Emergent Gameplay: Deus Ex Made Me Part 2

By Kieron Gillen on June 24th, 2010 at 1:00 pm.

Following on from yesterday’s first part, here’s another couple of developers who were just entering the industry when Deus Ex hit, and the influence it had on them. Both 2k-Mariners of Bioshock 2 fame, Lead Level Designer Jean-Paul LeBreton was starting his career at Human Head when Deus Ex hit while Senior System Designer Kent Hudson was at college making game maps on any SDK he could find…

Kent Hudson, Senior Systems Designer, 2K Marin

What does Deus Ex mean to me as a developer? That’s a very good question, and one that’s impossible to separate from the question of what it means to me as a gamer. I’d been a big gamer since I got my first NES, and around the time that Deus Ex came out I was drowning in linear FPS games. I was enamored with Half-Life, Quake 2 (don’t laugh … ), GoldenEye, Soldier of Fortune (seriously, I said not to laugh … ), SiN, Doom 2, Hexen II and the like. I was building maps in various editors and generally considered myself to have a clue about games. But I hadn’t really thought about getting into the industry as a career; at the time I was majoring in Political Science and had very few ideas about the post-graduation landscape.

Then, in the summer between my junior and senior years of college, Deus Ex came out. I played the demo, loved it, and bought the game on release day (I’m writing this 10 years later to the day, which is extremely weird … even weirder is that a few months ago I set up a Google Calendar reminder for myself to mark this date). It feels comical to type this given how standard most of Deus Ex’s features are now, but I remember walking into UNATCO for the first time and thinking, “Wait … I’m still walking around in first-person … and there are … friendly people here … that I don’t have to shoot in the face … who talk to me .. Wha … what is this?!” I was so used to linear shooters with wall-to-wall combat that I was taken aback by suddenly feeling like I was in a world where story could happen outside of terrible cutscenes. I’d always been intrigued by the hints of an outside world in other games (the first 15 minutes of Half-Life, minor interactive elements like telephones in SiN, etc), but stepping into a fully-realized world rife with colorful characters, player-driven story lines and exploration was magical for me. I’d never played a traditional RPG like Baldur’s Gate at the time, so Deus Ex was my first glimpse into conversation trees, social settings within games and branching narrative.

I won’t bore you with the details of other things I loved (the atmosphere, the ambient music, the non-linearity, the character growth) or apply brainy terms (player agency, moral reflectivity, simulation boundaries) to the simple, uneducated and visceral reactions I had the first time I played the game (“Oh crap, do I kill Anna Navarre or not? What should I d- holyshitsheshottheguy!”), but one standout moment that’s still with me is Paul Denton’s death. I remember coming across his body in the MJ12 lab and being legitimately moved. I paused my game, walked into my girlfriend’s bedroom and simply said, “They killed my brother.” And she knew exactly what I was talking about even though she wasn’t a gamer herself. I was enamored with the fact that the game had reacted to my decisions in such a hardcore, permanent way. I didn’t for a second consider reloading my savegame to try and rescue Paul, because it was so cool to me that my choice had actually mattered in the first place.

Deus Ex changed what I thought games could aspire to, and it got me to finish building the first level that I wasn’t embarrassed for other people to see. When I saw that Ion Storm was hiring for level designers, I invented a stupid experiment for myself to “prove my worth” with my resume: I built a complete deathmatch map in 8 hours. At the time I had a belief that game developers worked really hard and had harsh deadlines, so I thought this would be an impressive accomplishment. And I actually did time myself and finish the map in 8 hours. I packaged it up with my other non-embarrassing level and mailed off my resume. Literally mailed it, with my maps on a CD for which I printed a custom Deus Ex label. I remember telling my mom on the phone: “If they even respond to my email, I’ll wet my pants.” I worshipped the guys at Ion Austin and had no expectation that I’d actually be considered for the job; I just wanted to say that I’d tried …

… and yet somehow, after many phone calls and ICQ conversations with Harvey and the other designers, I got hired. I was in. Less than a year after playing Deus Ex I’d gotten my first job in the game industry as a junior level designer at Ion Storm Austin, working on Deus Ex: Invisible War (yeah, we made some mistakes on that one, but our hearts were in the right place). I also worked on the PS2 port of Deus Ex, which was super cool because we got a chance to polish off some of the rough edges from the PC version (as Kieron said in an email, I got my chance to play with the Beatles).

