Whisper: Deus Ex HR Gets Conspiratorial

By John Walker on July 12th, 2011 at 5:25 pm.

Just downloading the conspiracy database now.

For a trailer claiming to be about conspiracy, there’s an awful lot of punching in the latest of over seven hundred million trailers for Deus Ex: Human Revolution. I think if you strung all the trailers together it would last longer than playing the game. But it matters none, as this is once again very intriguing. Oh, if this game isn’t good I’m going to Montreal and I’m going to pinch the arms of every single person at Eidos. EVERY SINGLE ONE. You’ve been warned, Eidos Montreal.

There are hints at the conspiracy shenanigans going on in Deus Ex City, Deusexia. What’s really the deal with those augmentations, eh? EH?

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100 Comments »

  1. Teddy Leach says:

    I just can’t wait to see everyone’s reactions when they play it. Except the devious people, like myself, who already have.

    • Starayo says:

      I’d already prepurchased, so it was like a demo!

      Okay, less like a demo, and more like every christmas ever coming early.

    • Teddy Leach says:

      More or less precisely what you just said.

    • AshEnke says:

      I just can’t wait to see everyone’s reactions at Eidos Montreal when they get pinched on the arms.

    • ResonanceCascade says:

      I dunno, despite the fact that HR is excellent, I think there will still inevitably be a fanboy crapstorm from the people who expect nothing less than the exact same game as Deus Ex, along with a complementary reach-around from Warren Spector himself.

      Anything else is literally unplayable and deserves a scathing 1-star review on Metacritic.

  2. sockpuppetclock says:

    oh god only a month left oh god oh man oh god oh man oh god oh man OH GOD

  3. Stupoider says:

    OLD MEN at 0:20.

  4. Rinox says:

    I always thought there was something fishy about my HR director.

  5. Basilicus says:

    Ooh, that’s very Ghostintheshellish of them.

    • YourMessageHere says:

      With shades of Armitage III in there too. This can only be a good thing. I anticipate this most keenly, and reckon I will play the shit out of it. I thought it was out in November, for some reason.

    • Imbecile says:

      Thats because *everything* is out in November!

    • lurkalisk says:

      Weird how people always point to Ghost in the Shell and never the works that directly influenced it.

      I’d say nearly everything about HR looks, relative to DE1, much more Sprawlish, which seems a tad more just than GitS, the Sprawl universe arguably being the original progenitor of the genre itself.

    • Marijn says:

      @lurkalisk: Not so much “weird” as “totally understandable”, considering that many more people in the gaming community have seen Ghost In The Shell than have read Gibson’s novels. It IS unjust, though, you’re right about that much.

  6. CaspianRoach says:

    The main character sounds like The Illusive Man. And the game looks like slightly changed Mass Effect. That is a compliment.

  7. CMaster says:

    And once again I find myself singing Black and Gold along to the trailer.

  8. Rii says:

    Is it my imagination or is the protagonist in this game very odd-looking in an angular sort of way?

    • Vague-rant says:

      I wouldn’t say *very* odd looking, but his chin is quite pointy. I hope he augments it to match his arms.

    • liquidsoap89 says:

      I thought the same thing myself. The people are also quite shiny…

  9. Mr_Initials says:

    So he gets dropped in one hit eh?

  10. godgoo says:

    i read it as ‘pinch the arms off every single person at Eidos.’

    • Monkey says:

      Amputation by pinching would really hurt

    • Dozer says:

      You’ve been playing too much Dwarf Fortress.

    • ArcaneSaint says:

      Nah, with Dwarf fortress it’s more like “amputate their arms with the bone knife I just crafted from their own teeth, which I hacked out with my axe after I clubbed them unconscious with the corpse of their only child. And the unconscious part is only when I’m feeling merciful.”
      Then archer comes along and shoots your ears off.
      Though, perhaps I have a different way of dealing with my enemies (read: civilians) than most people…

  11. felisc says:

    mmh, that balls chopping at 1:43 hurt me a little

  12. Cooper says:

    Ok, so the helicopter scene at 1:00 screams Blade Runner.
    But also, compare 1:21 with

    Hell, the whole bloody trailer is like Blade Runner WITH ROCKETS and PUNCHES and GUNS.
    But, you know, one can do so much worse than take your inspiration from the best movie of all time.

