For the first time, Eidos Montreal publicly demonstrated the gameplay of its highly anticipated title, Deus Ex: Human Revolution. Community Manager Kyle Stallock, Game Director Jean-Francois Ducas, and Art Director Jonathan Jacques-Belletête took to the stage to demonstrate the first mission of the game that occurs after protagonist Adam Jensen, undergoes the augmentation process.
One of the overarching conflicts of the game pits those who want to preserve the human body from such implants against those who have no such objections. The scenario presented to the audience had the terrorist group, ‘Purity First’ seize one of Sarif Industries’ warehouses, and in the process, take several hostages.
Consequently, Jensen’s boss at Sarif orders him to secure a military prototype at the compromised facility since the company wants to keep the project a secret. While doing so, Jensen has the option to save the hostages.
Eidos Montreal has repeatedly emphasized that the heart of DX: HR is “multi-paths, [&] multi-solutions.” Specifically, Jensen can make use of the “four pillars” of the game to overcome the obstacles before him: stealth, hacking, combat, and social interaction. During the demo, Eidos Montreal first showed how Jensen could operate in a stealthy and non-lethal manner. Using a tranquilizer gun and the ability to completely camouflage himself, Jensen stayed hidden until the opportunity to slip behind the “purists” presented itself, and then could silently choke his victims into unconsciousness.
In order to prevent the other guards from being alerted, Jensen then hid the victims from view. Jacques-Belletête explained that the felled guards would stay unconscious for the course of the mission unless they were found by the other guards. Using the stealth augmentation did not silence Jensen’s footsteps, so running across a room while visually hidden is not advisable. To prove the point, Eidos Montreal had Jensen run while hidden, and a guard quickly ran to the location of the noise to investigate.
Another augmentation that appeared extremely useful was X-Ray vision, which allowed Jensen to see enemies through walls and around corners. By using this tech, the walls become transparent and individuals lit up like a Christmas tree. Using this tool, Jensen could easily determine his plan of attack.
Hacking is also a big part of DX: HR, and an extremely basic version of the hacking mini-game was demonstrated. Jensen was shown navigating through several nodes in order to find protected information to both unlock a door and to take control of a mechanized sentry gun. To succeed, players need to finish their attempt before the server detects their presence. Jacques-Belletête noted that as the hacking puzzles increased in difficulty over the course of the game, players would be able to use augmentations, software, or viruses to make the puzzles less challenging.
After demonstrating the non-lethal approach, Eidos Montreal showed off the “shoot first and ask questions later” strategy on the same mission. Using a cover system similar to that of Gears of War, the camera zoomed out to third-person to show Jensen’s position in relation to his surroundings while he hid along the wall. He was then shown throwing a couple of flashbang grenades into the room to disorient his targets and then eliminating them with a combat rifle. Visually, it was very rewarding and appeared very precise, but without controlling the targeting ourselves, it’s hard to say how well it works.
Because the augmentations in the game are very powerful, each use drains Jensen’s energy level in order to prevent the game from becoming too easy. His energy levels can be replaced by locating and consuming cybernetic bars.
Some other items that Eidos Montreal touched upon:
- Players will not be able to customize Jensen’s appearance. The team wanted to make an iconic character and he therefore needed a unique look.
- Progression of the main quest will occur in a linear fashion in that gamers will be told where to go and what to do.
- Side quests will not be disconnected from the main story. Players won’t be required to randomly fetch items or “kill a rat.”
- Adam Jensen has the ability to regenerate, but unlike say Wolverine of X-Men fame, he does so slowly.
- The PC version of the title will have unique “components” and will utlilize Direct X 11. However, modding tools will be not be released.
- There will be three levels of difficulty.
- The body-part damage system that was utilized in the original Deus Ex has been abandoned because it required more micromanagement than desired by the development team. Eidos Montreal would rather have players focusing on how to resolve the objectives using the “four pillars” paradigm.
- DX: HR will not have a sword similar to that found in the original game.
In response to a question as to whether players would learn of a connection between J.C. Denton, the protagonist of the original Deus Ex, and Adam Jensen, the development team burst out in laughter in a rather guilty way. They then stated they could not comment.
Based on the amount of respect Eidos Montreal has shown Deus Ex, don’t be surprised if such a link shows up in DX: HR.
Deus Ex: Human Revolution releases for the PC, PlayStation 3, and Xbox 360 on August 23, 2011.