The rest is history. Ion Austin died, something special died with it, and it’s hard to point to a true successor to the Deus Ex throne. I’ve worked at a few companies now, but my heart has always stayed with Deus Ex; at both Midway Austin and 2K Marin I’ve worked on games focused on immersion, exploration, player choice and internally consistent game worlds. I can’t imagine working on anything else, and I’m still chasing the dream of being part of a game as singularly influential as DX.

Ten years later, are there better games than Deus Ex? By almost every measure the answer is yes. But in my mind nothing since has captured that special … something … that made DX resonate with me on a personal level. I still replay it yearly. Deus Ex is my favorite game ever, it’s literally the game that got me into the game industry, and my single biggest career goal is to be part of something equally inspiring, something that changes the way people think about games in a meaningful way and gets some college kid somewhere to go after his dream and try to be a part of something as amazing as seeing your brother laying dead on a slab, feeling genuine guilt about not having saved him, and vowing to get the bastards that killed him.

Jean-Paul LeBreton, Lead Level Designer, 2k Marin

If people bring out the old Heraclitus chestnut “you never step in the same river twice” when talking about great films – works of art you can watch year after year and learn something new each time, about it and possibly even about yourself – games have at least as much a right to that notion, what with the whole interactivity thing, even before you consider the philosophical ramifications of dynamic memory allocation.

I started my first job as a level designer in May of 2000, so Deus Ex is not quite as old as my career. In game developer years I’m all but ready to upload my consciousness and leave my ancient, decaying body behind forever.

Over the years, as best I can remember I’ve played all the way through Deus Ex at least five times, with several more unfinished playthroughs. (Flawed though it was, I also enjoyed Deus Ex 2 enough to attempt a speedrun, and my time of 43:59 stood for at least two years.)

Point being: each time I’ve played Deus Ex, I’ve learned new things about my craft, about how I play and appreciate and think about games. I’ve never crawled through the same air vent twice, if you get my drift.

When I played DX on its release, it was blindingly obvious what it brought to FPS game design: Choice – capital C and everything. With enough depth in the character growth system to blur any notion of explicit “builds”, in DX you can play almost any fine-grained mixture of stealth, hacking, melee, conventional and heavy weapons. With augmentations you can make yourself nearly invulnerable, nearly invisible, or almost perfectly maneuverable, but crucially you were probably only one of those per playthrough. “We are our choices”, indeed. Beyond that there’s the delightful light social sim: be a jerk to everyone, let the Rentons die, go into the womens’ restroom. Mix a very detailed, branching story with strong systemic gameplay, and arguably you’re putting our medium’s best foot forward circa 2000.

A few years later, I returned to DX and played it near-compulsively. Bored with shooters in an era where they were becoming overrun with pseudo-realism and empty spectacle, I enjoyed mining the plot, social sim and possibility space more than before. The capitalized word became Expression. Choosing to play as a vegan (soy food and water only) for no real in-game reason. Crafting an elaborate emergent story with the help of the VersaLife employee who wants you to kill his boss. Contributing GameFAQs to document painstaking research into how the game’s scripting and story branches work. A Kill Nobody playthrough, followed by a Kill Everybody playthrough. Each run a tiny plot on the canvas of possibility. If only more games gave us this feeling.

Time passed. I went to work with my heroes at Irrational and helped make a BioShock.

