Ion Storm gives us the word on the nearly complete sequel. Hands-on impressions of the Xbox version are also included.
Just a few months ago, 2003 seemed like it was poised to become the year of the first-person shooter. Then the biggest names in the genre started to slip. First, Doom 3 was confirmed to be a 2004 game, and, more recently, Half-Life 2's September 30 release date was called into question. One promising first-person game that will definitely be out this year is Ion Storm's Deus Ex: Invisible War, the sequel to the ambition hybrid game from 2000, Deus Ex. During a recent visit to Ion Storm's Austin, Texas, development office, studio director Warren Spector and Invisible War director Harvey Smith confirmed that the game will, in fact, be available before Christmas. We learned a good deal of new information about Invisible War from both developers, and, after a couple of hours with the Xbox version, we came away solidly impressed and excited about the game's impending release.
Ion Storm is nearing the end of Deus Ex: Invisible War's development cycle--as the game is now fully playable from beginning to end--so the team is busy tweaking and polishing just about every aspect of the presentation and mechanics during these last few months of production. Since Invisible War will be available soon, Spector and Smith decided it's time to elaborate a little more on the game's storyline. The original Deus Ex was very much a story-driven game, and the sequel follows suit. Thus, Invisible War's plot is integral to the overall success of the game. The first game gave players a choice of three radically different endings, so one of the biggest questions on fans' minds, during the development of Invisible War, has been, "Which Deus Ex ending will Ion Storm consider to be the 'true' one that will be picked up for the second game?" That question has finally been answered: All three of them. Invisible War assumes that all three possible scenarios played out, and their combined effects have resulted in a minor Dark Age that has plunged the world into depression and chaos. You will assume the role of Alex D, an operative and clone of the first game's protagonist, JC Denton. (Alex D's gender is chosen by the player). JC, his brother, Paul, and Tracer Tong all return from the first game and prominently figure in the story of political, religious, and technological intrigue.
Invisible War will give you more freedom of choice than the original Deus Ex. There are a variety of factions in the game, such as the corporation-like WTO and a radical religious group called the Order. All of them attempt to play you against the others by using your skills. You'll have to decide, at key points during the storyline, which side you should take, and your choices will later influence who trusts you and who's out to get you. Furthermore, the designers want to encourage players to find creative ways to play through the game. In that vein, they've avoided adding prescripted sequences to the game in favor of creating a dynamic gameworld that allows for what is being referred to as "emergent gameplay."
We first saw a presentation that demonstrated multiple ways to complete the same objective (in this case, the player had to liberate a pilot's captured Harrier from a small-time smuggler). In one instance, Alex D peacefully negotiated with the smuggler, paid her off, and obtained access to the ship. This seemed a sensible course of action, since the area was teeming with guards. In the other example, Alex mowed through the guards, using a variety of weapons, and then took out the smuggler rather violently. This latter course of action greatly pleased the Order, who considered the smuggler a threat to their operations in the area. It seems that most of the game will give you this kind of freedom so that you can do things your own way.
- Release Date: Dec 2, 2003 (US)
- ESRB: MTitles rated M (Mature) have content that may be suitable for persons ages 17 and older.