  13. doktorjung says:

    I like how he seems to be a bit more proactive than JC. Sure he’s probably being manipulated and doesn’t know what’s going on, but there’s more of an aggressive detective feel here, as compared to how UNATCO attempted to manage and control JC…

  14. JackShandy says:

    I hope the alt-text for the RPS review of this is “Back and Bold”.

  15. symuun says:

    I want this game SO MUCH.

  16. Joshua says:

    The Witcher 2 won’t be better.

    • Rinox says:

      *Sees the foot-high wall hugging + shooting from cover in the trailer*

      I wouldn’t be too sure of that. :-(

    • Cooper says:

      If you don’t like cover mechanics, and the way it allows you to ‘peak’ around corerns, don’t use them. The game is perfectly playable without this.

    • Teddy Leach says:

      What Cooper said. For fuck’s sake, stop complaining about it.

    • Rinox says:

      I don’t know about you guys, but I haven’t actually played the game yet.

    • Teddy Leach says:

      Then you especially shouldn’t complain about it, seeing as you don’t know whether it will have a terrible implementation. I have played it, and I can say with certainty that, while the cover system is very nice to use (the same system as Vegas 2), the game is equally playable and enjoyable without it. I know because I had two playthroughs. On my second, I did not let myself use the cover system. There’s really nothing to complain about, don’t worry.

    • Rinox says:

      I kind of assumed no one would have played it yet (hence the remark), I didn’t know there was a leaked version out. But it’s good to know the cover system isn’t bleh, regardless.

    • Teddy Leach says:

      Fair enough. Sorry if I came off as hostile, incidentally.

    • skyturnedred says:

      I found not having lean makes not using the cover system rather awkward. But yeah, it’s possible to play without it.

  17. Marcin says:

    Is it just me or does the protagonist sound like Walton Simons from DX1?

    • Telemikus says:

      Defo.

      I had my headhones in and was looking at my dinner (meatballs… mmmm) when it started and I could of sworn it was Walt.

    • Dragatus says:

      And the mysterious man at 0:22 sounds a lot like Bob Page.

    • kyrieee says:

      More than “a lot” like Bob Page

    • lurkalisk says:

      I’ll be damned if that isn’t Cliff Stephens reprising his role as Bobert Page, DAMNED I say! Oh, and while I can say with certainty that Jensen isn’t played by Tom Hall (Simons), he sure sounds like him, though a bit younger.

  18. stblr says:

    It’s really disconcerting how different in-game Adam looks from cutscene Adam. I much prefer the look of the latter.

  19. molten_tofu says:

    You mechs may have copper wiring to reroute your fear of pain, but I’ve got nerves of steel.

  20. Spleen says:

    Text on the side of the camera at 1.04 says “Big Bro surveillance”, they do seem to take inspiration from all the best places don’t they.

  21. Nalano says:

    I would love a cybernetic-implanted special agent in an urbane corporate dystopia. I loved Syndicate and Syndicate Wars. I liked the feel of Deus Ex’s settings. I’m looking at Brunner, Gibson and Stephenson on my bookshelf right now. Hell, I love Blade Runner and Ghost in the Shell, which this trailer is not not reminding me of.

    I want that postmodern cyberpunk noir, but it gotta be smart.

    The plot of the original Deus Ex fell flat to me because underneath all that New World Order talk was very little indeed. Mass Effect populated itself with plenty of good intrigue, but all that follow-the-money made me want to affect and disrupt Binary Helix, ExoGeni and Cerberus’ front corps, not just witness them and register the proper amount of disgust for paragon points. At this point I get more backstabbing and intrigue in fantasy games like the Witcher 2, and I’m not terribly fond of dragons and the black plague.

    I’m worried this new game won’t deliver: Whether I’ll see something that makes me wanna think – actual honest-to-god philosophizing about future society – or if it’ll be all “shadowy puppeteers of shadowiness” like Alpha Protocol. I need in-depth reviews.

    • Teddy Leach says:

      Don’t worry. From what I’ve played, there’s plenty of what you want.

