Deus Ex 3: It’s Like This

God bless Future Publishing’s bizarre self-cannibalisation. PC Zone might be currently carrying the world exclusive first Deus Ex 3 preview, but CVG has kindly summarised the most important bits for everyone to see. Hooway!

As widely speculated, it’s a prequel, which may mean the arguably over-exposed Denton lineage is left well alone. Or alternatively that its backstory is further filled in, as the protagonist’s forename ‘Adam’ is unlikely to have been one chosen lightly. Here’s the basic plot setup:

You’re cast as average joe Adam Jensen, who works as a private security officer at a technology lab specialising in biomechanical augmentations, a forerunner to the sort of nanotechnology shown in the original Deus Ex. One day the path of his life is unexpectedly altered as a team of black ops commandos break into his company’s HQ, and using a security plan from Jensen’s own hand, a mass slaughter ensues and the conspiracy begins.

Sure to start shouting matches and AIM accusations of “dumbed down” are the revelations that there’ll be a Halo-esque auto-heal system and that your combat prowess is more about marksmanship than stats. However, in a clarification email to Voodoo Extreme, Eidos Montreal confirmed the game’s definitely an RPG, replete with experience points. “The gameplay takes the form of a consequence-driven multi-path, multi-solution approach in a non-linear space” apparently, which seems to be a faintly tedious newspeak way of saying exactly what we do want to hear.

More details in the CVG story, but to see the screenshots (very pretty, apparently – a meld of renaissance and cyberpunk) you’ll need to pick up PC Zone.

75 Comments

  1. Theory says:

    The screens are out there, of course. You just need to know where to look

  2. yns88 says:

    Oh, so it’s multi-path, multi-solution, AND linear?

    Also, I’m guessing our average Joe Adam here will be getting mech-augments then? Wonder how they’ll flesh that out, considering the more augmentation you add the more unstable you’d become, not to mention the large amounts of surgery required per alteration.

  3. yns88 says:

    (wonder why I can’t edit my comment…)

    Anyway, so if that article is correct:

    – No combat stats, possibly no stats at all
    – No health management or body part health system
    – “Cover system” stealth. If I’m reading this right (GoW style cover) then this means much less option for sneakiness.

    And they say they aren’t going in the same direction as IW?

  4. yns88 says:

    Rather, I should say Mass Effect style cover. Christ, just let me edit or delete comments!

  5. Ben Abraham says:

    @Theory

    You sir, are a cad.

  6. Greg Wild says:

    I’m reserving any judgement on it so far. OK so the auto-heal on first glance sounds a bit too simplistic, but that’s not to say it can’t be linked in with the setting and RPG conventions does it? Think about it. You’re a frickin cyborg basically. Self-Repair sounds about right to me. As to (perhaps?) upgrades/stat points to improve it.

    Stealth mechanics could actually work well if it’s cover based. As much as a love Thief’s trademark shadow stealth, it was actually based on the idea that Garrett had some degree of Keeper know-how to blend with shadows. Putting that in other games is perhaps a little cheesy – time to opt for a more complex method maybe?

    The augs seem interesting to me. Some of DE’s were more than a little bland.

  7. Bite says:

    I find it interesting that “Adam” was the name of the protagonist in one of “Warren Spector’s proposals for the game which eventually became the first Deus Ex. You can read the whole thing .

    As for Deus Ex 3, they’ll probably add in some shtick about sacrificing your humanity as you acquire more biomechanical augmentations (by choice or not).

  8. Katsumoto (jvgp100) says:

    Hopefully if you put the right mech mods in you will end up looking something like Gunther Herman by the end of the game. Awesome. I’m also going to wait until we see a bit more until I get too disgusted and start screaming about dumbing down – the game is two years away yet says the PC Zone article so we shouldn’t be getting too excited just yet!

  9. Kadayi says:

    Tell me that’s not the font they are using, tell me it’s something KG came up with on an etch-a-sketch after a bottle of rum. Surely they can’t be using anything that abominable………

    * gouges eyes out at the typographical horror of it all

  10. yns88 says:

    Greg: There are certainly interesting ways to go about implementing a self-heal system; the original Halo’s health/armor system was half decent, and I rather like the Mass Effect “take one or two free shield shots” thing. Also, as for Self-Repair, DX did it with the healing augmentation. Sure it’s not “free” healing, but the energy to do that’s gotta come from somewhere.

