- "[T]he Outsider is something else, [...] a being that haunts creation from first to last."
- —Overseer Sturgess describing the Outsider
The Outsider is a mysterious, morally ambiguous supernatural being, neither good nor evil. He usually appears to people of interest as a plain-looking young man with short brown hair and black eyes, wearing a brown coat, blue-grey pants and black boots.
Though many people worship him, such is considered heresy by the Abbey of the Everyman and punishable by extreme measures, up to and including death. Created to be the Void's representational figure, he appears to be the source of all magic in the world of the Dishonored franchise, and his shrines can be found across the Isles.
- "[The Outsider] is not classically a 'trickster god,' but he's done a few things that probably remind people of other trickster examples, like granting man some kind of forbidden boon. You could say he has 'Chthonic' or 'Underworld' god qualities which represent the unconscious, mystery, secret or repressed desires, creativity, etc. The 'Shadow Self' from Jungian archetypes. This aspect, in my opinion, is much stronger than the trickster qualities."
- —Ricardo Bare
Born a human outcast in an unnamed city over 4000 years before the events of Dishonored, with no known family, at 15 years old the "powerless and abused" was unwillingly subjected to a ritual by an occult group in which "he was bathed and dressed, and his hands were adorned with rings". He was thought to show all signs in him to become one with the Void, notably his age and bits of prophecy (the celestial movements and events like the mass dying of fish). While restrained on a ceremonial table in a part of the Void known as Ritual Hold, his throat was slit with the Twin-bladed Knife, his name was cut away, and he "merged in part with the Void". While his physical body remained in the Ritual Hold, captured in stone and unable to move or even speak, a spiritual image of him was turned into the god-like being known as the Outsider, inhabitant of the Void and able to manifest before others in the real world. Upon attaining godhood, he became a "being of insatiable curiosity about what people do when given power over others", spurring him to appear to those he finds "interesting". The Outsider can make contact with these individuals both through dreams and in the physical world - most prominently at his shrines. Those known to have been in direct contact with the Outsider include Corvo Attano, Piero Joplin, Granny Rags, Daud, Delilah Copperspoon, the "Lonely Rat Boy", Emily Kaldwin and Billie Lurk.
The Twin-bladed Knife used to sacrifice him is also imbued with powers from the Void and is able to kill him. This is proven if Billie decides not to spare him.
The Outsider first meets Corvo in the Void after the latter escaped Coldridge Prison. He gives him his Mark and the Heart, a tool to find runes and bone charms but also listen to people's secrets. Throughout the events of Dishonored, the Outsider observes Corvo and his actions, often appearing to comment his choices and their effect on the world. At the end of the story, he narrates the events to come based on Corvo's choices and the chaos he wrought.
The Knife of Dunwall and The Brigmore Witches
Upon regaining interest in Daud, the Outsider reappears to the assassin, warning him of his inescapable conclusion, but revealing that the terms of his fate can be altered. He gives Daud the name "Delilah", which Daud discovers is a powerful witch planning to possess Emily and become Empress herself. At the end, the Outsider reminds Daud of all his actions, with the assassin thereafter facing Corvo.
In Dishonored 2, he appears to either Corvo or Emily as they are asleep aboard the Dreadful Wale to offer his mark. Whether the protagonist accepts it or not, he gives back the Heart although with another purpose in mind. Throughout the events of the Coup, he watches and discusses the current affairs of the world, intervening on occasion to assist the protagonist. He offers them the Timepiece to help them navigate Stilton Manor, twisted by the Void and Delilah's ritual. He also shows his own past to them and Delilah's influence on the Void. He explains that Delilah has become a "part of him", and that he doesn't like it. As in the first game, the Outsider narrates the events that have unfolded in accordance with the amount of chaos the protagonist has accrued.
Death of the Outsider
In Dishonored: Death of the Outsider, the Outsider observes the quest of Daud and Billie Lurk to destroy him. Quite apart from trying to preserve his own life, the Outsider gives Billie relics to assist in her mission, including a new eye and arm.
Eventually, Billie is able to locate his physical body in the Ritual Hold and either frees or kills him. No matter the decision, the Outsider is removed from the Void forever, leaving it without an inhabitant once more.
