Deus Ex: Human Revolution: Directors Talk Development

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Deus Ex: Human Revolution: Directors Talk Development

“It was important for us to see Deus Ex: Human Revolution as a new IP. We wanted to re-imagine this world.”

Director Jean-Francois Dugas and Producer David Anfossi are unabashed fans of Deus Ex, the cyberpunk RPG-shooter hybrid that graced the PS2 in 2002 and won more than its fair share of Game of the Year awards. But when the pair signed on with Eidos Montreal to produce a new entry in the critically acclaimed series, they opted to introduce a new story set fifteen years before the first game. “When you look at the endings of the other Deus Ex games, the future is looking pretty grim,” Director Dugas notes with a chuckle.

Deus Ex: Human Revolution depicts 2027 as a world rocked by unbridled technological advancement. Shadowy cabals and monolithic corporations rule from above with. You play as Adam Jensen, a security expert who becomes an unwilling recipient of cybernetic augmentation following a savage attack in the opening minutes of the game. Jensen is a reluctant hero, only plunging into the game’s seedy underbelly after armed thugs abduct his ex-girlfriend — a scientist holding a revolutionary genetic breakthrough.

Deus Ex: Human Revolution for PS3Deus Ex: Human Revolution for PS3

In developing Deus Ex: Human Revolution, Dugas and Anfossi carefully analyzed the strengths and weaknesses of the franchise. The atmosphere, story, characters, and RPG elements were mesmerizing; the action was merely tolerable. “The shooting was flawed because it was heavily stat-based,” Dugas observes. “Your aim could be super precise, but the game artificially penalized you, which made for a clumsy combat experience.” For Human Revolution, Dugas and Anfossi streamlined the shooting and incorporated a visceral new tactical punch: You need to consider your weapon choices carefully, use cover effectively, and prioritize enemies based on their location. The result is a sleek, muscular stealth-action game that combines the original game’s sympathetic characters and intellectual themes with the kind of fearsome combat sequences you might expect from a Metal Gear Solid 4 or a Rainbow Six: Vegas.

Deus Ex: Human Revolution for PS3

Except that that protagonist Adam Jensen is capable of superhuman feats far beyond those of mere mortals. He can effortlessly eviscerate foes with retractable blades that sprout from his arms, carry and hurl massive objects with bone-crushing force, or release a 360-degree fan of cluster bombs to frag any fool who dares get close. With his security background, Jensen’s also a crack shot with firearms, all of which can be upgraded with enhanced ammunition, mods and more. The weapons run the gamut from low-tech to high-tech, lethal to non-lethal. We’re talking stealthy tranquilizer rifles, punchy 10mm handguns, devastating double-barreled shotguns, grenade launchers, the works.

But depending on your interpretation of Jensen, all that fancy firepower may be overkill. Sometimes all you need is a little stealth, a silver tongue, and the right social augmentations. “You can play the entire game without killing anyone, save for the boss fights,” Dugas confirms. “It makes for a more challenging experience, but it’s very rewarding.” Anfossi agrees: “We want players to create a personalized version of Jensen and decide his approach. Some players will think, ‘This guy wouldn’t kill these people.’” Whatever your approach — lethal or nonlethal, aggression or stealth — the game meticulously tracks your tactics and dishes out consequences accordingly. And you can be certain of one thing: there will be consequences.

“I’m most excited for players to simply absorb this world. It’s like reading a great graphic novel, a page-turner,” Dugas concludes. “It’s going to be the first game for Eidos Montreal,” Anfossi adds. “We want it to be perfect.” Concerned that you need to play the original games before delving into Human Revolution? Don’t be. “The hardcore fans are going to make the connections once they analyze the game,” Dugas clarified. “The new fans won’t feel left behind, though. This game stands on its own.”

Deus Ex: Human Revolution for PS3

Eidos Montreal is very confident in the PS3 version. “Since the beginning, it was very important for us to not treat the PS3 version as a ‘port’ — you can trust us on that,” Producer Anfossi said. “We’ve worked that way in the past with other games, and it was crazy.” One example is the way the studio focused on tuning the PS3 version to the nuances of the DualShock 3 controller. “The analog sticks and buttons are different, and we tweaked them independently to ensure that everything is tight,” Anfossi said. “We get the best out of the controller based on its own strengths.”

