DXHR Interview: Boss Fights, Endings, DLC

By Jim Rossignol on September 23rd, 2011 at 11:00 am.

Adam Jensen enjoying a refreshing cigarette.
Yesterday I had a chance to catch up with Deus Ex: Human Revolution lead, Jean-François Dugas, and to chat about the state of things now that the game has been released. Read on for what he had to say about the “disappointment” of the boss battles, the way in which the ending of the game did not match the original plan, and the delight the team felt in having managed to create this formidable game as their first project.

RPS: How were you guys feeling about the game once it had shipped?

Dugas: People were relieved, happy. People are excited because when you work on a game for that length of time, well, for a long time before it starts to be good, it’s bad. For a long time it’s bad. In the everyday work that people do they just see bits and pieces, and parts are all over the place. They don’t get to see much of the big picture, and a lot of people will, in those low times, ask “is the game going to be good?” or say “I am scared about it”, blahblahblah, and then seeing the game come out and the reviews and the great feedback from players, people were really pumped about it.

We built that team in 2007. We had to build the team and everything was new for us, and then we had to tackle a first project like Deus Ex. That was not a small challenge. We were feeling very, very good afterwards. It was important that our first game be able to become the flagship game for the studio, to say that we mean business and that we will make good quality games. It’s a priority for us that Deus Ex becomes our business card.


RPS: So you didn’t look back and think: “well, we could have done THAT differently”?

Dugas: Well it’s always easy to look back and say “ok, we could have done this or that differently”, or “why did we do that!” but when you are in the midst of actually making things happen it’s not always so easy to see things clearly. The big disappointment was with the boss fights, because we weren’t able to bring them to the level quality that we had in mind. That is my disappointment, but in the reality of the past few years, and all the other things we have had to contend with, I think it would have been hard to have the bosses otherwise.

RPS: Why do you think the boss battles didn’t work?

Dugas: When we started the goal was to have those boss fights with the same design and rules as the rest of the game. We had our pillars of stealth, of non-lethal actions, and everything else, and we wanted to make sure that was reflected in the bosses, but in the end it was not. It’s the place where people were surprised because they would equip themselves in a certain way and then they got their and everything they’d fought for disappeared. You have to change your mindset, which can be upsetting. I think the biggest weakness there wasn’t the concept of having boss fights, it’s just that our boss fights are not Deus Ex boss fights and that’s why people are complaining about them. I guess we live and learn.

Should we have cut them? It’s a decision we made, we said “well at least they will be entertaining in some fashion”. The biggest surprise, actually, was having released the game and finding that people thought they were frustrating. Not just that they weren’t that interesting, but that they were frustrating. The playtesters internally gave us a lot of good feedback for the game, and on the bosses they felt that the fights were entertaining and making you use what you had learned. They didn’t say they were frustrating. We knew it was not in step with the rest of the game, but the surprise for us was that the playtesting was correct everywhere but the bossfights. So lesson learned.

RPS: I think what surprised me most about playing the game, actually, was how much it felt like a Deus Ex game. It felt like the original, but it also had elements of Invisible War in there. You seemed to take the base getting blown up at the start structure from IW, but also much of the narrative and character structure from the original, with characters filling very similar roles. Was that level of mirroring the previous games intentional? Were you trying to hit the same beats as those games?

Dugas: For us it was really important to stay faithful to the spirit of the original games. We didn’t try to recreate those games, we just wanted to recapture the feel you get when you discover that kind of game. Ten years ago, when you discovered that, it was fascinating – we wanted to recreate that feeling for a new generation of gamers who are not familiar with that game, we thought that giving that kind of vibe was really cool. And for the old timers, they would feel at home. We managed to keep the spirit alive. It was a conscious effort, and we succeeded because we worked hard, but I cannot tell you the specific reason why it is like Deus Ex. We did the best we could and we managed it. We could have worked really hard and missed the point, but we got there, and it was a conscious decision.


RPS: So you can’t say what was the toughest thing about making it a recognisably Deus Ex?

Dugas: The toughest thing… You have to keep the mindset all the time, of what you are offering to the player. All the time. You have to stay ahead of them. It was all about combining the story with the levels and all the ramifications and trying to comprehend all those things and make them work.

Initially it was also very tough to convince the team to be totally on board, because you would have to go to them and say things like “ok, you have to work on this piece for the next two months, and and only 30% of players are going to see that”. Most games have the philosophy of “if we spend money and time on something, all players must see that” and so that is a challenge aspect. There are hidden paths where you might see something if you go left, but miss what is on the right, and so on. Working with that philosophy in mind was hard at first, but when you start to play the game and see that everyone has a different experience within the same experience, well, you start to understand the richness of that. The team now really understand that aspect and they want to go and do more and more and more! And we don’t have the argument about whether the player should see what you built.

RPS: So was there much you had to cut then? Or did that philosophy mean you left more in?

Dugas: When you look at the features we came up with four years ago, we had roughly 1000 features that we wanted to put into the game. And I’m not kidding. We managed to get about 90% of that in. Everything that was critical to the game is in the game. All the things we cut were an added layer on something else, but none of it was critical to making the game what it is. There were some augmentations that did not make the final game, but you don’t know about them, you don’t miss them. Also, actually, I wanted working ATMs in the game, and we did not have those, but you still have a good hacking experience. There were some details we couldn’t fit into the game, but the bulk and what makes the experience the way it is was on the design sheet and we managed to implement them.


RPS: Did the PC version throw up any problems?

Dugas: No. Because when we started we knew we were to go cross platform, but I said “fine, but the PC version cannot just be a console port”. It had to feel like a PC version, and the console versions the same. They had to feel like a console version. It is the same story, the same gameplay, the same world, but the feel with the UI and everything else in the interface has to be adapted to the platform. It was fundamental to us. We always had the PC version of the document ready where it matters. We worked very closely with Nixes in terms of our collaboration with them, we explained what we wanted and they were totally on board. Everything you see in every version of the game was coming from the same design team, so really it presented no special problem.

RPS: The transhumanist theme – can you tell me a bit about why you chose that rather than the other rather more insane conspiracy theory stuff that the Deus Ex world had available to it? Did you know when you were designing the mechanical aspects of the that this was what you wanted to deal with?

Dugas: So at the start we asked “what is Deus Ex?” And it is about conspiracy, it is about a lot of current themes about what is happening in the world, but moreover it is about a character who has something added to him, something inside him, technology, that makes him better at what he does. That’s the heart of the experience of transhumanism. Whether it is biomechanical or nanotechnology, it is all about improving our bodies. In 2007, when we started the game, these issues were already important. We were seeing a lot of research about improving ourselves, whether to replace a limb, or to replace lost eyes with a camera connected to the brain. We thought: this is what is at the heart of the game, this should be the central theme of the story, too. Since we were rebooting we needed to almost treat it as a new IP, and to have this as a conversation with the player, “what is the theme of Deus Ex?” It is this: Transhumanism. And that is about what it means to be human, where we think we should go as a race, what is right and wrong, where are the limitations. This is reflected in everything in Deus Ex: in the story, in the theme, it was obvious from very early on that this was what we had to do.


RPS: It was interesting to see how different people dealt with those themes in the ending they chose. And speaking of the ending, that was something else that drew a lot of criticism. How do you feel about the criticism of what you did there – four buttons in a room, rather than different scenes, different RPG style endings, perhaps?

Dugas: There are two aspects to the ending. The first aspect has to do with the buttons. In the original design we did not want it to just be you facing four buttons and you just press one, end of story. We wanted the players to get involved in doing something more that would make the choice mean more in their minds, but again it was just a constraint of production at some point. We simplified the ending to make sure that we could do it, that we could ship it. Just on that basis I can understand why players were disappointed to be faced with a four-button choice. Of course the endings are influenced by what you have done in the game, and then you get to the videos. For this part, the ending videos, I am totally happy with how that worked. That was the vision we had, and we fulfilled it. When I look at the endings and the feedback, it’s not unanimous that people hate them. Some players love them, other players feel disappointed because they just think “what happened next?” As an editorial decision it was the right decision, but I respect that some people did not feel good about the end, or did not get them.

RPS: How much do you think DXHR brings back the idea of the “immersive sim”, following on from what Looking Glass did? Is this what you want to push in the future? Is this what Eidos Montreal is going to be about in the future?

Dugas: We always want it to feel like a game, but we try to bring different layers to the experience. They are entertainment, but also give you scope to be creative. Whether all the games from the studio are going to be like that… I cannot answer that. This is what the Deus Ex team are interested in, but not as about being a simulation, but being immersive and giving the player some tools to be creative in the world. Visually, if we were more simulation, the game would be quite different. The price of the visual clutter in our world is not being able to interact with everything. One thing we do not want to compromise is the player’s feeling that they can creative in the game world, but at the same time it is not at the expense of an immersive world. Basically what matters is a great player experience, and we will do whatever it takes to get there.

