Deus Ex is “waiting its turn” for a new game

deus ex

The CEO of Square Enix, Yosuke Matsuda, has spoken out about the future of Deus Ex. At the start of this year, Eurogamer reported that we shouldn’t expect a new Deus Ex game anytime soon – and they’re right, though we should get one eventually. It simply isn’t Deus Ex’s turn yet, with the studio first focusing on other projects such as the next Tomb Raider and an Avengers game.

Matsuda explained all this in an interview with GamesIndustry.biz, where he also talked about Final Fantasy’s anime spin off, the studio’s approach to the Eastern and Western markets, as well as augmented and virtual reality.

Mankind Divided might not have gleaned the same acclaim as Human Revolution, and while I imagine the studio might have prioritised the franchise if its sales had been better, that doesn’t mean they’re abandoning it. According to Matsuda:

“What I can say is Eidos Montreal has always developed Deus Ex, and the issue is we do not have limitless resources. We have several big titles that we work with and that’s partly a factor in what our line-up looks like. Of course, it would be ideal if we could work on all of them all of the time, but the fact of the matter is some titles have to wait their turn. The reason there isn’t a Deus Ex right now is just a product of our development line-up because there are other titles we are working on.”

He adds that they are “already internally discussing and exploring what we want do with the next instalment” of Deus Ex, which might not qualify as ‘development’ but hey, it’s something. According to Eurogamer, the studio is currently working on 3 games. Two of those are supposedly Marvel Comics games, involving multiple teams that are collaborating with Marvel Studios on both an Avengers and a Guardians of the Galaxy game. Eidos Montreal’s other major project is believed to be the next Tomb Raider game, which we know about thanks to someone leaving a “Shadows of the Tomb Raider” PowerPoint presentation open on the Montreal subway.

Later in the interview, Matsuda mentions the success of the short anime series that Square Enix released just before Final Fantasy XV, along with a prequel movie. Similar projects were once planned for Deus Ex, but didn’t happen. When asked about future plans for transmedia projects, Matsuda said that they’d look at it on “a case-by-case basis.”

“There are some instances where that will fit very well and others where it won’t… so I want to make that decision on an individual basis going forward. At the end of the day, we are rooted in the games industry. Having solid games is at the basis of everything we do, and that’s not going to change.”

Matsuda also mentioned that the Montreal team – which made both new Deus Ex games – is particularly focused on developing augmented reality projects, commenting that “the mobile AR market is going to prove to be attractive going forwards”. That might not be great news for us folk who like our games on PC-powered screens, though I have to admit I am a little intrigued about what they have in the pipe.

Matsuda was less enthusiastic about virtual reality, at least in the short term, highlighting how much more expensive VR is for both developers and consumers.

“Our policy is that if there is some kind of fun element that we can generate with VR, that it has to be VR in order for it to be fun, then of course we would like to provide that. But we don’t have the intention of doing VR for the sake of it.”

Sounds sensible, though that Final Fantasy VR fishing game looks a bit naff – so take that statement with a pinch of virtual salt.

You can read the whole interview for yourself over at GamesIndustry.biz.

24 Comments

  1. Meat Circus says:

    “until we can figure out how to monetize it”

  2. Mycenaeus says:

    I’ve always wanted a AAA true-RPG set in the Deus Ex universe. The devs would tease us with interesting narratives like the augment apartheid and the city of augments but it never quite got there.

    There’s generally two types of gamers out there: the narrative gamer and the mechanics gamer. The narrative gamer is liable to pause the game mid-way through fighting the same AI opponents and flip it to easy just so they can just get to the next cut-scene and dialogue interaction. The mechanics gamer wants less cut-scenes, they want the mechanics to feel right. The recoil of the gun, the stealth mechanic- all game systems should flow into each other.

    Most devs seem to focus on the mechanics gamer, which is understandable since that’s the bones of the game. Assassin’s Creed, Far Cry, Fallout 4, Dishonored, Watch Dogs, Deus Ex: all games with solid bones and beautifully realized worlds and all of them with anorexic narratives. Sometimes you just want to yell at these beauties to put some meat on them bones. Clearly, they are doing just fine though, so maybe the mechanic gamer is in the majority. Down with extra cut-scenes and narrative and dialogue!

