Deus Ex Producer Discusses Auto Regenerative Health And Difficulty Scaling

By Spencer . November 18, 2010 . 3:52pm

Before we get into our interview with David Anfossi, Producer, watch this gameplay video from Deus Ex: Human Revolution.



Did you watch it? Good, because today’s topic is gameplay. When we met with Eidos Montreal, I brought questions about the game’s mechanics like the auto-regenerative health system, cover, and the game’s difficulty scaling system.


Why did you add in auto-regenerative health to Deus Ex: Human Revolution?


David Anfossi, Producer: Good question. Yeah, it’s controversial because the Deus Ex fans were not happy when we revealed that. But, there is a good reason behind this.


When we replayed the first two Deus Ex [games], we experienced a bad thing in the sense that you start something like combat, for example, but you don’t have enough medikits with you and then you start getting killed. You have to jump out of combat. The game brings you out of the immersion to find some medikits, so you can come back and retry that. To make sure that you stay in combat, to keep the immersion, and that you experience the game correctly we decided to implement this kind of feature.


By doing that it doesn’t mean it will be easier for the gamer because the AI will react to that. If you stay too long behind cover, they will try to come to kill you. The AI has been coded to support that also, but you will stay in combat which is very important to us.



Speaking of cover, Deus Ex: Human Revolution has regenerative health and moveable cover. Why did you create this system too?


In fact, it’s very important to let the player play the way they want to play. If he decides that he wants more dynamism to the cover system we gave him the tools to do that. Once again, the AI will react. If you move while under cover they will follow you and try to to kill you. It’s always to give tools to players to let the player play how they want to play.


How does the difficulty scaling system work in Deus Ex?


For example, the enemies, you will face more enemies if you play at the Deus Ex level compared to the easy level. The AI will be the same, we won’t touch the AI. It’s more of a question of numbers and we played with balancing of the game. Ammo and where you will find new guns and everything. We played with that, you know. It’s the easy way to do it, but it’s very efficient.




Did you consider a difficulty setting that adapts to the player?


We don’t have that kind of feature for this game, unfortunately. It is something we wanted to do. Players pick the difficulty from the beginning.


Does only just affect the combat and stealth parts?


The hacking is affected too. We have five levels of hacking so we could play with that also. You could face, for example, a level five keypad sooner in the game, you know what I mean?


And the social part?


In terms of social, no, you will experience it the same [way], whatever the level of difficulty.


Can you talk about the HUD design a bit? We’ve seen two HUDs, one demo had no HUD and the one today had a busy HUD. Can you switch between the two…


No, in fact the first demo, the E3 demo, was done in April of this year. At this time the HUD was not ready to be shown. Through the GamesCom demo we started to show the HUD. The last demo was about what we wanted to do with the HUD.




Is that the final HUD?


It’s not the final. It’s a work in progress HUD, to be honest. You saw the quick inventory, we still have a lot of work to do for that to make sure its very tight and functional.


The inventory looks like either Deus Ex 1 or Resident Evil 4-ish. Were you inspired by it at all?


Yeah, totally. Resident Evil 4 was a big reference point. The way you have to manage your inventory, your story items, because you know in Resident Evil the story items are very important so you have to manage that also. This is the kind of reference we had for the inventory.


Check back tomorrow for the rest of the interview where Anfossi talks about the third person camera and Square Enix merger.

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  • MrRobbyM

    I am seriously so excited for this. If you really can go through the whole thing without killing anyone, game of the year for me.

    • Yusaku_Matsuda70s

      That’s what I asked too when they started this interview series. I wonder if we will find out.

      • You have to kills bosses.Thats all.

        • Yusaku_Matsuda70s

          Oh thanks! Good to know. Not quite 100% no kills then, but pretty close. XD

          • I don’t mind.If someone really wants to kill you I don’t think you can talk them out of it.

    • You can’t go through the game without killing anyone. Bosses have to be defeated. That’s something we discussed in this previous interview where we discussed the social system too.

      • MrRobbyM

        Ah, seems I missed that. Well, if it’s just bosses, I don’t mind. So great news to me. Thanks Spencer.

      • Yusaku_Matsuda70s

        How did I miss this? Oh that was before I was a registered user.

  • Feynman

    Well, it looks better than Deus Ex 2, but I doubt it will match the glory of the original game. Also, they can give all the excuses they want about regenerating health, but we all know that the only reason they implemented it is because that kind of system is in vogue right now, and they want to appeal to the console FPS crowd.

    Regenerating health is the single worst “innovation” in the FPS genre. It needs to die.

    • Excuse me? I can not imagine a game in which there is no regenerating health. That sounds like it would be a horrific experience. What would be the alternative? Searching for health packs? That sounds like it would be annoying!

      • Excuse me? I can not imagine a game in which there is no health packs. That sounds like it would be a horrific experience. What would be the alternative? Regenerating health? That sounds like it would be annoying!

      • MrRobbyM

        Actually, a medium sounds pretty good. You’ll get a certain amount of health packs at some points throughout the game or something like that. Its up to you to use them wisely. Regenerating health sounds far too easy.

      • SneakyHawk

        Um…it’s not that bad. Just keep playing and your skills will improve so you don’t get hurt too badly and even then, there may be some health packs lying around. One can’t exactly have everything handed to him.

