The Dishonored games remain some of the best-loved stealth action titles to have come out in recent years. One of the reasons for this is the cast of memorable and engaging characters who star in the titles. While we could talk about fascinating enemies like Kirin Jindosh and the assassin Daud, or some friendlier faces like Samuel the boatman and Anton Sokolov, the real heroes of the story are, well, the heroes.
Corvo Attano has been with the series from the beginning and the original Dishonored protagonist whose name was tarnished and life ruined by the events that kicked off the first game. He returns in Dishonored 2 as one of two possible player characters, and when we think of this game series, the first image that almost always comes to mind is his iconic metal skull mask. But there are elements to Corvo that some fans of the series may not know about. Let's take a look at 10 things you might not have known about everyone's favorite supernatural royal protector.
10 Crafting The Character
First, let's lay the groundwork of the character that is Corvo Attano. One little bit of trivia concerns his name, Corvo, which is based on the Italian word for "crow" or "raven." Given the ominous nature of these birds and the bleak settings of the Dishonored games, a hero named for such creatures seems quite apt.
Additionally, the Dishonored games make no secret of their lineage in the stealth genre, taking inspiration from the Thief series which also saw players sneaking around levels to achieve their goals. In the second Dishonored game, the formerly silent Corvo gains a voice, and it's none other than Stephen Russell, the same man who voiced Garrett in the original Thief games, driving the connection between the two franchises home.
9 Serkonan Roots
It's lightly touched upon in the Dishonored games that Corvo isn't actually from Dunwall, despite having lived there for some time. He hails from Karnaca, the capital city of Serkonos. Serkonos is the southernmost isle in the Empire of the Isles, featuring a more Mediterranean clime than the dreary setting of the first game.
In fact, we actually get to visit Corvo's old neighborhood in Dishonored 2, although the game doesn't draw too much attention to it. In the mission "Dust District" we enter the Batista Mining District, which was the same place Corvo was born and spent much of his childhood.
8 Death And Abandonment
Unfortunately for Corvo, his early years were marked by tragedy and hardship, which served to shape him into the resolute character he is when he appears in the games. Given this grim personality, it might surprise fans to learn that he was actually quite carefree as a child, often roaming the poorer districts where he lived, wandering happily.
This changed when his father, a lumber worker, died in a workplace accident. For a time afterward, Corvo lived with his sister, Beatrici, but she soon moved away to the isle of Morley. Beatrici never contacted the Attano family again, and Corvo was then raised by his mother.
7 Blade Verbena
One of the traditions in Corvo's hometown of Karnaca is the Blade Verbena, a contest held yearly that pits swordfighters against each other in order to determine which of them is the best in the world. Participants travel from all over the isles, from Morley in the east to Tyvia in the north, just for the chance to compete in this hallowed contest.
At the age of 16, Corvo entered the Blade Verbena. Given that the competition is open to everyone regardless of age, social standing, or skill, most people likely thought nothing more of him than just a poor child trying to prove himself. This attitude surely shifted as Corvo, despite his young age, proceeded to win the contest, defeating the best swordsmen in the world to claim the trophy - a trophy that can still be found in his old home in Dishonored 2.
6 Service In The Grand Serkonan Guard
One of the interested parties that watched Corvo's performance in the Blade Verbena was the Grand Serkonan Guard, the official peacekeepers of Serkonos. They offered him a position in their ranks, and he accepted.
While players might be more familiar with the Grand Guard as it exists in Dishonored 2, functioning as little more than Duke Luca Abele's personal lapdogs, this was not always the case. Corvo's time in the Grand Guard had little to do with protecting pampered nobles and involved much more fighting pirates and combating the street gangs of Karnaca.
5 Karnaca To Dunwall
Corvo's skill with a blade and prowess within the Grand Serkonan Guard did not go unnoticed. Within two years of his entry into the Guard, at the age of 18, he was recognized by then-Duke of Serkonos Theodanis Abele as the most skilled man at his disposal.
Consequently, the Duke soon sent Corvo to Dunwall as a diplomatic gift for the current Emperor Euhorn Kaldwin. Corvo was honored and ecstatic at this assignment, celebrating raucously on his last night in Karnaca before shipping off to the isle of Gristol for his new position. It was only much later that he learned his mother died a few short weeks after his departure, tainting his success with sorrow.
4 Secret Affair
A few short years after his arrival in Dunwall, Corvo's ability had proved so excellent that he was granted the title of Royal Protector to Jessamine Kaldwin, then the Emperor's daughter and future Empress of the Isles. Corvo carried out his duties faithfully, serving not just as bodyguard but also as spy and carrier of sensitive information, as the need arose.
Corvo and Jessamine eventually became romantically involved and had a child, Emily. Although the second game treats this as common knowledge, it wasn't always this way. In Dishonored, there are few references to Emily's parentage and Corvo's relationship with Jessamine, although it is clear that rumors abound about the two of them.
3 The Masked Felon
Following the events that spur the first Dishonored game, Corvo adopted the alter ego of the Masked Felon with his foreboding skull mask that struck terror into the hearts of all who saw it. Even after the events of the first game, he continued to use the persona to conduct a variety of unpleasant tasks that called on secrecy and anonymity.
Corvo was able to perform these tasks because even after the end of the first game, his identity as the Masked Felon remained a secret. The public never found out that the Royal Protector and the violent criminal were in fact one and the same, although there are some hints that those in the underclass of Dunwall are aware of Corvo's dual identity, while the upper class are not.
2 Sparing Daud
In the mission "The Flooded District" from the first Dishonored game, Corvo finally confronts the man who killed Jessamine Kaldwin and kidnapped his daughter - the legendary assassin Daud. While the game does allow players to take their revenge and execute Daud, the canon ending sees Corvo sparing him instead.
This was, understandably, a very difficult choice for Corvo to make as letting the man who killed his love go free was extremely painful to him. However, he justified his decision by reasoning that it would be far worse for Daud to always live with the fear that Corvo may return to finish the job, thereby never feeling completely safe.
1 Canonically Petrified
While the standalone game Dishonored: Death of the Outsider is scant on details of what exactly happened in the second main installment to the Dishonored series, we can glean a few bits of information from it. For one, we know that it was canonically Emily Kaldwin who traveled to Serkonos and Corvo who was petrified in stone in Dunwall Tower.
This does make some sense - playing through the story of Dishonored 2 makes more sense as Emily than as Corvo, as it is very clearly her game and her message that needs to be made. This means that Corvo spent the entirety of the events of Dishonored 2 as a statue in the throne room, immobile and unable to escape until Emily returned and put an end to Delilah once and for all.