    So thank God for CD Projekt. They have heard my silent prayers and are busily working on Deus Ex: the true AAA RPG version. Given the studio’s penchant for putting meat on the bones of their games, I’m cautiously optimistic.

    • hemmer says:

      I think that’s oversimplefying it a bit. Yes those are two big aspects of gameplay that are often at odds but most people are a bit of both and it’s a question of how we distribute our priorities.

      The problem from the developer side is that if a game has bad mechanics, neither group would enjoy it much so that’s always the first focus. And as ressource constraints are a big issue in bigger studios especially everything after that gets pared down more and more out of necessity.

      As TW3 shows it clearly pays to put in the work to polish all aspects though (and it really doesn’t get enough credit for how well it incorporates everything from the previous games as well as the books while still being approachable by newcomers, it’s a nigh-impossible tight-rope-walk, seriously). But even that took the studio quite a few tries and probably a loooot of upfront cash so it can’t really be expected as the standard.

      We’ll get there though, things are – on average – getting better and better. As a fellow narrative gamer (with mechanistic tendencies) I’m optimistic. :)

  3. woodsey says:

    Mankind Divided seems to have ended up in this weird space where everyone spits on and kicks it for… I dunno, lacking a bit in some areas?

    It has micro-transactions that don’t affect the game at all.

    It’s shorter than Human Revolution but still a 20+ hour game.

    It has a sudden ending and seems a little rushed overall – like every game ever made.

    It has only one hub… which is gigantic and super-detailed, with all the street names and numbers visible so that you don’t actually need any intrusive waypoints.

    And in terms of level design and mechanics, it’s Human Revolution’s superior in every way. True, it does feel less complete overall because of the truncated main story, but that hardly makes it deserving of being the whipping boy.

    • dethtoll says:

      It’s easily the most Deus Ex thing to ever Deus Ex since Deus Ex the original Deus Ex. Its current negative status is galling considering that not only it is (obviously) better than Invisible War, the game that killed the franchise, but it’s also better than Human Revolution, the game that resurrected it.

      • Grizzly says:

        I kinda disagree. Mankind Divided tried to copy a lot from the Dishonoured series whilst not succeeding so the whole thing ends up feeling very clunky in ways where human revolution was very slick. Contrast Dishonoured’s blink with MD’s blink.

        In a similar sense I felt that HR’s story was a lot better: For starters, its story had an actual ark. Tom Francis did an analysis of Prey’s and Mankind Divided’s intro which is a nice setup for critiquing Mankind Divided in the context of Human Revolution as well. In Human Revolution, everything you see in the intro is relevant to the later plot. The characters you meet are the characters the rest of the game revolves around, and everything that is said or shown during the intro is related to something that will happen later. It’s basically a chekhov’s arsenal (incidently, the original Dues Ex did this quite well too). It all comes back before the end. Contrast that with Mankind Divided’s intro, the game leaves a lot of threads dangling, which is weird considering that it’s a really long game. The game is one massive sequel hook!

        The only thing it does well, and it deserves praise for that imo, is that the game does react to what you do and how you do it. But in a lot of ways Mankind Divided feels like it’s taking good things from other stories or games (be they Arkane’s, be they the original Deus Ex) without understanding what makes them good in the first place.

      • Darth Gangrel says:

        I recently played Invisible War for the first time and it was great and very Deus Ex-y in many ways. I postponed it partially because of the general consensus that it was a bad game and didn’t deserve to be a Deus Ex game, but that all turned out to be wrong.

        I loved Human Revolution, especially the gun play, which gave me a slight existential crisis, since I always non-lethally ghost my way in games like it. I’m hoping Mankind Divided, also considered a letdown compared to its predecessor, will turn out to be great. It went down to acceptable price levels during the Black Friday sale, so I’m hoping it’ll be as cheap in the Christmas sale.