Deus Ex: Human Revolution was a way for Eidos Montreal to lure top talent. “When we started Eidos Montreal, we had to build technology and hire a team,” Producer David Anfossi said. “Montreal has a lot of different game studios and a lot of talented people, but it’s very competitive.” To ensure that the fledgling studio would attract the sharpest minds possible, Anfossi’s team examined the Eidos IP portfolio carefully before greenlighting its first game. “We saw Deus Ex and we thought, “Nice!” We knew that would attract very, very talented people.” Director Jean-Francois Dugas agreed. “It was a good strategy because when they approached me about Deus Ex, my eyes opened.”

The art direction was inspired by the Renaissance. “We knew that transhumanism would be one of the main themes, so we started to dig for artistic connections,” Director Dugas explained. “Leonardo Da Vinci kept coming up.” It didn’t take long to find a connection between the massive cultural and intellectual upheaval of the Renaissance and the dawn of transhumanism in Deus Ex: Human Revolution. “During the Renaissance, humanity started to understand our nature from the inside-out as opposed to looking up at the sky and hoping for the best. We started to improve our bodies and heal ourselves more efficiently.”

Enter transhumanism, with its emphasis on surpassing human limitations by blending flesh with cutting-edge technology. “The Renaissance was a big stepping stone in our evolution,” Dugas said, “and we saw transhumanism as being the next step.” The team began integrating the architecture and visual touchstones of the Renaissance into the game, but in ways that supported the story. “The characters that have more Renaissance-inspired clothing — the collars, the patterns on the shoulders — tend to be on the pro-transhumanism side. The more conservative characters who are opposed to transhumanism wear clothing inspired by the look of Middle Age peasants.”

The rich black-and-gold color scheme is also a nod to the Renaissance, a time period when candlelight bathed rooms in golden hues. “The gold also represents the Icarus myth, getting closer to the sun. The black represents falling into the sea, people working in the shadows, the dystopian future, and conspiracies. We touch on the benefits of transhumanism, but also the potential dangers.”

The soundtrack was inspired by John Carpenter, Blade Runner, and the original Deus Ex. Lead Audio Designer Steve Szczepkowski drew soundtrack inspiration from the usual suspects, cyberpunk classics such as Blade Runner and The Matrix. “But I also went back to some favorites like Escape from New York. I really like John Carpenter films for that, always very moody without being busy.” Die-hard Deus Ex fans will also be happy to learn that the theme from the original game will be making a comeback of sorts. “I can confirm that the original theme is in the game, in all its glory,” Szczepkowski said, “just perhaps not where you may expect it.” As with the game’s artistic direction, Composer Michael McCann’s synthesizer-heavy score highlights the underlying tension in the game’s world. “Thematically, we used synthesizers versus organic instruments and played with that as a representation of the augmentation debate — pro and con,” Szczepkowski explained. “Synths are a lot of fun in that they can do so much. They can sound clean and airy or dirty and mechanical…we support the humanism side with natural instruments such as choir vocals, strings and so on.”

Conspiracy theories will abound.The original Deus Ex was a product of pre-millennial paranoia, with locations such as Area 51 and characters based on The Illuminati and the Knights Templar. Deus Ex: Human Revolution will follow suit, though the details remain appropriately murky. “It’s a fictional world, it’s a fictional conspiracy, but it’s infused with real issues to discover,” Dugas hinted tenatively. “I don’t want to go into details, but you’ll recognize things from the real world as well as fantasy elements. You might go to places that don’t exist, necessarily…but that some people believe exist.”

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14 Author Replies

  • trying to boycott info so i can enjoy the game to its fullest, its pretty hard thing to do :-D ,but on the other hand….

    hey sid, i know its offtopic, but can you ask Eidos about Theif 4 info ?, because we barely heard anything, it feels like the game is vaporware.

