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Deus Ex: Human Revolution Appears To Be In Good Hands

Please lower your cyberpunk pitchfork and read these impressions.

When Eidos Montreal's enthusiastic art director, Jonathan Jacques-Belletete, told me he's played through the first Deus Ex repeatedly since he started working on the new prequel Human Revolution three years ago, I started to feel like this long-awaited return to one of PC gaming's most revered franchises might actually be in good hands. His failure to ever even mention the original game's benighted sequel Invisible War only strengthened that belief.
 

 
At the moment, I can't think of a long-absent franchise with a more devoted fanbase than this one, so the pressure on Eidos Montreal to Get It Right must be enormous. Fans will want to know that this entirely new team is going to do right by Deus Ex's legacy of free-form action role-playing and cyberpunk intrigue. If they don't, the results could be... unpleasant.

After seeing the impressive demo Square-Enix was hosting at E3, I'm feeling pretty good about those fans' prospects of enjoying this game. The thing from Jacques-Belletete's presentation that made it sound like Human Revolution's team really gets it is the game's firm reliance on what he calls the "four pillars" of the Deus Ex experience: combat, stealth, hacking, and social interaction with the seedy cyborg underbelly of Deus Ex's sordid futuristic landscape. But it's not enough that those four elements are merely included in the game; they need to be interchangeable, and based on the E3 demo, the team in Montreal seems to know that.

== TEASER ==In that demo, the game's cybernetic protagonist Adam Jensen had traveled to a Blade Runner-esque Hong Kong in pursuit of a shadowy hacker who was reportedly responsible for an attack on Jensen's organization back home. Heading directly to a bar called The Hive, the Eidos dev driving the demo passed numerous bystanders milling around and conversing along the city's dingy catwalks and alleyways. Since I wasn't playing, I can't say how thoroughly you'll be able to interact with random NPCs, but the demo player did point his pistol at a character and cause him to raise his hands and tremor in fear, so at least it seems like these people will serve as more than mindless window dressing.
 
  
   

From the looks of the demo, it's a safe bet the story-related scenarios at least will give you the freedom to define your play style. When confronted with a surly bouncer who wasn't too excited about letting Jensen enter the club, the demo's driver went through a simple-looking menu-based dialog tree to talk his way past the front door. The conversation system doesn't look quite as elaborate here as the ones in games like Alpha Protocol and Mass Effect have recently, but each option does carry a label dictating how aggressive or focused on the topic at hand it is. Of course, afterward I was told it would have been a perfectly valid option to just shoot the guy and storm into the place, too.

Once inside, in search of a crime lord named Tong, Jensen searched around the club, talking to another scruffy-looking bartender with a robotic arm and failing to make much headway. Jacques-Belettete said you'll be able to hack or sneak your way around most such roadblocks, but in this case, the player managed to eavesdrop on some of Tong's security guards and discovered the location of a data pad containing the unlock code to access the ductwork around Tong's office. Again, it's hard to get a sense of how many options you truly have to solve a given scenario when you aren't playing for yourself, but I could at least see how those other pathways might be available in this particular case.

The demo then jumped ahead to a pure combat-or-stealth sort of scenario in what looked like a loading dock, where Jensen was sneaking around behind crates and concrete barriers without being seen. Presumably, you could run through here mowing down the guards with whatever weapon mods you'd chosen at that point, but sticking to a stealthy approach allowed the demo driver to show off some of Jensen's brutal stealth takedowns, which occasionally involved two-foot blades that could extend either forward out of his wrists or backwards out of his elbows. I think he also burst straight through a wall to snap a guy's neck at one point, which doesn't seem terribly stealthy but did look pretty cool.
 


Once the guy playing the demo decided to jump down through a warehouse skylight and engage some proper combat against a group of enemies, I got a better sense of what kind of shooter this game is. It's still played from the first-person perspective, mostly, but it does go to a full third-person view when you're behind cover or dashing from one point of cover to another. In addition to the sort of pop-up-and-shoot gunplay you'd expect, I got to see a couple of neat-looking weapon mods. One had Adam flinging a handful of tiny hovering metallic balls in a circle around them which all exploded simultaneously to clear the ring of guards surrounding him. 

Later, in a fight against a big bipedal mech, Jensen whipped out a rocket launcher that allowed him to lock onto his target while he was pointing directly at it. Once he established a lock, he was able to jump back into cover and maintain the lock, at which point a timer popped up indicating how many seconds he had to fire before the lock was lost. That let him basically point the launcher straight up and shoot blindly, and still score a hit. Jacques-Belletete referred to that lock-on as an example of an option weapons mod that a given player may or may not have invested in, at that point in the game.

