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b1skit
18th Apr 2013, 20:52
Hey guys,

I'm really excited to announce that we're rebooting the EMP (Eidos Montreal Podcast) and kicking off a new season of recording in the coming weeks. The theme for this season will be "Deus Ex: Looking Back", I'll be going behind the scenes at Eidos Montreal to talk with the Deus Ex developer team about the process of crafting Deus Ex: Human Revolution.

Each episode will be focused on a particular theme, I'll be interviewing the key players from the DX team responsible for each area of the game - All the way from the initial creation of the studio, then all the way through the writing, audio, design and art of the game.

This is a community podcast and I'd like to be able to bring *you* as much relevant and interesting information as possible, so if you have a question for the developer team (or even for a specific developer) I invite you to share it below!

Let me know whatever you're curious about, what you'd be interested in learning more about from the DX team or even just share your suggestions on 'must cover' topics - the floor is yours :)

68_pie
18th Apr 2013, 20:58
Oh boy! Give me a minute :D brb


Will the additional features for the Director's Cut make it to other platforms?
Do you feel that Megan succeeded as a character? By having her disappear so early in the game do you feel that it prevented the player from caring about her or forming a connection with her?
Considering that in the previous games no one ever had to "scrounge for medkits" and health regen was an optional aug do you stand by your decision to force health regen on the player in a game that is about choice?
It has been said that the dev team was encouraged to play the previous games. Why then was DXHR designed as an action-RPG rather than an imersive sim?
Do you think the XP system was balanced?
Were you happy with the conversation system? Was it a function of designing for consoles?
Why were there no mechanical locks?
Did you ever consider reintroducing the skill system?
Was it difficult to balance the stealth and combat considering that some people would inevitably choose not to use the third person perspective?
Why was melee combat removed?
Were takedowns overpowered?

b1skit
18th Apr 2013, 21:35
Great stuff 68_pie, thanks! :)

Spyhopping
18th Apr 2013, 21:41
Great, I'll have a think and post a question or two in the morning. :)

CyberP
18th Apr 2013, 23:34
-Why no public SDK for Human Revolution?
-Level designers: Less hacking as solutions to problems, more variety please. More variety overall. And hide some stuff better, you're too easy :p (not a question but a demand).
-Regen Health: For accessibility to a wide audience you could have just enabled a slow regen health as a true/false variable in the menu or had it exclusive to easy and normal mode. But DX1's health system is very complex when you consider everything involved, maybe you just wanted to cut some corners there :p
-Skill system, why was it removed? It had many benefits.
No skill system removed a different method to reward the player (aug upgrades as well as skill points). It also removed some choice & consequence in how a player upgrades and spends resources. It also removed the ability to combine related upgrades (example: Swimming Skill Level 3 with Aqualung lvl 1 or Targeting Aug lvl 1 with rifle skill lvl 3).

Less is more, right? No, not for most games.

HR is a highly flawed modern masterpiece, if that somehow makes sense. You making a DX4? HR is objectively :hmm: better than Invisible War, and in my opinion Dishonored too. I expected better from the veterans :(

Hmm, lets get some positive questions in there, credit where it's due:

-The conversation mechanics are flawless, I'm not sure what 68_Pie means. Conversation battles were handled very well. (question @ 68_Pie: Elaboration?)
-The augs that were actually useful were so much fun. But how the hell is there such an extreme imbalance between them? Suppose I'd have to ask DX1 devs that too though.
-Weapons all have an attractive visual design and well-rounded stats, mostly. No questions here.
-Adam Jensen is a great character, along with only a few others, sadly. Why were most friendly NPC's just pretty decoration? All the characters that you could converse with were interesting and fulfilling, but there were not enough of them (optional ones in both hubs and missions).


-Why did you not see DX1 for the gaming masterpiece it is? Rhetorical question based on an assumption that is likely true considering not much of DX's design made it into HR.