RPS: How much was Metal Gear Solid an influence on the game?

Dugas: It had some influence in terms of creating characters, characters with motivation and charisma. That was an influence. We also looked a bit at how they managed their stealth and such, but I would say it actually was more of a high level artistic influence than a “let’s be more like Metal Gear Solid”. I would say that some aspect of the gameplay, like the cone of vision and the radar… that is something you would also experience with the Metal Solid games, and that had some sort of influence on us, but it’s more spiritual than actually related to gameplay mechanics.


RPS: What can you tell us about the forthcoming DLC?

Dugas: The DLC is coming in October. It’s going to expand on Adam Jensen’s story within the story of Human Revolution. It explains a part of the conspiracy. We are getting better with the engine, so we were able to improve the lighting system and the so the DLC looks quite a bit better than the full game! We also have a boss encounter which is more in line with what we were trying to achieve in the first place, so hopefully we will get some good feedback from that. There’s a lot of new content in there, and it keeps the pillars of the main game. I don’t want to talk too much about the story, but it happens after the explosion in Hengsha, and you are aboard a boat going to Singapore, and it explains a bit about what happens during those few days.

RPS: Should we expect another Deus Ex game from your studio?

Dugas: I don’t know. I wish were able to do another one. I hope we are going to make another one. But that’s pretty much it for now.

RPS: Thanks for your time.

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188 Comments »

  1. CMaster says:

    If they couldn’t make the boss fights as they wanted to be, what they should have done is added something in – a hidden terminal to hack, a person to convince and bribe – that extends the boss-fight cut scene to seeing the boss getting squished by a cargo container or something. Would have made them less irritating and reality jarring.

    Also, disappointed you didn’t jump on him when he mentioned visual clutter about the stepladders! Several times I wanted to get on top of something. There was a stepladder up against said something. Why could I not climb this? Whyyyyyyy?

    • TooNu says:

      I think having an ACME style crate squish for each boss fight would be the first idea they discussed. Any sane developer would anyway.

    • methodology says:

      I think I remember a few years back an interview with someone from the original dx game (maybe it was spector) talking about how their greatest disappointment was towards the last sections of the game where they threw out all the different methods of playing the game to basically being just run and gun as the only option. That if they could go back and change one thing it would be that. I find it funny that all these years later that this dx is basically suffering from almost the same issue.

    • jezcentral says:

      Hmm, an ACME style crate squish by a third-party, eh?

      Doubtless, said third-party would a taciturn bald man, with a bar-code on the back of his head and a remote detonator.

    • Post-Internet Syndrome says:

      Never mind that even though they feel that way, the game is perfectly stealthable all the way through.

  2. GibletHead2000 says:

    Never mind a sequel. Somebody give these guys a license to make a Blade Runner game.

    • Vexing Vision says:

      Oh, that’s a tremendously sexy idea.

    • food says:

      Meh… Blade Runner was slow as a glacier.

      Now Neuromancer with a Jensen cameo, that’d be a thing. Molly kickin’ Adam’s ass just to get her glasses back would be hilarious.

    • westyfield says:

      Blade Runner was slow, but that doesn’t mean it wasn’t good. And since DX3 is at least 20 hours long, that length would fit the story of Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep much better than a two-hour film.

    • Ankheg says:

      And combine their efforts with Hard Reset designers. Atmosphere of HR was really Bladerunnish.

      But anyway. We must not forget about Thief IV.

    • food says:

      It’s a fantastic movie, just incredible dense and slow paced. It’s a series of people standing in rooms doing relatively little aside from talking. Turning it into a fps where giant battle axes spring forth from your arms when you’re not shotgunning everything that moves doesn’t suit the source material.

      If we still got point and click adventure games that weren’t indie shovelware filled with hee-haw, that’d be the ideal way to remake Blade Runner.

    • WingNutZA says:

      What is this Thief IV you speak of?

      THERE IS ONLY THI4F!

    • Ankheg says:

      @WingNutZA

      Ok, ok, my fail, just don’t hit me with club.

    • Warlokk says:

      @food–

      You mean like this? http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Blade_Runner_(1997_video_game)

      It goes back quite a few years, wasn’t sure if you were aware of it. I have a copy lying around somewhere that I never finished, it was an amazingly well-made game and very atmospheric, I just never really got into point-and-click games. It may be available on GOG, I didn’t bother to look :)

    • food says:

      I am indeed that old, hence ‘remade’. There was another one like it where you tooted around San Fransico in a flying car solving murders as well, but the name escapes me. The source material (cyber-noir?) just lends itself to that specifc gaming experience.

      Beneath a Steel Sky was another great one from that era.

      Nowadays, most adventure games are a tour de force in just how fucking unfunny some dev can be. I weep for my childhood (not really).

    • Bantu says:

      Beneath a Steel Sky is a superb game and one i would recommend to all fans of adventure games. I believe it’s free with ScummVM too.

    • chabuhi says:

      Marry me, Giblet

    • Jason Moyer says:

      i’d like to see them release a game with an explanation of how the three seashells work.

    • Unaco says:

      @Jason Moyer,

      You don’t know? Hahahahaha. LoL. That’s made my day.

    • Shooop says:

      With a bit of third-party visual tweaking, you can actually make HR look more Blade Runner-like.

      http://www.pcgamer.com/2011/09/22/deus-ex-human-revolution-mod-augments-visuals-lighting-improved-fist-chisels-shinier/

    • smellylettuce says:

      @food would that be “Mean Streets,” with Tex Murphy? Almost forgot about the flying car. What I mostly remember is the one-eyed dude in front of the Coit Tower.

  3. Gundrea says:

    It’s nice to see my own thoughts echoed. The endings were provocative, the only thing lacking was how you chose them.

    • Jazz42 says:

      When i saw the endings I was like
      ‘Hmm, somebody has been being playing MGS I see.’ All it needed was David Hayter and a snow mobile.
      ..actually it really needed David Hayter and a snow mobile, that would have been great.

  4. Rao Dao Zao says:

    “Since we were rebooting we needed to almost treat it as a new IP”

    “Since we were rebooting”

    “rebooting”

    • thegooseking says:

      It’s a reboot in a business sense, not a fiction sense. The idea is that retailers didn’t care about the history of the Deus Ex franchise because it was so long ago; as far as they were concerned, it was as good as (or, more correctly, as bad as) a new IP.

      Actually though, what would have made better business sense would have been to release a Deus Ex Anniversary like they did with Tomb Raider, and then release Human Revolution on the back of the buzz generated by that.

    • LionsPhil says:

      This “rebooting” fetish is infuriating.

      At least they gave this one a distinct name.

    • P7uen says:

      It was clearly a reimaginequel

    • 2late2die says:

      @thegooseking Exactly what I was thinking as well. They completely missed an opportunity to generate some extra buzz for the new game and introduce the world and the fiction to a new generation of fans. Not to mention that while there are mods to improve the original’s graphics fidelity (UI adjustment, higher res. support etc.) it would’ve been nice to get an official version with all those fixes baked in.

    • Daiv says:

      Quick! Somebody trademark the word “preboot”!

    • Wisq says:

      Frankly, it was a bit of a reboot in terms of the fictional setting, not just in business terms.

      At first glance, it’s just a sequel, but then you see things like DXHR having created a fully functional AI when DX1 was only dabbling in that technology … or the DXHR weapons being more advanced than the DX1 ones … or Jensen being far more capable than your mech-aug co-workers in DX1. Etc.

      Trying to stay strictly within the universe laid out by DX1/2 (to the exclusion of all the above) would have been detrimental to the game, so the “reboot” notion gave them the freedom to do all that. In the end, they did manage to create something that linked in well with the prior games, even if it created some anachronisms.

  5. Zaphid says:

    I hope they make a sequel and it’s going to be like AssCreed 2, improved all around. The game deserves that.

  6. linkster says:

    I never even got to the boss battles. Am very reluctantly abandoning this, it’s been an almost joyless experience so far (highlight: “You’re late? Get stuck in an air vent?”

    It suffers from the same problem as Invisible War, although on reflection I must have preferred that as at least I finished it.

    Remember the original? Dumped on a dock, all Manhattan before you, speedboats, weird tramps, statue of liberty, ED-209? Bewildering but bewitching.

    Fast forward 12 years and what do I get as an intro? Corridor based clone of any number of shooters. Sense of exploration? Zero – the “joke” about air vents backfired horribly. Electrified water? Seriously?

    It feels tiny, the story & characters on a par with Halo 2, & I can’t waste another minute on it. Gutted.

    • Xocrates says:

      Did you even get to the Detroit hub?

    • Inigo says:

      Electrified water? Seriously?

      Just like Deus Ex 1, then?

    • food says:

      A shameful post from a shameful gamer.

    • Jazz42 says:

      Halo 2?
      ouch

    • mrjackspade says:

      You pillock, you didn’t even play past the intro/tutorial mission, did you :/.

