We Can Rebuild It: Deus Ex Revision Out Now

Deus Ex: Revision [official site] is a project that overhauls “the environments and soundtrack” of Ion Storm’s classic, and it’s out now on Steam. The release has the backing of Deus Ex’s current publishers and developers (Square Enix and Eidos Montreal), and is designed to work exclusively with the Steam release of the original.

Caustic Creative are the folks responsible and their creative director, John French, describes the project as a “love letter to the game and its fans”.

“Revision is a complete overhaul of the original Deus Ex. We bring in new level design, new music, and new world-building detail. On top of that, we also bundle in some of the best enhancements the community has to offer: high-detail textures and models, Direct3D 9 rendering, and alternate gameplay modes.”

Three months ago, Caustic posted about their conversations with Square Enix and were hopeful they’d be able to release soon. Good to see that everything went smoothly. There was also talk of releasing the framework used for Revision to the modding community:

“[to make the changes] we started using portions of what has been named the Revision Framework (so named because we led to its creation, not because it is exclusive to the inner workings of our project), a piece of tech that makes it relatively easy to expand on the game’s content and systems. We are quietly working on RF, intending for it to be released to the DX modding community.”

Here’s a launch trailer:

If you want to join in on the fun and don’t have a Steam version of Deus Ex yet, there’s an 80% discount running through to the 16th. It’s down to £0.99.

I don’t really need to ramp up my excitement for new Deus Ex to higher levels, having been so recently won over by Eidos Montreal’s vision of the future but I’m almost definitely going to install this later tonight. I need an excuse to replay Deus Ex about as much as I need an excuse to have a beer. Beers and Denton tonight then.

103 Comments

  1. Jericho says:

    My nano-augmented body is ready.

    *Nano-SQUEEEEEEE*

    • Jericho says:

      Okay, so I got this last night and played through the starting Liberty Island bits to landing at Battery Park.

      Hooooly MOLY is this a cool remix!

      They did right to name the mod “Revision” since it’s not so much a graphical update as a remix of the entire architecture of the game. I’ve played through Deus Ex about a dozen times over the last 15 years, enough that I can remember much of the game from memory, and it’s both weird and cool to be walking through the “same” areas and have them feel so fresh. Both revitalized and changed, but also recognizable.

      I’m wondering how well this will continue to hold up once I make it into Hell’s Kitchen, Hong Kong, and so forth. I could see the town areas of NY, HK, and FR being completely rejiggled to make the areas more plausible. It’s hard to get a sense of that just from Liberty Island where the most changes were just in the form of additional greenery and a slightly expanded and more functional looking UNATCO HQ. Hell’s Kitchen was always a bit of a hot mess for me in the original game, and I found playing through the SUPER DARK AND GREY NY levels to be a chore. I always enjoyed HK and Paris, but NY was just a chore I had to get through to enjoy the later parts of the game, so I’m hoping their remixing of the levels will add some more life and color to what used to be a VERY bland set of empty streets. I guess we’ll see after tonight…

      Regarding the music remixes: I actually quite enjoy the new music. I’ve heard the old tracks to the point of near memorization and I don’t think the remixes are a huge departure from the original pieces. You can choose to keep the original music if you like, but for the sake of trying something new I’m keeping the new stuff in place for now. So far I’m really liking it, though!

      Also, I noticed on Liberty Island that there were more NSF troops than in the original game, including a few with upgraded weapons like flamethrowers. I don’t know if this is the case for all difficulty levels or if it’s because I’m playing on “Realistic”, but I’m glad they decided to adjust the enemy placement and balancing of equipment. For example, I found a rebreather in Kaplan’s new guard shack at UNATCO HQ, which makes securing the goods from the sunken barge on the north dock a breeze. In the original game it was very difficult to loot the barge without a rank in Swimming (I know, right?), but the rebreather available right at the start makes that skill even less useful. An inside joke, perhaps? I’m wondering how far they’ll take this in the later levels. I used to stockpile rebreathers for the HK tunnels/canals, so I wonder if they’ll make those items more or less available for when that time comes…

  2. A Gentleman and a Taffer says:

    Updating environments and detail is all well and good but for the love of JC DON’T TOUCH THE MUSIC! Best soundtrack, like, everrr. Why change it.

