At the crossroads of steroids, baseball, and Deus Ex

Comic-Con 2011: Eidos Montreal reveals the real science and thought process behind the augmentations in its Deus Ex prequel.

Who was there: Eidos Montreal's community manager moderated a panel that featured Mary DeMarle, lead writer on Deus Ex: Human Revolution, and Will Rosellini, the CEO of MicroTransponder and technological consultant on the game.

What they talked about: The crux of the panel was highlighting how the development team behind Deus Ex: Human Revolution (with the help of Will Rosellini) wanted to create a believable world that was grounded not only in present-day events, but also in a world that made sense in relation to being a prequel to the original Deus Ex. DeMarle started by talking about how the original Deus Ex involved nano augmentations and how it hinted that mechanical augmentations were something that preceded it. So they took the mechanical augmentation idea and ran with it as a basis for the prequel, but DeMarle also said that focusing on the mechanical augmentations gave more opportunities to create more visually diverse characters. She then said that they wanted to look at how these mechanical augmentations would be perceived via issues that society deals with and what prejudices spring forth as a result.

But to make it all feel relevant, DeMarle stressed that the team needed to make the science real, and that's where Will Rosellini came in. His company, MicroTransponder, is working on an actual implant that uses RF energy to combat various neurological diseases, but Rosellini is also a big fan of games. While he was disappointed in Deus Ex: Invisible War, he contacted the development team because he felt that a new Deus Ex game could make some interesting predictions about the future of implants and the technology surrounding them.

DeMarle continued by saying that the development team built out an entire timeline that traced the history of augmentation and then predicted where it would go. She used Oscar Pistorius--a double amputee sprinter who uses special carbon-fiber prosthetics to run--as an example of a predicted turning point where those with implants integrate with those who do not have them.

She then went into an explanation of how the augmentations were developed for Human Revolution. The development team started with augmentations that naturally fit within the gameplay pillars of stealth, hacking, combat, and social abilities. For stealth, as an example, the team wanted to make sure that there was a cloaking augment. But for other abilities, DeMarle said that the team started off with ridiculous ideas, like a bungee augment that let Adam Jensen (the game's lead character) jump from any height and safely land on the ground, but by tempering the idea and making it work within the universe, it eventually became the Icarus Landing System.

Rosellini then explained how augmentations are already a very real part of society. Surprisingly, he cited his own experience as a pitcher for the Arizona Diamondbacks as an example of people already using augments as a means for getting an edge over others. In this instance, he said, the edge was a drug (or steroids) as opposed to something more physical, but the intent was the same. He then referred to the iPhone, not only as evidence of how quickly technology advances when funding is behind it, but also as an augment in itself. More people are carrying around smartphones than ever before, and oftentimes people wouldn't even think of leaving the house without it.

There was also a discussion about what happens in the world of Deus Ex as a result of mechanical augmentations being introduced. DeMarle explained that a whole new middle class springs up as a result of new opportunities being offered to those who are able to work more difficult jobs because of their augmentations. Problems arise when the mechanical becomes better than the real, according to DeMarle, and that creates the friction in Human Revolution's world. And that's just skimming the surface of the debate. There is also the question of drugs used to keep bodies from rejecting the implants and how people get addicted to the drug itself. Rosellini addressed how this is based in reality, because the body does whatever it can to reject foreign objects (for example, the inflammation that occurs due to a splinter), and people generally don't like wearing things that exist on top of the body, but rather are a part of it.

The takeaway: Sometimes, people take sci-fi for granted. Audiences may not really appreciate the amount of work and research that goes into creating a world that is not only fantastic, but also realistic and relatable. By incorporating real science and sociology into its universe, the development team of Deus Ex: Human Revolution hopes that people will be able to instantly understand its message and what the implications are of Adam Jensen's actions in the game.

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Discussion

28 comments
naryanrobinson
naryanrobinson

I hope they've made it so that if the player does choose to go the combat route, it's really difficult and really requires just as much if not more thought than stealth for example.

vaibhavp
vaibhavp

in my opinion, graphics are great. any graphics are great if they are atmospheric like bioshock, demons souls, batman arkham asylum. either such graphics or we need beautiful graphics like crysis. such both of those graphics truely add to overall experience in a meaningful way...

