24 years later, Warren Spector offers more details about Deus Ex's cut 'Denver airport conspiracy' mission that was 'so crazy no one would believe it'

JC Denton alongside the Denver Airport's lizard people ad
(Image credit: Ion Storm, Denver Airport)

The Denver International Airport has been the subject of all sorts of odd conspiracy theories since its opening in 1995, which made it an ideal setting for director Warren Spector's conspiracy-filled 2000 immersive sim Deus Ex. Spector actually mapped out an entire level that would be set at the airport, but ended up cutting it "because it was so crazy no one would believe it," he said during a recent PC Gamer roundtable podcast.

While the existence of the cut Denver level has been written about before thanks to Deus Ex's design documents, Spector offered a few more details that I haven't seen online.

"I came up with a mission series that the team was going to implement and make better, because that's what teams do. One was a Denver airport conspiracy mission. I cut that one because it was so crazy, no one would believe it. Underground tunnels, holding pens with barbed wire to keep all the baby children who go missing from getting out so they could be eaten by shapeshifting aliens—including the royal family and the Bushes. They're lizard people, shapeshifting lizard people.

"I thought that might undercut the believability of the game, so that one didn't make it."

Spector's other cut level was set in Texas and had an interesting—and not quite as ridiculous—premise.

"I knew a lot more about the world of Deus Ex than ended up in the game. That's what you want in a world bible: you want that stuff to inform what goes on in your game, even if it doesn't end up in the game itself. So there was a Russo-Mexican alliance that poured over the Rio Grande into Texas to attack Austin. I mean, invading armies—and my team said 'there's no way we can do an invading army in this game.' So that got cut. It was very sad. I've probably cut a bunch of stuff, but I've put it out of my mind so I don't cry at night."

You can check out the rest of the '90s PC gaming veterans roundtable in the YouTube and Spotify embeds here, or subscribe wherever you get your podcasts.

Wes Fenlon
Senior Editor

Wes has been covering games and hardware for more than 10 years, first at tech sites like The Wirecutter and Tested before joining the PC Gamer team in 2014. Wes plays a little bit of everything, but he'll always jump at the chance to cover emulation and Japanese games.

When he's not obsessively optimizing and re-optimizing a tangle of conveyor belts in Satisfactory (it's really becoming a problem), he's probably playing a 20-year-old Final Fantasy or some opaque ASCII roguelike. With a focus on writing and editing features, he seeks out personal stories and in-depth histories from the corners of PC gaming and its niche communities. 50% pizza by volume (deep dish, to be specific).