    • Deano2099 says:

      That’s a shame as it gets so much better when you get out to Detroit. But yes, it starts off fairly contained, presumably to slowly introduce people used to linear action games to the concept.

      Like you said, the first level of Deus Ex was bewildering. That’s not good game design.

    • linkster says:

      Yeah, I’m making it all up just to annoy :/

      I’ve just got to the bit where I have to sneak into Trampsville or whatever it is called. That was after a hugely frustrating escape from the police station which managed to get me stuck in a loop getting shot outside teh front door.

      Should I be enjoying it by now? I kept hoping the ‘hub’ was still to come but I guess I’ve seen it, and either I have a ridiculously rose tinted view of the original, or whoever made this just doesn’t get what made it so great.

    • westyfield says:

      Could one perhaps say… ‘what a shame’?

    • Ankheg says:

      He never asked for this.

    • linkster says:

      I wish it were non linear but it isn’t, as far as I can tell, when every single option is so blatantly signposted.

      The point about hand holding gamers is sadly probably correct but what I don’t get is if you are going to introduce people to a new concept, why instead spend time forcing them through learning 3rd person cover / shoot mechanics they’ll have seen countless times before?

      I take the point about the original being off putting to some people, but it still appealed to enough to be allowed a true successor that asks for similar levels of investment from the player?

    • bill says:

      Now come on, the first level of the original Deus Ex was an awesome level!

      I understand why they felt the need to go with “linear intro level to ease in new players” but that doesn’t mean Deus Ex 1′s approach of “open playing field to make an impression and set the scene for what this whole game is about” is bad.

    • Xocrates says:

      @linkster: While I can understand you not really enjoying the game that much, I do believe that you both have a very rose tinted view on the original AND are missing a lot on the new one.

      While the original was less linear than this one, it was marginally so. What’s more, the “hubs” in the original are a joke compared to the ones in HR.

      Also: “after a hugely frustrating escape from the police station which managed to get me stuck in a loop getting shot outside teh front door”

      There are 3-4 ways in and out of the Police station, one of them causes the Police to never aggro on you. The above described event seems a result of you screwing up, badly, than a problem with the game. So in a way it amuses me you complain about the game’s linearity but then appear to proceed with the least optimal solution.

      Also also: “if you are going to introduce people to a new concept, why instead spend time forcing them through learning 3rd person cover / shoot mechanics they’ll have seen countless times before?”

      Have they? You sure?

      As a developer, you cannot assume the player has even played game in the past, since everyone has to start somewhere. Sure, I know this is annoying to “veteran” gamers, but it’s more or less a design necessity.

    • linkster says:

      Screwing up badly? As far as I can remember, I yawned my way through the level (hide in vent, pick of guards, repeat), found the dude with the neuro transmitter, and then an alarm went off which never stopped. When I realised I could reach the front door I wasn’t really enjoying it enough or immersed to bother doing anything else so I legged it, only to find the city police waiting to blow my head off. It sounds far more amusing than it actually is, and that’s basically my point – there’s nothing about it that seems worth the effort. Can you name me one thing in this game I haven’t experienced before, probably done better, in another game?

      Like I said earlier about the ‘training’ level, yes I think it’s nonsense and publisher pressure (to maximise sales owing to some ludicrous view of the average gamer – how the hell did arcades ever get popular if people are so stupid?) to ensure the opening sections are idiot proof, like so many things in game design most developers are forced to just follow the herd but it doesn’t make it right.

    • food says:

      You’re really not making yourself look good here.

    • Magnetude says:

      You pulled a frontal assault on a building full of armed police, an alarm went off when one of their bodies was found, then you left through the front door and got killed by the guard that you would have seen standing there when you went in. That’s what happened.

      You know you could have talked your way down there and not have to sneak or assault, or snuck in via at least 3 different routes.

      Edit: This all undermines your point that games shouldn’t hold your hand.

    • Xocrates says:

      Legging it, on an hostile environment, resulting in getting shot in the face, isn’t screwing up badly?

      “Can you name me one thing in this game I haven’t experienced before, probably done better, in another game? ”

      Personally, I was hugely fond of the dialogue “duels”, and that’s not something I ever recall seeing done either often or better before. Of course, give that you either ignored or screwed up one of them, you might not even have noticed it.

      But ultimately the problem is this: You hate the game and given how little you played of it you either set out to hate it or had absurdly high standards that had nothing to do with either this or the original. It IS a very good game, done quite well, this does not mean you have to like it, but your arguments against it feel… weak at best.

      Also: “how the hell did arcades ever get popular if people are so stupid?”

      Yes, I have no idea how people can figure out how to play Pacman on their own, but not Deus Ex.

    • linkster says:

      It wasn’t a frontal assault. I first went in via the roof, and later returned as a level 3 hacker via the sewer. I also had the Influence augmentation but once in there people were only interested in shooting me. I also never, ever killed anyone.

      I simply decided to try and leave via the front door, but that was when random never ending alarm went off.

    • linkster says:

      @Xocrates You don’t have to be patronising (dialogue duels = KOTOR) or come out with nonsense like I spent £40 on a game just to hate it, it’s boring. Yes I probably did have expectations that were too high. Fallout was a massive world but had that RPG staple of ‘grinding’ that I always admired the original DE for sidestepping. Assassin’s Creed engine made me imagine a DE world that felt alive but with gameplay that didn’t really appeal to me. I always hoped the new DE would tkae what they had achieved and add that sense of direct cause and effect.. What Human Evolution turned out to be, for me at any rate, was lacking in any sense of new experience. Yes, mechnically it felt polished, much more so than the original, but utterly without imagination.

    • Ultra Superior says:

      LINKSTER

      For god’s and your sake: Play the game. You’ll change your mind.

    • Magnetude says:

      Well, load a previous save and try it a different way I guess. It’s a shame you didn’t have fun with it, but it sounds like your frustration with the game fed into itself – you found a bug/flaw which caused you to make a certain decision, which caused you to run into more flaws.

      That’s the danger of games that give you freedom, that you’ll hit upon the absolute worst approach by bad luck. I hope you can manage to find the fun eventually, because it’s a really enjoyable game, but it is one you have to approach in a certain way or it will punish you a little.

      Edit: If you had the social aug, why not just talk your way down there?

    • linkster says:

      @Magnetude It was frustrating because it felt that as cautious as I’d been up until that point, I still don’t understand what the trigger point that lead them all to turn on me was. I wasn’t stuck for long – I simply zig zagged for a street or two and made it to my apartment when miraculously all was forgiven …

      It’s directly after that point I’ve decided I just can’t stick it any more. I’d love to think I’m going to read something to make me change my mind but that’s probably not going to happen

      Re. social aug, I went in through the roof, everybody who saw me thereafter wanted to kill me.

    • reticulate says:

      Uh, dude, you can turn off the alarm panels.

      So I’m not surprised, failing to turn off said alarms, that suddenly every Detroit PD officer in a square mile decided to shoot at you.

      Major fucking fail on your part.

      Edit: Furthermore, close inspection would show that there’s a section of air duct in the police station that has laser trip beams. If you ended up in a spot with zomg lots of guns and alarms blaring, you just entered the armoury.

    • Jazz42 says:

      He doesn’t actually need to like the game, you know?

    • linkster says:

      @reticulate er, up until that point, every alarm had ended after a few minutes of staying hidden. your explanation makes even less sense than what I had assumed, which was just getting the neuro implant meant a forced GTA style escape. You’re saying that, for no logical reason, this alarm was special and needed to be manually turned off and then everything across the city would be forgotten? And I’m a fail? OK.

    • Magnetude says:

      The lobby’s a public area, so if you go through the front and talk to the guy at the desk you can convince him to let you go through without hassle. This is what I mean about freedom in games sometimes just giving you rope to hang yourself with – it’s not massively obvious that you’re not able to use the social aug if you go in via the roof. Also, your infinite alarm problem was probably because the guards change their routes when they’re alarmed, causing them to find more bodies and set off the alarm again… I dont know. Hope you get on with it better next time you have a go!

    • Xocrates says:

      @inkster: “You don’t have to be patronising (dialogue duels = KOTOR) or come out with nonsense like I spent £40 on a game just to hate it, it’s boring.”

      Do not misinterpret me. I never said that you spent 40£ on a game to hate it, what I meant was that you either bought it expecting to hate it (but hoping not to) OR had absurdly high expectations which is CLEARLY the case.

      I also pointed out that YOU DON’T NEED TO LIKE THE GAME, but arguing against it on the basis of the tutorial and a mission that went poorly (or bugged out, which I find unlikely in those circumstances) is, at the lack of a better term, annoying.

      Regarding the “dialogue duels”, I named one feature that I’ve rarely seen, and never done better. Does KOTOR does it better? I wouldn’t know, because I personally couldn’t stand that games past the first couple hours. Curiously enough, I have no complaints about that game, it just wasn’t my thing.

