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Everything looked rosy when I traveled to Montreal to take a look at Deus Ex: Mankind Divided [official site] earlier this year. The areas I played improved on Human Revolution in every way that matters and Adam Jensen controlled better than ever. All was well and I was looking forward to playing the game in February, right around my birthday. Moments ago, word arrived of a six month delay – the game will now be coming out on August 23rd.
Disappointing endings are a staple of Deus Ex games, aren’t they? That’s fine, though, because almost everything leading up to those final two minutes when you choose which button to press is pretty great. Unsurprisingly, Deus Ex: Mankind Divided [official site] will be continuing the series’s sequel tradition of openings which kinda ignore which button you picked, but the ending this time will be more than a mere button-press. So its lead writer say, anyway.
I’ve played Deus Ex: Mankind Divided [official site] and I liked what I saw. A brief visit to just two areas suggested a more confident and open approach to first-person stealth-action. My preview focused on the level design because that’s where most of the improvements seemed to be but Eidos Montreal are also determined to improve player character Adam Jensen. That’s already evident in the improved control scheme, particularly as it relates to use of cover, but it’ll also be felt in his new augmented abilities. You can see some of those in the new trailer below.
Deus Ex: Mankind Divided[official site] is already looking like a worthy follow-up to Human Revolution as well as an inventive prequel to Ion Storm’s original cyberpunk classic. When we visited the studio to play the game earlier this month, we also spent time talking to two of the brains behind the game about the inspirations and processes that go into this bleak vision of the future.
First up, here’s Jonathan Jacques-Bellet te, executive art director at the studio. We spoke to him about collaborative storytelling, fashion, architecture and graphic design. Along the way we learned about content cut from Human Revolution, the places that Deus Ex is going next and why Jacques-Bellet te believes that India could be a perfect cyberpunk setting.
Deus Ex: Revision [official site] is a project that overhauls “the environments and soundtrack” of Ion Storm’s classic, and it’s out now on Steam. The release has the backing of Deus Ex’s current publishers and developers (Square Enix and Eidos Montreal), and is designed to work exclusively with the Steam release of the original.
I m in the camp that thought Deus Ex: Human Revolution was a hell of a good starting point. The level design ran up against apparent technical limitations, chopped into distinct sections rather than flowing naturally from streets to interiors and back again, and the stealthy approach sometimes felt more difficult than it should have been thanks to sticky cover and too-rigid AI.
During a day of hands-on experience with follow-up Mankind Divided, it became apparent that Eidos Montreal felt similarly about their first stab at their cyberpunk revival. Moving from the tech renaissance of Human Revolution, the sequel steps into a fractured world of corporate feudalism. It s looking superb.
The Deus Ex series, with its highest of highs and most middling of lows, is 15 years old. Old men, running the world. But not complicated pre-order schemes. They can’t run those, it appears. The anniversary is being used to promote upcoming fourth game Mankind Divided, due out in February (thus I will be a man divided between it and XCOM 2), and so we get this animated trailer which is mostly tease for the new title but does include various shots of characters from the first game. Who ever would have thought glimpses of Bob Page and Walton Simmons could make us feel so warm and fuzzy?
Expansion packs were once a core part of playing PC games, but they can often feel less essential in a world of constant updates and microtransactions. Original game Alec, expansions Adam and Graham, and brief DLC Alice gathered to discuss their favourite game expansions and why they still think the model works.
At Gamescom 2015, I had the opportunity to talk to Deus Ex: Mankind Divided gameplay director Patrick Fortier. We talked about feeling a sense of ownership over Deus Ex at last, expanding the language of its level design beyond vents, and the politics of a “mechanical apartheid.” Before I asked him about the game’s ceilings.
If you've tuned into Deus Ex: Human Revolution's entertaining and insightful director's commentary you'll have a sense of Jean-Francois Dugas and Jonathan Jacques-Belletete's ability to laugh about their own project. Now you can experience that in video form with this 42-minute let's play, featuring canny observations about Jensen ("his shoulders were so damn wide") and cut environmental details ("this is where we used to have George Bush's face"). It's good fun.
There's a Mankind Divided tease hiding in there too, relating to your VTOL pilot, Malik.
"Speaking of Malik, a lot of people are so bummed that we're not bringing her back in the stuff that we've shown yet of Mankind Divided. How come she's not your new pilot?"
"Time will tell."
"Time will tell, yeah."
TIME WILL TELL. Human Revolution's dynamically lit, high-poly, slim-shouldered sequel is due out next year. You can watch 25 minutes of in-game footage right now.