  • The game looks like it will live up to the original

    . But with this being a DX post, I must once again demand that somebody release the original on PSN…

  • Looks great.

    Is Deus Ex going to support 7.1 HD Surround Sound? Use that Bluray Third party :)

  • This game is a day one buy! Can’t wait for it….

  • Aggressive and adaptive seemed to be more like potato/potahto to me.

  • Looks pretty good

  • SID you’re getting sloppy

    we aren’t supposed to leave the logos for the other platforms in the trailers, are we?

  • I say Square Enix also makes a movie out of this. I want this game bad, but don’t have the time to actually play it. In fact the only game I can remember betting completely was Heavenly Sword.

    How about an (semi-) interactive movie? That I like, that I can finish!

    Also, I have not been on this site for some time, and I like the layout!!

  • Looks great and intresting.I’ll most likely buy it, need something different in my video game life haha

  • cool, im more for the stealth gameplay, MGS series got me loving sneaking around enemies undetected

    • I played it a few weeks ago, and it definitely gave me the MGS4 shivers. It’s got a slightly more brutal/realistic feel to it, a touch closer to Rainbow Six Vegas I’d say.

  • Generally do not give multiplats the time of day but this game has piqued my interest. If it takes advantage of the benefits of the PS3 I’ll be on board.

  • @10, What does “If it takes advantage of the benefits of the PS3 I’ll be on board.” mean?

  • awesome! finally a stealth game after along time since MGS4. lets hope Eidos bring back Hitman to this gen.

  • Not quite convinced about starting with a FPS view then switching to third person which is the opposite of what MGS does.. any chance of a demo before it releases? Story wise, it looks great.

  • I can’t shake the feeling this game is ripping off Ghost in the Shell. ><
    It's way too similar for comfort.

    Anyway. Waiting for demo.
    If it's really good …

  • Was looking forward to this game based on the premise but the continual switching between 3rd and 1st person view is really annoying and immersion breaking. Wish more games would utilise Killzone’s 1st person cover system because it’s one thing they did well.

    • I can see why you might think that, but when I played it, the third-person moments were smoothly handled. Briefly switching to third-person for melee works well, and for cover it gives you a better view. At no point did it annoy me.

  • Nobody wants to see that xbox 360 logo at the end of the trailer.

    Game looks awesome tho,

  • Oh yeah and regarding Eidos being confident of the PS3 version how about guaranteeing it will be on par with the 360 version. We’ve heard the whole “PS3 version will be great” thing before, most recently from Crytek. It turns out that Crysis 2 is running at a lower resolution than the 360 version and has other graphical and performance issues. Does Sony actually assist devs in optimising games for the PS3, using the SPUs etc? Pretty sure PS3 only owners wil not be happy having to pay the same price for another inferior version of a multiplatform game.

  • .I haven’t been following this game much but I’m curious…Is this game 1st person or in 3rd person? I’m confused…If its 3rd person, I’ll definitely buy it.

    • It’s first person, but melee and taking cover are in third-person. It almost feels like a hybrid of first-person and third-person at times.

  • I wasn’t really interested into this game until I read this post. Now I will watch it and wait.

  • this is an MGS killer.

  • The music is so good in these trailers!

    I just wish there was an option to play completely in third person view as the way first person views are implemented literally make me (physically) sick.

  • Third person to First person (for precise aiming) makes sense. First person to Third person (for cover) just seems odd. So while in cover you still aim in third person? and why not make the CQC first person like brutal kills? Selling point so far is the story.

  • @20 Yeah, thats not happening anything that’s the killer of another thing just means is not as good as what it’s trying to “kill”

  • Was it just me or did it seem like he was going for crotch shots with the sniper rifle? But anyway, it looks awesome! I was a big fan of the original Deus Ex and even played my fair share of Invisible War, so I can’t wait for this August.

  • I actually thought it would be available now lol because I want it. But I can wait until august, I hope you guys include a very deep behind the scenes look as well. Would love to have 5 hours of that content lol.