Wensea10
Wensea10

in deus ex human revolution, combat will obviously be the best gameplay

videogamer008
videogamer008

that is why i love you guys sooo much, you guys make interesting games.... the power to become invisible is that one sequence, USEFUL to trick another enemy into shooting the first enemy.. hahah...

GamerLegend10
GamerLegend10

this is awesome...i love how much depth and detail they have gone into

Chasmas
Chasmas

It seems it will be a great Deus Ex addition to the series. Cant wait to get it, although i honestly expected better looking graphics, but we all know what they say, its not the graphics that make a great game, its the prime gameplay. I will be in line waiting for the game on August 23rd 2011.

cjf187x
cjf187x

[This message was deleted at the request of the original poster]

dbzpranav
dbzpranav

Not much longer, its almost here!

karenwen
karenwen

Yeah the comment about gore... yeah the first Deus Ex explosives and repeated damage upon the dead can make a body gib, but in this one, even direct rockets leave the full body intact.

Yeah, the game is going to be pretty excellent. From playing it, you can tell that EM put their heart and soul into it. I hope it goes viral because right now, it doesn't really seem to be getting the hype it deserves. There aren't many games with the kind of depth that this game offers.

ladiesman271
ladiesman271

OMG THIS IS EPIC!!! So keen to buy as soon as it comes out! :)

Granpire
Granpire

I love it when devs put this much thought into crafting a great world. Now we have to wait and see if they crafted great gameplay to go along with it.

VarietyMage
VarietyMage

Hurry up and get this one done, I want the sequel to Invisible War already. *drums fingers on desk*

Pete5506
Pete5506

Not much longer, my body is ready

zidan4000
zidan4000

@Evenios I agree , lots of games implement gore that adds nothing to the game unlike some games like , God of War III , that game had the most satisfying gore events ever and it shows that gore is a real part of the game and not some randomly added feature.

Cloud737
Cloud737

This is awesome, I've been looking for hardcore/scientifically-accurate sci-fi's instead of the usual meaningless techo-babble ones we're getting today. Much appreciation goes to the team for doing their homework. Since this article brings up the subject, I urge anyone looking for sci-fi's that have done their homework (i.e.: actually present plausible or accurate stuff instead dishing out the techo-babble and light show, like black holes that are green and can be cut and stored) to check out the Star Ocean series of (fantasy) sci-fi's. I find it fascinating since they manage to combine both scientific accuracy and fantasy concepts like prophecies, magic, time travel into one believable (and scientifically accurate) package.

justoneguy
justoneguy

Deus Ex is a prime game, no doubts!

Evenios
Evenios

lack of gore? too many games these days are gore filled to be honest i dont mind a game that does not have much gore. dont really need it.

Pierce_Sparrow
Pierce_Sparrow

This is why I love the series. It's not just about making a good game but crafting a great world with lots of depth. These are most certainly the underlying issues that will excel this game into a whole nother level. It's great to see this kind of work going into the game and I just hope that it lives up to everything we have seen so far.

FireWarriorr
FireWarriorr

i have high hopes on the game, still i find the lack of gore disappointing, seeing an enemy being hit by a granade and not exploding into pieces really takes the fun out of explosives

TheLemonGelati
TheLemonGelati

I'm glad to hear about all of the research that went into the development of HR. It's also good to hear they made sure there were realistic aspects applied to the augmentations. I always appreciate when hard work is put into creating a unique world, hope it turns out well.

MadGamer132
MadGamer132

whoh! real life lessons can lead what the storyline of the game holds. 'roids?, really?

perkinsj26
perkinsj26

Really hope this lives up to the hype! I cant wait

Rocker6
Rocker6

It seems they are really working hard on the game,hopefully it wont end up as a dissapoinment.Now I should probably replay Deus Ex and maybe Invisible War(I find it OK,not as good as the first one,but still OK).

ninjaman44
ninjaman44

Nice! This is really shaping up to be an excellent game.

fkbwii
fkbwii

A lot of work has been put into this game and I can't wait! 1 month and 2 days left!