Former Deus Ex: Human Revolution animation lead Jonathan Cooper shared some cool making-of clips to celebrate the game's 10-year anniversary.
As Cooper explained in a Twitter thread, he "didn't stick around for the whole project," but was on the animation team long enough to accrue some interesting behind-the-scenes snippets. The few he shared were "created for the successful greenlight pitch" and demonstrate how the abilities of protagonist Adam Jensen were pitched and how they evolved.
Deus Ex: Human Revolution released 10 years ago today. As anim lead for the first year or so while we built the studio, here are some of the previz videos I created for the successful greenlight pitch. First up, Strength, which ended up in the Square Enix Visual Works trailer. pic.twitter.com/NcO49MbXggAugust 23, 2021
The Strength augmentation reel, for instance, is an early look at the game's x-ray vision and how it played into stealth – that, and snapping a dude's neck after punching a hole in the wall behind him, which is still cool 10 years later.
While the gameplay had yet to be fleshed out, even at this early stage we wanted hacking to be in-game rather than just a UI so the player had to consider their surroundings. pic.twitter.com/BRPXrQpo9YAugust 23, 2021
The bit about hacking is especially interesting. Cooper explained that, even very early on, the team at Eidos-Montreal "wanted hacking to be in-game rather than just a UI so the player had to consider their surroundings." This made hacking feel like more of a risk and less of a minigame, and this is reflected in the blurbs for its early reel.
And last of all, dialogue. We knew we wanted first-person conversations, but it changed to more of a battle gameplay as the example here is too contrived. Lara was never in Deus Ex, we just had access to all the Tomb Raider: Legend files as we used the same engine. pic.twitter.com/mNZEFaSpcEAugust 23, 2021
I also love the bit on dialogue – not just for the detail about Human Revolution's first-person conversations, but because Lara Croft herself makes an appearance in this old video. Cooper explained that, because Human Revolution used the same engine as Tomb Raider: Legend, the team was able to use assets from the latter as stand-ins when needed. But as much as I love the idea of Lara randomly popping up during internal playtests, Cooper confirmed to me that Lara only ever appeared in that one video. It's still a fun not-crossover to see, though.
"I really enjoyed playing the game on release," Cooper concludes. "[Deus Ex: Human Revolution] and Mankind Divided are two of my favourite games (along with the original Deus Ex) and the team made many smart art and design choices to bring the series to a AAA level."