    • linkster says:

      @Magnetude yeah on reflection I wish I had just gone in the front door; that would have felt quite satisfying if I could just have blagged my way through. But yeah it’s a shame it somehow “knows” I shouldn’t be there because I took the trouble to find an alternate route

    • JackShandy says:

      On the dialogue duels; You might not have realized it but Human Revolution’s are randomly mixed to come out differently each time, so they’ve got at least one thing over KOTOR.

    • Xocrates says:

      @linkster: Actually, it doesn’t “somehow knows” you’re not supposed to be there. By default you’re not supposed to be there, and you’re told explicitly this if you go through the front door, which is why you need to convince someone to let you in so that they don’t shoot you.

    • reticulate says:

      Ok, so you didn’t know said alarm panels existed. They’re a thing you’ll find throughout the game from now on. If you find an alarm going off, there’s usually a panel with a handprint-sorta thing on a wall somewhere that you can turn off. If there’s guys looking for you, and you can spare the time, I’d suggest hacking them to turn them off permanently.

      This is different from NPC’s being “Alarmed”, which is generally just a cooldown timer as long as you stay out of sight and said alarm panels aren’t triggered or dead bodies aren’t everywhere.

    • Shooop says:

      Uh, linkster? It’s kind of logical that people wouldn’t be in the mood to chat with you if you snuck into a building they had on lock-down. Something about terrorism and all that.

      Try talking to the man at the front desk instead, tell him what he wants to hear and you’ll get a very different result.

    • linkster says:

      @reticulate No I knew the panels were there, in fact I had used them previously (I think you’re forced to at one point). Anyway, it makes no odds any more, the escape was just a post script to a mission where I just found myself crouching in vents inching my way through rooms hacking computers and not quite feeling it was worth the effort.

      Genuine question cos I can’t remember exactly – in the orignal, if you had a weapon armed, people reacted, but if you didn’t they stayed calm. Right? Does the sequel make this distinction?

    • JackShandy says:

      What do you mean by “armed”?

      If you talk to NPC’s with a weapon drawn, they’ll say something about it and refuse to talk to you.

    • Soon says:

      Actually, I’m finding much of it pretty boring too, although ennui set in significantly later than for linkster. I want to get through it, but can’t play for any extended amount of time. I prefer stealth, but it’s not very creatively set up and in generally dull environments. Everything seems so deliberate and artificial to allow you to pass easily. And if I turn to guns, then everybody is dead with a bullet to the head within a few minutes, leaving me on an empty level. I definitely prefer the hubs to the missions, and it could be nice to see them expand that into becoming more of the game itself. More-like-but-not GTA style, perhaps.

      A positive impression overall, despite what it sounds like. But it it does seem to drag.

    • Bart Stewart says:

      Good interview.

      I finished DXHR a few days ago and generally enjoyed it. I don’t think it quite captured the brilliance of Looking Glass games, but as that wasn’t a design goal it can be forgiven.

      As to whether it captured the feel of DX and/or DX:IW… mixed bag, I think.
      Mechanics-wise, I think it certainly tried hard — harder than pretty much any other game, at least, which isn’t nothing. (Although Eric Schwarz makes a great point at http://www.gamasutra.com/blogs/EricSchwarz/20110911/8406/Deus_Ex_Human_Revolution_design_analysis.php that replacing DX’s hard-coded aug canisters with an augment-anything-anytime XP-based character leveling mechanic lost some important benefits.) And I also found the boss battles frustrating (who did they use as playtesters?), but I coped. Also, despite having the CASIE aug, the cop at the front desk never let me use it on him — he only said “I can’t talk to you now, come back later.” So forced entry with aggro (hmm — that doesn’t sound right!) was my only option.

      All that said, I think linkster is not wrong to say that DXHR felt “small.” A big part of why Invisible War was less fun for me than the original was that the levels felt much more cramped — presumably one of the numerous concessions to “consolization.”

      The “hub” levels of DXHR weren’t smaller in total space than those of the original game. In fact, I think Hengsha was (overall) larger than DX’s Hong Kong. But they did *feel* smaller. I never got the sense of playing in a large, open space in DXHR that I got from DX (in, say, the base leading to where the ship was docked). I could see Detroit from the Sarif elevator, and I could see bits of upper Hengsha, but I couldn’t play there. Through most of DXHR, Adam’s body felt “large” compared to his surroundings. I missed the feel I got in Deus Ex — but missing in Invisible War — of “I can see a long way off, and I can go there.”

      Despite relatively larger areas, DXHR still felt Invisible War-smallish. I missed that aspect of DX here. Mechanics matter, but so does the feel of the world, and in that respect DXHR didn’t quite live up to my hopes.

      It certainly exceeded my expectations, though. Damn good game.

    • BirdsUseStars says:

      I guess you just can’t please everyone.

    • Imbecile says:

      I guess rose tinted specs. Its not quite on a par with the original, but in terms of gameplay style it is almost identical. Detroit is a nicely sized hub, and there are plenty of side missions and different ways to do things. If its doing nothing for you then – you changed, man!

      Edit: Yep some guys wont speak to you, or do business if you are armed.

    • Tarn says:

      Just a quick note – the original Deus Ex also had a linear opening mission, in the form of the tutorial. It was still part of the story, and was very much A-to-B and teaching you the mechanics. The only difference is that it was a separate load from the main menu, even though chronologically it fit right into the start of the main game.

      So De:HR doesn’t hand-hold people any more than the original, in that regard, with its opening tutorial levels. The only difference is that in the last 10 years of game design the ‘tutorial’ segment of a game has been brought into the start of the main game, rather than being a standalone piece.

  7. brkl says:

    Jensen has so much more personality without those dark glasses. I wish it there had been a ‘dark glasses’ button.

    • Gundrea says:

      They’re a shield for him. The moment when they slide back is all the more poignant for the vulnerability it reveals.

    • Ultra Superior says:

      @ Gundera

      Brilliant :D

    • Salt says:

      ..and then so quickly slide out again.

      Oh Megan, why did you have to break his carbon-fibre heart?

  8. GreatUncleBaal says:

    I know enough has probably been said on the boss fights already, but it wasn’t just that I had to adjust to a different mindset for the fights themselves that I found frustrating – it was the fact that I had to alter the way I played the entire game. On a non-lethal playthrough, I ended up carrying half a tonne of lethal weaponry that I had no intention of using for the rest of the game, just in case a boss fight was around the next corner.
    Every time I found something like a laser or other power weapon, I’d be thinking “oh crap, that means I’ve got another fight coming up, better pick this up”.
    I’ve gotten to what I think may be the final boss fight, and I just couldn’t face playing it. I exited the game and don’t feel particularly like going back to it just yet. I’m sure a lethal playthrough will make for a better experience, but I can’t help but feel that is missing the point a bit.
    And if none of their playtesters felt the fights were frustrating, I’m a little surprised.

    • LionsPhil says:

      Hypothesis: their playtesters were all conventional manshoot fans.

    • CMaster says:

      @Lionsphil
      Wouldn’t they, then, have higher expectations for boss fights? Interesting attack patterns, useful cover for the player, the chance to actually have a shootout with the boss (I was playing on “Give me Deus Ex” difficulty, but being hit by most of the bosses at all meant death). Instead what we got was a big room with lots of guns stuffed in cupboards for each fight. Who the hell fills a computer server room with cabinets full of guns and explosives?

    • Dominic White says:

      Even as a stealth-centric character, I found all the boss fights piss-easy, at least on Normal. There’s almost always some kind of arena gimmick, and I always liked to keep a well-stocked lethal weapon ‘just in case’.

      If you’re not carrying around any kind of conventional gun, then you’re going to get wrecked, but given that the game practically forces gear on you in the run-up to each fight, it’s no big deal.

      I think the mistake they made was naming Hard mode ‘Give Me Deus Ex’, when even Deus Ex gave you the ability to soak up a few hits before you died.

      The game gives you choice and freedom, but it also gives you just enough rope to hang yourself if you’re really stubborn and refuse to arm yourself at all.

    • CMaster says:

      @Dominic White
      On realistic, the original game had headshots being (almost?) universally lethal. As in, any bullet, even the low damage assault gun rounds that clipped either your head or that of an enemy would drop them. You could mitigate this with augs, of course. But early on, you could find yourself dropping dead just walking past one of the hells kitchen firefights. Encouraged caution. Of course, most people didn’t play DX on “Realistic”, at least not first time through.

    • Dominic White says:

      Exactly my point – Realistic in the original was the ‘sadistically unfair’ difficulty level. It wasn’t the recommended setting for the original Deus Ex, so the labelling of Hard mode as ‘Give Me Deus Ex’ is rather misleading, and probably led to a lot of people being very frustrated, because the game is obviously balanced with Normal mode in mind.

    • reticulate says:

      I discovered that stun gun ammo and emp grenades are your friends, generally, but for boss fights specifically.