    Having replaced my disc version 3 times, you are now going to make me buy it on steam aren’t you? Dammit JC.

    • Premium User Badge

      Grizzly says:

      The music is actually really really good (you can listen to it on Youtube). They are beautifull re-arrengements of the originals.

    • Dominic Tarason says:

      The original Deus Ex composer has been praising the soundtrack, believe it or not.

    • jon777 says:

      You can play with the original music.

    • Distec says:

      I remember in the lead-up to Human Revolution, the devs (AND A FAT LOAD OF FAN APOLOGISTS grrr) said that you couldn’t remake or take a whole lot of inspiration from the original tunes. I sorta thought that was a valid excuse for HR’s generic, boring orchestral crap.

      Years later, I listen to some of the sample tracks for the Revision mod and I’m blown away by how faithful they are and how good they still sound. Even when they are substantially different, I can still hear DX under it all. I felt like HR’s soundtrack had none of its spirit.

      Revision’s version of “The Synapse” is wonderful. I recommend every fan to go give it a whirl on their MODDB page.

      • LionsPhil says:

        This? Honestly, falls flat here. Has none of the drive of the original, and only part of the beauty.

        Personally, for treatments of the original, I quite like the now-quite-old one Alexander Brandon, one of the original composers, collaborated on. Doesn’t fit as in-game music, natch.

        • Distec says:

          Oh well. :) I love the original version, but I really appreciated how the remake inverted its energy. In terms of “straight” treatments, Battery Park is pretty close but with a bit more flourish.

        • Distec says:

          I think one thing the Revision soundtrack highlights for me is how Black Mesa Source’s was so weak.

          If somebody can do a half-decent job remaking old MOD files into actual tracks, then why does what excuse does BMS have for their terrible, piano-laden, rock-out OST? >:(

          • LionsPhil says:

            On the note that they’re MOD files, does Revision retain the variants that the dynamic music system used (crude as it was compared to the likes of LucasArts’ IMUSE)?

          • Distec says:

            I would hope so. Would be a loss if that wasn’t retained in some fashion. Aside from the usual normal/battle music transitions, some of my favorite sections of the soundtrack were the small pieces they’d have for conversations and cutscenes.

          • LionsPhil says:

            Yeah, agreed entirely, especially around UNATCO.

          • Distec says:

            Manderley’s office is my ringtone.

    • LionsPhil says:

      Yes. I got as far as “and soundtrack” in the first sentence of the article and was overcome by a strong compulsion to jump down to the comments to emphasise this very thing.

    • SpiceySlade says:

      Good news is, it’s currently 85% off on Steam for the base version.

  3. Xzi says:

    Looks like I might be giving the original a go for the first time.

  4. Emeraude says:

    Looking at the updated version pictures, I can’t but wonder why they felt it was necessary.

    I mean, that’s an admirable endeavor, and much respect to the people involved, but I don’t really see the need for this.

    Oh, well, kudos to the makers, and enjoy to those that will. Have a great time.

    • jon777 says:

      Because the original is dull, empty and boring in many places.

      link to imgur.com

      • LionsPhil says:

        …whereas the mod is a tacky sci-fi set?

        I don’t disagree that DX suffered an abundance of the same concrete texture, right angles, and a restrictive polycount. But it’s not set on Citadel Station. It’s set in a close-future, day-after-tomrrow version of the boring old real world. Covering everything in neon string robs it of its sense of place, and contrast from the parts that are more fantastical, like the MJ12 base.

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          gritz says:

          I’ve played nothing but Deus Ex for the last month, so this is fresh on my mind. The MJ12 base is not at all “fantastical” and doesn’t look markedly different from any of the other numerous boxy gray military bases in DX (maybe you’re thinking of VersaLife or the Ocean Lab?)

          And the ReVision mod is a bit more involved than just “covering everything in neon”. Every screenshot has more “sense of place” than literally every location in the original game.

      • Emeraude says:

        Yes, I’d go as far as to say the original is quite simply ugly, but at least it gains that abstract quality by virtue of being so sparse.

