Ever wondered where Blink, Dishonored's most iconic power found its origins? Turns out the teleporting trick from Arkane Studios' 2012 assassination sim was the brainchild of legendary developer Doug Church.
In the latest issue of Edge, co-creative director Harvey Smith reveals the veteran Thief designer wanted to turn a key element of the PC sneaking series on its head. "We spent some time hanging out with our friend Doug Church," Smith says, "who worked on Underworld and Thief and System Shock, and asked, 'What would you do differently?' And he said, 'We really tried to reward the player for going slow on Thief, and I think I would invert that'," For a game originally envisioned as a Japanese sorcery tale, this new concept would bring a unique flavour to the mix.
For those who don't speak fluent Corvo, the Blink ability enables you to teleport across an area to wherever you cursor is placed - be that a ledge, a shadowy recess or directly behind a soon-to-be-eviscerated guard. In its early concept stages, Blink went through many versions, including an incarnation that zigzagged you along a flat plane. And its inclusion fundamentally changed how the studio, and QA testers, reacted to Dunwall as a whole.
"Near the end of the project, Raf [Colantonio, co-lead] said, 'What if we gave all players Blink for free?'" Smith explains. "It immediately transformed the game. We went from playtests where nobody was using powers - eight out of ten of the guys were trying to play it like a shooter, and they really didn't get it. As soon as we added Blink, it was transformative; it was such a good call by Raf."