Not-Deus Ex: First Look At New Game’s Engine

Look no one is saying this is the new Deus Ex.

Eidos Montreal aren’t saying this is a screenshot from the next Deus Ex game, right. Today they announced the shiny new(ish) engine that’ll power their next cyberfest, and simply wanted to illustrate that with an image. This here Dawn Engine is based on “a heavily modified version” of Glacier 2, the engine IO Interactive created for Hitman: Absolution. This Dawn demo screenshot is perhaps not Newus Ex, but it is quite Human Revolution-y in its gold-washed technohole with metal walls, metal floors, and so many cables and tube lights, yet incongruously swanky furniture.

Click this thing here for a big old 2.6MB 1080p version of the screenshot. And here’s Eidos Montreal explaining what you’re looking at:

We wanted to share a first glimpse of what we aim to achieve, with a screenshot taken directly from the Dawn Engine. Keep in mind – despite any hints you may pick up from this image, this screenshot was only taken in order to display the level of detail and artistic fidelity that is possible with the Dawn Engine.

Which is a bit of funny thing to say, given that so much detail is covered up with that golden glow. It is a nicely-rendered golden glow, mind. And I do like all those cables. Great cables. I’m excited for games with all those cables. It might not be a screenshot of the next Deus Ex, but the art syle is familiar and I wouldn’t be surprised if the scene is built using some of the game’s assets. So I have high hopes for those cables. Cables are the new triangles.

Dawn will be used to power various parts of Square Enix’s wider ‘Deus Ex Universe’ project which, for the thousandth time, is not the name of an MMO. It’s a somewhat puzzling branding exercise that they say “will of course include core games, as well as any other projects that will help bring the world of Deus Ex to life.” Spin-offs, mobile games, comics, toys, cartoons, breakfast cereals, tofu snacks, trenchcoats, mirrorshades – who knows where it might lead! Or when, for that matter.


  1. LionsPhil says:

    It looks like a concept art painting.

    Which I guess is kinda cool, but also kinda…softened.

  2. DanMan says:

    Doesn’t look all that impressive IMHO. What’s supposed to be so special about that screenshot?

    • Chalky says:

      It appears to demonstrate an extremely high level of detail. It’s very difficult to tell from a static image like that quite how detailed it truly is, but you rarely see environments with such complex geometry as this in current games.

    • ChiefOfBeef says:

      It’s the Deus Ex sequel we’ve really been waiting for: a scene depicting a recent accident at a fluorescent light factory and the aftermath of the exciting mini-game where your player character seals the area with police tape and like most players will, go absolutely mental with it.

      • Gap Gen says:

        I have to say the new lightsaber designs are getting stupider and stupider.

        • Cinek says:

          Lightsaber chainsaw, coming to an Episode IX near you.

        • Razumen says:

          Why? The lightsaber in the teaser basically has the equivalent of a cross-guard, something lightsabers should’ve had anyways to prevent the opponent from easily sliding their saber down and cutting off your fingers. Not that they’re real weapons mind you, but it makes sense.

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            Qazinsky says:

            If that is what they’re there for, parrying, rather than for extra stabbing purposes, showing up with that thing to a lightsaber fight is like showing up to a bike race with training wheels.

          • Cinek says:

            No, it’s not. Crossguard is a different type of a saber. It’s like a basics of lightsabers, really.
            Some people call it claymore and I wouldn’t be surprised if this would be the canon name of the thing in the end, but talking how this “thing” got anything in common with existing Star Wars lightsaber is silly.

    • montorsi says:

      Hello, it helps to open your eyes.

      I hope I have been of assistance.

      • Gap Gen says:

        Giving up smoking and caffeine in the same week can be tough. Hang in there, buddy.

  3. Muzman says:

    Looks sort of painterly and like film at the same time, especially with the rather smooth haze. Nice. Very old school.
    I wonder if they’ll stick with it. Tastes today seem to be more for the crisp and clean.

  4. sirdavies says:

    Deus Ex HR desperately needed some more grittiness to it’s environments, I hope that’s where they are going with the next one, though it would be nice to have a wider color palette as well. More Blade Runner and Osamu Tezuka’s Metropolis and less Mass Effect and Halo.

    • manio22 says:

      +1 for this. It just needs a fine line to don’t turn to Warhammer 40k though.

    • FriendlyFire says:

      Deus Ex needs both actually. Part of the game’s aesthetic is the contrast between the high-tech excesses of the great corporations and their spotless, magnificent architecture with the lower classes’ filthy neighborhoods. This is best exemplified by Hengsha, but Detroit also had it.

