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Dishonored 2’s Karnaca Is Based on LA, “A City of Madness”

Dishonored 2

“Like mixing King Kong and Los Angeles.”

The original game invoked Victorian England with Dunwall’s damp, dark city streets. Now the team at Arkane is getting ready to offer something very different with Dishonored 2’s Karnaca. Specifically, they are working on more of a Long Beach feel for the new city.

“I remember a discussion I had with Victor Antonov [Dishonored’s designer]. We talked about Los Angeles,” Art Director Sebastien Mitton says in an interview with PlayStation Blog. “He’d lived there for eight years and said it is was a city of madness. That’s what I brought to Karnaca.”


Arkane wanted to show a very different side of the Dishonored universe. “I wanted to move to the edge of the world. My wish was to create a journey from Dunwall to another city, to create contrast, to make people feel they’ve travelled.”

That meant taking a new approach to everything from architecture and lore to even the clothes people are wearing. “Karnaca is lighter fabrics, brighter colours and tones,” Mitton explains. “So that’s what we’ve changed. Some people have no sleeves, letting you see tan lines when their shirt’s removed. “But it’s not just clothes, or even tattoos. We’ve also focused on the body language. It’s how they stand, their posture.”

For research, Mitton and the team even traveled to Long Beach multiple times, “because of the lighting there.”

But the developers also wanted to make sure Karnaca is just as strange and unsettling as it is real and recognizable. “You see Karnaca. Like a postcard, but not. Because a postcard means ‘I want to travel there for my holidays’. So the challenge was — okay, it’s a postcard, it’s a city, but it’s still strange,” Mitton says.

“You see the sun, yet it’s raining at the same time. You see this dust coming from the peak, through the canyon. It’s mysterious. Like mixing King Kong and Los Angeles. You don’t quite know if it’s safe or not. That was the intention.”

Dishonored 2 releases Nov. 11 for PS4, Xbox One, and PC.

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