Today I boot up DX, jack the resolution up to 1920×1080, savor the still-so-bloody-good tracker work from Alex Brandon, and I feel a complex mix of emotions. Nostalgia is a seductive, blinding thing. Despite it, I see the game’s flaws more clearly than ever. Having been at the helm of a comparably ambitious and nearly as sprawling game, I recognize scar tissue where features, levels and concepts were cut. I find bugs in level scripting, but also hidden treasures. I pore over the extracted CON files for writer Sheldon Pacotti’s notes on the significance of certain lines: “[Maggie Chow] only learned a few minutes ago that JC was coming. She read his file, and now she is improvising skillfully, if a little desperately.” At this point, I am crawling through my own powerful associations with the game just as much as its literal corridors – a nostalgic creature of reverence and reminiscence.

The capitalized word that comes to me now is Fidelity. I ponder how incredibly difficult it would be to make a game like that for a major publisher today. Reasonably advanced for 2000, today it’s clear DX’s simple environments and primitive people enabled both its scope and its depth. Our standards have risen in some ways, but are they unequivocally the right ways?

It makes me wonder if someone could break even today, targeting a comparable level of fidelity/depth/scope, or if they’d be raked over the coals by the very same diehard fans for not also providing 2010-quality audiovisuals. Optimistic or simply naive, I hope that someday we will shed our destructive addiction to technology and production value as ends rather than as means. In the Deus Ex I play today, the physics aren’t too janky, the characters not too low-poly, the environments not too boxy to inhibit the experiences: of exploring, experimenting, and imagining. I strongly believe our success as a medium depends upon our ability to rediscover and cherish these very best qualities of games; to trust in the intelligence of our players, and challenge them to learn and grow. That was the golden age DX seemed to promise us, and it may yet come.

Until then, we crouch in the shadows, we crawl through ducts, we hoard our multitools, medipatches, rope arrows and Mentats. We spend them wisely; they are not easy to come by – none so much as Deus Ex and its many lessons.

Thanks for your time, Kent and JP. And if you’re a developer who was forged in part by Deus Ex, do feel free to drop us a line.

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43 Comments »

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  1. Spatula says:

    Brialliant read,

    Thanks for that chaps

  2. Kast says:

    Kent’s story is truly inspiring. I don’t suppose you can get in to the industry that way any more though ;)

    Jean-Paul’s writing is,well, fascinating in an educational sort of way. I check out his blog but found it sadly hasn’t been updated since February. I’m going to be keeping an eye out for his work I think.

    • Fraser says:

      Maybe not into such a great (if doomed) company right off the bat, but the consensus from Insiders seems to be that “making stuff and showing it to people” is the best and fastest way to get into the industry as a designer. The trick is making sure the stuff you make is better than the stuff everyone else is making.

  3. dspair says:

    I strongly believe our success as a medium depends upon our ability to rediscover and cherish these very best qualities of games; to trust in the intelligence of our players, and challenge them to learn and grow. That was the golden age DX seemed to promise us, and it may yet come.

    These are great words. Unfortunately, the games do absolutely the opposite: they don’t trust the players at all and want them to sit back in a chair and watch cool animations and plot twists.

    Games are gettimg closer and closer to movies, and this is a deadly wrong way for them.

  4. Mad Hamish says:

    “Wait … I’m still walking around in first-person … and there are … friendly people here … that I don’t have to shoot in the face … who talk to me .. Wha … what is this?!”

    This wasn’t that new. Didn’t anyone play Strife? Anyone?

    • Huggster says:

      He stated most of the games he had experienced – i.e. not many FPS RPGs like Underworld either

  5. MycoRunner says:

    I played Deus Ex for the first time some time after HL2 came out. I love pretty, immersive graphics, but I love immersion more.

    I still remember being very distraught by the choices I was forced to make. I was so used to being lead by the nose through a shooter, that being let loose was very unnerving. I was quite embarrassed when I went into the lady’s room and was called a creep by the receptionist. I had to break into every area possible, but only if no one found out.

    And I always loved JC’s voice, why all the hate?

  6. Fraser says:

    It makes me wonder if someone could break even today, targeting a comparable level of fidelity/depth/scope, or if they’d be raked over the coals by the very same diehard fans for not also providing 2010-quality audiovisuals.

    Deus Ex succeeded as a game despite its aesthetics, not because of them. If someone designed a spiritual successor to Deus Ex now, they could do an end run around this problem with an art style chosen specifically to be minimalist and relatively simple to produce – the TF2 approach.

