News that Dishonored 3 is in development at Arkane has been met with trepidation by Arkane fans still reeling after Redfall.
Documents from the Xbox FTC leak (which also revealed evidence of a Red Dead Redemption 2 PS5/Xbox Series X release, Fallout 3 and Oblivion remasters, and a Xbox Series X refresh) featured a Bethesda title release schedule. It's a few years out of date, featuring release windows for titles like Starfield and the new Indiana Jones game that have already passed, but it also features evidence of new games in the Doom and Dishonored series.
Doom Year Zero and Dishonored 3 both appear in the schedule, alongside several codenames and unconfirmed licensed products. While you might expect news of a new game in the excellent Dishonored series to have ignited fans' excitement, however, some of them have been stung too recently to get truly on board with the project just yet.
In the comments under the news on the Dishonored subreddit, one commenter says that "I don't even know how to feel about this. I guess I am glad it's in development [...] no expectations though." That's not exactly the upswell of support I thought there'd be, and a common theme among these comments suggests why that might be: Redfall.
Even in this Arkane-friendly subreddit, several comments acknowledge that Redfall was not the game that anyone was hoping for. Several others do point out that these documents stem from before 2020, well before Redfall's very public failure, and that Dishonored has always been developed by Arkane Lyon, rather than the Austin, Texas team that created the co-op vampire game. That means that Dishonored 3 has likely been in pretty active development since Deathloop released in 2021.
Regardless of who developed what, however, the two studios do share the Arkane name, and the success and failures that come with it. Add to that the fact that Deathloop, while critically successful, was not the commercial success that the studio was likely hoping for, and there's a very tentative element to the excitement being shared in the Dishonored community today.
I think it's fair to say that Redfall was something of a disaster. A Metacritic score of 56 is well below the standard that Arkane has set elsewhere, and in our Redfall review we called it "rushed, unfinished, and unsatisfying." The days after launch were a catalogue of bugs and evidence of incomplete features. Post-launch reports suggest that Arkane Austin lost a substantial part of its Prey team during Redfall's development, and that remaining devs hoped Microsoft would kill the project after its acquisition of Bethesda. Xbox execs have suggested they're hoping to stick with Redfall and turn it into the game it was supposed to be, but there's no sign of that course-correction yet, more than four months after release.
Arkane Austin's previous game was 2017's far-better-received Prey, so between that game and Lyon's slightly more-intact reputation, there's probably not too much to worry about, especially since the Austin studio appears to be returning to its immersive sim roots for its next project. It's worth noting before getting too excited (or worried) about any of Arkane's projects, however, that those leaked documents stem from before the pandemic-era lockdowns that pushed several of the projects listed back by a year or two. With Dishonored 3 not expected until the 2024 financial year, we might not actually see the project (if it even still exists) until 2026 at the earliest.
Here's our rundown of the all the Xbox FTC leaks.