Deus Ex Producer Discusses Auto Regenerative Health And Difficulty Scaling

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

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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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