Deus Ex: Human Revolution Interview: Game Director Jean-Francois Dugas
“We are huge fans of the original game ourselves, and on a lot of topics, we’re on the same page as the fans.”
Was Warren Spector, in any way, included during the production of the game?
No, Mr. Spector was not involved in any stage of the production.
How will Human Revolution differ from the previous two titles – treatment, story and gameplay wise?
The first game was definitely our inspiration, more so than Invisible War, so on that note, we are going back to an inventory system similar to Deus Ex 1 and getting rid of universal ammo which Invisible War had. In terms of level design and technology, the levels will be similar in size to the first game, with significantly less load times than Invisible War.
But at the same time, it is important that we bring something new to the table, whether it be artistically, storywise, or in terms of gameplay. One of the bigger differences fans will notice right away is that, since Human Revolution is a prequel, we’re focusing on visible mechanical augmentations, rather than nano-augs. In the first two games, due to the nature of nano augmentations, you really couldn’t see your character change as you upgraded them, but with mechanical augmentations you will visually see the modifications that you make, and with our contextual third-person camera, during combat you will really get to see some of your more brutal augmentations in action.
Beyond that, as mentioned previously, we’re coming up with some new gameplay possibilities, reinforcing the choice and consequence aspect, and introducing a brand new cast of characters and storylines that will expand the Deus Ex 3 experience for a new generation of gamers and old fans alike.
Online play has become a big deal since the last Deus Ex came out. Will there be an online component to the game? Co-op maybe?
No online component has been announced yet, no.
Deus Ex was always about player choices and the freedom of adopting different play styles. How much of that has been retained?
We think people will enjoy a gaming experience that hasn’t been recreated in recent years. Although some recent games have aspects of Deus Ex: Human Revolution in them, our combination of different play styles, multiple approaches to problems and their solutions, and being able to see the consequences of your actions makes for a really great and unique game experience. Almost every objective and challenge in DX:HR has a different way of completing it, plus you get to customize your character (and weapons) and then choose the paths you take. The gameplay choices are exposed in a non-linear fashion, so different people will end up having a different experience depending on where they go, who they talk to, how many sub-plots they get involved in, etc.
Whether you like action, stealth, hacking, or social, you can complete missions in different ways. In Deus Ex: Human Revolution there are two primary gameplay styles (combat and stealth) and two supporting gameplay styles (hacking and social interactions). You can basically play the entire game by going “frontal” or by going “sneaky” and/or by switching back and forth as you please. You can also expand your possibilities through these means in order to open up new paths, find new solutions to problems, acquire useful goodies or information, etc.
Usually, what we see is that when old franchises are brought back and into the new generation gaming cycle, they are overly simplified and ‘dumbed-down’. How much influence was it on the gameplay to know that games have a much wider audience than what was back in 2000?
Like we said in the previous question, while games have evolved and gotten more mainstream, we are very much retaining the non-linearity aspect that was at the core of the first Deus Ex game.
The game uses the Crystal Engine. We guess it has been heavily modified to suit the requirements as the engine has never been used at such a scale as Human Revolution. Why was it chosen over other existing technologies such Unreal Engine 3 which has been used superbly by Bioware for its Mass Effect series?
We chose the engine because it is an internal Eidos engine that is very mature with powerful tools for building the game. Actually, it allowed us early on (during the conception phase) to play around with some gameplay mechanics, which was very helpful and it still is! However, our game is not driven by the technology but mainly by the Art direction needs. For Eidos Montréal as a brand new studio, we didn’t want to spend a year or more building an engine. Luckily, we are able to work directly with the engineers at Crystal Dynamics to get the most out of it and we are also making many enhancements to suit Human Revolution’s artistic direction, as well as its unique gameplay. One of the big things fans of the original should like is that the engine is very good at streaming data so you will see larger, more open areas than Invisible War, and with fewer loading screens.
You’re aiming for an ‘early 2011’ launch – any specific release window yet?
Nope. The release window is still Early 2011.