Looking at Fascist Fashion and Environmental Violence in 'Dishonored'


#1

Last week we were reminded of Troop-Cop, who was so troubled by protestors calling police fascists that he had no choice but to club the shit out of them, all in the service of a tacky clothing brand. It dovetailed well with an interesting graphic essay from Nate Powell on paramilitary aesthetics and their increasing popularity among reactionaries in the United States. Then, Danielle's been digging into the latest issue of Heterotopias, where she encountered an essay from María Bonete Escoto on the "slow violence" of environmental destruction portrayed in the Dishonored series. Patrick was delighted by the second episode of Netfllix's Losers series, while Austin has an inside line on some illicit Gundum action.


This is a companion discussion topic for the original entry at https://waypoint.vice.com/en_us/article/43z5eb/looking-at-fascist-fashion-and-environmental-violence-in-dishonored

#2

May I humbly offer Arsenal Football Club for your support. The red and white. The Gunners. The Gooners. Found in beautiful Islington in north London.
Recent form has been worst of the best (the premier league has an almost immovable top 6 flush with money and the marketing that comes with it) but have a long and proud history.
My best pitch is that in the 2003/4 season we went unbeaten in the league and were crowned The Invincibles. This had only happened once before in the English top flight (Preston North End in 1888/9) and never since.
We have probably the most fiercely contested derbies in the league against fellow north Londoners Tottenham Hotspur. A match that is always an unbearable watch for fans. And one we’ve won more than them…
Also until recently Arsenal’s manager was called Arsène Wenger. Our current manager is Unai Emery… we play at the Emirates.
Otherwise we’ve a passionate and demanding (but occasion whiny) fan base who’ve seen the club go from the more defensively focussed football of the pre-Wenger era to the beauty that came after (see this goal (https://youtu.be/lDzROeD9fGU).
We’re currently in a state of flux as Wenger was with us for 22 years. Football is occasionally good but the wonderful characters of Lacazette, Aubameyang, Bellerin and the rest of he squad always make them a pleasure follow.

Come on you Gunners :gun:

P.S. https://youtu.be/UqR_7SeijQ0


#3

Jim McNichol is right in that the dog’s bite is actually the only thing that sets him and moreover that game apart. Relegation battles happen every year in leagues across the world and I feel the presentation is a bit overly dramatic in that it presents it as this kind of do or die situation.
It’s exciting enough when it’s “your” club in deep end, but usually all that happens is that the relegated teams lose some of their better (and more expensive) players and life goes on in a lower league (unless the financials have been managed badly). Case in point: back then Torquay was playing in a tier 4 league, now they are at tier 6.

I liked the presentational style of the episode. I think the direct commentary by the players and spectators interspersed with comic graphics to set the mood worked very well.


#4

I can recommend a Netflix series called Sunderland till I die that follows Sunderland AFC after they were relegated from the 1st tier to the second tier.

Relegation really does not mean the end for a club, they just loose some players and have to work with a smaller budget. Even bankrupcy isn’t the end, fans usually create a new club. Examples : Rangers, Parma, Napoli…

I would love to hear their takes on football!


#5

I was just about to reccomend Sunderland til I Die! But if Waypoint is to get into football I’m not sure the Premier League is best for them. I feel like the Bundesliga is the most Waypoint league and the most waypoint team in Germany has to be Fc St Pauli.


#6

I would recommend Livorno. They are even more left wing than St. Pauli.


#7

I’ve actually been wanting to revisit Dishonored. I still HATE myself for this, but when I played it I got to the last level and then stopped playing it. Austin mentioned this in relation to the Deus Ex games, I believe, but I’d like to do a ‘Live with the Consequences’ run. Go as stealthy as I can, but when I fuck up I live with it.

By the way, what is the genre of fiction Dishonored falls under?

I’m not sure it feels like Steampunk, because unlike Dishonored and games like it: Blades in the Dark, Thief, The Order 1866, Vampyr to an extent, they seem to embrace the very filthy tones of London industry, as opposed to the pro-technology angle of normal Steampunk. You see more dark blues, greys, and blacks rather than the gold, orange, red, and other vibrant colors of games like Arcanum, Bioshock: Infinite, and so on…

They feel different to me. Like, muddy Steampunk is specifically trying to capture the post-industrial mood of a polluted London, while Steampunk is very open about it’s admiration of technology.


