At the start of The Brigmore Witches, players can choose to purchase a new ability: Assassin's Pull. The Knife of Dunwall and The Brigmore Witches producer and game designer Seth Shain explains that this power adds a new dimension of strategy to Dishonored's gameplay.
"You can Pull gadgets and objects at level 1, and you can even pickpocket," Shain said. "One of the cool things about the power is that you can remotely pull a whale oil tank from a receptacle, which turns the power off on whatever gadget it's powering."
Pull also benefits Dishonored's stealth mechanics. "At level 2, you can Pull other characters, NPCs, creatures, and basically everything," Shain added. "You can even Pull bodies. This is something I've done - you shoot someone with a bolt, and they're laying dead on the ground, and a guard is coming around the corner, and you don't want them to see the body. You don't have time to get out there and grab the body, so you Pull it into your hiding spot, and the guards never see it."
The DLC also adds Corrupted Bone Charms, which offer significant stat and ability bonuses. Unlike regular Charms, however, Corrupted Charms have significant tradeoffs. The Tank charm, for instance, boosts Daud's defense at the cost of speed. It's up to the player to decide if these bonuses are worth their drawbacks as combat situations evolve during gameplay.
After the prison break, Daud's travel plans hit a snag. Here, The Brigmore Witches introduces its defining mechanic, as Daud finds himself in the midst of a gang war. While traveling the streets of Draper's Ward, Daud can choose to intervene in gang confrontations, benefiting one of the rival factions and earning their favor.
The chapter's focus on incidental encounters and gang alliances gives gameplay a multifaceted dynamic.
"In Draper's Ward, all of the thugs are assuming you're an enemy," Shain said. "It's not until you talk to the respective gang leaders that they have an understanding where they're not going to attack you."
The opposing Hatters are not easily swayed. Players can choose to make encounters easier by earning the gang's trust, or forego the diplomatic route and simply murder every Hatter they come across.
"The Hatter gang, you don't have to ally with them at all," Shain said. "You don't have to do what they want. [...] There are other ways to accomplish your goal, and some of them don't involve being friends with the Hatters."
Shain continues: "There are several states that the Draper's Ward streets can be in. The Dead Eels can be neutral to you, or the Hatters are neutral, or the Dead Eels and the Hatters are neutral to each other. There are all these different states that we had to work out the factional dispositions for. That was challenging."
The Brigmore Witches is expansive in scope, and Shain recommends that players import their save data from The Knife of Dunwall to get the most from the experience.
"If you bring your save game over from The Knife of Dunwall, there are different consequences that can happen in the fight with Corvo, and there are different ways the events afterward can play out," Shain explains.
"I really encourage players to do that. If you have The Knife of Dunwall, finish it with a high Chaos, and with a low Chaos, and then play through The Brigmore Witches twice and see the differences. I think that there's some cool stuff that pays off if you're bringing your save game over. [...] It's not any worse if you haven't done that, but there are some fun moments that enhance the experience."
The Brigmore Witches premieres for the Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, and PC platforms on August 13 (August 14 for the PS3 in Europe) for $9.99.