Deathloop’s Clever Reuse of Assets

Deathloop stood out among other game’s in 2021 for it’s unique time loop based gameplay and 1960’s aesthetic. However, not all parts of this game are as unique as they appear. Most notably the creators of Deathloop, Arkane Studios, reused several assets from their previous games. For example, several pieces of furniture from the Dishonored franchise are used in Deathloop’s levels. At first glance this wouldn’t seem like a good idea, as Dishonored takes place in the 19th century and Deathloop takes place in the 1960s. Despite this, Arkane Studios were able to utilize Dishonored’s assets in a way that didn’t make it obvious that they were originally created for a different game (unless you’re a huge Dishonored fan). This was done by improving the asset models and textures to be on par with the newer assets made specifically for Deathloop along with placing them in areas where their 19th century style isn’t that jarring.

While some players may find reusing assets immersion breaking, there are a number of benefits that justify the practice. Because both Dishonored 2 and Deathloop were made using Arkane Studios Void engine, which made it very easy to simply import assets from Dishonored 2 into Deathloop. This much less time then it would have for Arkane’s artists to create all new furniture. This in turn made things easier for Deathloop’s level designers, as they didn’t have to wait as long to start creating levels. Taking advantage of an engine’s affordances when designing a game is nothing new. For example, level designers of Doom took into account how id Tech 1 (aka the Doom engine) rendered spaces when they were making levels in order to get the most out of the engine. Despite some players finding the reuse of assets off-putting, it’s an effective way to make the most out of a game’s engine. Considering that using a game engine to its fullest is something game designers have been doing since the days of Doom, it’s unlikely that such practices will stop anytime soon.

Deathloop is available for PlayStation 5 and PC.

Sources

Sanglard, Fabien. “Doom Engine Code Review.” Fabien Sanglard’s Website, 13 January 2010, https://fabiensanglard.net/doomIphone/doomClassicRenderer.php

Steward, Jared. “Dishonored 2 Furniture Spotted in Deathloop.” GameRant, 19 September 2021, https://gamerant.com/deathloop-dishonored-2-reused-assets-furniture/

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