View Full Version : Lasting Words (And the Future)

22nd Aug 2011, 18:15
I feel that as the new game approaches to release (in North America first [Nanananana]), a few things should be said about the title and how it relates to everyone. Please allow me to go on my pretentious rant for a little bit so I can get some basic things out of the way.

Deus Ex was an absolute landmark in gaming, brought from the mind of the designers alone in giving a sweeping story that should have set a standard in the industry. It's sad to see that only years later that their ideas had any sort of profound effect on gamin at large, and none of such projects that claimed to be like it were anywhere close to reaching the status of what it was. Deus Ex was not just a game, but became its own culture simply because of the way it was brought out into the world. Warren Spector, Harvey Smith, and the team at Ion Storm had unwittingly created something that transcended games and game culture. They had created a labor of love that would have every single player taking the ideas presented into the world they may look at differently.

The gap was a wide and painful one, with the ideas over the sequel being misconstrued and the philosophy of the original game seeming to fade out in the eyes of the people behind making games. There were good games in this time (Half-Life 2 I consider even greater than DX in its changing of the industry) but many others could have been so much more if they had looked towards Deus Ex for inspiration. Non-linearity does not automatically make a game better, for it is the subtle touches that bring a world together. Warren Spector in particular knew games inside and out (not to undermine Harvey Smith, but his contributions are rarely brought up) and found so many ways to bring a world like this to life through a player. That's the true lesson Deus Ex left us with: Players are the most important part of a game.

Then, suddenly, a year of artistic arrival and innovative ideas appeared. 2007 is heralded as one of the greatest in gaming, seeing companies hit their stride on all accounts in order to bring things that altered the very essence of what gaming was. Whilst I will debate the validity of some of those titles, it was undoubtably a year where many risks were taken in the name of furthering the medium with great monetary reward. Out of this flashy array also came a sparkle... An orange light, if you were. In the process of creation was the game we now sit here waiting for today, Deus Ex: Human Revolution then simply known as Deus Ex 3. Details were scant, and all players of the original sat and waited anxiously for what would come of it.

Silence fell yet again. We don't know the exact turmoils of the game's development cycle, but as anyone who's been following the game can tell you there were massive changes brought about to the core game. From the beginning, only a few things were certain:

1. It would be a Deus Ex game, following closer on the heels of the original than its follow-up.

2. The general art style of the game which would take heavy doses from Blade Runner and Ghost in the Shell. In addition to that, the main character's appearance (I am not sure if they sorted out the name that early).

3. There would be the ability to enter third person, though the use of it from early previews was ambiguous as to its extent.

4. The game would be a prequel.

Every bit of information that leaked out of Edios Montreal into the hands of the public was squeezed for all its enjoyment, all its passion, all the ideas that lay within. The fans mouths were wet, and they were not going to let anything slip past them. In the meantime, there would be a large emergence of the fanbase completing projects related to the title. Primarily, the Nameless Mod released after a wealth of upset to give the world its closest taste of Deus Ex since Deus Ex. Still, there was the want for a company produced follow-up that gave the new world and market a new taste of something old...

Starting in 2010, the marketing campaign for Human Revolution was unleashed to try and create a wave of anticipation for the release earlier that next year. Whatever roadblock was hit, we are unsure, but the date had to be radically changed several times in the upcoming months. One thing that I have to say as a consumer is that Deus Ex: Human Revolution has one of the greatest marketing campaigns I have ever seen. The developers, artists, writers, and other working together in promoting the game in person. To see Jean-Fran├žois Dugas and Johnathan Jaques Belletete in person at PAX East and other events answering questions from their own personal experience is quite refreshing instead of simply having a marketing manager. The wealth of info they divulged as well is absolutely extraordinary. There is nothing ambiguous about the mechanics short of actually playing it.

So here we stand (or sit) now, watching the clock tick by just as Bob Page watched the world fall in accordance with his plans to await his victory. Hopefully there isn't a JD coming around to ruin it, but still. The human element breaths so much life into Human Revolution, taking the aspect of the game it is and having the knowledge buried within make the player feel more wise for knowing it. There was much care into putting the story together carefully, just as Adam Jensen himself was delicately assembled. We listen to the videos shown to us, knowing that there's so much more to the game than can possibly be shown, and that in itself is on par with any philosophical pretense that the game may discuss.

The team has worked so hard in the last four years to put this game together, but it's not over yet. What set Deus Ex apart from other cult classics was that it was open to player thought an ingenuity, not just what was written by the writers and designed by the designers. Again, the player is the most important part of a game. Without a player, a game cannot work. I was re-watching the PAX East panel that I went to (dressed as Adam Jensen) and found the one specific question that worries me beyond measure. Jean-Fran├žois Dugas said, very seriously, that modding support was not something they were working towards at that current time.

What I think so many developers fail to realize is how much can be accomplished by simply giving your player base the tool set (no matter how complex [DICE, I'm looking at you]) and having them create incentive for others to join in. Games like Modern Warfare, Half-Life 2, Battlefield 2, Deus Ex, and Doom are still bought because players continue to create content for them. No amount of DLC is going to make you more money than people buying the game after a decade of release. I implore Edios and Square Enix, take this into consideration...

Now that my whiny bit is over, we can speak more of the future. This team obviously has a creative talent as well as pushing this particular series to have a game in its repertoire that it could be proud to call a mark in the franchise. The question sticks out: "Will Deus Ex continue after Human Revolution?". The development cycle for this game has been hectic, from all we can tell, and much money has been spent into a game that is not guaranteed commercial success. However, from all that I can see, this game will at the very least meet the expectations of fans and the most skeptical of analysts. People want something unique, different, having a style all its own. The fact that it's on multiple platforms helps as well.

The Deus Ex franchise is a sacred one in gaming as I stated at the beginning. There is so much culture to the people who have played it and analyzed its niceties until the pixels on the screen fade into life. In my eyes, this game will please many fans of the original and many other people who want something refreshing in their player experience. The continuation of the series will lie on creative minds, the ability to sell, and most importantly the players and their desire for the entire picture of Deus Ex. I personally think that the Deus Ex license has only one or two more "true" games left in it, but its ideas shall never be forgotten.

To round off, I must thank you Edios Montreal for your continued support of the game (at least until release). All that you've done for us, for the industry, and for a beloved franchise seemingly left to die is worthy of at least some gratitude. You are still a business and I know that businesses don't always make the best decisions, but for the dedication to this one game (and possibly games beyond) I must applaud you and especially your creative team.

World is a hell, and for one moment, you rule it.