        • dethtoll says:

          I’m not a purist by any stretch of the imagination. I liked Thief 3 and I even like the new Thief. I liked Fallout Tactics, I love Fallout 3, and I really enjoyed Fallout 4.

          But I played Invisible War when it was new and it was a huge slap in the face. It’s genuinely one of the most terrible games I’ve ever played. All the systems present in DX1 are truncated or non-existent. Everything is oversimplified to a fault because they designed the game for the XBox (which had severe hardware restraints) and Ion Storm Austin assumed console gamers were morons. Making matters worse is engine is incredibly poorly coded (their lead programmer quit halfway through and didn’t leave any documentation for the replacement) and even today is a resource hog that takes ages to load. Due to the XBox’s hardware constraints they had to shrink the size of the levels to the point where they’re really little more than a couple rooms and a hallway, forcing a greatly simplified mission design. A sprawling area like the tanker in DX1 would be simply impossible for Invisible War.

          Another problem is that classic early 2000s issue of awful character models, and IW is by far one of the worst cases. Aside from the rather dated costume design, everyone has that plastic look like someone fucked a cat over a keyboard while Poser was open. The bulging eyes on everyone just made the uncanny valley look like the Marianas Trench, especially when you factor in how badly animated everything is.

          The UI is also pretty bad; it’s basically a poor attempt at aping Goldeneye’s HUD, and the inventory system (another victim of a drastic change) is bugged in that sometimes items won’t stack when they should, making the drastically reduced inventory space that much more of a premium.

          Shall we discuss the plot? A ham-fisted attempt at capturing the post-9/11 zeitgeist (now there’s a word DX1 taught me!) while not even pretending to give players a meaningful choice. The characters retained their status as walking exposition machines, but they weren’t even saying anything interesting this time. And of course, rather than follow from the original game by picking a single ending and running with it, they decided to take the lazy way around and made all the endings canon, which doesn’t even make sense as they’re mutually contradictory – and this isn’t adequately explained in the game.

          I played through the game again last year and it really struck me how little of it there really was. It’s an incredibly short game that can be gotten through in a matter of hours because there’s just almost no content, and what there is is simplistic.

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            Ninja Dodo says:

            This talk with Harvey Smith had a couple interesting points about why certain design decisions were made with DX Invisible War: link to youtube.com

          • dethtoll says:

            Sadly without subtitles (Youtube doesn’t even auto-caption it) I’m not really able to sit through a nearly 3-hour vid. If you could summarize for me that’d be great.

          • Darth Gangrel says:

            Well, I liked most of the 29 hours it took me to complete it and the few issues I had with it were minor. I might even replay it some day with the female protagonist, along with some mods/cheats.

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            Ninja Dodo says:

            @dethtoll: It’s not really the kind of thing you sit still and watch. I recommend listening to it in the background like a podcast. I’m not going to rewatch/listen the whole thing right now but one detail I remember is aspects of the design were simplified not to “dumb it down” for consoles, but because their designer friends were telling them that the skill system in DX1 was all wrong and a system with fewer skills would be more elegant… but what they found afterwards was that players *liked* having the ability to personalize their set of skills more freely (eg “I’m swimmer sniper guy”) and merging or cutting those elements was probably a mistake.

            There’s a lot of good stuff in there if you’re interested in gamedev history, esp Looking Glass and Ion Storm.

          • dethtoll says:

            @Ninja Dodo — That makes sense. I’m just saying I can’t watch or listen without subtitles due to being hard of hearing, as it takes a lot of effort and straining to follow along.

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            Ninja Dodo says:

            Ah ok sorry. Yeah unfortunately it’s an older video and I guess they don’t caption those?

    • sinbad says:

      I just got bored with it, played it for a good few hours but then stopped and never went back and that’s very unlike me. To me it was just a bit dull. Each to their own though of course.

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        phuzz says:

        That’s exactly what happened to me with Human Revolution. I still couldn’t tell you exactly what it was, but I started the game for the first time, played through the first mission or two, and turned it off for the night. Afterwards I just never felt like booting it back up again.

