Back during last NYCC, I was lucky enough to sit down with Executive art director of Deus Ex: Mankind Divided, Jonathan Jacques-Belletête, to talk a bit about the new game, and what we can expect. I hope you enjoy and pick up the new game when it hits shelves on Monday, August 23!
One of the first things Jonathan wanted to point out is that that the core mechanics will be back: combat, hacking and social enhancers. It’s still an rpg as well, even though more combat is brought into it more. “Weapon customization was a big thing in Human Revolution [HR] and it will be a bigger component this time around. I don’t mean that it will necessarily be more important, but it’s so much more refined. It’s definitely a part of the game that we revamped, that I’m really happy about. The inventory management system is the same as it was in HR, but there are more bells and whistles. Basically, we added in things that we wanted to put in HR but we didn’t have time to do.”
Jonathan stated that the social interactions aspect has been retained, as well. “The film noir, cyber-punk aspect is still there. You’ll still be investigating things, talking to people and getting information–the whole detective thing. It’s a game about open design and it’s about multi-paths, multi-solutions–basically playing the what that you want, how you want. Are you going to go left, or right–or are going to go into the sewers to try and go into the building? There are all these solutions.”
Mankind Divided is set in 2029, two years after the events of Human Revolution, and after the Panchaea Incident, where all the augmented people started to go mad and turn on the world. “Millions and millions died. The dream of an augmented future is over. The world has done a total 180. What we have now is the mechanical apartheid.”
“So if in Human Revolution it was all about the golden age of augmentation, the golden age of transhumanism and totally indulging in augmenting ourselves and harnessing the power of our own evolution (as it isn’t nature anymore)…now, it’s the opposite. So many people died–many feel that augmentation is a potential danger so people must be segregated.”
Jensen is back, of course. Jonathan mentioned that the team has been calling him Jenson 2.0 because not only does he have new augmentations, new tech, new gear–he has a new world view as well. “In HR he always felt that he had never asked for this life, as he had gotten augmented against his will, and of course was forced to be David Sarif’s lap dog. Whatever David wanted him to do, he had to do it. So he was looking for his place in the world. In Mankind Divided, in this sequel, Jensen’s much more his own man–he’s taking matters into his own hands. He wants to take the fight to the Illuminati himself.”
Jensen is trying to find his way to do that–so now he’s part of a task force called TF29. It’s a task force that takes care of terrorism and focuses on augmented people. Jonathan stated that while Jenson works for the force, he’s also using them. “We don’t want to give away too much on that front, but he believes that the Illuminati are pulling the strings behind TF29. So while he is still going to be following someone else’s orders/missions, Jensen still has his own plan going forward.”
One of the places the game will take places is Dubai. The game deals a lot with the future aspect of society and humanity, and Dubai is already an icon of the future. It is also a place for very rich people of the world–and of course in the game the rich were heavily augmented, so a lot of them would have been able to get augmented in Dubai. Jonathan notes, “As they are constantly building in the city, the main construction force in Deus Ex were augmented as well–there would have been specific augmentations to do construction work. Now obviously with the new state of the world, with the division’s, things have changed. The location is just interesting as well–the city is fighting against the ocean, and the desert–it is a perfect representation of what is happening within humanity within the game.”
I asked Jonathan if there was still a lot of stealth involved. He stated there was. “We feel we mastered stealth in HR, but we put a lot of effort and time into leveraging the combat in Mankind Divided so that it’s as good as the stealth now. But you can still play the entire game without killing anybody– even the bosses, which is new. You can ignore combat if you wish to, but if you don’t, you’ll have a much more efficient combat experience than you did in HR.
So again guys, Check out the launch trailer below, and check out the game itself on August 23rd!