    The Call of Duty one, however, limits every encounter to a binary outcome and the fact that you recover so quickly and die in so few shots leads to the enemy throwing lots of cheap shots at you. It’s great for if you want to play on Normal mode and just shoot stuff up, but CoD4 on Veteran is just a grenade-laden pain in the ass.

  11. okaru says:

    Don’t see why auto-heal isn’t compatible with RPG. If anyone is nerdraging over it they can just pretend it’s an elf ring of infinite healing.

  12. CrashT says:

    I’ve got the full article at it mentions, briefly, that there are skills but that they don’t affect combat.

    The way the cover is described in the article makes it sound like Rainbow Six: Vegas style, as the camera pulls back to 3rd person when you take cover.

    Also Hacking is described as a RTS style mini-game pitting the player against the mainframe. While it occurs you can still see the environment around you and watch for approaching guards.

    There’s a mention of NO Universal Ammo and a return to Inventory Management. Though they seem to understand that some of their other decisions will not make them very popular.

    Because there’s not direct skill based combat you’re improvements in combat are based on weapon modifications. Money seems to be fairly limited and you have to choose to spend it on Augmentations or Weapon Upgrades\Modifications. The impression I get is that you need to choose to focus on weapons inorder to be specifically skillful with them.

    They also explicitly reference the moment in Deus Ex where you are told off for enterting the women’s toilets and talk about how they want more little details like that.

  13. CrashT says:

    Hmm… No edit function… Just assume that I spelt everything correctly in my previous post and that the grammar is fine. ;)

  14. Koopa says:

    Auto-heal out-of-combat is fine. It’s the in-combat part that bugs me.

  15. Yhancik says:

    DSX1 might have given you the impression that fashion in 2050 hadn’t evolved that much.

    Actually, it clearly was some kind of early 00s revival following that Renaissance one in DSX3 ;)

    (shouldn’t it be called Deus Ex 0 ?)

  16. Greg Wild says:

    From my blog – link to gregwild.livejournal.com

    In Defense of Deus Ex 3…
    “Detailed” knowledge of Deus Ex 3 has been floating around the airwaves for but a matter of days, and already the elite are in uproar. It’s the first press details of Fallout 3 all over again. I consider myself part of the elite; those gamers who’ve been gaming for over a decade and a half at least, and constantly lament the good old days. And Deus Ex was probably part of the best old days by all means. But it’s time to move on. Deus Ex was brilliant, but not perfect. It was stunningly well designed, yet many design features are laughable by todays standards. It’s time to move on.

    What made Deus Ex great? For me it was the detailed, deep and all but realistic plot. It was about the excellent dialogue and thought provoking philosophy that drove its characters. It was the way you could fine-tune your character for any number of roles, from tanking in with a GEP gun, to hyper-pacifism. It was about the enormous variety of approaches to any one situation. It was about the trenchcoat and shades; future agent chique.

    And to me, from what little information we have, I do genuinely believe Deus Ex 3 is on track.

    From a gameplay perspective:

    Auto-Healing: Admittedly, I was shocked at first. Genuinely shocked. But think it through – you’re a frickin cyborg guys. Some form of auto-repair makes sense compared to magic health kits. And we know nothing about how it works otherwise – what’s to say that you can’t upgrade it via stats or augmentations. What if it’s simply just one of the ways you can customise your character?

    New stealth: Again, a little concerned at first. Honestly though, have you ever actually tried to use shadows in the name of stealth? It’s not really that easy. Moving quickly behind cover, or blending into your environment (by that I mean, the people around you). That’s real stealth. As big a fan I am of Thief, the shadow mechanic is basically unique to Thief – given Garrett is actually trained in the art of melding with shadows if you actually read into the backstory. It just doesn’t seem right in other games in my opinion. Especially the likes of Deus Ex with its claims to comparitive realism.

