The no-kill playthrough is a way to challenge yourself, brag to your friends, and earn some Achievements or Trophies in the process. If you're a stealth-loving challenge seeker, you may be pleased to know that Dishonored will let you sneak your way through the entire game without killing a single hapless guard. And thank goodness, because that guy was just one day from retirement.
"Our goal is to let you ghost the game. The extreme extremes are slaughter everyone, high chaos, or ghost the game. You can actually complete the game without killing anyone," said co-creative director Harvey Smith.
This seems incongruous with the fact that the protagonist Corvo is a former bodyguard turned assassin, a profession that lends itself to killing. But apparently, even assassination scenarios have alternate paths. "For all the key targets, all the assassination targets, there are more thorough behind-the-scenes alternate ways to eliminate them," Smith told IGN. "Very few people will be at either extreme. Most will be somewhere in the middle, trying to set up a plan, trying to be sneaky then it all goes to hell. It gets messy for a while but then they try to rein it in. Whether they care about keeping things precise and surgical or not will probably dictate whether they're high chaos or low chaos."
Smith was the lead designer on Deus Ex, which also lets you solve problems through non-lethal means. The series name-sake got its long-awaited sequel Human Revolution recently, which also allows for a no-kill playthrough.
If you do choose to go chaotic in Dishonored, the rating will depend on how innocent your victim is. "Killing a guard is chaotic, but not very chaotic," said co-creative director Raphael Colantonio. "Killing a maid, this creates more chaos." Occupational hazards are apparently in play. The chaos rating can effect the number of guards, the atmosphere, or how much allies trust you.
Dishonored is due for the PC, PlayStation 3, and Xbox 360 in 2012. Colantonio said that "at this point," the developer has no plans to release it on Wii U.