Square Enix’s latest viral marketing campaign is building up to the official announcement of Deus Ex: Mankind Divided, it’s been revealed.
As we reported on Monday the campaign, which centers around an interactive livestream on Twitch, has gradually been spitting out clues about the identity of the publisher’s latest game announcement over the Easter weekend. Links to distorted video files and even fake Twitter accounts have been found, designed to deepen speculation about just what the announcement entails.
Well, it appears that the cat’s out of the bag – the latest issue of US gaming magazine Game Informer confirms that the game in question is Deus Ex: Mankind Divided with an exclusive 12 pages of coverage on the title.
Mankind Divided is set two years after the conclusion of 2011’s Deus Ex: Human Revolution, and features the return of that game’s protagonist Adam Jensen. The fourth game in the popular FPS-RPG series first created by acclaimed developer Warren Spector sees Eidos Montreal picking up where they left off, though Mankind Divided doesn’t treat any one of Human Revolution‘s four possible outcomes as canon. Instead, Eidos Montreal is adopting a similar tactic to Ion Storm’s divisive Deus Ex: Invisibile War, which left the outcome of the original game ambiguous.
Deus Ex: Mankind Divided sees rising distrust among the public towards so-called transhumans – humans augmented with cybernetic upgrades. Towards the end of Human Revolution, a signal was activated by the Illuminati which turned all transhumans into mindless killing machines. Jensen may have ended the threat at the conclusion of that game, but Mankind Divided will show that the events have had a much wider-reaching impact on how society views the encroachment of technology on human biology.
“Extremists exist both on the fringes of soeciety and the highest echelons of power,” Mankind Divided executive director Mary DeMarle told Game Informer. “The mechanical apartheid has marginalized augmented peoples from the rest of society, creating a struggle for survival. Jensen feels responsible for the events that took place in Human Revolution and, in many ways, this is a story of redemption for him.”
Mankind Divided will continue to explore the multi-viewpoint outlook that the series is known for, introducing a fresh set of different factions to align yourself with throughout the story. A new government agency known as Task Force 29 is who Jensen runs with from the start, though as events develop a covert organization called the Juggernaut Collective will also become involved in the story. The Juggernaut Collective is a group made of hackers, activists and spies who want to try and expose the truth about what the Illuminati were up to in the previous game.
Eidos Montreal says it is conscious of the complaints surrounding the previous game’s boss fights, which disrupted the gameplay freedom by pushing players into confrontations which could only be surpassed by killing their opponent. This was rectified in the later Missing Link DLC, but the fact they were there in the first place is likely to temper people’s enthusiasm for a sequel.
“The boss-fight issue was something that we were aware of, and we tried to mitigate it by making the bosses easier,” executive game director Jean-Francois Dugas told Game Informer. “This is where we failed.”
In terms of new features and mechanics, Mankind Divided will give Jensen more tools with which players can approach each situation. Weapons will be much more customizable than before, while Jensen’s arm-mounted nanoblade can now be upgraded to shoot razor-sharp projectiles. Hackers will be able to hack terminals remotely, meaning you won’t have to worry so much about being right next to a panel – something which will no doubt come in handy when an enemy is lurking in front of the controls of a nearby surveillance camera.
Eidos Montreal has spent the years since Human Revolution‘s release honing the gunplay, which they say was disappointing. However, the studio has stressed that it isn’t dumbing down Deus Ex and that there will be plenty of alternate routes and optional quests to explore, and they are keen to ensure that Mankind Divided lives up to fan expectations.
One thing that probably won’t be featured however is the ability to migrate your saved game from Human Revolution into the sequel. With the new Deus Ex title appearing on new console hardware, and given that Human Revolution wasn’t designed around a possible sequel, Eidos Montreal says that allowing people to import their data from the last game is something which is unlikely to occur – though the developer does say that might change as the game edges further toward release.
Deus Ex: Mankind Divided doesn’t yet have a firm release date, but it’s currently pencilled in for a release on PC, PS4 and Xbox One towards the end of the year. Considering how much we enjoyed Human Revolution, you can be certain that we’ll be keeping a close eye on Eidos Montreal’s sequel.