Deus Ex: Human Revolution - A classic in the making?
5th Jan 2011 | 19:33
The mind-blowing Deus Ex: Human Revolution reveal trailer took a development sideteam an entire year to craft, costing untold millions.
Before work on the game began, the 120-strong main crew spent twelve months simply playing previous titles in the series (yep, even Project: Snowblind, bless 'em) to immerse themselves in the mythology of Warren Spector's sci-fi opus.
Then there were the focus groups, where swathes of hardcore fans were drafted in and interrogated on their thoughts, feelings and memories of the decade-old classic.
The result? A sprawling, official franchise 'bible' - fleshed out by current writer Mary DeMarle.
On the art side, lead bod and Adam Jensen-lookalike Jonathan Jacques-Belletete delved hungrily into cyborg academia, the notion of a coming technological singularity and Descartes' man-as-machine musings when sculpting his already-iconic black and gold palette.
Oh, and there are over 100 created 'brands' in the universe, designed to create an unprecedented feeling of immersion.
Clearly, then, to underestimate the near-zealous reverence with which Eidos Montreal are treating Deus Ex is to fail to appreciate what the Canadian outfit are not only bringing to this reborn series, but to videogame development as a whole.
But that's only one reason to be fascinated by Human Revolution... we haven't even delved into the sophistication of the actual game mechanics yet.
REVENGE OF THE EX
In an age where first-person usually means balls-out shooters a la Call of Duty: Black Ops or sprawling dialogue-heavy sandboxes in the form of a Fallout or Oblivion, Human Revolution nonchalantly treads a middle ground that has the potential to top both.
It looks beautiful, but every potential shootout is qualified with the opportunity to sneak in via a back entrance, or sweet talk/strong-arm your way past a guardian. Eidos are taking this ethos so seriously that - boss encounters apart - you'll apparently be able to finish the whole game without taking a single life.
Metaphor is everything, an abundance of (very literal) smoke and mirrors signifying dual-meaning and all-enveloping conspiracy. Michael McCann's sparse but affecting score - immediately reminiscent of the original's dynamic electro compositions - pays a wonderful homage, but this is so much more than a mere facsimile.
It's a (human) revolution. Whereas the original's shooting felt reluctant and tacked on, Jensen's armoury of machine pistol and human claymores revels in explosive bombast.
Conversation has been beefed up, the visuals now on a level where you can judge the authenticity of a suspect by his body language alone.
Likewise, the adoption of the third-person for stealth now makes sneaking about a bona fide option, rather than a clumsy afterthought.
But the time for eulogising about this masterly creation is almost over. With a release date of early April on the cards, Eidos have been noticeably languid in letting us get hands-on with their baby, preferring to illustrate its complexities via controlled demos.
This time, however, we're complaining not because we smell a rat, but more that we've waited a decade for this - and, quite simply, we're gagging to step back into its world.