In part one of our Deus Ex interview we talked to Deus Ex 3's art director Jacques-Belletęte on his influences during the creation of the new Deus Ex, and the game's futuristic tech.
In part 2 we discuss the crazy world of Deus Ex and Ubisoft's cancelled plans for a new Prince of Persia game.
If you could swap your real legs for ones that could run at fifty miles an hour, would you grab a hacksaw and do it?
It's a really good question. I don't know. We had a lot of those kinds of talks. You'd probably have a brand new branch of psychology that'd deal with helping people that have made the change.
I'm sure it must affect your psyche in such crazy ways that we're not aware of today. There'd be tons of new branches of medicine and science and psychology and so maybe I'd do it, but I'd need lots of help afterwards.
We think a lot about those things - but that's what transhumanism is all about. If I could have a hard drive in my brain I'd probably do it in a second, but what would happen to the education system or to the law system? People could stock entire libraries of data in their heads.
The whole of society would change.
So what projects did you work on before to make you the right guy to build a whole new future for a whole new Deus Ex?
I started working a really long time ago in the early 90s as a traditional animator with different animation studios back in Montreal.
I did a lot of licensed games in the early days - like Warner Bros, Walt Disney things. I worked for A2M - Artificial Mind and Movement in Montreal - for six years then went to Ubisoft and worked on the Xbox Far Cry series.
I worked on Assassin's Creed, which was great. We had this amazing version that I was the Art Director on for the PS2 and original Xbox.
It wasn't a port because there's no way you could've ported Assassin's Creed the way it was, so it was a whole different story set in Cyprus actually.
That's like a scoop for you, y'know! It was great.
Was it like a linear game, or more open world?
It was funny because even back then the concept for the 360 one was a bit different to what ended up coming out.
But yeah, it was obviously a little more closed but in spirit it was very close. I designed the Cyprus areas.
Obviously the enemies were a bit different because there was a lot of Turkish influence entering the Third Crusade in Cyprus.
The Templars were a little different than in the Jerusalem version.
So it wasn't just being designed... it was a long way into development?
Our fake pre-visualisation footage was all done and we had some great level design testing, so yeah.
And then after that Ubisoft wanted a spin-off for Prince of Persia
Separate to the cel-shaded Prince?
Yeah, before that. That one had already started, internally named Prince of Persia Zero.
But they really wanted something completely out of the left field. I was known for some pretty cool, weird ideas so I had this little team.
It was actually set in the contemporary world - think a bit like The Day After Tomorrow, but replace the snow with sand.
It was really wicked but it got cancelled. And then when I left Ubisoft to join Eidos I was designing Avatar, which was awesome.
You must have had James Cameron looking over your shoulder the whole time, right?
When I was there it looked pretty good in terms of autonomy and I had a lot of faith in it but when the ball really started rolling I think they ended up being pretty like...(Dramatically mimes strangling self.)