  • Visual style is super cool for this game, but the gameplay worries me. Looks a little janky to me, but hopefully I’m wrong.

    What’s up with that turret design, looks like a childs toy! A place to store quarters or gumballs!

    • The thing that’s unique about DX: HR is that it has a lot of RPG elements as well, with conversations and multiple decisions to make. It’s a bit like Mass Effect 2 in that way, but with the action you’d find in an MGS4.

  • Soundtrack kinda reminds me of Tron: Legacy… Aren’t Daft Punk helping with the sountrack?

  • My most anticipated multiplat title by far, can’t wait!

  • Great trailer. Definitely one to watch out for.
    A little off topic but I am probably a bit older than most of the other blog members and as I try to be an honest person… well, my finger gets tired hitting the down arrow on the video age confirmation. Can’t you just switch it to a pull down menu like everyone else? (lol)

    • If we get a chance to do this we will, but it’s not as easy as flipping a switch. Thanks for the note.

  • @29 you can just put in the date.. I think, but yeah I agree with that

  • I absolutely loved the first game in the series, the second one didn’t hit the spot sadly but I’m looking forward to this one.

    Do my a favor and port it to the NGP! I would love to play this thing on the go.

  • I am SUPER excited for this title. MGS and Mass Effect are my 2 favorite franchises. I hope with the delay they put some touches on the AI. They did a live demo of what you’re seeing in this trailer at PAX East and people were all over them about the AI when they did a Q & A. Augmented Edition preordered & I just ordered the novel off of Amazon. Like guy said above, music is awesome.

  • Cant wait to play this. Totally got to play the other ones again.

  • Wonder how bad of a port this game will end up being.

    • As the article above discusses, they don’t see it as a port. I played the PS3 version and it felt smooth and looked great.

  • first day!!!

    hope this wont be a simple port!

  • :D Already have the game pre-ordered :) Can’t wait.

  • #34–nice attitude. So hopeful and optimistic. I wish you were my buddy, we could hang out and talk about how rotten life is.


  • Damn this game looks good! It’s right at the top of my list with the PS3 exclusives. I love the black and gold, sci-fi look to it. But what matters most is gameplay. I just finished Crysis2, which allows for some tactics and alternative paths, but ultimately plays it safe and is largely a run of the mill FPS. Deus Ex: HR looks to be the real deal. Can’t wait!

  • Longtime Deus Ex fan! Played the originial back in my PC days. Sadly…

    RESERVED, BUT CANCELLING: Sadly, the probabilities of the PS3 abilities being utilized (1080P on a multiplatform release) and the core concepts being delivered effectively on console is very low. What made cancellation so concrete in the end was the obvious subpar character modeling represented. More advanced facial / body animation generation has been utilized left and right for over five years on these consoles. This obvious back-step may be a tell tale sign of deeper, less transparent, ‘quality’ issues. Putting money toward Skyrim instead – Waitin’ for reviews on Dues Ex: Human Revolution.

    • I’m an old-school DX1 fan myself, and this game was tickling me in all the right ways during my hands-on session (90+ minutes). It’s a tight, powerful third-person shooter now, and the world was super-deep. You can still wander around and talk to random people, receptionists, and so forth. Skyrim also looks fab!

  • amazing game

  • It reminds me of Ghost in the Shell which is awesome!!! Can’t wait to buy this!!

  • People keep saying this game looks good, also hear that? Amazing soundtrack! :O

  • Hmm we shall see. I donot trust some of these multiplatform games. Plyed Deux Ex on PC and I would like this not to be some half ass attempt on PS3. Rather play in in front of my HD set but I guess PC is where all the bells and whistles will be.

    • FWIW, every demo I’ve ever attended for this game has been shown on the PS3. Even the E3 premiere was showcased on PS3, and it looked fantastic.

  • Still excited. Still cant wait. Is there a beta/demo ?
    The graphics so far look better than the new shots from Socom 4. Not sure how it stacks up to Battlefield3 but what matters is the story and the level of player interaction. I am so hoping for Game of the year.
    Lets get going already.

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