Tverdyj
19th Apr 2013, 00:08
Why did you decide that bosses had to die?
-To expand on this: I realise you guys had an awesome writing team (I really liked Icarus Effect , btw), and i'm not complaining about the story, but I do wonder: have the writers actually spent a lot of time playing the game, to see how what they wrote is perceived by players? What i'm trying to say (and I really, really don't mean to sound insulting or condescending), is that I've felt a disconnect when it came to actually playing the role of Adam Jensen. He's presented as a gruff no-nonsense ex-SWAT, who knows his business, but the plot keeps pushing him, making his obsessed with finding Megan... and this obsession was really out of synch with both Adam as we saw him in-game during all the side missions dialogue, and the world around Adam. I'm rambling at this point, but what I was trying to say is, any time you play the game, Adam is the "no-nonsense professional (sometimes with the heart of gold)". but any time Megan's name comes up, he becomes a lovesick puppy. This contrast was quite jarring. I'm wondering if the writers saw it that way when they played?

Why do NPCs in Hengsha engage in great convos between themselves but never have anything interesting to say to Adam?

How can you avoid the exp inbalance issues in future titles? Was the fact that people try to "game the system" a surprise, or did you expect it?

I must be one of the few people who didn't mind the ending, as I saw it as homage to IW's "choose who gets Ophelia" last choice of the game before you went and killed all the leaders, but I do have to ask: were there any plans to make the last choice more impactful that simply "choose which button to push"? if so, why did you change it?

CyberP
19th Apr 2013, 00:48
I'm rambling at this point, but what I was trying to say is, any time you play the game, Adam is the "no-nonsense professional (sometimes with the heart of gold)". but any time Megan's name comes up, he becomes a lovesick puppy. This contrast was quite jarring. I'm wondering if the writers saw it that way when they played?


Any man can fall in love, kud. And Jensen can always have a heart of gold if you play that way: Choosing the "right" dialogue option, to not kill anybody ('cept bosses) and don't steal anybody's candybars or credits. But that's boring ;)
But you're onto something, a problem in all Deus Ex's and most RPGs: You could murder civilians, be a right bastard, but the main plot always shows JC/AJ as virtuous, even if he acts like a complete douche in just about every other way.

Suppose you could just write it off as schizophrenia :lol:

Tverdyj
19th Apr 2013, 06:38
Any man can fall in love, kud. And Jensen can always have a heart of gold if you play that way: Choosing the "right" dialogue option, to not kill anybody ('cept bosses) and don't steal anybody's candybars or credits. But that's boring ;)
But you're onto something, a problem in all Deus Ex's and most RPGs: You could murder civilians, be a right bastard, but the main plot always shows JC/AJ as virtuous, even if he acts like a complete douche in just about every other way.

Suppose you could just write it off as schizophrenia :lol:

Ionno, I didn't feel it as much when it came to JC. But JC was different--first he was a brand-new recruit who didn't know any better, then he had a killswitch in his head, then he "owed" Tong... Really, I'd only start to question "why is he doing this?" post-Everett. And even then, there was the whole "MJ12 wants to kill you" thing.

JCpies
19th Apr 2013, 10:32
Looking back at the first two Deus Ex games, which game do you think had the most effective level designs, and what were some of the elements you used when designing the levels for Human Revolution?

I would also like to hear some more about the design of the diegetic sounds and some of the processes/philosophies in that area.

:thumb:

68_pie
19th Apr 2013, 10:33
The conversation mechanics are flawless, I'm not sure what 68_Pie means. Conversation battles were handled very well. (question @ 68_Pie: Elaboration?)

I was referring to the "Mass Effect-style" dialogue system not the conversation battles (of which I would have liked to see more).

MasterTaffer
19th Apr 2013, 10:35
I was referring to the "Mass Effect-style" dialogue system not the conversation battles (of which I would have liked to see more).

Agreed. Finally! Someone proves that dialogue bosses can be just as engaging as combat ones.

