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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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James Brightman


James Brightman has been covering the games industry since 2003 and has been an avid gamer since the days of Atari and Intellivision. He was previously EIC and co-founder of IndustryGamers and spent several years leading GameDaily Biz at AOL prior to that.