The Role of Architecture in Constructing Gameworlds

Examples from Dishonored

  • Anthony Zonaga PopovBass
  • Marcus Carter The University of Sydney


In this article, we present a close analysis of the role that the steampunk industrial Victorian architecture in Dishonored (2012) has in constructing the player’s experience and knowledge of the gameworld. Through various intertextual allusions and metaphorical representations, we argue the architecture works as an important storytelling element, contextualizing information that the player learns and conveying information about the game’s main characters, similar to the ways that architecture is utilized in other visual media such as television and film. In addition, we also argue that the architecture in Dishonored plays a crucial role in conveying to the player information about the morals and values of the fictional society, key to the game’s moral-choice gameplay.

Author Biography

Anthony Zonaga, PopovBass
Anthony Zonaga works for residential architecture firm PopovBass and is a graduate of the Master of Architecture at The University of Sydney