As much as the Eidos Montreal team is harping on the ability to choose between different play styles and the ways those styles need to complement each other, I'm fairly confident they've at least identified the elements that are essential to the Deus Ex framework. Whether they can successfully implement those elements, and how the action will translate across both PC and consoles, are only two of the questions surrounding this project. We've got until sometime next year before we'll get the answers in the final product, but what I saw at E3 looked genuinely promising.      
 
  
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Posted by Brad

When Eidos Montreal's enthusiastic art director, Jonathan Jacques-Belletete, told me he's played through the first Deus Ex repeatedly since he started working on the new prequel Human Revolution three years ago, I started to feel like this long-awaited return to one of PC gaming's most revered franchises might actually be in good hands. His failure to ever even mention the original game's benighted sequel Invisible War only strengthened that belief.
 

 
At the moment, I can't think of a long-absent franchise with a more devoted fanbase than this one, so the pressure on Eidos Montreal to Get It Right must be enormous. Fans will want to know that this entirely new team is going to do right by Deus Ex's legacy of free-form action role-playing and cyberpunk intrigue. If they don't, the results could be... unpleasant.

After seeing the impressive demo Square-Enix was hosting at E3, I'm feeling pretty good about those fans' prospects of enjoying this game. The thing from Jacques-Belletete's presentation that made it sound like Human Revolution's team really gets it is the game's firm reliance on what he calls the "four pillars" of the Deus Ex experience: combat, stealth, hacking, and social interaction with the seedy cyborg underbelly of Deus Ex's sordid futuristic landscape. But it's not enough that those four elements are merely included in the game; they need to be interchangeable, and based on the E3 demo, the team in Montreal seems to know that.

== TEASER ==In that demo, the game's cybernetic protagonist Adam Jensen had traveled to a Blade Runner-esque Hong Kong in pursuit of a shadowy hacker who was reportedly responsible for an attack on Jensen's organization back home. Heading directly to a bar called The Hive, the Eidos dev driving the demo passed numerous bystanders milling around and conversing along the city's dingy catwalks and alleyways. Since I wasn't playing, I can't say how thoroughly you'll be able to interact with random NPCs, but the demo player did point his pistol at a character and cause him to raise his hands and tremor in fear, so at least it seems like these people will serve as more than mindless window dressing.
 
  
   

From the looks of the demo, it's a safe bet the story-related scenarios at least will give you the freedom to define your play style. When confronted with a surly bouncer who wasn't too excited about letting Jensen enter the club, the demo's driver went through a simple-looking menu-based dialog tree to talk his way past the front door. The conversation system doesn't look quite as elaborate here as the ones in games like Alpha Protocol and Mass Effect have recently, but each option does carry a label dictating how aggressive or focused on the topic at hand it is. Of course, afterward I was told it would have been a perfectly valid option to just shoot the guy and storm into the place, too.

Once inside, in search of a crime lord named Tong, Jensen searched around the club, talking to another scruffy-looking bartender with a robotic arm and failing to make much headway. Jacques-Belettete said you'll be able to hack or sneak your way around most such roadblocks, but in this case, the player managed to eavesdrop on some of Tong's security guards and discovered the location of a data pad containing the unlock code to access the ductwork around Tong's office. Again, it's hard to get a sense of how many options you truly have to solve a given scenario when you aren't playing for yourself, but I could at least see how those other pathways might be available in this particular case.

The demo then jumped ahead to a pure combat-or-stealth sort of scenario in what looked like a loading dock, where Jensen was sneaking around behind crates and concrete barriers without being seen. Presumably, you could run through here mowing down the guards with whatever weapon mods you'd chosen at that point, but sticking to a stealthy approach allowed the demo driver to show off some of Jensen's brutal stealth takedowns, which occasionally involved two-foot blades that could extend either forward out of his wrists or backwards out of his elbows. I think he also burst straight through a wall to snap a guy's neck at one point, which doesn't seem terribly stealthy but did look pretty cool.
 


Once the guy playing the demo decided to jump down through a warehouse skylight and engage some proper combat against a group of enemies, I got a better sense of what kind of shooter this game is. It's still played from the first-person perspective, mostly, but it does go to a full third-person view when you're behind cover or dashing from one point of cover to another. In addition to the sort of pop-up-and-shoot gunplay you'd expect, I got to see a couple of neat-looking weapon mods. One had Adam flinging a handful of tiny hovering metallic balls in a circle around them which all exploded simultaneously to clear the ring of guards surrounding him. 

Later, in a fight against a big bipedal mech, Jensen whipped out a rocket launcher that allowed him to lock onto his target while he was pointing directly at it. Once he established a lock, he was able to jump back into cover and maintain the lock, at which point a timer popped up indicating how many seconds he had to fire before the lock was lost. That let him basically point the launcher straight up and shoot blindly, and still score a hit. Jacques-Belletete referred to that lock-on as an example of an option weapons mod that a given player may or may not have invested in, at that point in the game.

