New Deus Ex alert! Deus Ex is one of PC Gamer's favourite series of all time, so we devoured yesterday's trailer with the shivering eagerness of an augmented hobo craving an ambrosia fix. There's a lot packed into those three minutes and twenty-seven seconds, including a bunch of new augmentations, some interesting characters and more clues. Let's start with the fancy new augs.
Spoiler warning: this article contains spoilers for Deus Ex: Human Revolution, so please avoid if you'd like to enjoy a pure run of Jensen's origin story.
Directors don't throw new abilities into trailers without thought, and the ones listed here are shown off prominently, which suggests we might be able to upgrade similar abilities in the finished game—fingers crossed. I'm still amazed Jensen gets through an entire fight without chomping a single energy bar. Maybe he's had his batteries upgraded.
Shock blast: The effect is similar to the PEPS gun, which blasts enemies to the floor with non-lethal concussive force. It looks like Jensen's given up on carrying a separate gun around and built one into his arm instead. It's one of a few different non-lethal takedowns shown in the action-heavy trailer, which suggests that lethal/non-lethal options will still be a big part of the game.
Stun knuckles: Ought to be useful for short-range silent non-lethal takedowns. I don't know what it is about this goon in particular that's earned him a KO rather than an elbow chisel through the chest. He doesn't know how lucky he is.
Chisel shot: Speaking of arm-chisels, Jensen can now shoot them out of his forearm to impale guards he doesn't like the look of at distance.
Shield made of triangles: During the trailer's climax Jensen deploys this shield to protect his perfect face from gunfire. It looks like a last-gasp attempt to deflect certain death, and I can't imagine the in-game equivalent will render Jensen immune to bullets for any great length of time. I wouldn't expect to see him to clomp around squashing enemies like a giant golden golem.
Teleport punch: This is probably the most intense moment in the trailer, when Jensen turns into a bolt of electricity and storms a stage full of terrorist goons. Maybe this is a high-octane replacement for the Icarus Landing System, or a brand new high-level ability that lets Jensen get into close-quarters quickly. It reminds me of the excellent Vanguard charge in the Mass Effect series, which lets Shepard use biotics (space magic) to perform a teleporting punch. It's very satisfying.
The ending question
Mankind Divided won't carry your savegames over from Human Revolution, so which of the game's four endings will become canon? The recurring drowning sequences in the trailer suggest that Jensen may have flooded the Panchaea facility, rejecting the philosophies of Darrow, Taggart and Sarif and absolving himself of responsibility for humanity's future. The "I used to think I could save the world" line in the Mankind Divided trailer fits with that decision, and it's the ending that gives the sequel's writers the most space to set up a new story. Check out the shadow above the water. It looks like Malik's VTOL, doesn't it?
It wouldn't be Deus Ex without this cabal of manipulative leaders, represented throughout the series by the Illuminati claw above—they are not a subtle bunch. In the Mankind Divided trailer the claw ties together a bunch of technology companies, including Sarif Industries. if David Sarif returns, it'll be interesting to see if he's capitulated to Illuminati pressure after the events of Human Revolution.
In Human Revolution the Illuminati installed kill switches in augmented bodies in an attempt to achieve world domination, so it's not a huge leap to suggest they might be behind the virus that sent augmented humans mad, and provoked the social divide between augs and aug-nots that exists two years later in Mankind Divided.
Darn it, face-concealing software, you had one job. This momentary glitch gives us a glimpse of B#B P-*&, who could be Bob Page, a master conspirator in the original Deus Ex (which is set after Human Revolution and Mankind Divided). The shot of the Illuminati claw in the Mankind Divided trailer includes a number of tech companies, including Versalife, which is a subsidiary of Page Industries in the original Deus Ex. Page even appears in a post-credits sequence in Human Revolution, in which he talks about the development of a mysterious nanite virus. Hmmm.
Zoom. ENHANCE. Check out the screen on the right in this freeze frame and you'll see details of Ivan Berk, featured prominently throughout the trailer. He's 27, there's a warrant out for his arrest, and is a prime suspect in the bombing of Ruzicka Station in Prague. He's also clearly affiliated with the huge metal terrorist leader man, who looks like a cross between Barrett from Human Revolution and Jack from Tekken.
Curiously, Jensen is seen defending Ivan from rampaging cops and attacking his group at the theatre. Does that mean we'll be able to choose our allegiances, or is Jensen using Ivan as a mole to get access to the big metal man?
Prague, Montreal and other locations
Prague is definitely going to be a significant location in Mankind Divided. In Game Informer's story, already summarised on GAF, Utulek station is mentioned as a haven for the downtrodden aug-addled members of society. It's apparently based on Kowloon Walled City, which bears a passing resemblance to the shot above.
The Illuminati members on the secret call in the trailer are located in Montreal, Hong Kong and Paris. A significant Montreal hub was cut from Deus Ex: Human Revolution, and this might be the studio's chance to revisit those ideas. An upper level to China's Hengsha was also planned. While it's unlikely that old Human Revolution assets would be translated into the advanced Dawn Engine that powers the sequel, there would be plenty of design work to draw on.
It's exciting to see so many of the original team working on Mankind Divided. Human Revolution was great, but was held back by an engine that couldn't quite realise the density of detail a busy futuristic urban environment requires. Jonathan Jacques-Belletete was art director on Human Revolution, and the bold black-and-gold-and-triangles look has clearly made it into the new game if the leaked shots are anything to go by. I can't wait to see what the art team has done with the extra power afforded by the new engine.
Michael McCann is doing the music, which is fantastic news—Human Revolution's score is excellent. Mary Demarle returns to direct the story and familiar names like Anfossi and Jean-Francois Dugas are back too. If you're interested in the team, I highly recommend Deus Ex: Human Revolution's commentary mode, which offers lots of frank insight into the development process.
What did you think of the trailer? Anything we've missed?