    It wouldn’t even need to be a long game: plenty of people liked but never finished Deus Ex, or only finished it years later. The best things about Deus Ex were its ideas, and most of them were at least partially evident on Liberty Island alone.

    Imagine a game as long as Portal, with an art style as minimal as Team Fortress 2. That’s all the framework a worthy successor to DX needs. If a publisher and developer allowed a very small budget for aesthetics and a relatively large budget and time schedule for the creation, refinement, testing and fine-tuning of game design concepts, how many copies would the game need to sell to cover its development costs? It wouldn’t have to be a blockbuster, surely.

    With a dedicated and skilled enough team, it could be done as a mod. Mods like that don’t come around often, but they can be done; look at Fall From Heaven 2.

  7. Inigo says:

    @Fraser

    A Deus Ex-alike in the style of Gravity Bone would be a thing of joy.

  8. Toyoch says:

    Ok ok, RPS likes Deus Ex..we got it..

    • Nephilim Rising says:

      @Toyoch

      Maybe you think the Deus Ex articles are too much, but if these were all about Half-Life 1 on it’s 10 year anniversary, I doubt people would think twice about it.

      Half-Life was an iconic shooter, and I respect it incredibly, but I actually found Deus Ex to be more significant in my childhood then HL was.

      Just wade it out, the Deus Ex craze will die out in a few days.

  9. EBass says:

    I literally bought Deus Ex when it came out, although VERY unusually for me I bought it solely on the strength of the Box Art and blurb, infact I think thats the only time I’ve ever made a purchase of a game on impulse knowing comparatively little about it.

    Of course I loved it and recognised what a massive step it was in gameplay terms, but just how unique it was and would remain was hardly immediatly apparent.

    We’d already had FPS where you didn’t have to kill everything and indeed had friendly allies and RPG elements (NOLF, Half Life, Jedi Knight), we’d had massive branching storylines in Baldur’s Gate and Fallout. Though Deus Ex was great I saw it as a natural progression towards better games and figured all games would be like it, or at least more like it in the future.

    It only became apparent as the years passed and developing studios didn’t even attempt something with its scope again how very very special it was.

    • TeeJay says:

      Like you my eye was caught by the box art and cyber-punk blurb on the back. It was only the second PC game I bought which was both good (for getting me into games) and bad (for raising my expectations so high, so early).

      PS. NOLF was actually released towards the end of 2000 ie slightly *after* Deus Ex.

  10. jeremypeel says:

    Great stuff – I already knew the guys at 2K Marin have their hearts in the right place but this is lovely to hear.

    I’m starting to think that the idea of a ‘stylised’ – rather than normal mappin’-tastic, Deus Ex successor – is a really good one. Ideas over aesthetics and all.

    • godwin says:

      This point has come up multiple times this week, I’m just puzzled as to why everyone assumes that a ‘minimalist’ (to correct: stylised) aesthetic like that of TF2’s is somehow less demanding than that of one that attempts verisimilitude? If anything, it takes more work – TF2’s art direction is simply outstanding, and it took a good deal of talent to pull everything together; I’d go so far as to say that mimicking reality is actually the simpler and, comparatively, ‘lazier’ way to go.

    • godwin says:

      To add another point, it seems that “breaking even” on the business side of things is something essential to the production of another game advancing the legacy and qualities of Deus Ex. It’s pretty clear, however, that the potential market for such a game would not be as large as that of say, Modern Warfare 2. Taking this into consideration, do you guys think that games, as a medium, are ready for larger pricing discrepancies/discrimination (not unlike those witnessed with certain hardcore strategy games), in a sense having some “luxury” or ” vintage quality” or “handmade” status embedded to products/titles to help them be economically viable? Take the clothing/fashion world for example, where there are people who will rightly pay $300 for a pair of raw denim jeans from Japan or Sweden, as “the same” products are being sold in retailers like GAP or Topman at $50.