      For my first playthrough, I had the stun gun, silenced/etc pistol, explosive revolver and picked up a combat rifle late on that I didn’t really use. The big issue for me was energy consumables. They seem to be either far better hidden or simply lacking late game.

    • Jason Moyer says:

      Every boss fight in a nutshell:

      cutscene
      hit the boss repeatedly with the stun gun, both damaging and stun locking him/her
      cutscene

  9. linkster says:

    Yes I got to Detroit, hence the water comment. Case in point – sent to policeman (X marks the spot …), go to lockup, move crate, open door – side quest done. Yawn.

    Inigo – yes it’s JUST like Deus Ex 1 but I can’t say I wanted to wait all this time for the same experiences. After Fallout, and Assassin’s Creed, I’ve got used to worlds feeling a certain way. If DE justified itself through imagination and great use of mission design I could totally forgive it but it just doesn’t.

  10. Tsang says:

    The problem with boss fights is not only that they forced users to change their play style midway, but the bosses were never fully introduced and made part of the whole story other than a brief clip of them in the prologue. In Deus Ex, the “bosses” were part of the story, they were characters you got to know over time.

    With Deus Ex Human Revolution, people refer to them as “Boss 2″ or “Boss 3.” Most people cannot even name the last two major bosses. It may seem minor to some, but this is one of the things that really bugged me throughout the game and ruined the feel to some degree.

    • linkster says:

      Killing Gunther with the magic word was a simply awesome moment. Especially talking to guy at work next day who had to do it the hard way :) :)

    • LionsPhil says:

      Poor Gunther. “I AM NOT A MACHI—”

      Emphasis on “poor”. Nicely-written tragic-but-not-helpless character, he.

    • Wang Tang says:

      Yeah, this bugged me the most as well. The boss fights were frustrating (at least until I watched a Youtube video, after 30-ish failed attempts), but that the bosses never really got introduced into the story felt a little off.

    • Shazbut says:

      For me, Yelena in particular (I did have to think about her name so you’re right) seemed poised from the beginning to be such an awesome character. She was amazingly designed, like some beautiful psychopath with robotic horse legs. The fact she was supposed to be mute as well just made it more interesting. And then your only interaction with her lasts a few minutes and is mostly spent trying to avoid her.

    • qrter says:

      I’ve completely missed the fact that she was mute, is that in some e-mail somewhere?

      I just remember being amazed/apalled that she didn’t even say anything before our stupid fight began.

    • JackShandy says:

      Here are my personal rules for a good boss confrontation:

      1. The player should give a shit. You don’t give a shit about Barret, and he isn’t trying to attack anything you do give a shit about (What was he even doing- leaving?). Because the game has quickloads you barely even give a shit about dying.
      2. The player should have to use every skill they’ve used so far to the best of their ability. Human Revolution trains you to dispatch a load of guys really efficiently, then locks you in a room with a single target. Learn a totally unrelated set of skills or die.
      3. Deus Ex specific one; The player should be able to take the coward route and just avoid the confrontation. If they do, something bad happens as a consequence. You run away from Barret, he blows up half of Detroit.

      The worst thing is, Human Revolution later proves it knows exactly how to do those things.

    • Zenicetus says:

      I think you were supposed to give a shit about the boss fights because the first 3 were the merc team that led the big attack on Sarif Industries that killed the scientists, and left you in your current transformed state. I role-played that for the first fight with Barrett (“you’ll pay for what you did” etc.).

      By the time you get to the other two mercs though, the story is more complicated and it drains a lot of that motivation. They definitely could have used a better build-up, and more time to appreciate the character modeling if nothing else. The pacing was just off.

  11. SpinalJack says:

    Hacked robot would have been nice but also interactive objects in the scene like a load of pipes you can drop on them to trap them so you wouldn’t have to kill them or a key phrase you can learn from conversations that would either distract them or convince them not to stop you. Like for instance point out that they were being used by their boss or that they’re being black mailed.

  12. Lugg says:

    What’s once again glaringly obvious from his answer to the question about endings is that western developers (be they of the movie, series or game flavour) really have no idea how to properly end a story. That’s flawed priorities right there! The ending has to be, deserves to be the best part of the entire experience! It’s the one thing you’ll remember most as you turn around and walk away; or indeed, as you keep sitting there, not wanting to walk away.

    With this game, when it came to the room with the buttons, I just couldn’t help but shake my head how they could have been this insensitive. Seriously? And even give me a chance to save the game beforehand? Was everything I did until then, every choice I’ve made worth so little, that it can all be undone by pressing a different button? It was an experience that was disappointing to the extreme.

    • bill says:

      I may be misinterpreting, but by saying “western” you imply that eastern developers are good at ending stories?

      Can’t say I play many japanese games these days, as they tend to be terrible at gameplay, but I don’t remember their games having any better endings… just more cinematics. And Japanese animation tends to have great build up to horribly anti-climactic endings.

      From interviews with game writers, the problem with game development seems to be that you often don’t know what will make it into the final game – you don’t know what levels will be cut and what story points will be cut with them. This is much less of an issue with books or movies or tv shows.

      There’s also the point that very few gamers will actually see your ending, so it makes sense to focus on the intro more than the ending… which explains why most games lose it in the final 3rd.

    • Lugg says:

      Yes, that’s what I meant. But fair enough, I probably idealize the few endings (e.g. of various anime/drama) that I remember fondly. Sure there’s horrible trash as well, but in general I remember animes to be better at handling their story arcs.

      But take the western TV industry’s obsession with cliffhangers, for example. Done well, they can enrich a proper ending to a storyline… but most often, they’re only employed to make you come back for the next fix, never providing any sort of closure, leading to the whole experience becoming disjointed after it lost it’s initial thrust.

      I would also argue that it doesn’t make sense to use “most gamers won’t see this” as the only criterion for what parts of a game deserve attention. You may be right that this is why beginnings (which are definitely at least as important as endings) get more attention… but I think that’s really a case of wrongly placed priorities.
      Beginning and ending are the two most important parts of any story – everything in between just connects the two. Yeah, it should connect them well, otherwise we won’t enjoy the trip… but to stick with the analogy, if the beginning is the point of origin of our journey through the story, the ending is its destination – and a bad ending can make the whole process of walking the distance seem meaningless and devalue all the work we put in to get there.

      And that is how I felt when I had finished DXHR. Which is a real shame, because the whole journey was quite exciting for the most part! So why did the ending have to go and ruin it all?

    • Milky1985 says:

      “but I don’t remember their games having any better endings… just more cinematics.”

      From personal experience of the games i play japanese made RPG’s tend to actually end, they sometimes hint at something else happening but the core story has ended and the threads all tiedup (theres always a couple of minor threads here and there but on the whoel the storyline is tied up). This can cause issues with sequals as tehy ahve to be bolted on in wierd ways sometimes.

      The Western obsession with choice (and the publisher obsession with making sure theres a opening for a sequal) can mean that the endings don’t close, they still leave massive plot lines open.
      The FF games tend to end because each game is in a standalone world (only FF game with a hint that something else will happen after the end is FF10 AFAIK, and Last Remnent ended but hinted at a last remnent 2 (and that game better sodding happen)), but some other games leave it open so they can get a easy sequal in the same world.

      you can do this without the “obvious” sequal, the ending of the newest torchwood series is an example imo of a bad way to do the next series setup, its so sodding obvious.

      I think the best example of bad endings would be the crysis series, as both main series games ahve “ended” by saying the fights not finished yet. Sorry but if your ending is saying that then thats not an end, you have stoped the game half way through!!

    • food says:

      How do you ‘close’ a story if the sequel was made ten years ago?

    • LionsPhil says:

      By ignoring the sequels. This is a reboot to reinvigorate a dead, obsolete franchise for a new generation of AAA game product consumers; the events of DX1 and 2 can be explicitly rendered null and void.

    • food says:

      So by insulting the fanbase? Turning knives on your source material for a bit of the filthy lucre?

      A bold choice.

    • LionsPhil says:

      So by insulting the fanbase? Turning knives on your source material for a bit of the filthy lucre?

      Yes; like I said, a reboot.

    • grundus says:

      I would just summarise and say no one really know how to end a story. The ending is a difficult thing to do, and frankly, DXHR’s ending was far from the worst ending I’ve ever seen. Borderlands might be the single worst ending for a game I’ve ever seen, in that it doesn’t actually end. Fallout 3′s ending was bad enough for them to need to release a DLC to fix it, but I’m wondering if that was the plan all along. I am a massive MGS fan, though, so the FMV (there’s an abbreviation I haven’t used in a while) endings for HR weren’t so bad in my opinion, I quite liked them. I was disappointed the endings were literally a multiple choice deal, but I won’t let it ruin my enjoyment of the rest of the game, in the same way that the boss fights were disappointing so I kind of glaze over them, in fact I might even use that mod’s invincibility option next time I play through. After all, once you know how it ends, playing the game is about playing it, not experiencing it. You might do a no augs run (and die frequently), a pistol only run, 0 alerts/kills, etc, but you’d have to be mad to play through it twice in, say, two months and watch every cutscene again.

