E3 2016: Square Enix Press Conference On Deus Ex: Mankind Divided Recap and Reactions

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Square Enix is having their Pre-E3 Press Conference starting right now, at 11:30 a.m. EST. Their focus is on Deus Ex: Mankind Divided as well as a look at new projects in the series. There will be a brand new gameplay demo for Deus Ex: Mankind Divided shown. You can follow along with us as we update this article live with each new announcement and development.

Deus Ex GO

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Deus Ex GO is a stylized mobile version of Deus Ex in the spirit of Hitman GO and Lara Croft GO before it. The game will focus on infiltration and boils Deus Ex’s action down to a puzzle format. A first for the GO series of games, it will also come with a level editor to allow players to make and share their own levels. The GO game have clearly been popular, but my apathy for mobile games means it’s unlikely Deus Ex GO will do anything to win me over. Check out the trailer below.

Deus Ex: Mankind Divided Breach Mode

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Square Enix announced a new mode for Deus Ex: Mankind Divided, titled Breach. Breach focuses on a group of hackers known as Reapers breaking into data sources through virtual reality first-person gunplay. The aesthetic takes inspiration from Superhot, with an emphasis on polygons and tech. There will also be a multiplayer mode where players can fight each other from within the simulation. The in-fiction explanation focuses on the characters using VR, but it is unclear if players will also be able to play Breach with VR. Breach mode seems like it could be interesting, but it’s also unclear what it brings to Deus Ex and whether it will even fit with the story-driven style of the Deus Ex series. Its focus seems to be entirely on gunplay and action, but without the deep, gameplay driven choices the series is known for.

Deus Ex: Mankind Divided Demo

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Square Enix showed an extended demo for Deus Ex: Mankind Divided. The level started with Adam Jensen waking up in an apartment complex in a poor district in Prague. It is the day after an attack and his body is slow moving. He arranges to meet up with his friend Koller, who runs a book shop and just happens to be an avid augmentation collector wanted by the mob. Upon leaving his apartment many augmented people can be seen walking around, monitored closely by the heavy police force. The tension between the augmented people and the police force is palpable, with separate lines for “Augs” and “Regulars” at the nearby metro.

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The demo highlighted the amount of options available to the player in every part of Deus Ex: Mankind Divided, from traversal to combat. The demo would frequently break into three screens, each showing a different path the player could take. For example, to meet up with his friend Jensen could have taken the metro, but the demoers go on by foot. When they get to Koller’s book shop, they find it swarming with the mob, so they highlight three different approaches: guns blazing, finding a hidden entrance, and using a cloaking augmentation to sneak through, which they do. “There is always more than one way to get inside,” the demoer from Eidos-Montreal said.

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Once Adam gets inside the demo begins showing off the enhanced combat of Deus Ex: Mankind Divided. Adam has new augmentations that allow him to see his enemies’ positions, launch poisonous gas grenades, or fire electrical stuns from his arm. The developers are commuted to allowing players to always approach combat either lethally or non-lethally.

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The demo ends with Adam reaching the Koller’s hidden lair, which is filled with augmented limbs hanging from the ceiling. The demo did a great job of making the amount of variability seem incredible. I really hope they are able to follow through on the promise of huge player freedom in the way missions can be tackled. What these demos haven’t shown is whether or not the writing will hold up. The world they’ve created is enthralling, but Adam Jensen was a terribly bland protagonist in Human Revolution. I’m looking forward to seeing how they’ve (hopefully) improved on it when Deus Ex: Mankind Divided releases on August 23rd.

Partnership with Open Bionics

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Eidos-Montreal announced a partnership with prosthetic limb designers and manufacturers Open Bionics to create Deus Ex inspired prosthetics. They unveiled a prosthetic arm that looks like a replica of Adam Jensen’s arm from Deus Ex: Mankind Divided.

Open Bionics prosthetic user and amputee Dan Melville spoke about using one of their prosthetics. “Instead of having people come up to me and give the sincere look of ‘Oh, you’ve lost your arm,’ they go ‘Oh wow! This is fantastic!” Melville said as he gave a thumbs up with his prosthetic arm.

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Open Bionics has made a “semi-functional prototype” of Jensen’s arm, which reads muscular signals (such as tensing or loosening) from the upper arm to perform different actions. Open Bionics’ goals are to make functional and affordable prosthetics. The design files for the Jensen project are all open source, so if someone has access to a 3D printer they will be able to make the arm themselves.

It seems like Open Bionics has a wonderful goal in mind. Eidos-Montreal’s partnership is a nice way to have videogames make a noticeable impact on the world outside of art and entertainment. Open Bionics is working to make the dream of affordable and functional prosthetics a reality, something we can all support.

Square Enix and Eidos-Montreal got out ahead with their press conference a full four days before anyone else. They made a good showing; I’m really curious as to how Deus Ex: Mankind Divided will turn out and the partnership with Open Bionics is wonderful to see. That said, Square Enix’s marketing for Mankind Divided up until now has left a bad impression that today did not entirely get rid of. The use of the phrase “Mechanical Apartheid” in the marketing for Deus Ex: Mankind Divided, a game about a white man, when actual apartheid systematically oppressed blacks and ended just over 20 years ago, is uncomfortable to say the least. I’m looking forward to playing Mankind Divided myself, and hoping it is a little more tactful in its metaphor to real-life oppression and segregation than the marketing.