Psyop and ROKKAN created the engrossing, animated prequel series – The Tales from Dunwall – for Bethesda Softworks and Arkane Studios’ highly anticipated multi-platform title Dishonored. The online series gives gamers a first-hand glimpse into the steampunk- inspired, shadowy whaling city of Dunwall, where plague is rampant and the city is in disarray and on the verge of dystopia.
ROKKAN and Psyop, together with Bethesda Softworks, worked to design a truly unique look for the series. Inspiration was taken from the game’s artistic direction established by Arkane Studios, but with a twist.
The three webisodes were predominantly produced by hand. Each frame was essentially a fully rendered style frame, which was then enhanced with 3D elements to add to the painterly atmosphere, dimension and depth of each shot.
“Usually when we animate, it is largely a CG production” said Psyop creative director Jon Saunders. “After we saw the story line, we decided to draw each style frame thirty or forty times and create a cell animated look and give it a sort of a painting-come-to-life effect."
The prequel videos, although stylistically different from Dishonored the game, accurately portray the story of Dunwall and showcase the fantasy worlds that Psyop is known for creating.
“After vetting several animation studios, Psyop stood out because they understood the story we were trying to tell. They were the only studio who could really bring the stories to life with their world-renowned animation precision and craft," said Charles Bae, Chief Creative Officer, ROKKAN. "Bethesda and ROKKAN's approach to the prequels was to give context to the oppressive world of Dishonored, establishing the story up to the point of the player's immersion at the start of the game. Our primary objective was to tell a great story in the simplest and most compelling format we could, period," added Bae.
Dishonored was released in North America on October 9, 2012 and then throughout Europe on October 12, 2012, on the Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, and PC.