Warren Spector on Deus Ex: Human Revolution: "I screamed at the television as I played"

What does the designer of the original Deus Ex really think of Human Revolution?

Eidos Montreal's Deus Ex: Human Revolution had a lot to live up to; after all, the original Deus Ex has often been labeled among the best PC titles of all time for its polished gameplay and narrative. So how does the Ion Storm founder and original Deus Ex designer, Warren Spector, feel about this newest installment? Ultimately, Spector felt it really "captured the spirit" of Deus Ex, but he was frustrated with some aspects too.

Speaking to GamesIndustry International in a wide-ranging interview at GDC, Spector remarked, "You know I've tried to stay out of that discussion since the game came out... It was one of the few games I finished, and I know the guys on the team and I know how dedicated they were and how respectful of the original they were; their hearts were in the right place and they did a wonderful job."

"Just on an intellectual level, I thought it was fascinating that they did some stuff that just drove me nuts"

Warren Spector

He continued, "And I'm not just saying that. It really captured the spirit of Deus Ex; I mean the moment I booted the game up it sounded like Deus Ex, and they understood the importance of how the game sounded. It had a lot of the sort of gray of the original game where nothing is right and wrong - I really like that a lot. It made me feel like I was making decisions that revealed more about me than it did about my character, which I loved."

As much as he enjoyed the newest take on the franchise, Spector was also equally fascinated and frustrated by certain design choices Eidos Montreal made.

"The interesting thing was - and we don't have time to get into this right now, even if even if I were ready to get into it - my wife will tell you, I screamed at the television as I played this game. I loved the game, at the end of the day, but I screamed constantly because there were two, three, four things they did where I just said 'Nooooo, why did you this? Noooo!' and, and it wasn't that it was right or wrong, it was different than what I [expected]," Spector noted.

The bottom line is that Square Enix and Eidos Montreal took a different approach, and Spector was intrigued to the point that he thinks college students may one day write papers about it.

"When I got the end of the game and realized that, overall, the experience had been a Deus Ex experience, I sort of sat back and reflected and said, 'Ok, they made different design decisions to achieve the same end goals that I had.' And some day, either I'm going to write an article about that, or somebody who is getting their master's degree at MIT or someplace, is going to write a master's thesis about the systemic differences, the game system differences between Deus Ex and Deus Ex: Human Revolution." he said.

"And it's so cool to see philosophical ideas, game-designed philosophy, explored by two different groups to achieve the same goals in completely different ways, in ways that drove me crazy. So it was really cool. I really enjoyed that. Just on an intellectual level, I thought it was fascinating that they did some stuff that just drove me nuts."

Deus Ex: Human Revolution was highly praised by critics as well, earning an 89 on Metacritic. The game sold through 2.2 million copies as of last holiday in North America and Europe.

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Latest comments (7)

Private Industry 9 years ago
One of my favourite games last year and they did an excellent job of giving the Deus Ex experience. The boss fights where not that great and a bit too often crawling in vents but overal a great experience and the soundtrack was also awesome.

I was a bit cautios before the reviews came out fearing will turn out like the last Deus Ex but glad it didnt. Hope they make another one.
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David Radd Senior Editor, IndustryGamers9 years ago
Warren Spector on Deus Ex: Human Revolution: "I screamed at the television as I played"

This is perhaps the greatest title to an article ever. Kudos, James.
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I screamed when I saw in the achievements there was one for 'beating a boss.' I thought boss fights had been exposed for what they really were and had been banned from games and even made to sit in the corner on their own??
Gears 3's final boss made me scream too... why would you do that to an otherwise brilliant game?!?!
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Show all comments (7)
Private Industry 9 years ago
There is nothing wrong with boss fights if done right, see MGS1
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Terence Gage Freelance writer 9 years ago
I am currently playing DX:HR, and I'm really enjoying it overall. The second boss was terrible because I'm going for a very stealthy build (had to reload an earlier save so I could tool up on weapons, which is just ridiculous for a game like this) and I find Jensen is nowhere near as inquisitive with Sarif as he should be considering the latter obviously knows more than he's letting on. I think I'm near the end now (just got off the boat in Singapore) and it's been excellent, but I'm ready to wrap up now and move on to another game. One thing I would really like from it is a statistics screen - with information like time played, gunfire accuracy, number of headshots, lethal takedowns, non-lethal takedowns, etc. Seems like the kind of game which would be ideal for it.

As for games with well-implemented bosses, I think Japanese developers generally seem to do a better job, with the likes of Demon's/Dark Souls, Zelda, Metal Gear Solid, Bayonetta, etc.
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Gregore Candalez Journalist and Account Manager, FD Com.9 years ago
A great game, enormous potential, great story, great narrative. The only bad point?

It's FPS.

A Third-Person Shooter, ou Action, would've been better, IMO. This mothern ideology of "make everything FPS" gets on my nerves.
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Terence Gage Freelance writer 9 years ago
On the other hand Gregore, I find FPSs can be far more immersive and atmospheric than other genre types (see BioShock as the best example of this), and not to mention that the original Deus Ex was a pioneering FPS more than a decade ago. Plus, if you play anything like I did you'll spend hours staring at the side of Jensen's head whilst waiting for patrolling guards - in that regard it's more like an FPS with some very slick and prominent TPS elements.
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