“Making Games Is Not A Democracy,” Say Deus Ex: Human Revolution Developers

By Ishaan . August 9, 2011 . 12:02pm

“Making games is not a democracy and that’s a good thing.”

That’s a quote from a very interesting post on the Eidos Montreal blog, concerning the development of Deus Ex: Human Revolution. The post, written by lead game designer Francois Lapikas, continues: “It’s not something I’ve discovered on this game, but it’s the first time it’s been so important to my work.”


Lapikas goes on to describe how, during the early stages of development, Eidos were required to put up with unrelenting and often rude cynicism from fans, due to the fact that Human Revolution was being worked on by a new team. Since the team had nothing to show at that point, they couldn’t defend themselves either. “It was also the first time, in 11 years as a designer, that I was faced with so much anger and derision,” he writes.


What kept the team going, he says, is the fact that they believed that the only way they’d be able to do the game justice was by making it their own. “There was no point in trying to replicate the first game,” Lapikas shares. “We aimed to be faithful to the original game’s essence, but not necessarily its mechanics. We kept what we liked and changed what we didn’t. Sorry if we angered you, but making these decisions was our job.”


“Are we sorry we didn’t listen to everyone? No, because that would’ve made a terrible game. You can’t design by committee. You need a leader with a vision. Ours was [director Jean-Francois].”


This doesn’t mean that the development team ignored consumers altogether, however, Lapikas clarifies. Games are made for consumers and design decisions are made with them in mind, even if they’re decisions that aren’t necessarily popular. “When you’re designing a game of this scope, you just cannot cater to everybody’s whims or desires. You have to go for what will be relevant to most people,” he explains.


“In the end, we did not design this game for the consoles or the PC. We did not design it for hardcore gamers, nor for casuals. And no, it wasn’t designed specifically for DX fans. We designed it for humans to enjoy. Whatever their classification.”

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  • FireCouch

    It’s nice to hear a developer say this considering so many people don’t understand this.  Far too many gamers feel self-entitled.

  • A salute to Mr. Lapikas, for he speaks the truth without fear: No matter which medium, a work needs a clear direction on what it wants to present and how.

    Granted, in theory, it doesn’t necessarily guarantee the quality and final result, but at the very least, the audience can understand your points, which can create immersion.

  • Ace

     Interesting contradiction… Lapikas clearly admits that developers cannot cater to everyone. And yet he states that the game was designed for humans to enjoy. I’m fairly positive that mainly humans play video games… Thus, he just admitted that he designed this game for everyone while admitting that he can’t make a game tailored to everyone.

    • Kibbitz

      He designed a game with the understanding that not everyone is going to be satisfied with their decisions and implementation and is not building it specifically to cater to Deus Ex fans but just people who enjoy gaming. There is no contradiction here.

    • …………What?

    • Zeik56

      The point was that they simply designed a game that they thought was fun, not one that specifically tried to appease everyone’s whims.

  • Guest

    The last time I remember a developer listened to its fans we got Dragonball GT Final Bout and instead of a varied cast, we got like 12 versions of Goku

    • The last time I remember a developer listened to its fans we got Mega Man Legends 3 and instead of a game, we got nothing.

      • Zeik56

        That’s not a very good example, as the fan input had nothing to do with why we didn’t get to play it, nor do we know whether it would have been to the game’s benefit or it’s detriment.

  • Syltique

    I totally agree with him.  Most of the people who post on forums these days don’t even know what they like.  

  • GinSilver

    It’s kind of sad that he has to say this in a blog instead of all the angry fanboys using their heads and realizing that listening to everybody will just make the game a mess.

  • Well, I’m not particularly interested in this game at all, but I definitely applaud these guys for going with their gut feeling, because it looks amazing, even if it is not my cup of tea.

  • PrinceHeir

    “In the end, we did not design this game for the consoles or the PC. We did not design it for hardcore gamers, nor for casuals. And no, it wasn’t designed specifically for DX fans. We designed it for humans to enjoy. Whatever their classification.”


    Revolution :P

    still i wanted that 3rd person only option.

    already paid the augmented edition, cannot wait for this ^^

    • Can’t wait either it’s such a long wait. lol

  • Eric Chan

    I don’t think anyone expects DX3 to knock their socks off like the first game did… In this day and age, you aren’t going to get the same wow factor since we’ve all seen it before. What set the first game apart was the story. I loved how it expected you to be smart and think on your feet. Very rarely do we see that in games today. 

  • JustaGenericUser

    Good on him, might have bitten him in the arse if he did try to cater to the hardcores too much.

    EDIT: Previous version of my comment was dumb.

  • Reading just the title, I honestly thought he meant amongst the team. I was quite distraught for a moment there!

  • I remember working at a studio as an animator. They shall remain nameless, but I’ll say this – they’re responsible for the types of DS and Wii shovelware that soon end up in a Best Buy or Wal-Mart bargain bin. Anyway, they treated the studio like a democracy. Anyone could suggest anything, and no one argued anything. It was just a bunch of animators and programmers making a game – we didn’t even have a designated Game Designer! We were lacking in multiple positions if you ask me. And the results speak for themselves. Development was largely aimless, and the resulting game is garbage.

    I’m glad this guy is saying that:) DX3 looks awesome. Fanboys are morons. But there is a difference between fans and fanboys. I believe Developers should get “prototype versions” out there as demos or new-school shareware to gauge criticism earlier on. For all games, not just multiplayer-focused ones, what with all the betas developers are constantly putting out there.

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