        Here it loses that while not becoming any more pleasing to the eye.

      • Farsi Murdle says:

        Most of those look okay, but what the hell did they do to the Paris cathedral? The original was appropriately grim and depressing, the new version looks like some kind of goth nightclub.

    • Unclepauly says:

      I’ll tell you one of the main reasons as there isn’t just one. Many people won’t even touch this classic because of the looks. It’s a shame I know, and I wish more gamers weren’t so shallow about games but it is what it is. It’s an effort to bring the classic to today’s gamer as best as can be done so more can experience it.

  5. Dare_Wreck says:

    Having not played the original in something like 10-12 years now, I’m thinking that I can’t be the only one looking at this video and feeling that this mod looks exactly like how I remember the game looked back then. Anyone else wearing rose-tinted goggles too?

    • Dominic Tarason says:

      If you go and look at how the game ACTUALLY looked back then, you’ll be very disappointed. Hong Kong looks pretty cool in this version. In the original, it was a couple of concrete boxes half-filled with water.

      • ansionnach says:

        Yeah – I’ve always firmly believed that many areas, Hong Kong in particular, were unfinished.

        Trailer is a little short on square heads. Would be great if there was a bonus parody mode with everyone wandering about with massive square heads on them. It could be the future and who knows? Genetic engineering + cybernetic augmentation might = square heads.

      • Farsi Murdle says:

        No it wasn’t. The new version doesn’t look much different really, just a few extra signs here and there. Looks fine, but the original wasn’t “a couple of cardboard boxes”. Maybe you should remind yourself how it “actually” looked.

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          gritz says:

          Hi, I just finished my fourth or fifth replay of the game, unmodded. Just wanted to chime in to say that, yes, Hong Kong does look crappy.

    • jon777 says:

      take a look at this before/after album and you’ll see what they’ve done

      link to imgur.com

      • Horg says:

        I fear all this colour will be bad for discipline at UNATCO. Military grey everything builds character!

    • RegisteredUser says:

      Quite honestly? I think we also just had a lot more imagination back then and used that to fill out the gaps whereas now technology is more and more taking over that role and showing us a fixed version of it. Back then we had to and did flesh it out ourselves more.
      This may also be the key to the “it was better then” feeling, given that it literally involved US a lot more back then.

  6. Chaoslord AJ says:

    The original disc has earned its price several times over I thought it fair to throw a few coins at them. Might as well play it in a couple of days maybe to prepare for Deus EX:MD.

  7. Premium User Badge

    gritz says:

    I know he might be sick of writing about DX this year, but is there any chance John will do a WIT?

  8. Der Zeitgeist says:

    There goes my evening. Oh well, gimme the GEP gun.

  9. Darth Gangrel says:

    I have lots of great games on Steam and I don’t mind using it, but I prefer my old games to be DRM free, because that’s how I used to play old games, it’s part of the experience to me. There are several overhaul and graphical mods available for the non-Steam version, but I haven’t installed any since I don’t care about graphics in a game like Deus Ex 1.

    I still have the retail disc and can’t remember having any kind of problems getting it to work on different computers with different operative systems, so I never found it necessary to buy it again. I don’t see myself buying it on Steam, because I really detest buying something that I already own, it’s just so meaningless. I have enough on my plate already, so there’s really no reason to get duplicates of fully functional games.

    Deus Ex 1 is also one of the few games that I have replayed countless times without even thinking of adding mods, so while the Revision Framework (RF) will make modding easier, that’s not really a selling point to me. The Malkavian Mod is the only Deus Ex 1 mod I’ve used, so it’s not like I feel I’m missing out on all the great mods this RF thingy will help create.

    • LionsPhil says:

      IIRC the retail copy has a CD check. This may eventually stop working on new Windows versions even though the game would. (I don’t know/can’t remember if it’s one of the ones affected by Win10 and the recent backport patches.)

      (I think I got my Steam version in a double pack with Invisible War that doesn’t appear to exist any more, mind.)

      • ansionnach says:

        The recent changes to disable old DRM software only switched off a service that you can switch back on. Still wouldn’t be a very good reason to buy a game again – that piracy countermeasures prevented you from not pirating a game you own. Spirit of the law and all that.