As much as the Eidos Montreal team is harping on the ability to choose between different play styles and the ways those styles need to complement each other, I'm fairly confident they've at least identified the elements that are essential to the Deus Ex framework. Whether they can successfully implement those elements, and how the action will translate across both PC and consoles, are only two of the questions surrounding this project. We've got until sometime next year before we'll get the answers in the final product, but what I saw at E3 looked genuinely promising.      
 
  
Staff Online
Edited by Dylabaloo

Damn you sjupp!! Did you get it?

Posted by Marz

you know what, the black and gold colors do look good :)

Posted by Sjupp

Doesn't look like it? :/
What is the name of the set in which this quest is in?

Posted by Sjupp

I bet it's all Brads fault. CURSE YOU, SHOEMAKER!
I'm going to sleep.

Posted by Kyreo

This looks cool.  I didn't play the first one... but I may just pic this one up.

Posted by Dylabaloo
@Sjupp: Think it has to be a video maybe next time big guy.
Posted by Oni

I want this game so baaaaad

Posted by McPaper

Its good to see they are not leaving what made the past game great behind. I like how there are still people to talk to. One of the things I really enjoyed from the first game was exploring and talking to all the interesting characters. From hobos to racist stereotypes.

Edited by ShaneDev

So you get to met Tracer Tong in Hong Kong and the bar tender has a robot arm. 
 
This is definitely a Deus Ex game. I cant wait to play it.

Posted by Cleric

I already had my hopes up for this game, nice to hear that the demo didn't disappoint.  

Posted by dwakley

I would watch a full length movie done just like that trailer, let hope the game is as good!

Posted by Dooftastic

I've never had any interest in a Deus Ex game before, but that is the coolest game trailer I've ever seen.  Count me in.

Posted by Alma_Wade

Looks really good.

Posted by Bionicicide

Of course everything seems promising... as always, waiting for gameplay before I get hyped.

Edited by Lydian_Sel

Every time I hear a little more about this game I get more excited for it especially since maybe a year ago I was convinced Human Revolution wouldn't come out. 
 
I'll be eager to see how the fiction stands up against the other two though especially since this game has such a heavy focus on cybernetic modification where as in the original there was a very present ideal that cyborgs were disasters & biological modification was the way of the future.
 
Interesting to read that Tracer Tong once again makes an appearance in a Deus Ex game. Will be interested to see how many other characters make a return.

Edited by Jimbo

Their 'pillars' are slightly worrying, in that they're rather skin-deep things to take away from Deus Ex.  You could easily put all of those in a game and end up with something that didn't feel like Deus Ex at all.  
 
I'd argue that what makes Deus Ex, Deus Ex, is entirely down to the design philosophy.  Pillar one is excellent open-level design, pillar two is pitch-perfect character progression which brings that level design to life.  It's the philosophy of combining those two things that went AWOL for a decade, and it's that lack of influence which has led to Deus Ex still being thought of so highly - nothing came along to steal it's thunder and not many people even tried.
 
Invisible War had all of their four pillars, yet it had none of the soul of Deus Ex.  Why?  Because they fumbled both the level design and the character progression.  These guys should be playing Invisible War just as much as Deus Ex, because it's a textbook example of why their pillars aren't the things that matter.
 
All of that said, I have read earlier interviews they have given where it has really sounded like they 'get it', so I remain cautiously optimistic.  I don't care about the third person or any of that stuff; that isn't what matters.  What matters is reintroducing that core Deus Ex experience to a generation of gamers who have only ever known Funnel Shooters, because that's all the industry has ever put in front of them.

Posted by buckybit

I'll say it: let's wait and see. Buy the game when it comes out - play it, and then form a judgement. 
 
Old School :)

Posted by luce

Looks like the Art Director made the Protagonist in his image. Same goatee and beard and everything

Posted by FunExplosions

Sounds like it's goin' the right way. Still very skeptical if it's gonna be worthy or not.



Posted by warxsnake
@luce said:
" Looks like the Art Director made the Protagonist in his image. Same goatee and beard and everything "
or maybe he let his beard grow and fashioned it as a result of how cool the concept art for the character looked. Knowing the concept artist hired for this game personally, it looks like his sorta thing.  
Devs usually do this sort of thing, look at the MOH devs who are growing beards in honor of those Tier-One soldiers with thick beards in their game.
Posted by zitosilva
@ShaneDev: Though, to be fair, Tong was also in Invisible war.
 
Still, it sounds like the developers got the right mindset to make this one as good as the first one was. I hope it turns out as good as we hope it to be.
Posted by reddin

I'm cautiously optimistic about this game. I really want it to be good..