CyberP
19th Apr 2013, 11:29
I was referring to the "Mass Effect-style" dialogue system not the conversation battles (of which I would have liked to see more).

Yeah, normal conversations were kind of Mass Effect-like rather than DX-like.



Were you happy with the conversation system? Was it a function of designing for consoles?


Consoles have nothing to do with it though, see Deus Ex on PS2, Fallout 3 + NV and plenty more.

sea
19th Apr 2013, 13:38
-Why no public SDK for Human Revolution?
Because publishers are afraid that free user-made mods cut into the DLC pie.

HERESY
19th Apr 2013, 16:51
The game was a success and earned many accolades. What process did you go through to select the right team(s) and how big of an impact did company culture have on the final product?

Square Enix developed a business model they labeled as "polymorphic." Does HR adhere to that business model?

Looking back, are there any co-branding or tie in opportunities you wish you had created or explored?

Do you think the Deus Ex IP can be successful as a transmedia IP?

I believe "immersive sim" is a catchphrase, not a real genre, and that HR fits into the first person action/rpg genres. Would marketing as an immersive sim helped or hindered sales?

CyberP
19th Apr 2013, 17:15
Because publishers are afraid that free user-made mods cut into the DLC pie.

Well Bethesda proves otherwise.

Tverdyj
19th Apr 2013, 17:29
Well Bethesda proves otherwise.

Beth is somewhat of an anomaly. their name was built up on TES, and TES was so revered in large part BECAUSE of mods. They've created an expectation in the market. It also allows them to get away with a lot of decisions/QA screw ups no other dev would--precisely because of the "but modders will fix this" attitude.

This , ofc is one of the advantages our console-using brethren lack. Hence the uproars about backwards flying dragons and such.

Count D
19th Apr 2013, 20:54
I don't think mods would harm the DLCs in any way. If anything, they could even help them, if some mods required DLCs to play.

CyberP
19th Apr 2013, 21:26
I don't think mods would harm the DLCs in any way. If anything, they could even help them, if some mods required DLCs to play.

Yeah. There are other big studios that released a SDK then DLC in the following months too.


Ionno, I didn't feel it as much when it came to JC. But JC was different--first he was a brand-new recruit who didn't know any better, then he had a killswitch in his head, then he "owed" Tong... Really, I'd only start to question "why is he doing this?" post-Everett. And even then, there was the whole "MJ12 wants to kill you" thing.

No, JC in the main plot never reflects psychopathic playstyles. He gives patriotic, virtuous speeches such as this (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SaDQ70V8ChQ#t=03m47s) and more. If the player chooses to do so; killing children and bums is neither patriotic nor virtuous, its psychotic. Deus Ex has it's share of flaws just like any other game, still the greatest game of all time by far hands down though :)

Snake04
19th Apr 2013, 23:43
- I agree with the health regen thing it should have been an option.
- Why the third person cam it breaks the immersion.
Also why when the game was in first person cam, we did not see jensen's arms, torso or legs? (when looking down except if he was running or aiming)
- And last two questions. What's with all the new trademarks (deus ex: the fall etc) and if you do make deus ex 4 what would you do to improve it gameplay wise and story wise. Also where in the deus ex time line would you set it.

Thanks hope you at least answer one of my questions it would mean a lot.

WildcatPhoenix
20th Apr 2013, 04:47
1. Could you explain more of the reasoning behind the company's decision not to open up the game to community modding? Was it simply a question of not allocating development resources/time to make a user-friendly UI, a marketing decision related to potential DLC, or otherwise?

2. Someone already mentioned this, but are there any design decisions the team made on DXHR that you regret in retrospect?

3. DXHR demonstrated a notable shift in focus from a simulation with loads of interactive items to an action-RPG with much more limited physics/item interaction. What is EM's stance on the future of first-person simulators? Does the team feel there is potential for next-gen systems to build a more interactive world? If so, are they even interested in doing so?

