Dishonored 2’s Harvey Smith reviews Inside

Chris Stead 2 November 2016

harvey-smith-inside

As Arkane Studios and Bethesda build towards the release of Dishonored 2 on November 11, another recent release gets dragged into the discussion.

The highly anticipated sequel to Dishonored is sneaking ever closer to its release date, andwhat we’ve seen thus far has been very excited. A new location (the port city of Karnaca), a new playable character (Emily Kaldwin, Corvo’s daughter) and a stack of new powers join the fun, with an even bigger emphasis placed on player choice. I was lucky to get an audience with Arkane’s co-creative director Harvey Smith, and we spoke across a number of topics, including the question of difficulty.

Dishonored 2 features four difficulty modes, but the player-driven, emergent nature of the gameplay means that the challenge is largely defined by the user as they play. It is your choice whether to kill everyone, or sneak everywhere. And to use normal weapons, or to use the mark of The Outsider and the special powers it bestows. In order to define how he approaches difficulty in a game, Smith chose to reference the recent indie release Inside, by Playdead. Here is how the conversation went:

Defining difficulty in a modern game is interesting because, as an audience, gamers have gotten older. For example, I’m now 37 with three kids, so a difficult game is the last thing I want as I don’t get the time any more to not be constantly progressing…

[Laughs] Yeah I know exactly what you mean. The most recent game I played was Inside, a really cool adventure game. It’s really stylish, from those guys who made Limbo. I’m about three-quarters of the way through it, I think, and most of the puzzles are not that hard. You look at them and go, “yeah, yeah, OK, I got it.” And it just reeks atmosphere. Then there are a couple of times in the game where the fucking puzzle is so hard that I just wanted to beat my head against the monitor. Or it’s timing-based and you die over and over and over. I fucking hated those moments. Like, if they had given me three “skips” to use across the entire game, I would have skipped this one dog scene, and this other puzzle. Because I’m like you, I want to see something wondrous, to really feel something and to be immersed for a while. I’m not a masochist, you know?

So we can safely say that Harvey Smith won’t be taking the lead on Super Meat Boy 2 anytime soon.

Just like old mate Harvey Smith, we absolutely adored Playdead's Inside when we reviewed it back  in September.

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