There’s been a recurring theme in video games since 2012: the writing has steadily declined into political posturing; thematically games have centered around sociopolitical topics taken out of third-wave feminist manifestos; and heavy-handed proselytizing has been key defining characters and lore in most AAA games. Well, Arkane Studios and Bethesda didn’t want to break from that trend with Dishonored; Death of the Outsider, which is why the writer they hired to work on the standalone expansion managed to capture the job based on their fan-fiction and tweets made on social media.
PCGamesN is reporting that Arkane Studious’ head honcho, Harvey Smith, decided to bring in writer Hazel Monforton after she compiled a list of tweets about Dishonored through a social media dissertation of sorts via Storify.
According to PCGamesN, Monforton wrote out a lot of lore and character backstories while working with lead narrative designer Sachka Sandra Duval. According to the article, Monforton explained…
“Anything that was lore-heavy was assigned to me,” […] “I had a lot of responsibility, but it was really thrilling. For the main characters, for Billie Lurk – so, Rosario Dawson – and Daud – Michael Madsen – I sat in on their recording sessions. I was there to give a little context to lines when they needed it, and to kind of redirect stuff to help them understand the tone or the emotions happening in those particular lines. It was really fun to hear these things I’d helped work on come to life.”
According to the article, Monforton’s expertise comes from English literature, specifically a degree in English and Creative Writing, along with a Women’s Studies master degree from Oxford. According to Starling Bank, Monforton explained to them that credentials in the gaming industry before landing a gig at Arkane Studios including fan-fiction on PC Gamer and Unwinnable. That’s all.
Reading through the story about how Monforton landed the job via some tweets and how there’s a stark lack of experience in accredited work prior to working on a game series like Dishonored led to some people to second guess Monforton’s qualifications, as pointed out in one of the comments on PCGamesN.
It instantly draws parallels to BioWare hiring in various individuals to fulfill roles for Mass Effect: Andromeda that many gamers felt were unqualified for, especially in the animation department. It turned out that Mass Effect: Andromeda was years behind other AAA titles in terms of the quality of animations, and this was due to the staff not having the technical know-how and expertise with utilizing the middleware to make proper use of it in conjunction with the Frostbite. BioWare Montreal, the developers behind Mass Effect: Andromeda, promptly blamed the Frostbite and everyone else for the poor results.
Many gamers blamed BioWare’s diversity hiring on low quality outing of Mass Effect: Andromeda. Many have also feared that this kind of politically-motivated hiring practice could also further degrade the quality of games in the AAA sector, which is quickly being passed up by the single-A sector thanks to quality made games from legitimately talented developers, such as PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds from Bluehole Studios, which is the best selling single-platform game of 2017 so far.
Anyway, Dishonored: Death to the Outsider is available right now for PC, PS4 and Xbox One. Hazel Monforton couldn’t be reached for comment because I’m blocked on Twitter.