CyberP
21st Apr 2013, 00:17
Why did you choose to overshadow the teams writing by making hacking so dominant? The hacking overshadowed everything.
In the original Deus Ex if you choose not to upgrade hacking and instead spend skill points on other precious skills (that you cannot have all of in one playthrough for many reasons) you have to really pay attention to the text in datacubes etc. Sometimes you have to figure out the passwords like puzzles using clues given in the text rather than the passwords actually displayed in the datacubes or emails. The writing is brilliant, backstory to characters and more is also revealed through the text.

Now, there is plenty of optional text to be found & read in Human Revolution, but giving xp for hacking, having the passwords & door codes etc automatically displayed instead of having to read it yourself (this also means there are no puzzles in the text like DX), and the fact that you can have all augmentations in one playthrough (so you may as well get hacking augs), there is just very little encouragement to read all the text.

Hacking is far too dominant: playstyles, level design, upgrade paths (choosing hacking right away is most beneficial to explore everywhere).

An example of these "Puzzles":


DATACUBE

Hello Maggie! I swear I will never forget your birthday again! July 18th is
marked on my calendar forever! -- Louis

Sure enough 718 is the code to enter the backroom, it's obvious but not spelt out for you.


Francois, the hacking attempt has been an unqualified success -- I've
transferred all the funds that I managed to siphon from Metropolitan before the
ice came down into a dummy account: number 2221969, password "dullbill". Let the
other members of the cell know that these funds can be used for any projects
that the Mayhem Comite may deem appropriate.
-- Tandis Qu'ils Dorment, Nous Gagnerons

The password is not actually "dullbill", it's 38552455. If the player is not paying attention to the text and is just skimming the text for passwords he won't be able to access the account.

Having the codes etc automatically displayed in HR, Not giving XP for entering the codes, and having the hacking dominant overall makes all the optional text only provide backstory, and that's all it does.
You even coded in a nice virtual keyboard for HR for the consoles, but it's a complete waste because the game is a hack-fest.

Tverdyj
21st Apr 2013, 00:29
^

my favourite example of that was Maggie Chow writing to her maid about her favourite books -"Tai-Fun" and the other one. ANd then next to the two books is a datacube saying that she changed the password from Tai-Fun...

To be fair, some offices had sticky notes with passwords on them as part of the environment, but I agree that having exp for each hack made password knowledge redundant.

Pinky_Powers
21st Apr 2013, 06:45
Pinky's Questions:

Above all the other ideas which did not make it into the final game, what aspect of your original Human Revolution plan do you mourn the most?

Why didn't Adam have a cybernetic horse with a fierce indisposition and a penchant for unwanted sexual aggression? Thematically, we all must surely agree this would have given balance to Adam's lamentable fate as a eunuch.

What does Adam's coat taste like? He clearly eats it before entering areas with potential for combat, but I'm foggy on the process by which he passes it through his bowels, as he does not seem reluctant to don it afterword. Is it as unspectacular as ordinary anatomy, or are his lower intestines augmented for this heroic endeavor?

I spent a good amount of time in Adam's apartment ferreting out clues as to the nature of his hair care. I besought personal diaries, post-it notes on the mirror in the bathroom, questioned the dust-bunnies under the couch and toiled to decipher the meaning behind his clockmaking. Nothing even came close to explaining why his heady follicles are so goddamn evil-looking. Is this the Illuminati at work?

Speaking of which, is the broken mirror in Adam's apartment the result of a conversation boss battle between himself and his reflection? If so, who won and over what was this area of contention? It was his hair, right?

b1skit
22nd Apr 2013, 21:01
Is the broken mirror in Adam's apartment the result of a conversation boss battle between himself and his reflection? If so, who won and over what was this area of contention?

LOL!!!!!!!!

Shralla
23rd Apr 2013, 03:24
In the original Deus Ex if you choose not to upgrade hacking and instead spend skill points on other precious skills (that you cannot have all of in one playthrough for many reasons) you have to really pay attention to the text in datacubes etc. Sometimes you have to figure out the passwords like puzzles using clues given in the text rather than the passwords actually displayed in the datacubes or emails. The writing is brilliant, backstory to characters and more is also revealed through the text.

