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Dishonored 2 is a game about deepening and extending and maybe killing

Harvey Smith’s vision for Dishonored 2 is the same as it was for its predecessor: "A game about an assassin where you don’t have to kill anyone."

But understanding Arkane Studios’ 2012 first-person stealth game was difficult for those who created it, the co-creative director said in an interview with The Guardian. The game blends action and stealth and lets players choose their approach, but it cohesion wasn't always present.

"Dishonored was a mish-mash," Smith said. "We wanted to make a first-person immersive game in a fantasy world with some stealth features; it was a homage to games we’d made before or loved. But, halfway through, we were only just figuring out what it was."

"At every level there was something to deepen or extend or think about longer"

Arkane finished the game and released it to critical acclaim, including Polygon’s 9.0 review. Announced at Bethesda’s E3 2015 press conference, the studio is now making a sequel. Dishonored 2 gives its developers a chance to start something new — but not from scratch.

"The map, the calendar, the religion, the culture — it felt really good starting the new project just knowing that stuff," Smith said. "On top of that we were thinking, ‘Well, our swordfighting could have been a little deeper, our stealth could have been more reliable with better feedback, and our UI was slapped together at the last minute.’ Just at every level there was something to deepen or extend or think about longer."

We already know about some of that expansion in Dishonored 2. There are two playable characters, one of whom is designed for "finesse " and one that Smith describes as a "more heavy and brutal." It’s player choice, in other words, that extends even to the characters payers use.

Dishonored is available now on Xbox 360, PlayStation 3 and Windows PC. Dishonored: Definitive Edition, an upgraded version that includes the game’s several downloadable content add-ons, will hit PlayStation 4 and Xbox One this fall. Dishonored 2 is in development for PS4, Xbox One and Windows PC and scheduled for a spring 2016 release. You can watch its first trailer below.