I got to meet with Eidos Montreal to see Deus Ex: The Fall before E3 started and the mobile phone game certainly captures the feel of their take on the series. However, you don’t play as Adam Jensen in The Fall. You control Ben Saxon, an ex-SAS operative who used to work for Belltower and chose to get augmentations to become a better soldier. He’s also the central character in Deus Ex: Icarus Effect, a prequel novel to Deus Ex: Human Revolution. Ben joins the Tyrants because he believes they are going to make a real difference unlike Belltower, but when he discovers the Tyrants lied to recruit him he leaves the group and is on the run.
The first two missions in Deus Ex: The Fall take place with the Tyrants as allies until he confronts the leader of the group, Jaron Namir. Players will see other countries not in Human Revolution like Costa Rica, Moscow, and Panama where the bulk of the game takes place. Of course, they all have the same black and gold palette from Deus Ex: Human Revolution. In fact, Eidos Montreal gave the assets to developer N-Fusion to use for The Fall.
The mission I played started in a train station where Ben leaves his hiding spot in Costa Rica because he has run out of Neuropozyne. Ben travels to Panama City with Anna Kelso who is also on the run from the Tyrants. You can control the game with virtual joysticks or use tap to move to controls. I tried tap to move and this makes Ben sprint from where he is to wherever you tap. I wouldn’t say it’s as accurate as using an analog stick, but for at least the part I played Deus Ex: The Fall didn’t need as much precision when tiptoeing around. Deus Ex: The Fall has gun combat, but like Human Revolution it’s up to you to decide whether to use stealth or force to move forward.
Deus Ex: The Fall has the social enhancer upgrade, which shows the persuasion level and lets players release pheromones to change the flow of conversation. There are 24 upgrades and the Typhoon defense system is out. New upgrades include Stealth Dash which cloaks Ben as he dashes. You can also increase the number of rechargeable bars through augmentation. Skin is different too, there’s an armor system that shows how much damage has changed. Hacking upgrades have been altered a bit as well. Deus Ex: The Fall combines Robot Domination and Turret Domination into one upgrade. The hacking mini-game is also in Deus Ex: The Fall and uses touch screen controls.
While Deus Ex: The Fall focuses on new characters, a representative confirmed the game will have characters from Human Revolution too. Bob Page (and his original voice actor) will return along with Eliza Cassan who will give players new news reports. Michael McCann also composed the soundtrack for Deus Ex: The Fall.
The biggest surprise for Deus Ex: The Fall is the price. When the game was shown Square Enix said it would be “premium priced” and since Final Fantasy ports hover around $15 I expected Deus Ex: The Fall to be around the same amount. The game will actually cost $6.99 with optional microtransactions. Players can purchase credits (in-game currency) for real world money to gain access to weapons and Praxis Kits which upgrade your augmentations faster. After you complete the game you unlock “New Game+” which increases the difficulty of the enemies for your next run. A Square Enix rep said it will take between two and a half to three playthroughs to see all of the story branches. Players will be able to do this without microtransactions.
Deus Ex: The Fall is being developed by a team in New Jersey. How did N-Fusion get involved?
Jean-François Dugas, Director: It was collaboration. Basically, the way that we worked was we teamed up with N-Fusion, which is the mobile team that developed [Deus Ex: The Fall]. We worked with them like, we have some ideas where we wanted to go, and they proposed a pitch to make a direct follow-up to the Icarus Effect novel. And from that point on, we worked it out. They proposed their stuff and I reviewed it with Mary DeMarle has been involved in the process as well. It was a collaborative effort, but it was driven by the guys at N-Fusion. They are the owners and we helped them develop the game.
Ben, the protagonist in Deus Ex: The Fall, is a different kind of character since he chose to be augmented. He’s a mercenary. How does he compare to Adam Jensen from Human Revolution who was forced into this life?
