BLOG Deus Ex - Don't Spoil The Surprises

SFX blogger John Cooper reckons the future is orange. Nanotech or Mechanical implants? Looking at Deus Ex

When it was announced that the sequel to the game Deus Ex would be a prequel I wasn’t quite sure.

I played the original seven times when it was released back in 2000 to see the different endings and combinations of weapons and nano powered plug-ins you could employ. Ah, the memories. It was ground-breaking in its time for blending first person shooter and role-playing gameplay styles to create an absorbing cyberpunk world of the future where it felt like the decisions you made really mattered.

If you've never heard of Deus Ex the original had you playing JC Denton, a gravelly-voiced nano-augmented human special agent who wore a long black leather jacket and shades at night. Part of a new wave of nano-powered agents superseding older mechanically augmented agents, JC gets caught up in a globe-trotting conspiracy and is flown around in a stealth helicopter by a drunken pilot uncovering secrets and upgrading his genes and weapons with cool stuff like x-ray vision and super fast legs – like a plug and play James Bond. It was ace.

A second game a few years later, subtitled Invisible War , didn’t have the same impact. The challenge of having to pick up a story from the previous game’s three very different endings was never going to be easy. Also the scope of the game seemed narrower; the game quite literally being shrunk to fit the consoles of the time. In this future all buildings are now smaller and everything is closer, but looks nice. Upping the action in favour of the story ultimately didn’t give anyone what they were expecting, and it all went a bit like the third series of seaQuest .

The third game and prequel, Human Revolution is imminent, and if you’re even a mildly observant gamer you can't have missed the multitude of “ Blade-Runner -gone-orange” trailers and viral adverts.

I'm reminded of something that début director Joe Cornish (he gave us the rather good Attack The Block ) said recently. He stated that he was fed up with publicity where you see too much of what you’re going to be getting and how it can spoil any surprises. A great example is the new Rise Of The Planet Of The Apes trailer, which appears to give away the entire film on the off chance you’ve never heard of the Planet Of The Apes films, or were a bit vague as to what a film called Rise Of The Planet Of The Apes might be about.

The publicity for the new Deus Ex game is clearly in full swing with some cool and subtle viral videos, but I do feel a bit patronised by a video trailer showing the different ways to play through a level. Are they suggesting the average gamer is too hopped up on Call Of Duty to know the difference, or lacks the attention span to explore? I know not everyone was around to play the first game over ten years back, but I was and I like surprises. So there. Now excuse me while I take my rusty metal bones and sveep avay into zee junk pile.