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


“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.”

Ishaan Sahdev
Ishaan specializes in game design/sales analysis. He's the former managing editor of Siliconera and wrote the book "The Legend of Zelda - A Complete Development History". He also used to moonlight as a professional manga editor. These days, his day job has nothing to do with games, but the two inform each other nonetheless.