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Dishonored 2’s two protagonists each have their own style

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Don’t mess with them

Emily Kaldwin and Corvo Attano
Concept art of Emily Kaldwin and Corvo Attano in Dishonored 2.
Arkane Studios/Bethesda Softworks

Dishonored 2 is defined by its two playable characters, Corvo Attano and Emily Kaldwin, and developer Arkane Studios explained today what sets the two of them apart beyond the obvious.

Harvey Smith, co-creative director on Dishonored 2, said in a Bethesda.net blog post that the development team designed Emily around three focal points: Dunwall, her home; empress, her title; and assassin, a role nurtured by her Royal Protector — and father — Corvo. Aside from the events of the original Dishonored, in which Emily at age 10 was kidnapped and later rescued by Corvo, she has lived a sheltered, privileged life in the city of Dunwall.

Corvo taught Emily to defend herself in case her enemies ever returned, molding her into the 25-year-old assassin she is in Dishonored 2. Even so, her exalted position remains a major part of her personality, and it’s reflected in her character.

"She’s an Empress," said Dinga Bakaba, the game’s lead designer. "She’s younger. She has a different personality. So her powers reflect that. She has a lot of powers that allow her to subdue the will of others."

Corvo, meanwhile, retains all of the powers he had in Dishonored, although with new elements in an upgrade tree. He is now serving as both Royal Protector and Royal Spymaster, although Dishonored 2 brings him away from Dunwall to Karnaca, which is located in his homeland of Serkonos.

On the other hand, the events that kick off Dishonored 2 cause Emily to flee from the home she’s known all her life.

"At the beginning of Dishonored 2 she loses everything and she’s on the run," Smith said. "This is also Emily’s first exposure to the way the rest of the world lives. They both have their own perspectives, and that was something important for us to get right."

Dishonored 2 launches Nov. 11 on PlayStation 4, Windows PC and Xbox One. For more details, check out the game’s voice cast, which includes Stephen Russell — the voice of Garrett in Thief: The Dark Project — as Corvo.