Posted by Jackel2072

 i am really excited for this. i just wish the devs would show off some gameplay. 

Posted by niamahai

why they  don't allow the press to show gameplay footage? ggrrr

Online
Posted by bybeach

 the combat in the origonal Deus ex sucked. Hey, at best it was a hybrid, so that is  probably understandable, I guess. But that target lock, limited by time, oh this may go well!  deus Ex with a good shooting system, yet way more than a shooter. Developers do keep trying that theme.
 
And for all the talk of pillars, one of the core things of the origonal game is that it made you think and make choices, I'm sure they kept that, eh? and of course there was even a sense of humor in the conspiracy theories used, but they ended up creating a legitimate world.

Posted by Undeadpool

Excitement!

Posted by TheHT

TONG?! Perhaps a relation to Tracer Tong?
 
I'm feeling better and better about this game, and that goes up so but my excitement. EEEE!!!

Posted by studnoth1n

i'm confused. the guy runs towards a wall, smashes a hole in it, breaks the guy's neck on the other side,  walks away, then he disappears? is he moody? a very dyslexic action sequence indeed.

Posted by Olivaw

Must maintain reasonable expectations. Must not fall to the pressures of hype.

Posted by Lazyaza

Never played the original, played the sequel and thought it was terrible so my expectations are conflicted. If the cgi trailer is truly representative of the games goals though it could be freaking amazing. Cyberpunk Mass Effect meets Assassins Creed is what it sounds like.

Posted by queenulhu

Bartender with robot arm, cyberpunk Chiba.. I mean "Hong Kong"... sounds like Neuromancer the Game to me... considering that it's my favorite book, I can't deny the foray of others into the genre, I just hope that they give the old man [Gibson] respect.

Posted by needforswede

if this only comes out on PC I'm gonna lose all interest...nothing against PC gamers, but playing on a PC just automatically makes any game less exciting to me for some reason...even though 
that's how I played the first Deus Ex and loved it.  But that was back in the day.
 
Invisible War wasn't that bad.  It actually improved a lot of things I think, seemed more streamlined and less clunky.

Posted by MatPaget
@studnoth1n: what I dont understand is that he smashes the wall behind the guy (which most likely killed him if he was a human) and then snapped his neck
 
Complete overkill
Posted by SPACETURTLE

Black and gold, baby. Black and gold!

Posted by Claude

Posted by kitsune_conundrum

hopefully a ghost in the shell game that we never had.

Posted by Fjordson

The first Deus Ex is one of the greatest games of all time. Any subsequent DE game has tough expectations to live up to (and 2 was awful) but this looks awesome.

Posted by Rolento

Can't wait for this game.  Loved the first, tolerated the second.   This one, so far, appears to be back on track. 
 
Now if only somebody who doesn't have their head shoved irretrievably far up their ass could make a proper Shadowrun game. 

Posted by Spirit_of_Jazz

Why wouldn't I trust Brad on this? 
 
I mean he didn't play through the first game, he didn't like the little he played and he's gone out of his way in podcasts and videos on this site to state that everyone who thought the first game was great is a zealous loon.
 
Clearly a man who should be making such statements as opposed to "The new Deus Ex is shaping up to be a great game!"

Posted by ghostNPC
@Jimbo:  I kind of agree with this viewpoint. Ignoring the 2nd game is bad; you need to know how Not to do things.
Posted by gbrading

A crime lord named Tong? I just knew Tracer Tong had a dark past.
Posted by fugie7

the trailer looked awesome, cant wait to see some game play on this game.

Posted by MAST

The only thing I worry about for myself, is that it's been so long since I last played the Dues Ex games, I'm going to have no idea what's going on with this new one. I'm not the kind of person that can go back and play games that are that old. Plus, I don't even have it anymore. So that's not really an option. I guess I'll just have to read a wiki, and hope that's good enough?

Posted by Brazzle
@gbrading said:
" A crime lord named Tong? I just knew Tracer Tong had a dark past. "
Haha dark past? He's a member of the Triads when you meet him in the first place.
Posted by TheChaos

Hope it's gonna be good.

Posted by MisterMouse

woah I just noticed that has a strong Gold and Black theme... haha

Posted by GozerTC

Hmm... well I hope the fans of Deus Ex are better treated then the fans of Xcom this year.  :(  

Posted by GetBentTheVideoGame

There's gameplay footage up on Screw Attack. Looks impressive. They might not be fucking this up.

Posted by Brake

Cautious optimism leaning slightly more towards optimism now. What actually gets me kinda excited for this game is not the pillars, but the way you describe Hong Kong. That sounds like they might be nailing the fifth invisible pillar: atmosphere.

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