      That’s how I see it, anyway.

      Edit: Surely it’s far, far easier to write the ending of a prequel given that you know where things must go from there?

    • food says:

      If the devs know it doesn’t end and the player knows it doesn’t end, then it’s just a cut-off point as others have mentioned. We’re left with something of a false choice as the narrative demands continuance. While the introspective can feel underwhelming and the definitely missed the ball by not mentioning the supporting cast, like Prickford (yes, Prickford), Malik et al. further into Adam’s character was really the only place to go.

      That being said, I did enjoy them to a point, especially the Sarif one. Reminded me of Slim Charles’ line from the Wire. “If it’s a lie, then you fight on that lie, but you gotta fight.”

      For what it’s worth, Deus Ex is pretty much all about terrible endings. Cliched or unfulfilling. It’s a staple of the series. Well… aside from the Omar, that one ruled.

    • Mirqy says:

      I think it would do an enormous disservice to the objectives of a game like deus ex to have an ending that ties up every detail neatly. The point of the story and the gameplay is that things aren’t neat and simple. Having an ending that says ‘this is what I chose, hope it works out’ is as good as anyone in that world should be able to expect. I enjoyed my ending for the openness it presented.

    • JackShandy says:

      All choice-and-consequence game endings boil down to a multiple choice question eventually. Is it really so important to give the illusion otherwise?

    • Rinox says:

      @ JackShandy

      In its very barest essence, perhaps, but what about for example The Witcher 2? The ending is largely determined by quite a few decisions and factors you make hours and hours before the actual finale, without knowing what’s to come precisely. There’s very little you can still ‘choose’ once you get there. So I wouldn’t say that it always comes down to a concealed multiple choice thingie. At least, not in the games that have an ambition to be more than just a ‘choose your own adventure’ simulator.

    • LionsPhil says:

      “All games with simulated mechanics boil down to a maths eventually. Is it really so important to give the illusion otherwise?”

      @Mirqy: Did you finish the first two DX games? Both have endings which go into the repurcussions of your actions. There is some degree of uncertainty (particularly in the original’s Tong and Illuminati endings), and it might not always be what you expect (IW’s Renegade ending), but they draw that chapter of history to a close and show the opening of the next one. They are big, impactful events.

    • Wisq says:

      And at least DX1′s endings required that you decide to ally with a particular person (rather than just sending their message), and that you do a little legwork to make it happen (rather than pressing a button).

      I still think the DX1 endings could have split a lot sooner. It would be cool if you spent a good portion of the game perhaps doing the same “core” missions in the same locations (to save on budget) but with little secondary objectives that further your chosen party’s cause — or even just leaving the choice open and having the ending hinge on the secondary objectives you choose to complete.

      This whole “here’s the part on the last level where you save and choose what ending you want to see, then reload and try the others” thing (which DX1 is guilty of as well) has always struck me as being fundamentally lazy, not to mention reducing replay value. But at least DX1 split things up for the last 5% of the game or so.

      DX:HR’s split is literally at the 100% mark, since you choose your ending and watch it on the spot. It may as well be a museum exhibit where you press a button and watch a little video.

    • LionsPhil says:

      @Wisq: For all its faults, IW is closer to what you imagine there. Ultimately you can still sway to any ending right down to the last location, although depending on past actions throughout the game some parties may well be hostile toward you.

  13. reallyjoel says:

    Maybe you read the part about time-constraints.. They should have rather cut the bosses out all-together

  14. elnalter says:

    i got excited because someone mentioned blade runner

  15. Dana says:

    Imho the “endings” werent really endings at all. Ending gives a closure, we learned what happened to characters, to the world, what were the consequences of our actions.

    In DXHR we dont get any of that. We get main characters thoughts on his last choice, in the form of a movie.

    • Dawngreeter says:

      Endings aren’t meant to give closure. They might offer closure anyway (especially in cheap, disposable entertainment) but that’s not the purpose of the ending.

    • Lugg says:

      See two threads up for my thoughts on endings – closure doesn’t have to mean a happy end, but at least an end. DXHR doesn’t really end, it just stops.

    • Milky1985 says:

      Might want to look up the definition of closure, which is “bringing it to an end”, if the ending is not bringing closure its not an ending, its a cut off point.

    • Dawngreeter says:

      No, that’s not it at all. Closure, as related to narrative experiences, is a sense of completeness. It is contrasted by a certain restlessness of not knowing how things really turn out.

      Lars von Trier, for example, makes fun of disposable entertainment in his comedy The Boss of it All, in which the narrator explicitly states towards the end of the movie that the viewer will now be offered a sattisfying conclusion which brings closure so that he can leave the theater unburdened by the experience of watching the movie.

      In the context of Human Revolution, the endings make sense. The central theme of the game is, well, the human revolution. Augmentations and the way they relate to people, as presented through the protagonist we control. It is about what he does, what augmentations do to him and the ending is appropriately focused on what the conclusion of these internal changes, if any, turn out to be. The narrative is complete by knowing the protagonist’s state of mind. We are uncertain what he does with this state of mind. We are free to ponder. Which is why the narrative stays with us after the game is done.

    • Ultra Superior says:

      I don’t think the endings were bad, but I strongly felt like for some of the story lines they were really CUT OFF POINTS rather than endings.

      If you chose …spoiler… to collapse the plant and die – that is the only ending that is complete.

      The others….where is your CLOSURE with megan ? Your last words to her are – “We will talk, this is not over.”

      The game promises a closure and then – there is none.

    • Dana says:

      @Dawngreeter
      Thats very nice but I disagree. Endings either give closure to the storyline, or create the cliffhanger for the sequel.

      @Milky1985
      Exactly my point.

    • Dawngreeter says:

      You can disagree that the ending is good. That is valid, you are free to like what you like. You cannot disagree that the ending is an ending if it satisfies your imaginary criteria.

    • LionsPhil says:

      Look out lads, there’s another bloody artisté on the loose. The giveaway is the phrase “cheap, disposable entertainment”. DX:HR was just too deep for you.

    • Dawngreeter says:

      Human Revolution is hardly deep. But it does a good job of being deep-compatible.

    • KenTWOu says:

      @Lugg says: DXHR doesn’t really end, it just stops.

      Assassin’s Creed 1,2 just stops. AC:Brotherhood just stops. DE:HR really ends!

  16. snv says:

    So isnt there a mod or even patch to just cut the boss fights out?

    • Ultra Superior says:

      I don’t get this…. those hated bosses are so easy to beat – why would you bother installing a mod?

    • qrter says:

      Because something is easy for you, does not mean it is easy for everyone else, or even should be.

    • JackShandy says:

      You can use the stun gun to lock them in place permanently. I’d say that makes them qualitatively easy for anyone who can get up to them.

  17. RaveTurned says:

    Let the player outsource the boss fights? I like that idea. :)

  18. food says:

    There’s variation in the script that changes up somewhat. Non-lethal to slightly lethal Adam is happy about being a nice guy. Slightly more lethal to almost Predator Adam says something about balance and trying to do his best. Stab everyone in the nuts Adam mentions he’s kind of a jerk.

    It’s there but it’s subtle.

  19. Deano2099 says:

    The boss fights were out-sourced though, so I’m still confused. Did they explain the original concept to the guys they out-sourced them to or not?

  20. P7uen says:

    Well ok, you can say your playtesters feedback wasn’t in line with the general reaction, so why are you putting another boss in the DLC?

    This time you will have no-one to blame but yourself.

    • Ultra Superior says:

      There is a portion of the player base, me included, who DONT MIND boss battles.

      Bosses were in deus ex 1 and they are a fitting part of the story – powerful adversaries are important.
      Deus Ex is not just the pussy sim that you play.

    • John P says:

      Bosses were in deus ex 1 and they are a fitting part of the story

      Yeah okay let’s examine the differences.

      1. The ‘bosses’ in DX1 were familiar characters so there was meaning to and investment in the fights. The bosses in HR are complete strangers. It’s almost comical the fuss the game makes about people you know nothing about. It’s even more terrible that Eidos defended the boss fights by saying they were there for ‘story reasons’ — when in fact the bosses have no more impact on the story than the faceless grunts you kill without thought.

      2. The bosses in DX1 were defeatable by means other than combat. You could use a killswitch or simply avoid them.

      3. If you did fight the DX1 bosses they behaved like enemies you had faced up to that point, perhaps with an added cloaking ability. They weren’t Arena Battles with Dramatic Cutscenes, with the bosses running super fast or jumping over walls or throwing 3 grenades at a time at you, or other such rubbish.

      You can enjoy the fights if you want, but don’t excuse them by saying DX1 had them too. It’s clearly not the same thing.