        Irrelevant here, anyway – just installed the game for the first time in years and it took a rookie like me under five minutes (read: two) to defeat the CD check. It’s a very straightforward check and using the CD or emulating one should always work.

        • montorsi says:

          Does one really need a good reason to buy DX again? You can defeat Steam DRM equally easily if that’s your thing, and oh look you can install this fabulous freakin’ mod.

          • ansionnach says:

            The point was that the old version will never be made unplayable by its DRM. Since I already own the game on CD I won’t be buying it again. Sometimes I have, where I’m a massive fan of the game, but even then there’s largely no point unless you get something new that makes it worth the money (e.g. CD-ROM talkie versions over the floppy non-talkie). In this case, the fact that the new mod is Steam-only means that there is value in getting it again for those interested, especially at 99p. Not for me, though: I did enjoy the game, and I’d rate it “very good”, but I never thought it was the game I hear others rave about. Ultima Underworld was always a million times better (if not more)!

            In terms of longevity, I’d suspect the original would outlast the Steam one, which is probably harder to free from its DRM shackles (but somebody’ll do it for you if Steam ever disappears).

        • LionsPhil says:

          Sure, I’m not a fan of “well DRM stopped my game working so I’ll just pay the publisher for it again [and under a new DRM system!]” either. As noted, I have my duplicate because I was really after IW.

          But it’s also DX and 99p, so people may weight up these things differently, and not having to faff with CD image may be worth that price to them.

          …all this said, PCGW seems to reckon you can play retail without the CD with one INI file change.

          • ansionnach says:

            That works – simplest solutions are the best, eh?

            Let’s pretend we’re not having that “other people have opinions” conversation that regularly appears on the internet? “Other people” (with their differing opinions and everything) can do what they like but it doesn’t really save any effort. The fact that there’s something new to be had may well be worth the 99p, especially if you’re a massive fan of the game.

          • LionsPhil says:

            I’m not? Darth specifically mentioned compatability in his second paragraph. I was pointing out it might stop working soon, so if he considered that worth 99p, there’s an option. (From the sounds of it, it probably won’t.)

          • ansionnach says:

            Apologies, I’ll just go off and finish learning how to read! Even though it isn’t remotely close to an all-time favourite for me, at 99p I’d still be a little tempted. My main disappointments with the game were that it didn’t properly flesh out and build on its beginnings later on, Hong Kong in particular sticking with me as an area that had to have been rushed big time. If reaction is positive I might pick it up if it gets a gog release.

      • CMaster says:

        The CD check in the retail version can be disabled simply by removing the line in the .ini file that tells it where your CD drive is. Yes, really.

    • ansionnach says:

      Agree with what you’re saying there. Might be interesting to see whether they’ve fleshed out places like Hong Kong a bit more (more than just cosmeticlally). Site says that Revision is new level design + existing community mods on Steam. I’m happy with my old games looking old, be they from the early eighties or not even have any graphics. If the game’s good enough for another spin then the gameplay needs to be there already. Couldn’t say whether it is with DE, but I do remember thinking it wasn’t a patch on the Underworlds or System Shock when it was brand new.

      Interesting that it has been released exclusively on Steam. Might encourage more people to play it but if I hadn’t already I’d play it in its original form, warts ‘n all.

    • JiminyJickers says:

      Yeah it is a bit odd that this is a Steam exlusive. I own the retail version and the Gog version and don’t want to have to buy it a 3rd time just to play a mod. Very strange.

      • Mr_Blastman says:

        Download from Moddb and you can install over the cd version, provided you also get Kentie’s launcher and rename the deusex.exe it comes with to revision.exe after installing (that means you get rid of the revision.exe it came with).

        But… I have a strange problem. After a few minutes the screen goes black but I can still see the HUD?

        Perhaps this is due to me using the Direct X 10 version with bump mapping and parallax turned on… ? What can I say… I augmented the augmentation already. I can’t help it!

        • ansionnach says:

          Complete shot in the dark, but have you tried using a different video card? I often find the integrated Intel one is far more compatible than the flashy one.