    The augmentations: They sound bloody fantastic. They are perfect additions to any cyborg secret agent’s armory. Personal bungee jump? Smashing through walls? I don’t know about any of you guys, but those are exactly the kinds of tools you’d want for alternative routes, snatch operations or avoiding fire fights. Remember we’re not dealing with the Nano-augs of Deus Ex 1 or 2. These are mechanical bio-augs. The kind Agent Navarre or Hermann had in Deus Ex. They’re going to be a bit more in your face. Granted, they do have to be done right, the martial arts aug, and the “claymore” aug sound almost like insta-win buttons. Hopefully they’ll be a bit more complex than that.

    “Personal marksmanship skills”: Good frankly. I hated it in the first game. Hopefully you won’t simply be able to pick up certain weapons and be able to use them right away, but I hate statistic based aiming in first person games. Total immersion breaker. Good. I don’t care how much you prefer statistic based aiming, I hate it. Besides. If you want to go through the game guns blazing, it might as well be fun.

    That’s basically all we know for gameplay.

    Art/Setting Direction

    I’ve read a fair few comments by people on the art/setting direction concerned that it looks too futuristic for a prequel – that Deus Ex’s todays world 50 years down the line look seems to have been abandoned. Yes it has. And it’s for the best – our world today already looks more futuristic than that of Deus Ex to be quite honest (have you seen the likes of Dubai?). It’s also perfectly clear that the best games are distinct in their aesthetic – Bioshock, Fallout, Half-Life 2 or Thief for example. All are very distinct with their design, and it suits their backstory entirely. Deus Ex is a world embroiled with the Illuminati and the Knights Templar and references to Da Vinci and all kinds of dusty old philosophers. Surely it should be gifted with design suitable for its grand plot overtones? I think so.

    Also, we know for a fact that in the 25 years between 2027 (presuming Deus Ex 3 ends in the same year it starts) and 2052 had gone through civil war, massive earthquakes and general social distress. Societies go backwards as well as fowards. And for all those who want their hobo fires and hookers back, we’ve already been told that Shanghai is a two tier world of rich on the top and poor in the slums below. Don’t worry. The grime will be there. The social commentary, will be there.

    The Bottom Line

    Basically, I think it’s important to stress that these are very, very early days. We simply don’t know enough about the game to make any true judgement as I see it. What we do know is that yes, they will make some changes, and no, not everyone will like them. That’s the problem with doing a sequel/prequel. We know that it’s got an incredibly strong aesthetic direction, and one quite distinct from anything else out there.

    Myself, I can’t wait to find out more.

  17. Bhazor says:

    I actually liked the inventory system in IW. It meant you had to decide what you wanted to do rather than what you could carry. Also I thought uni’ ammo was a nice compromise and meant you weren’t forced down any one path because you picked the wrong gun five hours ago or missed the box of shells hidden in the locked basement on top of the immersion heater. In the dark.

    Also I’m a sucker for a Bodice so I’m more than happy to see a Renaissance theme.

  18. teo says:

    They put a name I know on it so I guess I should be exited… or not

    Deus Ex was good because it was good. To create a similarly good game today you need VISION. There’s very little reason to get excited about this, especially this early on.

    The aesthetics look much more like DX:IW than DX
    link to flickr.com

  19. James says:

    Couldnt care less!

  20. The Hammer says:

    a meld of renaissance and cyberpunk

    Niiice. Looking forward to seeing those in more detail.

  21. Theory says:

    DSX1 might have given you the impression that fashion in 2050 hadn’t evolved that much.

    It probably takes place before the global collapse.

  22. Man Raised By Puffins says:

    @ Theory: Heh, didn’t realise that Seniath’s flickr was the original source for those screens. Saw them first on Tiscali, where they’ve been cheekily cropped and watermarked.

    I quite like the aesthetic they’ve picked, but it doesn’t really seem to fit the prequel period they’re aiming for as it’s more evocative of Invisible War than Deus Ex. As for the rest, I’m in the ‘wait and see’ camp.

  23. Nick says:

    I want to know why it’s called Deus Ex 3 when there was no Deus Ex 2. That’s right, there WAS NO DEUS EX 2.

