Microsoft’s Absurd Antics Have Me Scared For Dishonored And Arkane Lyon’s Future

If Microsoft can discard Hi-Fi Rush and Prey, it can do anything.

Story Highlights

  • Microsoft has mercilessly killed Arkane Austin and Tango Gameworks despite their past achievements.
  • Arkane Lyon is safe for now, but who knows when it’s abandoned alongside the masterful Dishonored.
  • An exceptional gem with creative level design and emancipated gameplay; will Microsoft see reason?

Hearing about layoffs and studio shutdowns is never easy. I admit there are certain reasons behind them, but the fault doesn’t lie entirely in one party now, does it? Does the failure of one game erase all the good a dev has done? Besides, restrictions and pressure from the above also contribute to this failure, why only one victim then?

The worst part is, sometimes it’s not even a failure, yet the studio is given the axe. If a game falls even a little short of the projected sales, it doesn’t matter if it’s a critical masterpiece, the studio has to go. This is exactly what Microsoft has done. It killed Arkane Austin for the prior reason, and Tango Gameworks for the latter.

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Arkane Lyon Survived, But At What Cost?

I’ve said this so many times now that the trauma just never quite leaves, and refreshes every time. Microsoft has committed a grave crime by killing Redfall and Prey developer Arkane Austin, and Hi-Fi Rush developer Tango Gameworks. 

Arkane Austin was axed because Redfall was a massive disappointment. Tango Gameworks was executed because despite being a creative masterpiece beloved by all, Hi-Fi Rush didn’t sell as well as Microsoft wanted it to. What absurd sort of profit it was expecting from a creative and groundbreaking game like this is beyond me.

Arkane Lyon was spared this time around, but it has suffered gravely no doubt. Arkane Austin and Lyon have similar origins and were a team before splitting up to divide the workforce on multiple projects. It hasn’t been easy on Arkane Lyon, and trust me its anger is completely justified. This was a ridiculous move by Microsoft, and nothing’s stopping it from turning on Lyon and Dishonored in the future.

Dishonored, Arkane’s Magnum Opus

Of all the games that bear the name “Arkane” as their developer, Dishonored has to be the best and most enjoyable for me. The original Dishonored was a joint work between what’s now distinguished as Arkane Austin and Lyon. Simply Arkane Studios, the developer wished to create a new stealth-action IP inspired by Thief and aimed to provide an immersive experience where you’re in full control.

Dishonored one of the best games I have ever played that made me feel like a real Assassin using cool superpowers a beautiful world & a choice to play non-lethally.
byu/Professional-Line-82 ingaming

Add in a supernatural twist and a level and world design that puts many games to shame, and you get the masterpiece that is Dishonored. Corvo is a disgraced soldier wrongfully accused and is on a quest for vengeance and truth. With the Outsider’s mysterious abilities in hand, Corvo will navigate beautifully intricate levels to reach his goal.

Dishonored took freedom of approach to the next level | Source: Steam
Dishonored took freedom of approach to the next level | Source: Steam

The story-telling aside, gameplay is where Dishonored is second to none. The best thing is how instead of a pre-determined progress, you’re given the freedom of approach. There’s a puzzle lying in front of you. The game tells you “Here are all the tools, now it’s up to you to carve a path out.” You essentially create the solution yourself and live with its consequences.

Dishonored 2 took this and refined the formula to absolute perfection. The game is undoubtedly one of my all-time favorites. The power fantasy is even greater than before, you have two protagonists to choose from, and a level design that will surely leave you in awe. I can’t describe how amazing the sensation was of playing through A Crack in the Slab. It was a sublime experience; the peak of video game creativity.

Can we all agree this one of the best video game missions ever made
byu/eldwinddnd indishonored

The enormous sequel makes the stealth vs lethal distinction even more impactful. The story implications aside, the game gives you a sense of control over the whole game world. Navigating the battlefield in the blink of an eye, toying around with the clueless goons, and wreaking havoc with your unconquerable superpowers, Dishonored 2 is a masterpiece no one should miss out on.

Dishonored 2 was a masterful work of creative level design | Source: IMDB
Dishonored 2 is a masterful work of creative level design | Source: IMDB

An Uncertain Future Awaits It

Unfortunately, no matter how much I or anyone else praises Dishonored, the feelings of the companies holding it won’t change. Dishonored 2, despite being a masterpiece, wasn’t as much of a commercial success as the abnormal expectations associated with it. Similarly, the DLC-esque Death of the Outsider was solid, but it was no Dishonored 1 or 2, far from it

Death of the Outsider couldn't reach its predecessors' heights | Source: Steam
Death of the Outsider couldn’t reach its predecessors’ heights | Source: Steam

As such, the fabulous series has received no activity for a very long time now. We don’t even know if it will ever continue, but the chances are looking very slim at this point. Before its dismissal, Arkane Austin apparently pitched a new Dishonored. But we’ll never know, as the response it got for this pitch was the boot.

Arkane was hoping to pitch a new Dishonored game before Arkane Austin got shut down
byu/SnooCompliments9224 indishonored

Most of all, just as Arkane Austin was discarded, who can say Microsoft won’t do the same to Arkane Lyon? The way I see it, the only thing that saved Lyon was the fact that it is actively working on the new Blade game, which is a high-profile project. Microsoft is waiting for the results on that one. And if they’re even a little less than expected, well, you can connect the dots.

It’s truly a shame, Dishonored deserves greatness, not abandonment.

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Hanzala is a dedicated writer who expresses his views as opinion pieces at eXputer. He's always been fascinated by gaming and has been an avid consumer of many different genres for over a decade. His passion for games has him eager to encounter the latest RPGs and actively look for new Soulslike to challenge. He puts forth his experience and knowledge of gaming into captivating opinion pieces.

Experience: 8+ months || Education: Bachelors in Chemistry.

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