  10. Crimsoneer says:

    Having had a look at the website, this looks AWESOME. Not only have they redone all the stuff, they also bundle HDTP, NewVision, Shifter, and Biomod, and let you pick which to activate. SPAFF.

    • oceanclub says:

      How does one configure which of the mods bundled with this are installed? I can see on the main menu where to switch HDTP (sic?) on and off, but not the rest.

      P.

  11. suibhne says:

    This looks capital, despite my immediate concerns about any changes to the classic soundtrack. What a pleasant surprise to find that, at some point (probably in a bundle), I ended up with Deus Ex: GOTY on Steam.

  12. Shazbut says:

    *reinstalls*

    • Stellar Duck says:

      That implies it was ever uninstalled. That cannot be accepted.

      • Emeraude says:

        Hard drives can die too.

        • Stellar Duck says:

          They can, of course. But in that case one wouldn’t expect the reinstall to be triggered by a post like this.

          Anyways, I should hope it’s clear that I’m not actually serious.

          • Shazbut says:

            In complete honesty, I discovered I hadn’t uninstalled it.

          • ResonanceCascade says:

            How To Properly Install Windows:

            Step 1: Install Windows
            Step 2: Install Deus Ex

            Congratulations, you are now done configurating your operating system!

          • Unclepauly says:

            Backpedaling o.o … from a joke…. on a forum…..

          • Stellar Duck says:

            Yes, a grave sin, to make sure people don’t think I have a go at them.

      • A Gentleman and a Taffer says:

        Says he who uninstalled Red Orchestra 2!? That’s right! We have long memories here! (Approximately 3 days)

        • Stellar Duck says:

          I’ve been found out!

          I’ve really enjoyed RO2 again though! It’s such a good game. And it runs like a dream on my new PC. I just wish I had a steady group to play with. Servers can be a bit of a mixed bag until you manage to weed out the bad ones and keep the one with civility rules.

          • A Gentleman and a Taffer says:

            Same! Had a good few hours on it again at the weekend. I am a complete hypocrite cause I never plug a mic in but you really need a server where leaders are actually talking and giving direction. Bit of a mess otherwise.

            I’d say we should encourage an RPS outfit but I’m just not in a position to make regular commitments. If you see Inglourious Badger on a UK server sometime though, say hi. I’ll forgive you for friendly firing me and everything.

  13. Jay Load says:

    *purchases again on Steam*
    *reinstalls*

  14. montorsi says:

    thank you thank you thank you thank you thank you

    (to RPS for raising awareness and for the modders efforts and EIDOS for not stopping them)

  15. kud13 says:

    “Now available on Steam”

    Um, and is there a standalone installer that’d work with my GOG version, like virtually every other DX mod out there?

    • Emeraude says:

      Was about to say there’s a standalone installer on Moddb, but on further notice, it seems it too is Steam only for some weird reason.

      Quoth Cato the Elder: Delenda Valve.

      • kud13 says:

        That…. just seems moronic. Or evil. Not sure which.

        I’m not completely opposed to Steam (despite it being bloatware, it’s the lesser of all the other DRM evils), but if a game is also available for sale completely DRM-free, I really can’t grasp the point for making a mod require a DRM’d version of the game.

        • Premium User Badge

          gritz says:

          It’s 2015 and people are still complaining about Steam

          • Emeraude says:

            Well it’s 2015 and Steam still suffers from issues people people had with it from inception.

            When it changes, we’ll see.

          • TillEulenspiegel says:

            It’s 2015 and games on different download services are still mutually incompatible. That’s the problem.

          • Halk says:

            >It’s 2015 and people are still complaining about Steam

            Why, has it gone DRM-free? No? Well then, what’s changed?

          • rexx.sabotage says:

            somedingus said:

            It’s 2015 and MORE people are complaining about Steam

            FTFY

          • kud13 says:

            It’s 2015, and people are still complaining about Steam trying to monopolize digital downloads, muscling out DRM-free alternatives, yes.

        • rexx.sabotage says:

          there have been reports of people finding success using the stand alone installer from ModDB on their GOG copies.