For the record, this is another thing that Dishonored did much better than the new Human Revolution. Instead of just automatically logging and displaying codes, you actually have to pay attention to the "fluff" text you get to find them, and sometimes you have to solve puzzles exactly like the one you described to get it. For example, I had a safe I wanted to open, and I found a book listing the months of the year according to the Dunwall calendar, and a note saying "Granny rags said you'd lose your taste for whiskey in the month of Wind, then your eyes will go dim in the month of Seeds. And you'll draw your last breath in the month of Ice."

Obviously the code was 5 (Wind) 2 (Seeds) 8 (Ice) in accordance to the book. A simple "puzzle" but still immersive and interesting enough. A world-building and player guidance exercise all in one.

CyberP
23rd Apr 2013, 03:39
@Shralla: Yeah, it was handled better but there was only about four of them and they felt staged rather than organic, much the same way you felt about HR's enemy conversations heard whilst sneaking.

SDF121
24th Apr 2013, 20:33
1. Why did Eidos Montreal decide to incorporate a contextual third person perspective? Will they do the same for the next Deus Ex title or will they now do something similar to Dishonored where you have 1) a proper melee weapon in addition to 2) first person takedowns and 3) the ability to lean?

2. Why did Eidos Montreal decide not to make any additional DLC after releasing The Missing Link? I was hoping to see the scrapped Montreal hub fully realized in a future piece of DLC. It seems like it would be the only hub that one could add (right before you visit the Picus TV station) without disrupting the games flow. I suppose the only other chance for an additional hub would be a fully fleshed out upper Heng Sha. Again, I'm surprised something like this never made it into the Director's Cut.

3. Are there any plans to release an SDK?

InGroove2
24th Apr 2013, 21:12
1. Though the visual style of HR is unique and important, I do notice some similarities to some things in the original DX. Primarily in many of the character designs. Sarif, for example looks to me like he fits right in with the character styles of the original. Also, there is an overhead shot of the sarif industries lobby that strongly reminds me of an overhead shot of Versalife from the original. How much did you guys try to conciously try to make at least sublte visual connection to the original (in my view... there is enough to make a very strong connection)? Or was it an accident?

2. Also, I'd like to hear your views on why it is or isn't necessarily important to make strong connections to the previous entries in a franchise such as DX? ("because it's awesome" would be an acceptable answer)

CyberP
30th May 2013, 03:45
What happened to this podcast then? Perhaps our questions were a little too negative? I apologize.

Just finished playing through System Shock 2 again. It blows my mind every time. It doesn't go as deep as Deus Ex but it's close, and uses the immersive sim design to blend perfectly with psychological & survival horror.
The design of these games, every little thing is so right. Every little design decision was done for a damn good reason.....and that's where I think EM missed the point, at least in some aspects. You tried fixing or modernizing what was already perfect, engine/tech limitations aside.

I guess developing within a team of 100 people, your game is destined to never reach perfection. I bet there are plenty of people within the team who do not even know each other. The classics came out of tightly-knit team work, a shared vision but with disagreements along the way. I guess EM did really good considering the team is so large.

But forgive me, I do not know you people on a personal level.

No excessive piss-gold next time! It doesn't feel like I'm in heng sha, on the other side of the world, it feels like I'm in Piss-gold stage 2! That's an exaggeration, there is a lot to distinguish, but it's still excessive. heng sha is beautiful though.. gold overuse aside, a work of art. BUT other than the art, it wasn't all that interesting besides a couple of important NPCs.

Sometimes it comes across that JJB was the lead designer. Through the dominance of his work in the game & how he is always with JFD in every video, podcast etc. Hey, art dude, step the **** back!

68_pie
17th Jun 2013, 19:50
Is this happening? Or is the E3 stuff meant to be this?