Definitely agree on the quality of Death of the Outsider. I think that with each entry, Dishonored has only gotten better.
Dishonored 2 actually establishes much of this in the diaries as well, though I think most people missed it because you have to be very precise in searching out certain diaries on the boat in between missions as they are different each chapter. (I saw them, because I loved the game so much I Platinumed it.) In fact, there are potentially five or six queer characters referenced in Dishonored 2 (though some are deceased), since Arkane deliberately left the gender of Emily’s lover unstated so that players could decide for themselves.
One small reason for the change, I think, can be attributed to the change in discussion around gaming, certainly. Creators want to tell original stories, and I do think a great many of them weren’t fully aware of how uncreative their work had really become. As much as some people are averse to giving her credit, Arkane themselves said at one point that Anita Sarkeesian pointing out how little the women had to do in the first Dishonored influenced their changing approach to writing women in their game world. They talked about how it was a weakness they weren’t previously aware of and worked to rectify as early as the first game’s DLC, where they first introduce Billie and Delilah.
When the majority of developers are white, straight, and male, they are going to have inevitable blind spots. Having more diversity present in the discussion around – and certainly in the creation of – games is only going to lead to more diverse storytelling. The fact that creative people are being made more aware of how to tell better, more meaningful stories that might even resonate with under represented and undeserved groups is a big step in the process.
And really, more people should play Dishonored 2 and Death of the Outsider.