GR: Without giving any spoilers, can we expect Adam Jensen to fundamentally change over the course of story?
JBB: Without giving too much away, he starts fully human, which is a rather short period of time. That’s maybe the first 30 minutes of the game. Then his accident happens. The way we say it is that all the augmentations were installed him during that operation. It’s already all there. It’s just that he cannot fully control them efficiently straight from the get-go.
The way that we explain it — and a lot is from the books we’ve read on cybernetic prosthetics and the specialists that we consulted — it’s kind of like the brain-machine connection takes time and improves. It’s like if you’re learning guitar or piano, there may be a chord that you are having a really hard time with for two weeks, then you stop for another week, and you go back and suddenly it’s like, “wow” it’s easy…like your brain is forming new neurons or connections for that specific chord. Or when a child is born, he’s already got a head, two arms, two legs, but yet he can’t walk, he can’t talk. The eyes don’t even function for the first couple of weeks. It’s like the brain needs to form those connections.
Adam has everything already, but he doesn’t know how to use most of it yet and that connection needs to happen. As you gain experience points through main quest missions, [side quest] missions, killing people, not killing people — we also reward for not killing — exploration, you can spend those points in unlocking those abilities. So in terms of transformation, in terms of physical transformation, there’s not all that much that happens because in the story everything was implanted at the beginning. He won’t be operated on later in the game so he’ll have a pair of wings on his back. Everything is already there.
GR: One thing that is controversial nowadays is DLC. There’s been primarily three kinds of DLC. One is basically the “horse armor” type.
JJB: Yeah, which was the end of the world back then and now you don’t hear about it. And all of the horses have armor.
JJB: Mine has (laughter).
GR: The other types you see are the mission-based kind. Some are those you would play during the main game as a side quest, and others end up being more like an epilogue to continue the game. A lot of gamers often complain that they buy a title and there isn’t really an ending and they have to buy new DLC…
JJB: One thing I can tell you is that the game you’re going to buy on the shelves is self-contained. It’s going to end awesome. It has multiple endings. I can’t tell you how many, but no matter which one you get or if you replay and get another one, it ends like that. If we do DLC, we’ll work it in a way that it’s not like a thing you needed [for the main game]. It’s either going to be happening while or before [the main story], I have no idea, but I know those concerns. We’re fully aware of it.
GR: In designing Deus Ex, was there any thought about making a series of Deus Ex games with Adam Jensen as your protagonist, where it may even lead into the time period of the original Deus Ex?
JJB: Without saying that we’re doing it or not, naturally as creators we’re thinking about those things. We’ve talked before over dinner, “what happened to Adam two years after this game.” I think it’s a natural process for the creators of a game like that.
Obviously, this one is 30 years before the first one. It’s part of the exact same time line. There will probably be cameos in this one or at least events that are predicting what happens in the first one. So there would be ways to do other stuff that totally leads to the Deus Ex 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12 and then finally goes to the first [Deus Ex]. It’s totally doable. Whether we do or not, I’m not worried that we won’t find great ideas and have great games. And like I said, there would be times where Jeff [Game Director Jean-FranÃ§ois Dugas] would say, “man, I was thinking about this the other day and if we made another one, it would be so awesome.” And then I’m pitching something else. This being said, is it going to happen or not, I have no idea.
GR: With what BioWare did with the Mass Effect series, they were obviously thinking ahead since they were able to integrate choices [from the first game] into the sequel. Will we see this in Deus Ex?
JJB: Because we were starting a brand new studio, because so much of that studio hangs on this game and Thief 4… naturally we think about what sequels could be, but hasn’t been planned as a real thing as much as BioWare can do it because they know they’re fine in a way. They’re already there. They can do that easily. Having thought about this straight from the beginning would have taken us away from focusing on the real thing, which was let’s begin by just nailing this one down and having the studio right. And take it from there after that.
GR: Success here will allow you do to multiple sequels in the future.
JJB: Exactly. Having thought about this straight from the get go as there will be three games and let’s even communicate it that way would have been a huge mistake for the studio and the franchise.
GR: Since Mass Effect was a new property, gamers may have been willing to give the titles a little more leeway, but with Deus Ex and its fan base, you probably don’t have that kind of leeway…
JJB: No way. Not with this franchise. It’s always a dangerous thing, without naming other franchises, saying “we’re gonna have this trilogy and it’s going to be insane” and then the whole thing went to shit. It’s a dangerous thing to do.