Interviews

Deus Ex: 'We must respect the original'

Eidos on expectations, art and not copying Assassin's Creed...

The staff at Eidos Montreal have a tough task resurrecting the hugely acclaimed Deus Ex series - and you don't have to point towards its army of 'best PC game ever' awards to have them realise.

In our chat David Anfossi (producer), Jonathan Jacques-Belletete (art director) and Andre Vu (marketing game manager) below, the trio talk of the "mandate" they have to retain the series' core values - and from what we've seen they've done a fantastic job.

Human Revolution looks and sounds like the ten-year-old original - but the team has updated the shooter's gameplay to live up to today's expectations.

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Will it live up to the hype? Read our recent Deus Ex preview to see how it's shaping up, and read on for the Eidos chaps' words...

We can't quite believe how evocative Human Revolution is of Deus Ex 1. Why did you feel like you had such a duty to do the original game justice?

AV: We had a mandate from Eidos back then - it was very important for the portfolio that we had this major title. One of the core points was that, if you're using a name like Deus Ex, then the original was such a great experience we wanted to recreate something that's still kind of unique. We didn't want to create just a shooter, just a stealth game... You take the name, you have to respect the core values. And if you look at the state of the market right now, with games like Bioshock, Fallout 3 etc. people - hardcore gamers - will say they're kind of niche, but they sell millions. That kind of audience wants more depth, the universe, some kind of customisation... instead of a regular shooter. There is a real audience for that kind of game.

JJB: When we started this project, it coincided with the creation of this studio. There was no studio, no team, no technology... and it was 'make a new Deus Ex game,' right? I think because of all this we knew it needed to be the best it could be - every game designer thinks like that, I hope, when they start a new game. It just seemed that the whole future of this studio was based on that at that point, and also we commissioned diff studies to research what the franchise meant and what the values were - and we also studied the game personally.

I don't know, I guess we're all such big fans of the series, so passionate about the whole thing... and we had sacrificed a lot personally to come here (Eidos). Most of us were at Ubisoft previously, and had no particular reasons to leave. So I guess we just understood how this game needed to set the right tone, convey the right experience. And also the second Deus Ex title - Invisible War - wasn't too well received, nor Project Snowblind. That was a fear we had.

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Did you just look at the original then?

AV: No, we played all of them. Just to be sure. Obviously...

JJB: There's some good stuff in the second one also. Even Snowblind had some good ideas; they just weren't particularly well implemented.

AV: The thing is: it's important to play both the successful one and the one that didn't work - just to make sure we didn't fall into the same trap. What was great was that obviously we were hardcore fans too - we played Deus Ex back in the day. So it was kind of weird recreating something 'new' for the market; young players now don't really know about Deus Ex...

Prequels using better tech are always tricky to realise - it's weird when a game set before Deus Ex looks so much more aesthetically amazing. Indeed, the world of the original Deus Ex was quite similar to our world... was dealing with that an issue for you?

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