In brief: Dishonored fans will be saddened to hear that the franchise is being put to "rest" for a while. Sales were not a good as expected for Dishonored 2 and Death of the Outsider, so Developer Arkane Studios and publisher Bethesda want to give it a break to focus on other projects.
"I can’t say definitively what might happen down the road, anything could happen, but [Dishonored] is resting for now," said Bare.
This news is undoubtedly disappointing for fans of the franchise, but at least Dishonored: Death of the Outsider had a natural ending that didn’t leave players hanging. So they at least chose a good time to give it a pause.
Arkane and Bethesda might be shelving the series due to lackluster performance. The first game sold quite well. According to Eurogamer, Dishonored sold about 460,000 units in its first week and chugged on to sell millions on PC and consoles.
Conversely, Dishonored 2 sales were 40-percent lower at launch. Overall, the sequel only managed to move 2.5 million copies on consoles and PC combined. When compared to the more than 3 million copies of Dishonored sold on PC alone, one can gather that Bethesda might be wanting to pull the plug. However, Bare seems to indicate that there is still the possibility of pulling the title out of the closet sometime in the future.
He claims that right now Arkane is mainly focused on developing "seamless multiplayer" and "environmental storytelling" for future unnamed projects that are not The Crossing.
"[We are] not literally [working on] The Crossing, but for sure some elements. Being able to incorporate more online sharing or multiplayer type stuff, we totally might do that. The things that are important to us as a studio are coherent, deep world building and environmental storytelling – we’re always going to craft spaces that you feel like you’re visiting, whether it’s Dunwall or Talos 1. It’s just as important a character as the player or the people you meet. Then it’s improvisational gameplay – giving players a bunch of cool abilities and tools, then saying, ‘You figure it out, you be creative, you own the experience.’ And, typically, we stick to first-person, though that’s not a hard rule and we might try other things from time to time."
So while we won’t be seeing Dishonored 3 anytime soon (if ever), the studio is still in early production on some stuff that might bring us something new to excite us. And in an industry full of sequels and cookie-cutter follow-ups, something fresh from a developer once in a while is nice to see.