  24. Gap Gen says:

    So… you’re a security guard in a covert lab, and something goes wrong and you have to escape with black ops teams and other nasties trying to stop you escaping?

  25. DuBBle says:

    I hear they’ll also be a sex scene – the option of romance marking a Blue Shift away from the previous games in the series.

  26. Okami says:

    I quite like the art style, to be honest. As for the rest… Well, I never played DX and only rented DX:IW for my XBox and brought it back the same day. I really couldn’t get into that one..

  27. sinister agent says:

    So… you’re a security guard in a covert lab, and something goes wrong and you have to escape with black ops teams and other nasties trying to stop you escaping?

    I think it’s a lot more likely that this would only describe the first level.

  28. EyeMessiah says:

    I quite like the look of the art direction as well. If you compare it to DX1 screenshots its hard to reconcile as a prequel, but tbh if its pretty I don’t care. DX1 looks terrible by modern standards, it would be some sort of crazy masochism to try and recreate its crude, simplistic looking environments in a powerful current gen engine. Part of DX1s aesthetic is inevitably down to the technological limitations of the day. I wouldn’t want to hamstring the new devs just because DX1 gives us nostalgia for the crappy old UT engine.

    All the gameplay elements sound great to me too, self-heal is a weird abstraction certainly, but then so are health kits & potions and the former imho is less of an obstruction to play than the latter imho. I wouldn’t have bothered with XP, personally, but some people presumably won’t believe its a roleplaying game without XP. I don’t like combat stats either either, so thats another plus for me.
    Stealth that is about line of sight seems to make some sense. Maybe it will be a frustrating nightmare. The level designers will have to take it into account I suppose. It could be great though, and allow for sneaking in lit areas – which should really be possible if you are smart. Presumably the game will still take light levels into account?

    I’d say this looks very promising.

  29. Pantsman says:

    @Greg, I agree with you on most points, except that I’m not quite so hopeful that things like auto-heal and the cover system will turn out alright. That, and I liked that stat-based combat of the first DX. It enhanced the immersion for me – in real life, if you pick up a gun for the first time, you’re not going to be able to aim it very well just by pointing it in the general direction of your target.

  30. Mark-P says:

    I’m liking the visual direction very, very much. I just hope the rest of the game design can avoid the stupifying taint of consolitus which ruined Invisible War. Repeat after me – complexity is not inherently bad…

  31. Rath says:

    I am currently reading Neuromancer for the first time, and the thought of visiting a cyberpunk Shanghai in this game pleases me. I like that hacking is to be a mini game, but if it is like the lock picking in Dreamfall, no thanks.

  32. EyeMessiah says:

    @Pantsman: For me combat in a shooter isn’t so much about simulation. Its more about arcadey-action gameplay, and an important aspect of that is (imho) about the player having the opportunity to leverage their own skill against the challenges in the game. Personally I don’t like it when game-mechanics insert a wedge between me and the thing I’m supposed to be controlling. Of course DX1’s implementation was no where near Tabula Rasa’s faux shooty, and is light years away from the dice roll dominated TOTAL ABSTRACTION that is combat in an proper RPG, but still, I’d rather that action gameplay is more about player skill, and less about the invisible spreadsheet behind the action.

    Also, I don’t think most of us (even us!) are so uber that we can pick up any FPS and totally dominate every combat challenge right from level 1. There is a natural skill progression arc in inherent in games based on player skill, so it seems sort of redundant to force this on players with hardcoded handicaps.

    In a real RPG (i.e. paper and pen) this might be necessary because real-time player skill doesn’t count for much so the game has complete responsibility for modelling characters abilities, but in a computer game my game-playing skill can be used as a substitute for the characters skill at running about and shooting stuff.

  33. EyeMessiah says:

    AIEIEI! Can’t edit!

    Neuromancer is great! I hope they never make it into a film!

  34. Frank says:

    “Awaking a sleeping giant”? Da Vinci rises from the dead! I’m still optimistic

  35. Larington says:

    Just so everyone is aware, there was a certain amount of confusion about 1st/3rd person perspect, apparently the game is primarily 1st person but does briefly switch to 3rd person to show off ‘cool stuff’ like punching someone through a wall.

