I find the concept of environmental storytelling intriguing and want to understand more about its design and implementation. At the time this paper was due, I was playing Dishonored religiously, and it seemed a perfect fit.
My paper “Hitting the Wall (of Light)” explores the concept of environmental storytelling and its uses in Dishonored. I built a analytical framework combining Michael Nitsche’s definition of evocative narrative elements and Henry Jenkins’ categories of evoked, enacted, and embedded storytelling to investigate it.
Dishonored is an exercise in building a coherent world for a story to unfold. The city of Dunwall is a completely fictional place and therefore need to establish recognizable and relatable elements. To accomplish this, the game draws on historical english architecture, and culture, particularly from the Victorian era. The city of Dunwall marries these elements with mysticism and near-magical (whale oil-powered) technology. It is an unfamiliar world with familiar strokes that are relatable for the players experiencing it, simply by their aesthetics and context.
Hitting the Wall (of Light) was written for the class Foundations of Play and Games at the IT University of Copenhagen.