    • JackShandy says:

      No-one’s suggesting that they liked HR’s boss battles; Ultra Superior is saying they think the idea of boss battles in a Deus Ex game is fine, and Dugas is saying they’re going to try and do them right this time.

    • Ultra Superior says:

      Ah.. John P and his obsessing about irrelevancies.

      1) You know nothing about? The guy that crippled you? The guy you think killed your girlfriend?
      People who were caught on tape murdering your coworkers? Um… people you were sent to investigate?

      2) These bosses are defeatable by plethora of means. There is no ‘merciful’ option and no laputan machine, but you can be creative and put your augs into good use.

      3) Ok. And this is wrong why?

      EDIT // what mr. Shandy said!

    • LionsPhil says:

      What John P said. Consistency of experience is kind of important for an immersive game.

    • John P says:

      And it’s not just me saying that. Here’s what Sheldon Pacotti (writer on Deus Ex 1) had to say about game characters many years ago:

      “For a character to really come alive in a game, he has to be integrated meaningfully into multiple maps and has to have more to do than lay out a mission objective.”

      So, you know, they can’t just put a gruff beefcake in a cutscene and expect the showdown with him to be Dramatically Emotional.

      Like I’ve said before, you could simply remove those boss characters from HR and change nothing else, and no one would notice anything missing. Because they are narratively useless.

    • Shooop says:

      There’s nothing wrong with having bosses you need to get around, the problem in the core game is you were extremely limited to how you could deal with them. Worst of all the game never even hinted you’d have to confront them head-on so you wouldn’t know to put some points into combat skills.

    • KenTWOu says:

      @John P says: …you could simply remove those boss characters from HR and change nothing else, and no one would notice anything missing. Because they are narratively useless.

      Isn’t it an exaggeration? Yes, it is.

      @Shooop says: …the problem in the core game is you were extremely limited to how you could deal with them.

      Actually, there are a lot of ways to get rid of them! For example, you could kill Jaron Namir with your bare hands or even using hacked turret.

    • Ultra Superior says:

      Nah. John P – Your recipe seems to be – just repeat the same motives over.

      Gunther Herman, Anna Navarre etc. were your former allies. You have chatted with them in first few levels etc. but that’s just a single model that is not applicable to every adversary character. Bob Page is in the first cutscene and then floating in the final bubble. Walt Simons has even less appearances before you encounter him.

      Besides there is plenty of background information on the Mercs – you just have to search for it. E-mails, reports etc.

      The clue hinting at the fact that Jamir might be in relationship with Megan is more dramatic and subtle than anything mr. Pacotti ever wrote about Walt Simons.

    • Zenicetus says:

      @John P: “The bosses in HR are complete strangers”

      The first three are the merc team that killed (as far as you know) your sweetheart and the other scientists, and tore you up, so you’re now in the current augmented state. The fourth boss is the invisible hand behind that operation. That’s a pretty strong motive for revenge. The flaw in the game is that this wasn’t developed explicitly enough as the motivation.

      The boss fight in the DLC could be better if you get to know that person, and you don’t have to jerk around your entire playing style until then, to defeat them.

      Also, it would be nice if it isn’t in a closed “arena” filled with tricks. That was one of the more annoying aspects of the boss fights. I think the DLC takes place on a ship, right? Imaging being able to traverse the whole ship during the boss fight, instead of being locked in a cabin somewhere for a final battle.

    • LionsPhil says:

      Bob Page is in the first cutscene and then floating in the final bubble. Walt Simons has even less appearances before you encounter him.

      When you say stupid things like this, you do yourself no favours. On the holoprojector in the meeting with Manderly. In the UNATCO prisoner holding area, where you can witness him executing disarmed prisoners. In infolink messages, e.g. when you broadcast the message for NSF and all the UNATCO troopers turn on you. I believe in another hologram message on a boat. Chatting troopers discuss his bloodless coup via FEMA.

      Page is more of a background figure, but he and his company appear throughout news articles in the whole game, and he begins to make a more personal appearance over infolinks/holocomms by the point you’re helping out X-51.

      And that’s just off the top of my head.

    • Ultra Superior says:

      LionsPhil – good point. Though the point I was trying to convey is, that this IS a different storyline, mercs are different kinds of characters (super-secret assassins ) and as such, it makes sense to me that they don’t make appearances in holoprojectors etc. When you see them, its because they want you dead. It suits them.

      And there is really a lot of information from belltower and TYM sources (not to mention omega farm) giving you background information on their identity.

    • John P says:

      It’s hilarious that people will defend this game even when the developers themselves admit to problems.

      The clue hinting at the fact that Jamir might be in relationship with Megan is more dramatic and subtle than anything mr. Pacotti ever wrote about Walt Simons.

      You cannot be serious. The whole Megan story was awful in so many ways. And the ‘clue’ comes after you’ve already killed the guy, so how the hell does that make the boss fight more meaningful?

      The narrative in HR is, by and large, terrible. It’s a measure of how awful storytelling in games is that people think it’s okay. Or maybe it’s just you, I don’t know.

      Gunther Herman, Anna Navarre etc. were your former allies. You have chatted with them in first few levels etc. but that’s just a single model that is not applicable to every adversary character.

      DX1: You knew who the characters were.

      HR: You don’t know who the characters are.

      I’m not talking about techniques for getting to know them. I’m talking about getting to know them, period. One of the bosses has zero lines of dialogue. We see her killing a guy early on, and that’s it. Oh but there’s one single email written by her. Wow, now we know so much about her! Great writing Eidos!

      Isn’t it an exaggeration? Yes, it is.

      No it’s not. Replace the boss characters with faceless grunts and the game will have the same amount of Drama and Emotion (i.e. barely any). That’s how characterless the bosses are.

    • Ultra Superior says:

      John P – ‘the clue’ is in the email scattered around omega farm/ Megan story is certainly NOT awful, it is just, sadly, unfinished.

      The boss without single line of dialogue – is mute (or at least willingly never speaks to anyone) in case you haven’t noticed.

      I love deus ex 1 and you obviously do too, but you should really switch off your rose-tinted nostalgia augmentation, because the storytelling in DX:HR is – though less charming – much more mature and well thought through.

  21. Magnetude says:

    “We also have a boss encounter which is more in line with what we were trying to achieve in the first place”

    My interest is piqued. The ambush parts of the game were great, and really allowed you to stealth or assault your way out in imaginative ways. If the boss fights were more in line with that – hell, if they were just a room full of bad guys looking for you while the boss stands on a plinth and laughs maniacally – they’d be great.

  22. Juan Carlo says:

    Good interview. Should have asked what’s up with the Ads, though.

  23. kikito says:

    “Because when we started we knew we were to go cross platform, but I said “fine, but the PC version cannot just be a console port””

    I’m willing to forfeit the frustrating boss fights just for that line over there. Looking forward to the boss-that-feels-like-Deus-Ex DLC. It might be the first DLC I ever buy.

    • Ultra Superior says:

      I’ll buy it too. This game deserves all the support we can show.

  24. Ultra Superior says:

    They MUST do the next DX installment. They must. They got it right and they just barely scratched the potential.

    In my perfect ideal world, DXHR outsells Diablo 3 and things start moving in the right direction.

  25. John P says:

    That was a very circuitous non-answer to the immersive sim question.

    So Thief 4 is a lost cause then.

    All hopes now rest with Dishonored.

    • KenTWOu says:

      If you didn’t notice that DE:HR is an immersive sim, it’s your problem.

    • ResonanceCascade says:

      It wasn’t an immersive sim, and the developer touched a bit on why in the interview. One of the most obvious reasons is the lack of interactivity. In Deus Ex and Invisible War, a much greater percentage of objects were interactive.

      There were also some annoying invisible walls — I even found a fence near the end that I wanted to get over to cleverly avoid a confrontation, but for no apparent reason it was walled off.

      It is a great game, but I keep telling people to expect something halfway between Bloodlines and Deus Ex, rather than something that just embodies DE wholeheartedly.

    • KenTWOu says:

      @ResonanceCascade
      If the game allows you to do this with its final boss, It’s an immersive sim!
      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=U8o-XmcqzN0

      Of course, there are a lot of other examples in the game. And lack of interactive objects and few invisible walls are just console limitations.

    • ResonanceCascade says:

      The lack of interactive objects and invisible walls were design choice that had little to do with consoles — (Invisible War did just fine with the physics on the original X-Box) though even if that were the case, it still means it’s not quite an immersive sim.

      They most likely decided to make a tiny percentage of objects interactive because it was a more focused gameplay design, since the player would always know which items would be useful. There’s something to be said for that idea, but it’s at odds with a lot of what makes these kinds of games fun.

      Take Crysis, for example. The ability to pick up (or at least shoot) every little odd and end in the game only directly added a little to the combat (mostly barrel-throwing), but it did allow me to arse around with the system, which resulted in a lot of fun by itself and allowed for some memorable emergent moments. The fact that a first person shooter out Deus Exed a Deus Ex game in that respect is kind of a bummer, and I would have liked to see more of it.

