally leads to the Low Chaos ending to be seen as the “good” ending to the game, where the High Chaos outcome is less desirable. Thus, many players feel compelled to play the game in a methodically stealthy manner in order to cause as few fatalities as possible, meaning the immersive sim that is supposed to promote player choice in many aspects appears to be actively encouraging the player to use one play style over another.
Deathloop Might Avoid Dishonored’s Perceived Pacifist Bias
Deathloop‘s premise seems to have no qualms about the player killing enemy NPCs (and invading Deathloop players). In fact, killing eight high-profile individuals is the game’s main objective. Arkane populated an entire island with violent lackeys and put them in a time loop apparently for no other reason than for the player to find a way to kill them most efficiently. It would be a nice change of pace from the Dishonored games if Deathloop does not create any potentially negative side effects to the wanton violence the game seems to promote.
Player actions having a direct impact on the game world is a mechanic that frequently gets praised by gamers. Dishonored‘s Chaos system is well-implemented, and is actually a very good example of how actions beget consequences in the game space. However, it has definitely had an adverse side-effect on some players, leaving them feeling as though they’ve somehow played the game in the wrong way. It’s an unfortunate and interesting problem, and by no means does this suggest that similar systems shouldn’t be designed for other titles, but it is certainly something that wouldn’t mesh well with the necessary, time-looped violence of Deathloop.
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