[Ben] is a guy who wants to have some sort of revenge in a sense that in the novel by the end, he’s on the run and everything. So, in The Fall, when it starts, he’s already on the run with Anna Kelso. He’s hiding away from the Tyrants. They have Neuropozyne problems and they are trying to stay hidden, but they have brain seizures. They have complications. They need to find the drug and there’s a shortage. I’s all about trying to get back on their feet, but Ben wants to get back at the Tyrants. The good news is, the Tyrants are sort of looking for those guys so… [Laughs]
But, he can’t kill Barrett or Yelena because…
[Laughs] We’ll see.
Is this an alternate reality or like a “what if” story?
It’s going to be on the same timeline.
So, the story is canon.
This is canon. Actually, the events of the story happen while Adam Jensen is recovering from his injuries at the beginning of Human Revolution when he’s on the leave for six months.
Ah, that makes sense. I was wondering why the Typhoon augmentation was missing. I guess that’s the explanation! Like Human Revolution, there are multiple outcomes for the game. I heard that there are three main paths.
What we really wanted to do is to maintain the experience in the global sense of what Human Revolution was all about. You can play stealthily or you can play guns blazing and everything. You can choose to kill or not to kill, all those things. You will meet people you decide to help or not. How you deal with them is going to have some impact on whether this happens or that happens. It’s a smaller product than Human Revolution, but it keeps the same tenets as the original one. And therefore, what do and what choices you make are track and it’s going to help flesh out where’s [the game is] going.
What about for the story? Will there be side quests too? Like there’s the whole side quest where Adam learns about his origins in Human Revolution.
I don’t want to reveal too much. But there will definitely be more side quests where you are going to learn more about the world or the characters and things like that. Some of the choices that you are going to make are going to affect some of the challenges and things like that. At the heart it’s going to be very similar to Human Revolution in terms of those choices. I’m staying very vague because I don’t want to spoil anything.
The 2D joke movie you made for April’s Fool was pretty amusing. Would you actually want to do something like that?
Would you like it?
I think it would be hilarious if you do it as a 99 cents downloadable game. That will be interesting.
I would love it too.
It was a very amusing way to poke fun at the trademark after it was revealed and ended up being one of the more elaborate April’s Fools jokes that worked.
It was a lot of fun to do it. It was really exciting. And a lot of people came back to us, saying “You bastards, now you need to do that game!” [Laughs] We’ll see.
Deus Ex: The Fall has new areas like Panama, South America, and Moscow. Why did you pick these destinations, which weren’t in Human Revolution?
We wanted to stay in line with the book, the global lore. But for us, as we built the new Deus Ex game, Deus Ex games are really about traveling around the world. It’s always about a global conspiracy. You are not just staying in your neighborhood and fixing a problem there. So, traveling, going in the world, seeing different things, it’s all about that kind of experience. For us, as we developed The Fall, it’s really important that the game will go all around, we’re not all over the globe, but the concept of traveling in different big places is important. That’s why we chose to do that. For us, it’s kind of a big aspect of franchise. A Deus Ex conspiracy is always on a global scale. Like it involves a lot of different people all over the world, and therefore, you travel around the world.
But the Moscow scene that you’ve seen is a flashback of the events in the book. To put you in context of what happened, because at the beginning of the game, there’s hideout, Ben and Anna, they are trying to understand and solve their own problems. And basically, Anna tries to help Ben to go back in his head and try to remember what happened.
That’s a good way to tie in for players who weren’t familiar with Icarus Effect. Deus Ex: The Fall was developed using Unity and the art assets look like they got transferred over pretty well. The console game used a modified version of the Crystal Engine, so how do you feel about the transition N-Fusion did with Unity?
You’ve seen the results. It’s amazing. You’re on this platform and it captures the essence of Human Revolution very faithfully. I mean those platforms are powerful enough to sustain such graphic fidelity. The guys in N-fusion, they’ve an amazing job. They really put their heart into it and everything and they managed to give you a sense of Human Revolution. You play this and it’s new, but at the same time it feels familiar.