      Also, the invisible walls they used to block certain areas which were accessible through other means are just baffling. I can see blocking off the edges of the level to keep players from accidentally falling out of the geometry, but arbitrarily restricting a gameplay path in a game like this just because the player isn’t “supposed” to go that way is just bad design.

    • KenTWOu says:

      @ResonanceCascade says:
      The lack of interactive objects and invisible walls were design choice that had little to do with consoles… Take Crysis, for example…

      I get it. To prove your point of view you mentioned Crysis which is still a PC exclusive game and looks really terrible in its debute console trailer! : ) You know, If every object in DE:HR will be interactive, consoles can’t handle it. Yes, it is a design choice to make DE:HR not so small, ugly and claustrophobic like DE:IW. And all we know that DE:IW was a disaster.

      Here’s another example: if you take the best sim racing game ever made you will notice that it doesn’t simulate everything, because it’s still A GAME! The same thing with DE:HR (or Crysis, or even Deus Ex). You find few invisible walls, you can’t throw every object, but it doesn’t mean that this game isn’t an immersive sim.

      That’s why it’s silly that John P is trying to find indirect evidences of DE:HR lack of Immersiveness in developers’ answers. Instead of playing the game and saying that DE:HR isn’t really immersive enough just for him! However DE:HR has Immersiveness and has emergent moments!

      P.S: Sorry, if my english isn’t perfect : )

  26. reticulate says:

    I’m all for another Deus Ex.

    Like someone else mentioned, if they can do an Assassin’s Creed 2 with this franchise, it’ll be plastered with GOTY and loved forever. Learn well the lessons your friends over at Ubisoft did. Sometimes, despite all evidence to the contrary, what the Joe Public Gamer desires is actually a good thing.

  27. Wang Tang says:

    I didn’t feel the post-ending mocked me, but instead gave me another perspective: despite being augmented like a robot, and having made a though decision to tell the world everything, in the end it didn’t matter. I was just one of many guys who did not significantly change the flow of the world.

  28. Freud says:

    Thanks for this interview.

    I have to say I wasn’t that bothered with the boss fights since they were fairly easy to beat. The reason they stick out in a negative way is that they were a non-DE element in a very carefully crafted DE world. And at least they were augmented which might explain why they can take so damage (and no Alpha Protocol: being insane, Russian and a coke head does not mean you can take 20 bullets to the head and live).

  29. linkster says:

    snipped

  30. linkster says:

    I guess it’s the same then – I was walking through the streets passed all the punks and once drew a gun to see if they would do anything cos I recall in the original the response would be instant

    • LionsPhil says:

      Actually, I don’t remember NPCs in DX1 caring much at all if you had a weapon holstered or not. To the extent that you can draw one in the Hell’s Kitchen bar despite the “no weapons” sign.

    • QHF says:

      I was replaying the original yesterday and carelessly wandered into the Hell’s Kitchen bar pistol in hand. Jock killed me while I was still wondering why everyone was shouting.

      So I’m pretty sure DX1 NPCs do care.

    • LionsPhil says:

      Hmm, fair enough.

  31. Bantu says:

    Flatlander Woman

  32. Zogtee says:

    “The playtesters internally gave us a lot of good feedback for the game, and on the bosses they felt that the fights were entertaining and making you use what you had learned.”

    Fire those playtesters. Fire them from a fucking cannon.

    • Shooop says:

      They probably were testing only the boss fights so they had no idea how disjointed they were in context.

      It’s like how the ESRB does its ratings: they give people a video collage of the game’s most violent/explicit moments and ask them what they think. The industry is not run by actual gamers unfortunately.

  33. Judy says:

    Laputian machine.

  34. ChiefOfBeef says:

    “ok, you have to work on this piece for the next two months, and and only 30% of players are going to see that”. Most games have the philosophy of “if we spend money and time on something, all players must see that” and so that is a challenge aspect. There are hidden paths where you might see something if you go left, but miss what is on the right, and so on.”

    The finished product still partially had this problem: players are frequently saying they go back and go the different route to collect XP and that shouldn’t happen. The alternative routes are meant to be significant, with significant plot features along them that aren’t along the others. This is something I heard about this dev team early on and it scared me: this was simply a *fact* of RPGs and the team would have been fully prepared for it if they had played almost any RPG in the last fifteen years, or even just the original Deus Ex which they obviously didn’t.

    It still seems they haven’t learned and are trying to be dismissive of the very valid complaints about Human Revolution. Boss fights apparently the only thing they’re giving any ground on.

    It looks like if this series is to continue, it had better be given to a different and better team. I’m still doing a first careful playthrough to weigh it up and whilst it has its moments and is a much better than average game- it isn’t good enough. The current Metacritic score for the PC version is 89. I’m mid-way through the Montreal section and I’d so far give it that except knock 20 points off for the boss fights.

    A patch to remove or significantly change them is a priority at this point because Human Revolution so far has not had any significant events that encourage repeated playthroughs and the boss fights very strongly discourage them.

    • KenTWOu says:

      @ChiefOfBeef says:
      The current Metacritic score for the PC version is 89.

      Because they already knocked 11 points off for the boss fights! :-P

    • Berzee says:

      But really, I’ve spent about 10 minutes on boss fights on the hardest difficulty…while mildly annoying, I doubt they will discourage me from playing through again if I intend to. I’ll just save my stun gun darts like I did this time.

  35. Josh Brandt says:

    The people they outsourced to (in a story on RPS a couple of days ago) were shooter people, who weren’t at all familiar with Deus Ex and why it’s a big deal among certain PC gaming circles. So they said, “Okay, let’s test it with the shotgun, good, test it with the machine gun, good, okay, all done.” They didn’t, say, test it with a maxed-out hacking skill because they didn’t think that way. Thus, we got very shootery boss fights and your computer science major player character got his ass handed to him.

    What a shame.

  36. Ultra Superior says:

    wrong post

  37. jjs132 says:

    I took a hacked turret into the third boss fight (had to carry it virtually from the beginning of the level and down a couple of lifts), and after the cutscene, it was still there! This made me very happy at the time…

  38. wodin says:

    Blimey…when will RPS stop bleating on about this game…it wasn’t that good surely.

    • LionsPhil says:

      I, too, am furious that a PC gaming blog dare to post new post-mortem material on a major and recently released PC game. How could they?!

      Please, RPS, no more of this. Just repeat PR drone bleats about the next upcoming AAA manshoot. Games more than a week old are rubbish and not interesting at all.

    • Berzee says:

      I think it’s because they like this game.

    • wodin says:

      I was saying it tongue in cheek…though I’ve not known a game to have so many articles written about it on here.

    • RakeShark says:

      We could talk about Minecraft?

  39. Ultra-Humanite says:

    Blame the testers, typical.

  40. StingingVelvet says:

    I kind of want to demand another Deus Ex ASAP, but I know they are working on Thief now and damn if that isn’t just fine and dandy as well.

  41. Radiant says:

    What I want is somewhere to put all my stuff in a box so I don’t have to drop my LASER RIFLE in the middle of the street to pick up a fucking beer.

    If only the main character had somewhere to go rest and relax after work that had a ready made secret cubby hole I could put things in.

  42. Wang Tang says:

    Well, that was the one I’m referring to ;)

  43. Guhndahb says:

    That was a superb interview. Thanks, Jim. I liked the questions asked and the candor and detail with which they were answered.

  44. Daniel Is I says:

    My experience with the boss fights wasn’t a very difficult one. I had been playing through lethally until the point where I learned that nonlethal takedowns garner the most points, so I had an upgraded Combat Rifle to aid me.

    I have to admit, I’m in my second playthrough right now and I’m grabbing one Combat Rifle and fully upgrading it for the sole purpose of boss fights. Makes me feel dirty though, that I can’t deal with them nonlethally.

    I remember the first time I tried to use a takedown on a boss. It hurts.

  45. Pwnedge says:

    @jjs132 I did that too, that was great

  46. Muzman says:

    I wonder what outsourced horrors await us in Th4f (pron: “thorf”

  47. edit says:

    The ending options kind of annoyed me in the sense that I wanted to disclose the truth but without just accepting Darrow’s irrational actions\message and without the whole anti-technology stance that the entire ending video was about after making that choice. It didn’t even mention the people who were manipulating everything and misusing the technology, so it really gave me no closure whatsoever. Felt like rather a cop-out.

  48. Koozer says:

    I’m up to the silly cloaking woman, and I was very upset I couldn’t take the sentry gun with me I’d carried through the entire level. The only reason I haven’t finished HR yet is the bosses destroying all my enthusiasm.

  49. FRIENDLYUNIT says:

    “Dugas: No. Because when we started we knew we were to go cross platform, but I said “fine, but the PC version cannot just be a console port”.”

    I love you.