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    Deus Ex is not a basic game by no means. This role-playing game taking the first-person perspective has an uncanny amount of realism while still taking place in the future. PC Paradox caught up with Harvey Smith, Lead Designer of Deus Ex, and asked for some answers of one of the best games at E3. Here some basic background information about Deus Ex that one should know about this spectacular-looking role-playing game.

    The Story:

    Your character is J.C. Denton, a person working for an espionage and anti-terrorist group called UNATCO. J.C., and his brother Paul, are the first humans to have nano-augmentations, which improve speed/strength, etc. In the game world of Deus Ex, nano-augmented humans are subject to racial discrimination, which looks to be a sub-plot of the game. The player will be able to choose the race and appearance, if ION has the time, of the main character.

    Several references have been made to an X-files type conspiracy theory outlook (without the aliens). The plan appears to be to merge real-world settings with a conspiracy-theory paradigm to provide both immersion and entertainment.

    The World:

    Not much is know about the environments planned for the final game, but Warren has used the phrase 'real world spaces' continually to refer to them. Apparently he wants to create places where the player can perform extraordinary feats in a recognizeable location. Interviews with designers have shown that the team is creating realistic locations. However, they stress that they will make these world spaces fun to play, and not just create them as a demonstration of detail.

    -Hong Kong
    -Washington D.C.
    -New York

    The Unreal engine is touted as being superior to the Quake 2 Engine in it's ability to render outdoor scenes. Also, Unreal scripting should allow for complex scripting of in-game events. The flexibility in skymap, 'actor', and NPC options will most likely offer nicely immersive levels reminiscent of locales seen in everyday life. Some Deus Ex maps will contain randomly placed and invisible 'generators' of smoke and trash. These trash generators create bits of paper that either blow along in random directions, or they can be set for predefined patterns.

    The team hopes to avoid standard linear play, and instead offer several ways to advance past obstacles.

    More information can be seen at the Deus Ex Incarnate.


    PC Paradox: Deus Ex is a role-playing game, can the gamer control more than one character at a time?

    Harvey Smith: No--you have a single character that you construct and modify through the game. However, we do, in a weird way, have a party-like system. we have two pools of allies (at two different points in the game).You have complete control, through your actions in the game, over which allies join your pool. You can benefit from their specialized skills.

    PC Paradox: Will the game be revolving around only one character?  If so, who is this character?  Describe his personality.

    Harvey Smith: Well, hopefully, at some level the character is YOU--the player. But just before the game starts the character finishes his UNATCO agency training and undergoes a new, unproven nanotechnology human enhancement program. At this point, he is given a cover identity. He is called (currently, at least) JC Denton. His personality is somewhat hard to define, since his conversations often let him act in some significantly different ways--is he sympathetic or hostile? Depends on which option the player chooses on a second by second basis.

    PC Paradox: Can the character be modified?

    Harvey Smith: Heavily. it's one of the tennants of the game. We use a skill system--you buy and upgrade skills with point you have earned through the game. Also, your nanotechnology powers change as you progress. And of course, you have total control of your inventory--do you want to favor heavy weapons or stealth related stuff?

    PC Paradox: Who created this story?

    Harvey Smith: Warren, plus the team initially. Then each individual designer has been working on his own domain. For instance, initially there was the concept: 'the player is part of a counter-terrorism agency founded on Liberty Island after an incident in which french terrorists blew up the statue of liberty.' So i accepted this mission/location (along with some others, including all of the Paris locations). At that point, the specifics had to be worked out. The devil is in the details. Months and months of adding characters, buildings and other map details. Of course, some of it exists in the real world, like the front and back docks and the Statue of Liberty. But the specifics of making the Statue of Liberty into an explorable ruin site have been fun. Also, UNATCO, the player's agency, is spread over 3 different maps, has a bunch of characters whose conversations are detailed and updated between missions. There are items strewn about, unnecessary side areas to explore, back doors, etc. and that's *one mission*! So overall, all game development efforts are basically collaborative.

    PC Paradox: How is Deus Ex broken up story-wise?  Are there certain "Acts" like Diablo II, or just one continuous winding story?

    Harvey Smith: Well, Warren is very much into the 3 act structure (being a master of films and television *before* becoming a game industry geek). So early on, when he was working out the rough story outline, he broken it up into 3 acts. Then, we all got together and pounded on it, modified it, and filled in the specifics of our individual missions. (Yes, we are mission based, though the player may never see the mission transitions.) Even after this long (and, until recently, continuing process) Deus Ex has maintained something of its 3 act structure--there are definitely different feels to the different phases of the game. 

    PC Paradox: The world has been created through real-life locations, have these locations been mapped out correctly on Deus Ex? For example, will you see the Empire State Building? 

    Harvey Smith: We've built some places from blueprints. The White House, the Statue of Liberty, an oil tanker. Other places, like small sections of Paris or Hong Kong, have been built according to our perceptions of the "spirit" of the place.


    ION Storm

    Eidos Interactive

    Pentium 200
    3D sound supported.

    Expected Release:
    Quarter 4 of 1999


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