      • Feynman

        Did you ever play the first Deus Ex game? You could pick up and carry around medkits and food items to heal yourself with at any time. You could also install an augment that allowed you to convert bioelectric energy into health. Furthermore, medbots were liberally scattered throughout the game, and would heal you for free.The regenerating health system of modern shooters removes the need to play well and avoid damage, because it all magically comes back when the fight is over. Having a limited pool of resources forces the player to take a more tactical approach to encounters in order to avoid wasting resources.It worked just fine for every single FPS before Halo, and nobody complained about it then.

        • If I may be honest…the first FPS Ive ever played was Modern Warfare 2, and there were not any health packs in that (that was a mighty awesome FPS, if I may say so myself), so the idea of there being health packs just seems rather foreign. I had never heard of Deus Ex until even reading on this game, I doubt there is any way to even get the other games in the series I think.

          • MrRobbyM

            I just liked your comment. You are one funny individual.

        • TrevHead

          Crap mechanics like Regenerating health and other streamlining game design is the way the industry is nowadays. Its a shame that game designers treat games like a windows application in the way that they are constantly making games easier with less frustration. And with each era new gamers enter the community who are oblivious to older games and the mentality in which older gamers appoach them. They in turn find new frustrations is the new games they play, which are altered to suit them and so the games get easier and more “dumbed down”

          Mainstream mass market video games are becoming less and less games that are ment to challenge the player and more akin to an interactive movie. Still it doesnt mean the end of oldschool gaming, just that as we become more and more a minority we will have to look towards more niche games with smaller budgets. It still sucks seeing beloved IPs going down the shitter when they get facelifts for the next generation

      • Exkaiser

        Didn’t you play P3P? That’s at least one game.

      • grimgriefer

        Excuse me. I cannot imagine a situation in which I can dive into a place where I get shot with bullets from every direction, and just have to dive behind a crate, car, barrel, railing or wall where I will magically have my ruptured organs, gaping holes, and broken bones disappear. Which sucks because I would have to use items such as bandages/gauze to stop bleeding, anasthesia to reduce pain, and possibly in the (Deus Ex) future: nanobots which can close them up intelligently.

        Every video game had used health powerups (or wouldn’t allow healing at all), before a few years ago when Halo and Call of Duty popularized automatic health regeneration. I guess we’ve evolved past health pickups. God forbid that games and fights be actually challenging and dangerous! That sounds like it would be annoying!

  • PrinceHeir

    hope they add a full third person mode(which is unlikely but hopefully)

    if this proves successful we might see another one maybe in 3-4 years.

    • Yusaku_Matsuda70s

      3rd person camera? Tune in tomorrow and find out!
      … I also want one.

      • RupanIII

        Me three

    • TrevHead

      I hope not. If they add a 3rd person camera to this then they might as well call it Mass Effect 3.

    • No it’s nothing like that, sorry! It’s about the decision to pull out of first person perspective and into a third person view.

    • grimgriefer

      According to the footage, we’re able to pull into third person in any situation, and there are also cutscenes.

      We should be asking “hope they add a full first person mode(which is unlikely).

      • PrinceHeir

        really? you can play the whole game in third person? if that’s the case that’s awesome :)your don’t know how much happy i am if that were true :D

  • The trailer was awesome and excited me, though now Im left with literally having no clue about the story or what not, Imma be that guy going into the game blind with no clue about anything…

    If that is the only change to the difficulty…well I might as well just play on the highest difficulty; easy mode might very well just end up as corridors flanked with sparse guards. If I recall Uncharted, it seemed like there were hundreds of enemies per section no matter the difficulty, lol, so I think I can handle large numbers of enemies.

  • Yusaku_Matsuda70s

    I’m glad there’s no difficulty that adjusts to the player. I never want the A.I. to go easy on me. I pick a difficulty level, I’ll stick with. If it’s annihilating me, I’ll learn to overcome it and the satisfaction is tenfold.

    Ha, I’m also glad there’s no social difficulty.
    “So, Can you let me pass through this gate, mister?”
    Hard: “Depends, if you can go talk to that women in the black leather jacket in the back alley over yonder about code Magnus she give you a number. Remember that number and retrieve a dotted card from the 6th vendor down the street. Come show the card to me, then we can talk about it.”
    Easy: “Go right ahead, buddy!”

    Can’t wait to learn about the third person camera.

  • hush404

    I for one like the idea of regen health at least in part. Too often I’ve played a shooter and ended up at some location where it’s either near impossible to get trough because I had missed some crucial health packs or I got over zealous and used em up quicker than I should have. IMO regen health (or again a partial system) is something that lets players play how they want to play, rather than forcing them to follow the path of med-kits that the devs have laid out.

    I’m not really comparing this title to past DX titles, rather FPS titles in general, so dun jump on me about the medical systems in previous titles in the series.

  • grimgriefer

    I’m disappointed by the fact that you’re required to kill bosses.

    One of the joys of the predecessors, is the fact that you can get through to the end WITHOUT KILLING A SINGLE PERSON! Bosses could be bypassed, or incapacitated non-lethally. Some of the bosses could even be defeated through cheap ways without a struggle such as saying a secret phrase out loud used to kill overly powerful cyborgs in case they go rogue.

    Forcing your character to kill, and moreso forcing you to fight, goes against the paramount of the series: choice.

    • Get over it.You can’t talk EVERYONE into not killing you nor can you always go around them,it’s a fact of life.

      • grimgriefer

        You might not be able to stop someone from trying to kill you, but you should be able to choose for yourself whether to kill one or not.

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