Deus Ex: Mankind Divided: The Story So Far

Can't remember your Jensens from your Juggernauts? Read this refresher on the ending of Deus Ex: Human Revolution, and where its sequel, Deus Ex: Mankind Divided, could take its story.

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The backstory and continuity of the Deus Ex series are complex to the point of confusion. When you have multiple shadowy organisations, mysterious characters controlling puppet governments, and a cornucopia of conspiracies running alongside all of this, things can get confusing.

With Deus Ex: Mankind Divided picking up two years after the end of Deus Ex: Human Revolution, it's worth refreshing your knowledge of what happened at the end of Adam Jensen's first adventure, and what the state of Deus Ex's world is.

Warning: This article contains major spoilers for Deus Ex: Human Revolution and the original Deus Ex.

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The fall of Panchaea

Panchaea was a massive, geo-engineering Arctic installation ostensibly created to combat global warming, and was the setting for Human Revolution's finale. The facility also contained a secret broadcast centre which, toward the end of the game, emitted a signal that caused all augmented humans around the world to hallucinate and go berserk.

Jensen reaches the signal source and shuts it down, and is then left with a choice of four endings. He can broadcast a video that reveals the Illuminati's responsibility for the augs' mass frenzy, thereby causing humanity to abandon mechanical augmentation. Or, he can blame the incident on the anti-augmentation political groups, increasing support for augmentation. Alternatively, he can put the blame on the corporations creating augmentations, which results in intense restrictions on the use of the technology. Finally, he can cause the facility to self-destruct, never revealing the truth behind the incident and leaving humanity to determine how to view augmentations for themselves.

According to an interview which originally appeared in the latest issue of GameInformer, this last ending is the point from which Mankind Divided continues its story. However, Eidos Montreal is also weaving in select elements from the other three endings to construct the state of the game's world. Finally, although Human Revolution implied Jensen would go down with the ship, Mankind Divided's reveal trailer shows his eventual rescue from the Arctic ocean.

What does that mean for the state of the world in 2029? Humanity has come down hard on mechanical augmentations. In some parts of the world, those who possess them are forced into ghettos. Organisations of augmented people have resorted to terrorist attacks to fight for equality. And soon, a referendum will take place, with humanity voting on some kind of definitive stance on augmentations as a whole. All of this has resulted from Jensen's destruction of Panchaea.

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The return of Adam Jensen

Juan Lebedev, a key character from the first Deus Ex, is a member of the Juggernaut Collective.
Juan Lebedev, a key character from the first Deus Ex, is a member of the Juggernaut Collective.

Rescued from the wreckage of Panchaea and disillusioned with the result of his actions, Adam Jensen joins Task Force 29, an Interpol-led anti-terrorist group. However, Jensen doesn't fully trust his new employers, and is secretly feeding information to a group called the Juggernaut Collective. This isn't the first appearance of the shadowy group of hackers--they featured prominently in Human Revolution's prequel novel, Deus Ex: Icarus Effect (and its retelling-turned-follow-up, Deus Ex: The Fall) as well as in Human Revolution's DLC, The Missing Link.

Not much is known about the Juggernaut Collective, but the group has some significant ties to people and organisations that became major players in the first Deus Ex game. They support a United States secessionist organisation called the New Sons of Freedom--the same organisation which would later become the National Secessionist Forces, or NSF, in Deus Ex. Together with the Juggernaut Collective, these two groups form what is essentially an "anti-Illuminati" coalition.

Given Jensen's affiliation to them, Mankind Divided should set the stage for some interpersonal conflict as well as shadowy wheeling and dealing. At the end of Human Revolution, Megan Reed--Jensen's ex-girlfriend--is heard in conversation with a character which implies she is joining the Illuminati on their next project. That character is Bob Page, the unnamed conspirator seen in Human Revolution's introduction movie, and the primary antagonist of the first Deus Ex game.

The rise of the Illuminati

What new projects are the Illuminati working on in 2029? Given what we know about the first Deus Ex, and the ending of Human Revolution, there are three that stand out. Before conversing with Megan Reed, Bob Page asks for the wreckage of Panchaea to be searched for technology that can be used for something called the Morpheus Initiative. This is a reference to the Morpheus artificial intelligence that can be found and spoken to in the first Deus Ex: a precursor to an AI named Daedalus that the Illuminati creates in an attempt to control the world's electronic information.

VersaLife's logo, as featured in Mankind Divided's trailer.
VersaLife's logo, as featured in Mankind Divided's trailer.

In the same conversation, Reed also refers to a nanite virus, implied to be a precursor to the Gray Death plague that is ravaging the world as the first game begins. This nanite virus is manufactured by VersaLife, a corporation controlled by Bob Page, and one whose logo features in the Mankind Divided trailer. The nanite plague is a kind of research and development, designed to accelerate the creation of the next generation of nanoaugmentation technology.

The most significant aspect of Mankind Divided's setting of 2029 is that it's the same year in which the first Deus Ex game's protagonist, JC Denton, was born. He and his brother Paul are some of the first people physiologically able to accept the next generation of augmentations. Human Revolution reveals that Jensen is the first human being capable of being augmented--with the present mechanical augmentations--without requiring an expensive drug called Neuropozyne to prevent his body rejecting them. How do we know this? The very first book you can read in Human Revolution reveals that Reed has been experimenting on Jensen's DNA without his knowledge.

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The mechanical apartheid

All of this is pointing to the notion that Mankind Divided may have much stronger tie-ins to the original Deus Ex. Jensen's destruction of Panchaea left the Illuminati with the ability to create Daedalus, and his DNA is likely facilitating the creation of the Gray Death and later nanoaugmentation itself. There's a reason Megan Reed is shown in Mankind Divided's first trailer: it's only through her actions at the end of Human Revolution that the future of the Deus Ex universe can come to pass. With public opinion on mechanical augmentation split down the middle, the time is ripe for the shadowy cabals to make their next move. How this happens is something we'll have to wait for Mankind Divided to find out. And as the achievement you earn by finishing Human Revolution is called "The D Project", and has a picture of JC Denton's face, it's highly likely we'll see Jensen and the Dentons' lives begin to cross.

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