  5. ResonanceCascade says:

    It looks fine, but I’m ready to see the game! It’s been over 3 years since Human Revolution. It’s gotta be getting close to reveal time.

  6. Ross Angus says:

    Phew. I knew there was a reason I upgraded my PC.

  7. kael13 says:

    Good geometry. Handles lines very well. I just hope it can do faces, too. Cause by god, HR looks a bit janky sometimes.

  8. Nacery says:


  9. Cor Cordis says:

    I remember how Ion Storm decided to heavily modify Unreal Engine 2 to a 2.5 version, and alongside other decisions failed to earn a legendary status and it signaled the end for the studio. Hope the EM team learned on these mistakes.

    • EvaUnit02 says:

      Because upgrading an off the shelf licensed engine is a chief reason for Ion Storm’s closure, right? Your strawman argument is incredibly stupid. Developers do this all the time. Eidos Montreal’s Human Revolution uses a heavily-modified version of Crystal Dynamics’ Tomb Raider Legend trilogy engine, did you know that? Similarly Thief 2014 uses a heavily-modified Unreal Engine 3.

  10. LogicalDash says:

    Cut the hacking-minigame bullshit and let me plug those cables into bad places.

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    mickiscoole says:

    That Dawn Engine logo looks a hell of a lot like the Steam Greenlight logo.

  12. Targaff says:

    Dawn Engine™, our game engine designed exclusively for PCs and the new generation of consoles

    Did they look up the word “exclusively” before crapping out their bumf?

    • Razumen says:

      It’s not an incorrect usage, the new engine can be exclusive to PC and the next generation of consoles, but not the 360, PS3, etc.

  13. Raoul Duke says:

    Forget the engine and focus on the following please, Eidos:

    – a story that actually has some coherence with the original Deus Ex and picks up its themes of grand conspiracy
    – less boring “oooh transhumanism is the new apartheid” drivel, more men in black and illuminati
    – no more horrible third person camera bits
    – no more horrible sticky cover
    – no more “mash X to kill all enemies in the vicinity”
    – more locations
    – more open levels


    • Asurmen says:

      How was HR incoherent and transhumanism, a subject that isn’t touched on that often compared to plain old conspiracy which has been done to death, boring? Hell, even the original touched on on it via post-transhumanism at the start of the game.

      Sticky cover and by extension 3rd person was optional. So was press the press button to kill everyone.

      Pretty sure HR had similar or close to same number of open maps and locations as the original as well.

      • Cinek says:

        Yep, I’d like to know that too.
        For me DXHR was quite refreshing actually. Moved to some topics that we haven’t seen in gaming for quite a while.

      • Muzman says:

        Indeed, I think grand conspiracy was a fine basis for the first but obviously becomes a huge writing hurdle after that. The second game handles it reasonably well if you squint. It was pretty thin and quite labored in HR.
        And I can see why. The point of having a conspiracy in a story is that you uncover it. But then it’s immediately boring and just a bunch of dudes doing stuff.
        What jazzes people about truly grand conspiracy theories is thinking you’ve worked it all out through subtle clues and terrible secrets but it’s still somehow abstract, obscured and ultimately unknowable.
        Hey, I wouldn’t mind a game story that tried to capture that sense. But they won’t. They’ll try and make a hero narrative that references loopy shit from the 70s instead and in that case skip it and stick with the cyberpunk stuff, I say.

      • DrollRemark says:

        I’m not sure “they’re optional” is that valid an argument. 90% of the game’s mechanics were probably optional, but that doesn’t mean we can’t criticise them.

        If the combat isn’t very good, the answer isn’t “Oh just play stealth instead”, it’s “Improve the combat”. Likewise, if there’s an overpowered takedown ability, the answer should be “Let’s make this ability less powerful”, not “Just don’t use it.”

        • Asurmen says:

          Optional is entirely a valid argument. Criticise as much as you want, I don’t disagree with that and yes, improve them at the same time, but OP wasn’t doing that, he was asking for outright removal. Don’t need to change or remove something that you personally don’t use or like if there’s no requirement to engage with that mechanic.

      • ResonanceCascade says:

        Yeah, I’m glad that HR left the conspiracy stuff on the sidelines and stuck to its own transhumanism story (for the most part). I’ll also venture out into dangerous territory and say that the writing in Human Revolution was a big step up from the first two games. Its biggest fault was in not being as sprawling and freeform as the first game, but there’s still plenty of Deus Exery in there. It’s a very good game — not as good as the first, but better than 95% of the other stuff I played last gen.

    • Stijn says:

      That sounds like an HD remake of the original, honestly.. Though there were third-person sequences in that one, so they’d have to do something about that.