    • JP says:

      “This point has come up multiple times this week, I’m just puzzled as to why everyone assumes that a ‘minimalist’ (to correct: stylised) aesthetic like that of TF2’s is somehow less demanding than that of one that attempts verisimilitude? If anything, it takes more work…”

      I tend to agree. TF2 is a bad example; it took Valve many years to perfect that art style. That’s why I draw the continuum at fidelity, not stylization – TF2 is strongly stylized but fairly high fidelity (polycount, character bone count, texture res, shader complexity) thus still a ton of work to get right.

      Someone else mentioned Gravity Bone, which seems a lot more doable. It’s low-fidelity-driven stylization by a fairly good artist (as opposed to crappy programmer art), and I think this is about how dramatically you would need to scale things back to make a DX style game doable by a small team.

      I personally would love to make something that goes as far down the technological fossil record as Doom, because you can make lots of varied and interesting levels very quickly in a sector-based engine – Strife was basically DX’s nonlinearity and NPC convos minus all the RPG elements and choices (a big minus, to be sure) – but the further down the fidelity spectrum you go, theoretically the fewer people will take it seriously. This is something we can change; various vectors in the indie game scene have shown that the many millions of people who buy XBLA games are perfectly happy to look at really chunky pixels if the concept and gameplay are strong.

      On the flip side, immersive sims have historically pushed fidelity, so some piece of the aesthetic might go missing with a System Shock 1 style treatment. Certainly in its day, DX’s shrinking reticles and per-limb damage were all about giving people more realism than you got from Quake 3. Still, I think there are ways to focus and deepen the simulation while holding a line graphically.

      Thoughts? I’m an extreme retro-lover in some ways, but I’m curious as to how appealing people would find something along these lines, and if not where their personal fidelity standard is, and why.

    • ZamFear says:

      @godwin

      It’s the asset creation, not the art direction. As hardware has gotten more powerful, everything has to be more detailed to qualify as “realistic” and that means more work for the artists.

      Further, you can have things with a realistic aesthetic, but that still require significant art direction / design work. Look at stuff like Crysis, Gears of War, or you know, the new Deus Ex. Obviously sci-fi mumbo-jumbo, but still going for a realistic look, and still has to put a lot of work into the design of characters, creatures, weapons, vehicles, etc.

      So if you still have to do the design work anyway, the way to save time (and therefore money) is to choose an art style that’s easier on your artists.

    • jeremypeel says:

      As has already been suggested by JP, I was thinking more Gravity Bone than Team Fortress 2, which I imagine required at least as much work as realistic aesthetics would have.

      “I personally would love to make something that goes as far down the technological fossil record as Doom, because you can make lots of varied and interesting levels very quickly in a sector-based engine – Strife was basically DX’s nonlinearity and NPC convos minus all the RPG elements and choices (a big minus, to be sure) – but the further down the fidelity spectrum you go, theoretically the fewer people will take it seriously.”

      I’d defintely agree with you here, JP – Dwarf Fortress might be on the opposite end of the the spectrum to most AAA titles, offering a masterclass in truly emergent gameplay but being far too graphically basic and inaccessible for most peoples’ tastes, including hardcore gamers.

      Of course most indie games going down the ‘stylised’ route are 2D, or at least don’t attempt anything like the sim aspect of Deus Ex. I do wonder how much of what we love about the game could be transferred by an indie developer into a top-down or isometric viewpoint.

      Maybe an engine like Introversion’s, currently in development for Subversion (a game with fundamentally different aims to DX but with interesting possiblities):-

      http://forums.introversion.co.uk/introversion/viewtopic.php?t=2391

      And there’s also Monaco, which I’ve already linked to once today:-

      http://www.pocketwatchgames.com/

    • Zwebbie says:

      godwin: once you’ve got that art style, it’s comparatively easy to make stuff for it. Currently, I’m working on an entry for the Polycount competition to add stuff to Team Fortress 2, and the assets almost create themselves; takes me about two days to make a weapon, and that could be done quicker, maybe all in a day, if I had a concept; though I’ll readily admit that Valve’s standards are a bit higher than mine.

