Dishonored's backstory 2D animation

While every other game company seems to be blowing its marketing budget on huge live-action trailers and commercials, Bethesda Softworks and Dishonored developer Arkane Studios have elected to adopt a painterly 2D style to explain their game’s back-story.

Dishonored, the latest stealth-action game from The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim publisher Bethesda and BioShock 2 developer Arkane Studios, is set in a dreary dystopian city called Dunwall (think plague-era London). Players control Corvo Attano, a bodyguard to the nation’s Empress. When the Lord Regent enacts a plot that ends with the Empress’s murder, law enforcement imprisons Attano for the crime.

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After that, he uses his superpowers and stealth abilities to free himself.

It looks interesting, and so does this back-story video, The Tales of Dunwall:

Bethesda hired commercial-animation company Psyop to produce the video. Psyop has produced computer-generated trailers for games like Fable III and Ghost Recon: Future Soldier.

The studio produced this Dishonored webisode with nearly all hand-drawn animation. The team added some computer effects in post-processing to give it that painterly look, but otherwise, this is traditional, hand-cramping work.

It’s refreshing to see a company get creative with its marketing opportunities

Update: The second and third episodes are up.