With Arkane Studios’ Dishonored 2 out and about, a lot of people have already beaten the game and are now seeking to understand what they just played. With the multiple endings for both Corvo and Emily leaving some people scratching their heads, there’s a quick way to understand what happened in the game that’s currently available for the Xbox One, PS4 and PC.
The game starts with Duke Luka Abele introducing Emily Kaldwin and Corvo Attano to Delilah Copperspoon, the half sister of Jessamine Kaldwin and daughter of Euhorn Jacob Kaldwin. Jessamine, the former Empress, was assassinated in the first game, thus making Emily heir to the throne. With the return of Delilah, the father and daughter duo are thrown into dismay.
Delilah returns to Dunwall to take over as rule, and her first order of decree sees her accusing Emily and Corvo of being the Crown Killer, a mysterious force who has been committing murders throughout Dunwall. Emily and Corvo are arrested (or turned to stone). Players have a choice of choosing to play as either Corvo or Emily during the opening segment, the only major story difference is that throughout the game Delilah will address either Emily or Corvo as the story unfolds, and if Emily is chosen she has to save Corvo and if Corvo is chosen he has to save Emily.
Both Emily and Corvo will meet up with Meagan Foster on the Dreadful Wale after making a daring escape from Dunwall Tower. It’s on the Wale that during a restless wander into dreams that meet up with the Outsider, a specter living in the Void for 4,000 years. There’s a choice to either accept the offer of the Outsider and his Void powers or to forgo them. Throughout the game players will learn more about the Void, how the Outsider was sacrificed by the occult to become what he is, and how Delilah manipulated the Void to her own sinister ends.
The vignettes between each level explain what Emily and Corvo expected from ruling over Dunwall and what they actually ended up with. Depending on if players cause chaos or are non-lethal in their actions will determine how the characters react to the main protagonists, seeing them either as saviors of Dunwall or the kingdom’s latest oppressors.
Throughout the game, Emily and Corvo visit certain locations and learn about the ways in which they must retake their kingdom, this includes encountering Kirin Jindosh, who has captured an allie named Anton Sokolov, picking his brain about making his Clockwork Soldiers more efficient, while also attempting to tap into the secrets of the Void. Jindosh worked with Breanna Ashworth, Dr. Hypatia, Duke Luka Abele and Aramis Stilton to bring Delilah out of the void and put her spirit into a bone carapace.
It turns out that Delilah was treated like a bastard child when she was younger, and it was all because her mother was a maid, working for Euhorn Jacob Kaldwin. The Euhorn had an affair with the maid and always hid Delilah from the rest of the court, ashamed of his infidelity. Delilah and Jessamine played together but Jessamine had a habit of lying on Delilah, eventually causing her and her mother to be thrown out. Delilah’s mother died poor, diseased and of starvation, while Delilah had to use cunning and wits to make her way through the world. Years later she eventually met up with Breanna Ashworth and they dabbled in witchery; Delilah met her end but eventually ended up in the Void.
When Delilah was in the Void she managed to find the Outsider’s isle – the place from which he drew his power. She used cunning wits to tap into that power and began calling out to Ashworth from beyond the realm of the living. Ashworth used her resources and managed to get the help of the Duke, Stilton, Hypatia and Jindosh – together they were able to revive Delilah from the Void by performing a séance, and they put a piece of her spirit in the bone carapace, so that so long as the spirit was protected she would be immortal. She promised them great power and wealth in return.
The hatred in Delilah’s heart spawned through a world torn asunder, done so from the callous inhumanity and cold poverty of a harsh society. These things blackened her soul so much that the only thing she wanted was to make all who did her wrong pay dearly for the hurt and pain they caused her and her mother. After returning from the Void, she set afoot a plan that took years to execute; three years of machinations to rip the kingdom of Dunwall from the loose grip of Emily Kaldwin.
Emily and Corvo learn of these things during their plight in being cast from Dunwall and through their journey to take back what’s theirs. They eventually discover that the Crown Killer is actually Dr. Alexandria Hypatia, a good doctor who has lost her mind due to an experimental serum that the Duke made her take. Dr. Hypatia can be rescued and she reveals that she was originally working on a way to save the people of Karnaca, not kill them. However, Delilah used Dr. Hypatia as the Crown Killer in order to frame Emily and Corvo, setting them up for her eventual usurping of the throne.
Hypatia leads Emily and Corvo to Kirin Jindosh’s lab where they rescue Anton Sokolov and then proceed to Stilton’s place where they find that after he performed the séance with the others, he ended up losing his mind and locking himself away in his mansion, protected by a special Jindosh lock.
However, Emily and Corvo happen upon key information while in the mansion – the time piece device that they discover that allows them to see how the séance was performed reveals that a Void heart can be used to contain Delilah’s heart. A Void heart was given to them by the Outsider, allowing them to find runes with the help of Emily’s mother, Jessamine, who is trapped inside the heart. They plan on using the heart containing Jessamine’s spirit to capture Delilah’s spirit.
They make their way to the Duke’s Grand Palace and have the option of either disposing of him or deposing him. The more clever way about it sees Duke Abele being replaced by his body double with the help of Emily and Corvo. The body double briskly has the guards remove the tongue of the real Duke after they frame him for being the body double and depict him as having lost his mind. In doing so, Emily and Corvo hope to put the more level-headed body double into power as the leader over Karanca.
They also discover that in a hidden library guarded by Clockwork Soldiers there’s a tree with the bone carapace that holds the spirit of Delilah in it. They use the heart of the Void to free Jessamine’s spirit and replace it by putting Delilah’s spirit inside.
Corvo and Emily return to Dunwall to find that Delilah has killed many in her wake, all for the sake of creating a new empire. They have a few options of being rid of her, including using a corrupted rune to trap her in a painting she was planning on using to turn the entire world into a distorted palace of ruin and grotesque marble… or they can simply kill her. Trapping Delilah in the painting will see her sealed away forever within the twisted world she created, harming no one but still living… away from everyone. Killing her will simply ensure that she never harms anyone again and that she has no way of ever returning.
After dealing with Delilah and freeing either Corvo or Emily, the game ends, playing a series of vignettes based on the choices made throughout the game.
If players go about killing many people, including Duke Abele, they will end his reign over Karnaca, burning down his legacy and the legacy of its rulers. Alternatively, if they choose to put the body double in his place, then Karnaca has an opportunity to regain its luster and the place will once again flourish under the fake Duke and his new rule.
If players go about using non-lethal tactics, they will get completely different endings, where if choosing not to kill targets it will mean that there is prosperity to go around instead of chaos. In Dunwall, Emily becomes beloved by her people, known for being just and compassionate. She ends up fulfilling the dream of Corvo, and restoring peace to the land of Dunwall while her father helps rule by her side.
If high chaos is committed throughout the game then players will end up with an ending where Anton Sokolov becomes sullen and depressed, spending the rest of his days wondering about what good times could have been, and what peace may never come. He rests his eyes a final time with a mind heavy from the burdens of the chaos and destruction committed by Emily and Corvo.
If non-lethal methods are used to restore order and peace to Karnaca and Dunwall, then Sokolov is inspired once more to invent and use his brilliance to bring great inventions and creations to the land. His prolific works of auspicious aspirations become tokens of the era, and he marks the living days of his generation in Dunwall with greatness. He also makes one last effort toward the far north to see out his days in tranquility and wonderment.
While Meagan Foster fades into the shadows, another named Billie Lurk comes from out of the shadows, seeking to find the closest thing she could call family. From there the game’s credits roll.