      Plenty of TF2’s style comes from shaders too; they’re hard to develop, but once you’ve got them, even huge swathes of colour with some brush strokes look nice. Some stylised games, Wind Waker in particular, are even easier.
      You need a good deal of concepting, thought and coordination, but that pays itself back; especially if you don’t have a hundred people in the art department and especially if your game requires many different assets (like a DX game would).

    • TeeJay says:

      I’m interested in the current consensus or received wisdom about the following:

      ? What much cheaper are the licensing fees for slightly older game engines?
      ? Would using an older engine allow a game to work on a lot more machines?
      ? Does an older engine typcially require a significantly lower volume of art assets?
      ? How much of the market is put off by older / less shiney graphics?

      From my own lay-mans point of view and using the wikipedia “game engine” diagram: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/First-person_shooter_engine here’s my own “wot I think” (sorry if I am talking rubbish):

      1. Older game engines that I still fine complete acceptable, even though they aren’t that flashy:

      Unreal 2 (eg Thief 3), CryEngine (eg Far Cry), Gamebryo(eg Oblivion, Fallout: New Vegas), idTech4 (eg Doom 3, Prey, Wolfenstein, Brink), Source (HL2, Bloodlines, TF2)

      2. Newer game engines that while nice, are maybe a bit “overkill”. Great if and when you upgrade to a nice videocard and get everything working, but mabe not worth cutting back on oher parts of the game:

      Unreal 3 (eg BioShock, BatmanAA), CryEngine 2 (eg Crysis), Rage Engine (eg GTA4), X-Ray Engine (eg STALKER).

      3. Very new or upcoming game engines that make me think “what’s the point?”. OK it’s good that someone is doing it, but sometimes I think it is a conspiracy by videocard makers. Next – everyone buy 3d cards and screens! (thanks but, no thanks).

      CryEngine 3 (eg Crysis 2), Dunia Engine (eg Far Cry 2), id Tech 5 (eg Doom 4 / Rage), Unreal 4 (??? introduced with next generation of consoles / 2012 ???)

  11. John says:

    Two fantastic stories there.

    You’d think Deus Ex 3 would be a golden opportunity to make a game in the same vein. Here’s hoping it works out well.

  12. Uhm says:

    It’s kind of sad there are people who think like this stuck in an industry that doesn’t seem to want them to.

  13. Ricardo Bare says:

    Great write up guys!

    Pretty cool to see your story in writing Kent. Brings back memories.

    I’ll share a quick anecdote: Like Kent, I was slogging through tons of FPS games while in college and loving them. I also played RPGs (like Baldur’s Gate). Eventually, hoping to break into the game’s industry somehow, I moved to Austin and convinced the guys at Ion Storm to let me tour the studio.

    As they were showing me around, we got to musing about games we liked. With naiveté sparkling in my eyes I’m sure, I said I *wish* someone would make a game chock full of first person action, but also with characters you could talk to and interact with (e.g. significant story). And, while I’m wishing, how about cool some RPG-like character development please? Wouldn’t that be cool, if someone, somewhere was doing that?

    Harvey Smith (who was giving me the tour) swiveled around in his chair and booted up an early build of Deus Ex and my jaw hit the floor. Fast forward a few months later and I was on the design team, trying to figure out how I was going to get Anna Navarre to shoot Lebedev in that tiny room, and what if the player shot Anna first? What if he shot Lebedev THEN shot Anna? What if he left a LAM on the wall and just left the room. So fun.

    • jeremypeel says:

      That’s a similarly amazing story, thanks for sharing – and thanks for one of the greatest moments in my gaming memory!

      Arkane is a studio no one’s got round to mentioning who have made a serious effort to continue in the Looking Glass/Ion Storm lineage. I’m sure you can’t say anything about it yet, Ricardo, but does that mean you’re working on that rumoured FPS/RPG game headed up by Harvey Smith?

      At any rate, keep up the good work!

  14. Gary W says:

    Why are we hearing from these people?