    • Werthead says:

      I completed it in the same time as Human Revolution with the Missing Link installed (28 hours), but whilst I definitely did every side-mission and side-quest in HR, there’s a few I know I missed in Mankind Divided. I think there’s marginally less levels or environments in MD compared to HR, but there’s a lot more to do in those areas.

      I the only area I’d say that MD lacks compared to HR is characters besides Jensen: HR sets up a whole bunch of somewhat interesting characters within minutes of starting the game and MD never really does that.

    • Masked Dave says:

      Yeah I agree, really enjoyed the game. That Hub city was like a massive toybox to play with. I’d normally roleplay my actions a bit more, try and act like I think Jensen would, but then I discovered a bank I could rob if I was clever enough and that all went out the window.

      I did keep trying to mentally map it over real Prague and couldn’t make it fit, although its been many years since I was there. Then, at one point I went down a street I’d not seen before (where you bump into the tour guide the first time) and suddenly I knew exactly where I was. Blew my tiny little mind.

    • Zenicetus says:

      It was lacking in a few other things besides what you listed:

      Characters all had wooden face animation, often with dialog out of sync. Much worse than the previous game. NPC’s were introduced that could have added interest, but they were never developed. Worst of all, there was no real reason to continue with Jensen. He was a cipher in this game. He could have been replaced by any other augmented agent in this plot line.

      The only saving grace for me was the level design, which was interesting enough to carry me through to the ridiculously abbreviated ending. This series needs more than just decent sneak-o-kill level design to succeed in the long term. If there is a next one, it needs much better plot writing and character development, so there a context for the mechanics and level design.

    • TheAngriestHobo says:

      Right?

      I picked Mankind Divided up during the Steam Autumn sale because, hey, 85% off. And, damn. This is a really solid game! I stayed away on release because everyone raised a big stink about the microtransactions, but having now played the game, I wouldn’t even have known that they existed if people hadn’t complained about them. The game certainly doesn’t try to advertise them at all (at least not during the main campaign), and you never once feel as if you’re missing out because you didn’t shell out extra money.

      I mean, I’m not complaining that all this vitriol netted me a recent AAA game for ten bucks, but it kinda sucks that it might delay the development of a sequel.

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      alison says:

      In my opinion Mankind Divided was easily the worst game of the whole Deus Ex series.

      Let’s overlook the fact that the level load time was 10+ minutes and general performance was trash compared to the previous games. The real crime was abandoning what to me is the whole point of the series: Dicksian paranoid conspiracy theory.

      In Mankind Divided the cast of characters is small, and there is never any doubt who are the goodies and the baddies. You never feel surprised by a double-cross or get the sense you are drowning in endless layers of setups and betrayals. It’s just some cookie cutter vaguely cyberpunkish grimdark future.

      To add insult to injury, the environment is not even cyberpunkish in a way that is appealing to me. Instead of going all out on the sleazy 80s neon and East Asian styled megacities like the rest of the series, it just uses a boring Central European capital that looks almost exactly the same in the game as it does in the present day. Perhaps i would have had lower expectations if Dreamfall: Chapters hadn’t already built such an interesting and compelling version of Future Prague.

      To me Mankind Divided felt like Eidos had just decided to build a fantasy/magic game like Thief or Dishonored and then skinned a few robots onto it. It still had “immersive sim” style gameplay so it was enjoyable enough, but the overall experience did not feel like Deus Ex and was incredibly disappointing for me.

  4. tslog says:

    Mankind divided level design system of your choice in approach was mostly there to avoid the 3rd Rate combat and boring stealth against the bad AI.

    Then the barley evolved hacking mini game that’s way over used, means MD is rife with bad gameplay fundamentals across the board.

    And then there’s Jensen’s voice…oh boy. RPSG already dealt with that.

    Series has such a cool premise but bland lacklustre gameplay.

  5. kwyjibo says:

    Look at how Blade Runner 2049 fared in the cinema. I loved it, but the genre is always going to be kind of niche.

    Same with Deus Ex, only its narrative has now stooped down to “what if racism were real” levels of banality.

  6. Don Reba says:

    They can’t make Deus Ex for VR until they find a way to realistically simulate vent crawling.