If Billie kills the Outsider, she declares herself to be a killer and that she will never change.
Should Billie decide to let the Outsider live, she convinces Daud to make him mortal again by whispering the Outsider's real name in his ear. Daud does this and says one last final farewell to Billie as he finds peace and his soul dissipates. After the Outsider becomes mortal, Billie takes him out of the Void, giving him another chance to live the mortal life that the Cult of the Outsider had taken from him.
- "I so enjoy watching history warp as words pass from the lips of one to the ears of another. Imperfectly formed, half understood, poorly remembered."
- —The Outsider
The Outsider is revealed to have "human emotion, but inhuman perception", making him "almost alien", or as Harvey Smith interprets him, possessing two parts – "human faculty and something primal and chthonic". Harvey Smith also notes that "some of [the Outsider's] lines are sarcastic", but his tone can go unnoticed.
Though widely sought and worshiped throughout the world, the Outsider states that he "[doesn't] play favorites", and is known to only appear to "interesting" individuals – his interest in people being the primary prerequisite for his audience. He deems devotees of himself and the Void to be "unhinged" and grants them no favors for their reverence. Those who manage to pique his interest are frequently given his attention, however; furthermore, those who he sees as particularly interesting and potential agents of change are bestowed his Mark, with social standing and effort having no bearing on their selection. Due to his standards, it is not uncommon for long periods of time to pass without the Outsider marking anyone.
His interest in those bearing his Mark is heavily dependent on their execution and vision. Unpredictable, low chaos actions generally garner his amusement and fascination, while high chaos ones are typically met with uninspired synopses of given situations. Should the actions of a Mark bearer become mundane in his eyes, the Outsider seemingly abandons them, until his interest is renewed.
He is ultimately a neutral being, unbiased regarding the happenings of the world and placing no conditions on those he gifts with supernatural abilities. No matter the actions of Mark bearers, his disposition typically remains the same – that of a dispassionate spectator merely seeking an entertaining show. He does, however, display subtle degrees of hostility, both in The Knife of Dunwall and Dishonored 2: in the former taunting Daud with the assassin's guilt in the murder of Empress Jessamine Kaldwin and approaching demise; while in the latter openly voicing his dislike of Delilah becoming a part of him.
- The Outsider is voiced by Billy Lush in Dishonored and Robin Lord Taylor in Dishonored 2.
- The Outsider, or at least the Void, is associated with whales.
- A book titled Spirit of the Deep seems to equate the Outsider with "a leviathan".
- During the final confrontation with Granny Rags, she shouts, "Bones of the great leviathan! Protect me!"
- Both runes and bone charms, which channel the Outsider's magic, are usually made from whale bone.
- According to Harvey Smith, the Outsider cannot change form and "appears almost as he [did] in life".
- In his first appearance to Corvo, the Outsider claims that the Heart was molded by his hands. This is specious, however, as it is revealed by both the audiograph Piero's Speculation on the Spirit and Harvey Smith that it was in fact crafted by Piero, who the Outsider in a dream inspired to do so.
- Though he is not omniscient, the Outsider receives "horrible glimpses of all time and space".
- When appearing at his shrines, the Outsider is only visible to people he wishes to be visible to, as he once talked with Daud while Billie Lurk stood by, unable to see him.
- Daud, Delilah, and Billie have referred to the Outsider as "the black-eyed bastard".
- When the Outsider was created, his name was "cut away" by the knife. In Death of the Outsider, it is revealed that the Mark the Outsider gives people is in fact his name, but written in a language only the dead can read.
- ↑ 1.0 1.1 Developer Commentary – Dishonored Mythos, part 2
- ↑ Developer Commentary – The Outsider as a trickster god
- ↑ Developer Commentary – The Outsider, part 1
- ↑ Developer Commentary – The Outsider, part 2
- ↑ Developer Commentary – Religion, part 3
- ↑ 6.0 6.1 "...if he really wants to meet me, he could start by being a bit more interesting."
- ↑ The Outsider and the Void
- ↑ Developer Commentary – Whales and the Outsider