The world of Dishonored 2 is steeped in detail. Everything from a character’s house to their wardrobe holds hidden clues about who they are, where they’ve been, and where they’re heading.
It’s a storytelling technique used by developer Arkane to build a “living, breathing world.” As game director Harvey Smith explained recently, by filling levels with tiny, seemingly innocuous details, you can create rich, fully-formed characters in a way that feels natural.
Players aren’t forced to sit through exposition-heavy dialogue, or read lengthy character bios, because the clues to who Dishonored 2’s characters are can be found hidden in plain sight.
For instance, in a recent interview with Paste, fashion designer Maya Hansen — a master of her craft who’s created garments for Lady Gaga, Kylie Jenner, and Laura Pausini — revealed how she was brought in to help Arkane realize its characters through neo-Victorian vogue.
The interview, which showcases some of Arkane’s original character sketches and concept art, reveals how she attempted to reflect each character’s unique thoughts, feelings, and personal history through her designs and style choices.
“[Emily] seems to have a darkness about her and this is what we wanted to highlight; that’s the reason we went with black for her clothes and why we thought she had to use technical materials like neoprene and fishnets, but also comfortable materials that allow mobility and adapt to her athletic body shape,” reveals Hansen.
“All of her clothing is basically black except for a few golden patterns that show, again, a more classical, intricate and opulent style.”
To learn how Hansen helped shape the other stars of Dishonored 2, check out the full interview over on Paste.