Deathloop was brought to life by Dishonored 3 concerns

Bethesda reportedly wanted Arkane to work on a smaller, simpler game before approaching Dishonored 3.
deathloop arkane studios

Arkane Studios founder Raphaël Colantonio has revealed the studio’s time-looping roguelike, Deathloop, was actually a product of uncertainty, as Bethesda was unsure whether the studio should work on a new, smaller game – or develop Dishonored 3.

While there would certainly be an appetite for a third game in the beloved and critically-acclaimed stealth-action series, Bethesda was reportedly reluctant to commit to the franchise – likely due to the lack of sales success for Dishonored 2. Instead, it asked Arkane to work on something simpler and shorter while Dishonored 3 waited on the horizon.

Ironically, that ‘simpler, shorter’ game eventually evolved to become the impressively-scaled Deathloop.

‘Bethesda wanted us to do something. They didn’t quite know where we were going after Dishonored. “Do we want Dishonored 3? I don’t know, let’s make something simple and short before, and let’s see,”‘ Colantino recently told Rock Paper Shotgun.

Read: Deathloop voice actor Jason E. Kelley sparks sequel furore

‘And then [Deathloop] became a big thing, over the years. That was the funny thing: “Nah, we don’t wanna do Dishonored 3, but if you can pitch us a small game, something that maybe has multiplayer so we can learn multiplayer, something that maybe has microtransactions, maybe something with a lot of recycling, like a roguelike.”‘

Thankfully, the microtransaction angle Bethesda reportedly suggested didn’t quite stick – but the idea of making a roguelike game did, allowing Deathloop to break out as a unique time travel adventure with mechanics and sensibilities inspired by Arkane’s signature action style.

‘Almost everybody in the world was into some sort of roguelike. So it felt like, “Yeah, maybe it’s the way to go, you recycle gameplay, you take some of the elements of the world and remix content constantly,”‘ Colantonio said.

Read: Deathloop Review – Proving that creativity is the best weapon

As this project was developed and scoped out, it eventually became much larger in scale – to the point where Colantonio believes it cost ‘just as much to make’ as Dishonored 3 might have. ‘Back then it was not meant to be,’ he said.

At this stage, it’s unclear whether the proposed Dishonored 3 will actually come to fruition. While Bethesda’s initial reluctance may have been a matter of time and circumstance, we could see the idea return in future. That said, the blockbuster success of Deathloop may be more likely to inspire a direct sequel, rather than a return to the past.

Leah J. Williams is a gaming and entertainment journalist who's spent years writing about the games industry, her love for The Sims 2 on Nintendo DS and every piece of weird history she knows. You can find her tweeting @legenette most days.