      I wouldn’t mind a remake too much actually, some aspects of the original haven’t aged very well.

    • DrollRemark says:

      You know what I’d like to see them drop? The ridiculous “pick one of three at the last minute” ending choice. It’s become a Deus Ex staple without ever really deserving it. Only the first game seemed to really differentiate the choices (by aligning them to three characters who are very distinct personalities and guide you in different ways even before that end), and after that every DX has felt obligated to add this piece of design to its checklist.

      In HR it was clear they had to make the endings somewhat inconsequential, so that (a) it didn’t cause any obvious plot holes with the original, and (b) they didn’t have to think too hard about which one had to be canon in a sequel.

      • Cinek says:

        Well, the DX:HR 3-buttons ending became somewhat iconic due to it’s silliness, but let’s be fair – it’s not the first nor last game to make a stupid endings like that. Plenty of them got it, only not always in such an obvious way. Random example? Latest Mass Effect. 3 options leading you to 3 different cinematics.

    • FriendlyFire says:

      Errr, no. I’d much rather they keep exploring interesting themes and possible consequences of our progress than going back to shitty conspiracy theories that are a dime a dozen. Fuck the illuminati and the stereotypical spies.

      Also I found sticky cover worked just fine in the game, and it made the stealth mechanics (which were great) much easier to work with.

  14. TheRealHankHill says:

    I love the gold/yellow hue of the normal version of Deus Ex: HR. Jesus that game is so good.

    • c-Row says:

      Yeah, I don’t know what everybody’s problem was with that colour scheme. Whenever I look out of my windows on a rainy evening it looks exactly the same.

      • kament says:

        Bet there’s a man with hi-tech prosthetics and retractable shades, too. Not sure if you’ve seen him, but he could still be there, if you know what I mean.

      • skyturnedred says:

        Think it’s because people liked the blue tint of the original Deus Ex.

    • FriendlyFire says:

      It’s a departure from the teal & orange that most games and movies overuse, that’s for sure. I like it too.

      I think it’s just there’s an awful lot of grumpy old men who have put the original Deus Ex on a pedestal and find it completely abhorrent that another game was developed in the series by another studio, so they’ll look for stuff to criticize to reinforce their opinion that their beloved game is still the best.

      Mind, while I can’t get into the original Deus Ex and loved HR to bits, I don’t disagree that Deus Ex made some great things and was novel for its time. I just feel like an awful lot of the criticism directed at HR is because of the rabid fanbase of the original.

      • ResonanceCascade says:

        There are many people in the Deus Ex and Thief communities who don’t believe a good game has come out since 2000. Not a single one! While there are plenty of legitimate criticisms of Human Revolution, any time you see someone grossly overstating its flaws, that’s why.

        Then again, Thief (2014) should also be a reminder that we can’t get too permissive about what can be changed with these games. There is a balance.

  15. jonahcutter says:

    Looks great.

    So, shall we pencil in a 6 month delay, in about a year?

  16. povu says:

    Definitely getting a Human Revolution vibe from the lights.

    link to
    link to

    • LionsPhil says:

      That latter one looks like a passive-agressive level designer got fed up of arranging fluorescent tubes in a neat, plausible grid and just clicked furiously on the ceiling. “YOU WANT LIGHTING? THERE’S YOUR SODDING LIGHTING!”

  17. jezcentral says:

    Great stuff. Absolution may not have been the game we were after, but, Good Lord, the Glacier 2 engine was a thing of beauty.

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    particlese says:

    Oh, man, tie-in breakfast cereals…I could totally go for a bowl of Helios right about now.

  19. elidrake says:

    Am I crazy, or does this show up in the background of the image by this article?


    • manio22 says:

      Fine observation sir, well done. Which leads us to the question: Why spending resources to make a Deus Ex art into 3D scape if not intended to use it? If it was for demonstration purposes only it could be anything…Half Life 3 confirmed!?…no wait…

      • Cinek says:

        “Why spending resources to make a Deus Ex art into 3D scape if not intended to use it?” – People said the same after the Samaritan demo – link to – and yet no game ever came from that.

  20. Shazbut says:

    I’m hoping for at least one level with trees, like in the original.

  21. manio22 says:

    I too adore cables. Seemingly endless strings coming from the unknown to transfer mysterious signals to far and beyond. When they placed there? By whom? What purpose do they serve? Will they hinder my movements or can i use them in my advantage?

    To wrap things up, we need a Cable Simulator.

  22. Rakombo says:

    It’s definitely orange/yellow like HR. I wish they would put more color into it instead making it monochromatic.