What We Learnt from the Deus Ex: Mankind Divided Reddit AMA


In anticipation of the release of the Deus Ex: Human Revolution sequel, Mankind Divided, members of the game’s production team from Eidos Montreal – Patrick Fortier, the Gameplay Director, Fleur Marty, the Live Team Producer and Olivier Proulx, the Producer – took to Reddit to have an AMA, answering several questions regarding the game itself, the development process, and more.

Some facts we learnt in the session included:

The Biggest Lesson Learnt from Human Revolution

Source: digitaleffectx.files.wordpress.com

User besyuziki asked “What would you say is the biggest lesson you’ve learned from Human Revolution?” to which the team had this to say:

“One of the most challenging aspects of making a Deus Ex game is choice and consequence. Our experience from Human Revolution allowed us to think about it a lot more and integrating it all through the game rather than at certain key moments. This is what we strived[sic] to do for small and big choices alike.

The level design is another aspect of the game from which we’ve learned a lot. In Mankind Divided, we tried to create levels which feel more organic and seamless, where the architecture ‘makes sense’ but also serves our gameplay setups at the same time. We wanted to embrace a 360 level design philosophy.”

Human Revolution was praised for how its many smaller decisions, including in character customization, played into the larger game, so hopefully we’ll have a continuation, even an improvement on the same. Similarly, the team seems to have learnt from its mistakes regarding boss fights, and has worked on making it more congruous with your other in-game choices.

On Multiple Play Styles

Source: Gamespot

On being questioned about the balance between multiple play styles and fitting it into development by AmadeusOrSo, the devs said:

“One of the important thing is that we must always create environments where players can make their way without having any augmentations. Obviously, we also need to keep an eye on which augmentations should be used for alternative paths.

We often had a ‘version 1.0’ of a level, and we had reviews and playtest sessions to find out what we needed to do to make levels as open-ended as possible. Sometimes it’s small details or subtle changes that can change a level completely. Every path needs to support specific augmentation(s) while still being challenging.

We played a lot our levels with different loadouts, especially Patrick, to make sure they could support different playstyles to the fullest.”

Unaugmented playthroughs incoming? Seems like the possibilities are many indeed.

Their Biggest Successes

Source: Gamecrate

Responding to Sephirod on their biggest source of pride, the team members had multiple viewpoints:

“Olivier: We’re very proud of the Prague city-hub and how dense it is. It’s the accomplishment of all the different teams of the studio: design, audio, lighting, gameplay, narrative, etc.

Patrick: The synergy between the teams. In each discipline, everyone had very high standards and worked towards the same goal. It’s the collaboration berween[sic] everyone which made it possible to fulfill the Deus Ex experience we wanted to make.

Fleur: With our new game mode Breach, I think we were able to bring some innovation to the Deus Ex Universe. We had a small dedicated team, which collaborated very tightly with the one in charge of the main game.”

About their single favourite thing about Mankind Divided, the team had this to say to Chewbaccas_Norelco:

“The freedom of choice and freedom of gameplay is something which is very important to us, and something we really like as gamers, even. We feel we succeeded in creating what we set out to do.”

On Being Devs, First and Foremost

Source: arstechnica.co.uk

The devs were questioned by fgalv about the “the failed, absurd pre order scheme that was announced last year” and the lessons they learnt from the fiasco, to which they had a succinct response:

“We are game developers, so we are not involved in this type of activity. However, everyone felt that we had to listen to the feedback and input from the community, and that we needed to act accordingly.”

Gamers: blame the suits. The devs don’t want any part of this BS either.

The Hardest Obstacle During Development

Source: Gamecrate

Responding to RabidNinja64‘s query on the hardest obstacle the team faced during development, they said:

“We developed our new engine, the Dawn engine, at the same time as the game. It could sometimes make it hard to “observe” the game and play around with it, and it was a challenge to have our production tools being created as we moved forward.”

This possibly also contributed to the delay of the game, which was expanded upon in an answer to ZeroLAN:

“The delay really allowed us to work on the pacing of the game, especially the beginning. We were able to polish a lot of small details whichin the end make a big difference.

We also had the opportunity to work more on the UI, and make it as best as it could be. Obviously, we had more time for debugging too.

We had to make this decision again, we would definitely do it!”

The decision seems to have certainly paid off, though. Devs, take note: release a fixed game later, rather than a broken one on time.

Unusual Playtesters and Weird Bugs

User gu1d3b0t asked the team “what was the most unexpected thing a playtester did during development, and/or the funniest bug encountered?” to which the devs had this to say:

“We once had a playtester who played by handling his controller backwards. He actually learned to play like this back on SNES. He finished Mankind Divided playing like this!

As for funniest bug… wacky ragdolls were always entertaining. We also laughed a lot when dialogues were still being written and/or voices haven’t been recorded, and we had to use text-to-speech voices in the game.”

Weird? Yes. Hilarious? YES. Always cool to hear these behind-the-scenes stories.


[embedyt] http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Y414Q7vVgYU[/embedyt]

Redditor zk_of_earth asking the important questions. The devs say:

“You’ll have to experiment a bit, but yes. Looking forward to see your videos!”


Deus Ex: Mankind Divided is garnering extremely positive reviews right now, so it seems like the devs have truly put everything into the game, and have ensured it lived up to the hype. The excitement is tangible; time to get some augmentations.