Unless you’ve been living under a rock for the past few weeks, you likely know that Arkane’s new game Dishonored launched yesterday. It launched to critical acclaim too, despite the fact that it’s missing one key element that seems to be present in most modern games: multiplayer. Publishers, much to the chagrin of single player fans, are notorious for requiring multiplayer in the games they release these days, but in a new interview with Kotaku, Dishonored director Harvey Smith says that Bethesda never pressured Arkane to include a multiplayer mode.
That probably won’t come as a shock to most, considering that Bethesda is responsible for such single player epics as Skyrim, Fallout 3, and Oblivion, but often times publishers will look at a new IP like Dishonored and will decide that they’re not willing to take the risk unless the game can meet a list of desired features. Bethesda, apparently, is not one of those publishers. “I’ve been at a lot of publishers,” Smith said in the interview. “I’ve worked in games for 18 years. I’ve worked independently at times; I’ve worked in big teams, small teams. And I can honestly tell you, no smoke, that this is the smartest group of executives I’ve ever worked with.”
Smith continued by saying that at some points during Bethesda’s talks with Arkane, it was obvious that Dishonored was doing some things that fell outside of Bethesda’s comfort zone. Despite that, Bethesda allowed Arkane to keep its creative vision for Dishonored intact. “And at every step along the way those guys have supported us… This is as close as you’ll get to me saying that I have not had that experience with other publishers I’ve worked with, who forced us to bolt on multiplayer, or who said inane things like ‘First-person perspective doesn’t sell!’ or ‘RPGs don’t sell!’ I can tell you from the inside, 18 years, that this is a crazy, crazy business.
“Long story short: No one ever pressured us to do that. We told them that this was an aggressively single-player game, and they said alright, we moved forward, and that was it.”
It’s great to hear that Arkane wasn’t pressured into doing anything it didn’t want to with Dishonored, and that approach to development seems to be paying off, at least as far as review scores are concerned. The PC version of Dishonored currently holds a 92 out of 100 on Metacritic, while the Xbox 360 and PS3 versions boast aggregate scores in the high 80s. Dishonored is definitely one of the coolest games to launch this year, and we’re happy to see that at least some publishers still know that a single player game can do well in this market that’s dominated by titles with a focus on multiplayer.