  16. Shazbut says:

    Been playing it just now. An enormous amount of work has gone in and there’s loads of new stuff. It’s great fun discovering it all. The UNATCO headquarters have had a massive overhaul. I barely recognised the place

    • Raoul Duke says:

      “I barely recognised the place.”

      That’s what bothers me about mods like this. DX had ‘bad’ graphics in one sense, but the atmosphere it built up was excellent and clearly carefully crafted throughout. Yet modders seem unable to resist adding their own artistic twist to the game, rather than upgrading the graphics without changing their essence.

      • Distec says:

        I’m pretty sure he was referring to the actual layout of UNATCO HQ. As much as I loved each trip back there, it was a pretty small place. A little further expansion truly would not hurt it, especially when you compare it to the Sarif offices in HR.

        Note that I have this mod downloaded, but haven’t had the opportunity to play yet.

  17. Hayward1066 says:

    Sigh, well i wasn’t going to sleep anyway, to much Espresso. May as well creep around air ducks and break into peoples lockers in order to find soy to eat!

  18. Unclepauly says:

    I always ask for this.

  19. Mi-24 says:

    Great timing! I’m currently replaying human revolution and this gives me the perfect excuse to replay the original as well! (Also well done to the people who made this)

  20. steves says:

    99p! Can’t remember what I paid for the original Deus Ex*, but lets go with £24.99. So a mere £25.98 for one of the best gaming experiences ever, and the only thing I will have played through for a *4th* time once I get this mod going.

    Having just finished STALKER: Pripyat for the first time, I’m really enjoying complex old-school PC shooters right now. My ridiculously overpowered GPU is having a very easy time at the moment…

    *still have the disks too, but USB-DVD drive is elsewhere, and really, this is something I should have on Steam anyway.

  21. melancholicthug says:

    What an amazing piece of work. Much kudos to everyone involved, will certainly try it someday.

  22. dethtoll says:

    The overall behavior of commenters on the moddb page over the years has been utterly reprehensible at times. Reminds me of TTLG at its worst. I’m happy to see this finally out, though!

  23. Mr_Blastman says:

    This mod is very pretty but unfortunately I keep getting black screens every few minutes I play. It works nicely for a bit and then the game goes black except for the HUD. If I switch to windowed mode I can see again. But windowed mode stinks. I don’t know what gives?

  24. tonicer says:

    Aaaah yes an improved version of the best deus ex ever? Well i’ll give it a try. I can’t be worse than those terrible console deus ex games which are garbage and have nothing to do with deus ex.

  25. TheSplund says:

    oo! I tried to replay it a third time without killing anyone – I think I got as far as the subway before I gave up on that. I’ll hang on to the disc for old times sake, but I’m now 99p poorer but hopefully so much richer for it

  26. Premium User Badge

    Risingson says:

    Oh, the Unreal engine games and their HUGE environments. How much I miss them.

  27. Kranky says:

    Definitely not play this till steam controller and link come out,best to remember a classic on the big screen

  28. Shooty Deluxe says:

    Having somehow managed to NOT play the original after all these years, can I jump in straight to the revised version or will I be missing key components of the vanilla version?

    • Distec says:

      It will still be hitting all the same locations, characters, dialogue, and general structure of the levels. It’s not like anything’s been cut out. “Different but the same”. I don’t think it would hurt to jump into Revision on a first go.

      But like with every game, it’s starting a vanilla run-through, even you don’t finish it. If you aren’t a member of that group that considers DX installations mandatory and have played it at least half a dozen times, then my guess is you might not appreciate all the changes. :)

  29. Xander77 says:

    Eh. The mod makes a number of mis-steps from the very start. The most obvious and annoying bit – pitch black and weird shadows. It’s an issue that has to with the way Deus Ex interacts with DirectX, IIRC. There’s been a fix out for a long time, but it doesn’t work with Revision – and for some odd reason, a complete graphical overhaul completely neglected to deal with this obvious issue.

  30. Josh W says:

    Yes! Been looking forward to this one for ages. Here’s the question though, I’ve never finished the nameless mod, (boosted the enemy numbers and got stuck stubbornly trying to stealth) so should I try to replay that, restart that on a more sensible difficulty, or just cut to playing the new version?