    I bet their bosses know where its *really* at – – more crypto-casual Gears of Duty clones for the ‘core’. There’s just no money in making anything with actual deep gameplay mechanics.

  15. Grogbeard says:

    Man Strife! Me and my friends still talk about that game. I wonder if you can still buy it

  16. Bassism says:

    I doubt you can buy Strife anywhere, but I do know you can play it in zdoom et al. Which makes it pretty satisfying. Still need to finish the damn game someday.

    Anyway, these stories are great to read. I wish I were 20 ten years ago, so I could have a similar story. But who knows, maybe good things can still happen in the world, and maybe people are allowed to have ten year old inspiration :D

    It’s nice to see that the people working on the games we’re all looking forward to have their hearts in the right place.

  17. Lucas says:

    These articles are fun to read, particularly to see the different takes developers have had on a single game.

    Kent talks about the impact of a single playthrough, of the “they killed my brother”/”they called me back about the job” excitement of his experience. J.P. talks capitalized words: how what he sees in Deus Ex has changed over time, over many playthroughs. In Part I, both developers seemed to talk of their awe at the game’s ability to allow different styles of play, or of having a complicated door system, and how that lives on in a large abstract sense or in little references in their own work.

    It’s great to see how Deus Ex and RPS have resulted in such varied discussion—even if it is all trimmed with backward-looking praise.

    (RPS Eds, take note: I’d like to see a similar series of articles written by developers on their experience with other games—Civilization, Doom—more “gaming made me.”)

  18. Gorgeras says:

    Holy crap I’ve just realised what was wrong with Bioshock. It wasn’t Deus Ex under the sea. It was filled almost exclusively with respawning baddies and fight situations. There was no walk-around-UNATCO event in Bioshock. No serious explanation was given for why ‘Jack’ is singled out by splicers when they leave each other pretty much alone whilst in Deus Ex you know everybody’s allegiance even if you don’t know the motive; it’s their open allegiance that determines if they’re going to fight you.

    Bioshock 3, it can be Deus Ex in a way that DE 2 and 3 failed at and will fail at.

    • Daniel says:

      Wow! You have a crystal ball! And already know that DX3 will fail!

      Can you tell me if ATVI and TTWO stock will go up or down tomorrow – I want to make a big play in the market but I think your ability to read the future will be invaluable!

    • ZamFear says:

      @Gorgeras

      In fairness, BioShock was never meant to be Deus Ex Underwater. It was supposed to be System Shock Underwater. Completely different game.

    • bildo says:

      Shodan would beat the living piss out of Dadelus and Helios.

    • James T says:

      Psh, give Helios an FTL drive and we’ll see how the fight goes!

    • Bret says:

      See, Helios needs to be given an FTL drive.

      Shodan had to be given some systems to start with and start on the right ship, but its more impressive.

      Now, if you want the real winner, you want a guy who steals an FTL drive, a ship full of slaves, and a high powered combat cyborg when starting with some control of doors.

      My money’s on Durandal. All the way.

  19. Steve gaynor says:

    Amazing story. I just replayed the 747 sequence last night and was thinking “I wonder who made this part.” It was you! Badass, man.

  20. James T says:

    If people bring out the old Heraclitus chestnut “you never step in the same river twice” when talking about great films

    …Do they? That’s mangling it a bit…

  21. LionsPhil says:

    they’d be raked over the coals by the very same diehard fans for not also providing 2010-quality audiovisuals

    Cries for remakes “with current technology” for classics in the comment threads confirm this is true.

    • MD says:

      Cries for remakes “with current technology” for classics in the comment threads confirm this is true.

      I don’t think so — there’s a pretty big difference between demanding modern tech for a remake, and demanding modern tech for a spiritual successor (i.e. if we’re talking straight-up remakes, modern visuals are pretty much the entire point; for a spiritual successor, they’re pretty much irrelevant).

  22. Tom says:

    i know this is DX themed, but freak’n rope arrows man!
    where did they go?

  23. DavidK says:

    Great article. If I wasn’t already sending you money every month, I’d turn off my adblocker. In fact, maybe I’ll turn it off anyway.