#8

I’m always a bit disconcerted by wholly-pro-technology implementations of steampunk: I’d argue that the better (and usually, earlier - late 80s/early 90s) steampunk works have a little more actually in common with the cyberpunk genre their own name puns on - a certain suspicion of the use of technology to suppress and control the masses, and the potential of alienation of the self. (Which is obviously a bit more “on-the-nose”, given that the late Industrial revolution was already not a nice time for people who weren’t rich and powerful.)


#9

Dishonored according to Viktor Antonov, it’s not steampunk it’s designed as a mix of contemporary and futurism. There’s also the influence of 1900s painters like John Atkinson Grimshaw. It’s not like Bioshock where it’s easy to assign it to categories.


#10

this episode made me go back and play it and its honestly weird the way the point of the game is to re establish a monarchy when the other 99 percent of the games attitude seems to be “rich people, cops,and religious authority are slimy pieces of shit”


#11

Dishonored falls into that video game trap of hand-waving the player’s actions because they’re the protagonist. It doesn’t pull any punches criticizing other social or government institutions as corrupt both systemically and in leadership, but since you’re good and the queen’s good then the monarchy is noble and just and always will be.

To be fair though I’m not really sure how to change that without undercutting the story. If somebody asked “What gives you the right to rule?” where do you go from there? Because none of the answers let you be the hero anymore.


#12

I haven’t played Death of the Outsider - but I want to say that the shift of perspective to Billie Lurk might alleviate some of the discrepancies between the environmental storytelling and the values (implied and otherwise) of the protagonists Corvo and Emily?


#13

I’m not sure I can recommend the knife of dunwall, but it is a lot more honest about the world and your, the player, place in it. It’s about what Daud, the assassin, was doing during the events of Dishonored. My problems with it are mostly the gameplay. Daud has a few powers Corvo has but not all of them, and the new powers are just summoning one of your trained assassins. I just find the gameplay less interesting. The other problem is you don’t actually want to know what happens to the whales when being turned into oil. I’ll just leave it at that.


#14

It’s pretty accurate depiction of it no worse than spermaceti. Daud felt like a trail run for something that would be a lot more fun without chaos like Death of the Outsider.


#15

I’ll admit this is probably a charitable reading of the series, and I think it’s more likely that Dishonored was (at least originally) coming from a Looking Glass lineage of letting the player live the power fantasy of being free from the politics of its own universe, though I think taken as a whole you can definitely find a critique of the monarchy you help uphold in the first two games.

I find the chaos system and its origin less as a morality scale and more as a representation of the world’s stability as pointing towards this somewhat. You are rarely committing less amoral acts by playing with low chaos, in fact often the non-lethal option for your primary targets is crueller than simply sticking a blade in them. You’re simply completing your objectives without a lot of blood in the streets, and therefore less heat towards yourself and the crown. I think you can even read the Outsider’s narration over the low chaos ending as sardonic and a little insincere. The world may have become better for Corvo & Emily after the events they went through in the first game but, as evidenced by the sequels, the world of Dishonored is no less dark. They simply had the power to choose to not see it.

[spoilers for dishonored 2 + death of the outsider]

Though even with that interpretation I found myself disappointed in the resolution of Dishonored 2. It came across as too neatly tied, suggesting that Emily or Corvo could suddenly be the noble leaders they believed themselves to be before seeing Karanca, leaving little space for the self-realisation that the empire might be part of the problem. It’s why Death of the Outsider was a breath of fresh air in a lot of ways. Billie was the perfect character to end the series on because she was the only one who did see the world for what it is, and in spite of the events of the second game that world is no less cruel to people like herself. It places her in the position to relate the most to the Outsider, who himself was little more than a marginalised pawn to be used by those who ruled over him. In the end, you’re left with a choice of whether you will also lay the blame at his feet.


#16

I think part of my problem with low vs high chaos has more to do with low chaos as always “canon.” I’m gonna have to play through some more of Daud’s bullshit before I can say how I feel about him. And shit, I really need to get around to Death of the Outsider. The ending of Dishonored 2 is a little too neatly tied up, but so was the end of the first one. Like the cutscenes are as if that was the whole story. They probably didn’t know they’d make more than just the first game. I might come back to this conversation in a few weeks. A friend wants me to play Dishonored while they watch and I don’t want to get sick of it too quickly. I’ve already beat both games too many times already.