I have a thought or two on Dishonored’s weird (bad) attitudes towards royalty and authority.
For a game about choice and free will and agency it really wants you to believe that Emily being on the throne will be a good thing as long as she’s gentle and kind.
Is there really enough critique of the fact that Emily (Or Corvo) are in positions of immense power that they acquired through birthright or murder? In high chaos we know this. Emily the Butcher… Corvo as the Bloody Duke… The Outsider and the game’s text indicates that the needless murder of many people for the sake of achieving their own power corrupted Emily and Corvo and made the situation around them terrible.
But Emily as an Empress is bad no matter what. Corvo as a Duke is bad no matter what. In low or high chaos, they are still royalty with excessive power and wealth at the top of a society that feeds on most of the population, right?
We’ve seen that as an Empress, Emily is unable to solve the massive poverty and suffering in the Empire. Are we supposed to believe, as players, that the problems amount to bad people like Burrows or Abele? That without them, these problems can be solved? I think that that is a very uncomfortable implication.
Dishonored threatens to have good politics that examine the impoverished of Dunwall but it almost always defaults to this strange idea that if Emily is very nice when she’s on the throne, we should be happy?