    • Nalano says:

      Perhaps, perhaps not.

      I suppose the gist of what I’m getting as is that I’m kinda sick of “save the world” story arcs. What I liked most out of Aliens, Blade Runner and Ghost in the Shell was that the world itself was almost ancillary – the important part was the drawing out of primal questions. In the latter two, the question was, “what makes one human?” In the former, the question was, “how far are humans willing to go?”

      Weyland-Yutani – and I remember the corp name off the top of my head – is, aside from Ripley, the real center of the arc, and not because it was omnipotent, but because it was not omnipotent. I’m reminded of the Greek heroes, where they weren’t more capable of insight as they were just supremely powerful. Likewise, the gist of Gibson and Stephenson wasn’t to save the world but just to survive in a system that was hostile and inherently flawed.

      Like Palahniuk without the Jesus surrogate. I don’t necessarily want questions answered; I just want them to be good questions – and I haven’t really seen that in the previews to date.

    • John P says:

      Sorry if this makes you more pessimistic, but from what I’ve played DX:HR is not smart. It tries to raise ‘interesting’ questions, but it’s not done very well. That’s only based on the leak, of course, not the whole game. But you can see it from interviews as well. The developers have been asked numerous times about their influences, and usually the best they can muster is Kurzweil, Blade Runner, and anime. And one Renaissance painting.

      I don’t mean to bash them, but if that’s the best they can do I just don’t think they’ve researched their themes and subject matter well enough to do it justice. It’s pseudo-intellectualism, and a long way from the widely-read writing and design team on Deus Ex 1.

      The game director admitted he has not read Neuromancer. How can you make a cyberpunk game without having read the seminal works of the genre? It’s basic research.

      Compared to most video games I guess it will still fare pretty well. But I doubt it will encourage philosophical reflections like you want it to. Just take a look at John Walker’s interview with the developers, particularly when they’re asked about their literary influences: http://www.rockpapershotgun.com/2011/06/14/square-enix-talk-deus-ex-human-revolution/#more-62164

    • ophite says:

      Let me provide you with a counterexample. This is incredibly nerdy, but right up my alley:

      As you’ll find out from terminals in Serif, Neuropozyne inhibits glial recruitment to microelectrode sites. This is actually precisely the problem that’s preventing cybernetics from moving forward today: we can implant microelectrodes, but the brain reacts to the microelectrodes the same way it would to a parasite, and blocks them off with neural supportive tissue. Okay, well, fine. That means they read a few neurology papers.

      What really impresses me is the terminal where you find out what’s wrong with Neuropozyne: white matter loss, progressive multifocal leukencephalopathy, and eventual dementia. This is actually precisely the problem we have with the few drugs we have that are targeted at neuroimmunity (e.g. Tysabri): the brain needs microglial recruitment to function in order to clear out debris. If this is representative of the amount of research they did for other topics, I’m more impressed than I would be if they had merely been able to quote Rousseau.

    • OctoVine says:

      >Sorry if this makes you more pessimistic, but from what I’ve played DX:HR is not smart. It tries to raise ‘interesting’ questions, but it’s not done very well. That’s only based on the leak, of course, not the whole game. But you can see it from interviews as well. The developers have been asked numerous times about their influences, and usually the best they can muster is Kurzweil, Blade Runner, and anime. And one Renaissance painting.

      >I don’t mean to bash them, but if that’s the best they can do I just don’t think they’ve researched their themes and subject matter well enough to do it justice. It’s pseudo-intellectualism, and a long way from the widely-read writing and design team on Deus Ex 1.

      I played the leak too, and I agree completely. In terms of philosophy and literature, it’s lacking, it doesn’t really feel like they are grappling with the issues except in a superficial way.

    • VelvetFistIronGlove says:

      I agree it’s not very deep philosophically. But it doesn’t have to be—Deus Ex wasn’t either.

  22. Loopy says:

    I keep trying to tell myself to hold out until closer to launch to pre-order, but trailers like this just make at harder to do so… want!

