Anton Sokolov, genius inventor or horrific madman?
Anton Sokolov is many things, the head the Academy of Natural Philosophy and Royal Physician to the Empress. From his wonderful inventions to his breathtaking portraits, there's no escaping Anton Sokolov's presence in Dishonored and its sequel.
When we first meet Anton in Dishonored, we are tasked with kidnapping him because he holds information of vital importance to the loyalist cause, the possible name of Lady Boyle who was instrumental in Hiram Burrow's plan to assassinate the Empress.
Much like the announcer in the first Dishonored game as well as the Dunwall Courier printer in Dishonored 2, Sokolov is not an ally to the bad guys, he had simply done what he had to in order to survive as well as to find a way to cure the plague.
Anton is shown to be a man of legend. As an artist, and an inventor, he has created many of the things that the Empire thrived from, from walls of light to arc pylons. Though he has undoubtedly made progress within the city of Dunwall, the question that plagues many heads is... What happened in between Dishonored and its sequel to change Anton?
The second game seemingly tries to position Anton as a good person, and there are those who do not agree with the assessment based on his unfavorable actions in the previous game. Arkane Studios showed us a frail old man who was victim to Kirin Jindosh's experiments and tortures, a different man than the one with the greatest resolve in the Isles.
I, on the other hand, believe that Anton Sokolov is more than his inventions used for the oppression of Dunwall and more than the test subjects he had locked in cages.
Anton Sokolov is a prime example of a flawed character, but does he deserve redemption? Despite the bad things Anton has done, we can see that he truly feels remorse for his actions during a time of turmoil. If the city wasn't in such disrepair due to the plague, would Anton even have gone to these lengths?
He was forced into an uncomfortable place, to create things to help Dunwall. This is what he wanted to do, but we find out his inventions had been used for such horrible things. That changes a man and his remorse is shown through his words in Dishonored 2. After the Rat Plague, Anton Sokolov traveled south to Karnaca to start a new life for himself. Sometime during his stay he met with Meagan Foster/Billie Lurk, someone else who understands what it is to have regrets for the things they saw and did.
When it all comes down to it Anton is a man who has made mistakes, a man who has done things that he cannot take back or change, but a man who is still willing to try to create a new life for himself away from all the awful and dark memories. And isn't that what we all want: a second chance to make up for our own failings?