    I have my concerns about the auto heal system, waiting for a copy of the magzine to show up so I can verify what is actually said.

    This URL may be of interest, but I’d skip all the posts until you reach the point where Rene (Producer?) starts posting because theres a pretty hilarious mistype that made it seem like the game was going to be primarily 3rd person – set alarm bells ringing for a few of us on the forum:

    link to forums.eidosgames.com

  36. Muzman says:

    I wonder if DX:IW has sneakily accumulated some fans over the years and they’ll be at pains to alienate them too much (to the screaming ire if DX purists).

  37. Muzman says:

    If? IF?! Who put I next to O anyway? Everyone knows the order of the universe is I- ???- O

  38. Bhlaab says:

    Good lord this looks bad. This looks so, so bad.

  39. Greg Wild says:

    Agreed Eye Messiah, totally agreed. It’s important to emphasise that your character is a highly trained, mechanically augmented super agent. You shouldn’t be spending the first few hours of the game sweating profusely as it takes 3-4 or more seconds to take aim at someone standing across the room.

  40. Bhlaab says:

    Why did they make this look like final fantasy 12

  41. Jonas says:

    Because they’re French Canadians. They have to be quirky. They can’t help themselves.

  42. Vaporz says:

    I’m really worried that the game will actually lack all those “little” details. Notes, images, e-mails, readable papers lying around; all joining the body parts health system, player skills & skill point rewards, etc. at the Consolitis Victims Healthcare Center.

  43. Dogman says:

    Stick with the prod. Prod with the prod.

  44. rob says:

    Desperate. Your turn.

  45. Larington says:

    I can understand people being concerned about what they percieve as being done to ‘their baby’, but the over-reaction I’m seeing from certain children on the forum means I’m going to have to take a break from it, shame really, up until today that message board was such a nice place to dwell in.

    I have my concerns like many others, but I’m determined to express them in a way that isn’t sarcastic. Hmph.

  46. Greg Wild says:

    Agreed Larington. The response of the PC community to both Fallout 3 and now Deus Ex 3 is pretty sad. I would say I am, for all intents and purposes as cynical and critical as any gamer, yet I can’t believe so many PC gamers are willing to judge games a few hazy screen shots and an incomplete set of quotes or paraphrases from the article.

  47. Sam says:

    Oddly, I actually find the Renaissance + mechanical implants visual style really rather exciting. I’m actually more excited about Deus Ex 3 than I have been since it was announced.

  48. Monkfish says:

    @Larington: I totally agree. I really can’t understand the hostility some of those people are showing.

    It makes me sad to think that the developers have to put up with this kind of nonsense.

  49. roryok says:

    average joe Adam

    Wait… is he voiced by Adam Buxton?

  50. Jahkaivah says:

    Da Vinci style: I like it, but it makes absolutely no sense story wise. Deus Ex was always fairly low SciFi when it comes to settings, parts of its apeals was how down to earth it felt.

    Big muscular men with guns: Ooooh… gonna have to stand back, they are an eyesore, but then its not as if the original Deus Ex didn’t have them anyway (Gunther Hermann)

    Plot: I like the “average joe” gordon freeman esque approach. Also another biblical name is cool.

    Auto-Heal: It wasn’t health kits that made Deus Ex, it was the damage system. Make it so your body parts can be damaged again, being shot in the head hinders vision, being shot in the arm hinders accuracy, being shot in the leg hinders speed, then make so those can be easily recovered after the struggle of combat and I will be pleased.

    Hacking as described by CrashT: Yes yes yes YES! Brilliant sounds like they realised how those kind of minigames are supposed to work, they need to pull the main game into it so it doesn’t become repititive.

    No Stats: Yes and No for this. A Leveling system should be in, but one that gives you new abbilities, not mundane numbers, so yay for no stats, nay for how far they may take it.

    Cover vs Shadows: Eh? is’t cover helpful anyway? This may need explaining, but overall Ill wait.

    Linearity: OK this is the breaker in alot of cases, multi solutions is pretty much expected, whats important is how they allow the player to control the story. Saying “Non-linear” isn’t detailed enough.