    • Monkey says:

      Lets be strong together, I’ve come so close to downloading it but i have resisted. When i start i want nothing in the way to the end except the game itself (job and girlfriend aside). Plus there will most likely be a day 1 patch, as is the standard these days

      From what (weaker) people have said its all good which is all we need to know

  23. Xercies says:

    Thats got to be Christian Bale doing the voices, it sounds almost exactly like his Batman voice in this trailer.

  24. magnus says:

    Wouldn’t a Chinese-Burn or a wedgie be more effective than sustained arm-pinching? Can I still say ‘Chinese-Burn’?

  25. matrices says:

    I don’t think you can expect from a game what you didn’t get from the source material.

    Blade Runner was not a profound rumination on anything – the setting and atmosphere provoked further thought because they reflected an environment drawn from a paradigm that is very different from our own. But the story itself suffered from a lack of emphasis on unity and the characters were arbitrarily one dimensional.

    What does it mean to be human? The movie does little more than pose the question before suffocating it in rain and mist and fog and darkness. I would have loved to see some real character development and exploration of the human and replicant side of that conflict.

    • AndrewC says:

      No film can survive the hype that Blade Runner has accrued over it’s lifetime, but it has *plenty* to say on all sorts of things. Saying it didn’t have much to say if you don’t count the design is to miss much of what it is saying *in* it’s design – its comments on environmentalism, on the sunny ‘futurism’ that says everything will be better with technological progress (that still pops up in things like W Bush’s speeches about global warming), and the effects of unchecked capitalism and corporation-run government on the humanity stuck underneath it.
      As to they story, which I do feel descends into a sometimes opaquely grumpy miserablism – it still does things that all the films and games that were influenced by it fail to emulate – specifically the humanity that Rutger Hauer’s replicant shows at the end of the movie when facing his own mortality. While it starts with an explosion, it ends with an act of compassion.
      For a movie that does get bogged down in its art design, it is still ultimately concerned with the small lives that strive towards some happiness and meaning within that glorious, terrible Future City.

    • Nalano says:

      Half of noir is nose-to-the-grindstone action, half diorama of the life in such a world and half the realization that there are larger forces afoot (that’s three halves). Polanski’s Chinatown comes to mind.

      No, Blade Runner did not answer the question. But it posed it, and it posed it in a scenario that has overtones to the world we live in: Solving labor problems in an amoral, high-tech fashion has its own implications, which were explored – if briefly – in Deckard’s foray into the gray markets (classism, human rights, etc).

      It’s food for thought. That’s all it is. That’s more than most aspire to.

    • Eddy9000 says:

      Just a friendly word of advice: if you guys ever decide to lose your virginity, dont take your date to a movie.

    • Nalano says:

      …said he on a computer gaming website in a thread about virtual conspiracies.

      Also, girls can be nerds too.

    • Tacroy says:

      My wife loves Blade Runner.

    • Idiot says:

      Just a friendly word of advice: give your partner a chance to like something you don’t expect him/her to like.

  26. The_Great_Skratsby says:

    I didn’t ask for this

  27. VelvetFistIronGlove says:

    There’s a QR code on the box at 1:12. Conspiracies must abound, because it links to http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Main_Page. I… didn’t ask for that.

  28. Johnny Lizard says:

    I hear some people have played it. Those people are so cool.

  29. Surgeon says:

    This looks simply smashing.

  30. fallingmagpie says:

    WEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE!

    I laugh when I see ‘May contain content unsuitable for children’. It always makes me think they couldn’t be arsed watching their own video to find out.

  31. cjlr says:

    1:01 in.

    Bless me, but it’s the Big O. Rock on, Montreal.

  32. arienette says:

    Am I the only one who wants to buy this game solely on the strength of the main song?

    • Surgeon says:

      Nope, it’s absolutely spot on.
      It reminds me quite a bit of the Daft Punk Tron Legacy OST.

    • DainIronfoot says:

      Does the original Deus Ex theme make any sort of appearance though?

    • ResonanceCascade says:

      !!!!!!HUGE SPOILER BELOW OMGZZZ!!!!!!1

      Yeah, someone whistles it in Detroit.

  33. Gunsmith says:

    I still get goosebumps everytime i hear that score.

