Does Dishonored Truly End with Death of the Outsider?
Slight spoilers for Dishonored 2 follow.
The week of E3 is finally over, bringing with it the reveal of several games we already sorta knew about, ones we didn’t think would ever truly exist, and ones that we knew existed, but didn’t expect to like as much. One of the many genuine surprises from the gaming event came from Bethesda, who revealed a new entry in the Dishonored universe.
Death of the Outsider, set months after the events of the second game, is a standalone expansion that sees Billie Lurk — aka Meghan Foster, your handy pal played by Rosario Dawson in Dishonored 2 who ferries you to your destinations — reunite with her buddy Daud from the first game. As the title implies, they’re teaming up again to kill the Outsider, the “black eyed bastard” responsible for giving the two their powers (along with the powers of series protagonists Corvo Attano and Emily Kaldwin-Attano).
The lore surrounding said Outsider is something the Dishonored franchise doesn’t really fully acknowledge, at least not until the second game. In Dishonored 2, we learn that he was a young man from thousands of years before the events of the first game. Sacrificed by his people because he exhibited the potential to be part of the Void (the source of the magic in the series’ universe), the orphan was merged with it upon having his throat slit and has since attained godhood. While he’s been around for a long time, he rarely speaks with speaks with humans, and when he does, it’s either through dreams or actual physical manifestations. Thus far, only eight (that we know about) have been contacted by him and imbued with his powerful Mark, and all of them in the main games.
Exactly why you’d want to kill the guy responsible for letting you swarm people you hate with rats and rip people in half as a shadow monster seems really perplexing, but then again, both Daud and Billie didn’t exactly wind up in the best of spots because of him. That’s understandable, since despite being a pretty big player in this universe alongside the aforementioned Corvo and Emily, the Outsider doesn’t really do anything. Sure, he shows up and talks at you about how your actions have consequences for both your character and the world while his space whales fly in the background (no, seriously), but he’s largely content with just letting things play out. Hell, he doesn’t even really seem to care about the people who worship him as a god, and has at multiple points just referred to them as straight up deranged.
In any case, killing what is essentially a god can’t be as easy as it sounds — even Kratos had trouble murdering the whole lot of the gods in his world — and with a title that seems pretty conclusive, many have speculated that this will be not just a standalone expansion, but also the final entry in the entire Dishonored franchise. While Bethesda hasn’t really touted sales numbers for the game, it (apparently) hasn’t blown the roof off in the near year that it’s been released, either in digital or physical formats. Part of the silence could also be attributed to the fact that developer Arkane just also released Prey, along with the fact that the games in this series tend to be very big in terms of level size, but the sense of finality is still looming over this series for many.
But Death of the Outsider doesn’t have to be the final chapter for the Dishonored franchise, and could in fact open the series up to new avenues. Series lore dictates that our unfeeling deity will be destroyed eventually in a “catastrophic event.” Assuming that Billie and Daud’s quest succeeds and the world doesn’t immediately collapse in on itself, the Void will be in need of someone to help hold all of reality together as a representative. (Should one not be sacrificed to become one with the Void, one will just be spawned…eventually, according to Arkane’s Harvey Smith some years back.) Given that we’re dealing with two very different characters here — Daud was “betrayed” by the Outsider in the form of Corvo’s empowerment, while Billie sought atonement for her previous sins — it’s possible that either one of them could end up becoming the new Outsider, depending on the choices you make and who you play as.
Should that happen, that would be significant game changer in terms of what kind of god we’re dealing with here. One of the defining parts of the current Outsider is his aforementioned aloofness; he plays no favorites and just pays attention to anyone who catches his eye. But if a person’s personality is kept intact upon becoming one with the Void (and if Arkane has some way of reading your save of Dishonored 2), that could end up being good or bad for the Empire of Dunwall. We could be dealing with a pissed off Daud or Billie, or one of them could have a change of heart with their newfound godhood.
But let’s also look at the other side of the coin: what happens in the time between dead god and a reborn god? What if there ends up being a bleeding effect where everyone who has magic finds that power inexplicably taken from them, permanently? Or what if his death ends up releasing magic all over the Empire? If the Outsider is indeed constantly curious and wondering what people do when given power over others, what could lead to more interesting questions than “what if everyone had powers”?
Well, we won’t know until a little over three months. But if Death of the Outsider indeed goes all in on its title, or simply gives us new insight into the weird lore of this stab happy universe, that’s an adventure I will happily take part in.