  34. Muzman says:

    Pointless aside:
    Have those big inclined freight elevators ever been built anywhere or is it just since Akira or something big sci-fi stuff just likes to have one now and then?

  35. Velvetmeds says:

    Tbh my mind just black outs every time i see a new trailer; it’s too busy shouting “GOTY” to itself to absorb anything else.

  36. Sinnorfin says:

    -Are you ready for the release?
    -Almost…
    -What do you MEAN almost!?

  37. reticulate says:

    Ah, Mr Page. We have missed you.

    Also Old Men, Oh Yes, etc etc.

  38. Zaboomafoozarg says:

    My version is augmented.

  39. Olivaw says:

    Oh my god they got the same voice actor.

    THEY GOT THE SAME VOICE ACTOR.

    OLD MEN, PLAYING AT RUNNING THE WORLD.

  40. OctoVine says:

    So I played the entire leak — the gameplay is good, but I think a lot of people might be a little disappointed with the thematic depth.
    The first hub seems is pretty two dimensional — aug supports vs aug haters.

    You find a lot of email, graffiti, books, newspapers, overheard conversations… but it all seems to revolve around that. The world feel gamey, like it doesn’t have an existence outside this game. The original Deus Ex had a lot of little things in the background that did a good job implying there was a world out there. I agree with the poster above — it doesn’t feel like the authors read much, they just got the surface stuff. Deus Ex did have a weird literary feel to it.

    I played Alpha Protocol right before the leak, and although that game has plenty of problems in the minute to minute gameplay, in other ways it bests Human Revoltion. Striking characters with conversations that feel like fencing matches. And particularly, later conversations that reference so many earlier choices that it really felt like those characters were reacting to you. Lots of variety and choices everywhere, as it tracked your rep with all the main characters and that played out in cool ways later.

    Another minor minor thing, but I miss the chattiness in the AP handlers — in Human Revoluion, you have an infolink, but it’s for mission objectives. The infolink could talk about all the things in the world you see, just for interesting conversations. It doesn’t feel like the handler is watching you play the game. Also, Mina/Sie/Heck way cooler than Pritchard.

    • Urthman says:

      Yeah, the original Deus Ex had extended quotes from G.K. Chesterton’s The Man Who Was Thursday. That’s not a work you quote so you can name drop something intellectual. That’s the sort of thing you quote if you read lots and lots of books and you really liked that one.

    • Velvetmeds says:

      Nope.avi

    • John P says:

      That’s a good point OctoVine raises about everything being related to this central issue of ‘Augmentation: Good or Bad?’ (Which is not particularly well handled anyway. On the one hand there’s a sign on a theatre saying Augs Enter From The Back like it’s 1950s xenophobia, and on the other there’s a breakfast cereal punning the word augmentation, like it’s a pop culture phenomenon. It’s just not consistent.)

      By contrast, in DX1, think of those two old guys in the free clinic in Hell’s Kitchen, just sitting in chairs waiting to die. They share a story or two of their lives (one was a sculptor, the other was a member of the Northwest Secessionist Forces), totally unrelated to what JC is doing but related to historical events in the fiction. That’s how you craft a memorable world. You don’t do it by putting a Final Fantasy XXVII poster on a wall. Jeez.

  41. OTD Razor says:

    Bob Page!!!

  42. SanguineAngel says:

    Tingles!

  43. Stevostin says:

    If this game IS good I’m going to Montreal and I’m going to kiss the arms of every single person at Eidos.
    My bet is that the people there will neither be pinched by JW or kissed by me. Apart from the fact that this is all loud mouth jokes, it’s clear by now that someone who doesn’t see how obviously awful this game clearly is (it looks ugly, plays terrible and the voice cast demonstrates that the target audience are mainly the Vince Diesel’s fans – which says it all), I doubt he’ll suddenly realise it when playing it. After all we’ve indeed seen so much footage than we already know pretty well what the game is. If someone can see this and find it great, there’s no reason he changes his mind while playing it.
    Still, if there was a God, and if he was asked for the Truth, he would clearly state that this game is crappy, that he’s with me and that JW (and anyone agreeing with him, which is a lot of people here, as I see) are obviously wrong, tasteless gamers ;-)