Deus Ex 3 Team Didn't Get it at First, Says Director

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Deus Ex 3 Team Didn't Get it at First, Says Director

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Deus Ex: Human Revolution director Jean-Francois Dugas says that the Eidos Montreal team didn't quite understand the aim of the game in the early days of the project.

The amount of player choice in Deus Ex: Human Evolution provided some pretty unique challenges, said Dugas, because making things a player might not ever see didn't come naturally to his team.

Dugas said that the high cost of game development had created a culture where everything a team built had to be something that the player would actually see, so convincing his team to make things that might be missed entirely was difficult, and that he had to stress that the whole point was letting players explore the game however they wanted and not leading them around by the nose.

Eventually, everyone understood what the game was meant to be, Dugas said, even if it did take a little time. "At some point, everybody got on board with it," he said. "But at first it was tough to get all the people on properly, because they are not used to making that kind of game."

It's interesting to get a glimpse into how averse some game developers are to "wasting" time, money and effort on things that players won't necessarily see, even in a game where player agency is such a big deal. It's also interesting - and quite gratifying - to see how seriously Dugas is taking player choices in Deus Ex: Human Revolution.

Deus Ex: Human Revolution is scheduled for release early next year.

Source: Gamasutra

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Very cool. I played the first Deus Ex and enjoyed it, but never got around to the 2nd one. This one is looking like it might actually interest me enough to pick it up.

*does a little dance* ha-HA! the guy in charge of this project actually understands what's wrong with 90% of current-gen games! thank Christ this guy got the job, my anticipation has actually grown (and I didn't think that was physically possible).

Well that's reassuring to hear, though I'm a little confused as to why they didn't get it to start with. Just hand them all a copy of Deus Ex, then when everyone has completed it get them to see who did what differently to everyone else. Problem solved.

I will now bitterly curse the future for being so far away. Curse you future!

Seriously though, I've yet to see anything about Deus Ex 3 that's dampened my enthusiasm even slightly - the trailer was awesome, the developer commentary tells me they 'get' what was wrong with the sequel and aren't likely to make those mistakes a second time, and all the accounts I've heard of the gameplay itself sound freaking awesome. 2011 cannot come soon enough.

Props to the guys for realizing that player agency is not just a 'waste of resources'. It's what can make the experience unique for a vareity of players, save for completionists.

Obsidian covered this issue at their PAX panel of 'But thou must' very well too. Of how if even half the people playing HL2 never even got to the end, why would anyone invest time into things players won't see, if they can't even finish games like that to the end?

Glad to see that doing the 'rational' and 'cost effective' thing is still not just blindly followed on every case.

Sounds great. Another similar thing I enjoy in games is pointless interactivity, you know, like a pool table where you can play with the pool balls, or a jukebox which you can make play different songs.

These are the same guys that did Prince of Persia and Mirrors Edge, and Assassins Creed, right?

If so... they're completely used to making games like that.

It is nice to have completely different options and things I won't see if I play a certain way, there are things in Deus Ex I haven't found until a small while ago, which I still find very awesome.

Joy agame I have to play 3 times in arbitrary manners to see half the content.

so far this game has really perked my interest
I've heard of the original Deus Ex, and that made me wanny play it
and this game seems to really wanna follow in the quality and style
(annd may have seen the leaked gameplay footage online...)

I hope its deeper than dark sector and singularity since they are decent casual shooters with a odd/fun weaopn upgrade system(loved DS's really put together some unique weapons wish more games did that) And at best I hope its like bioshock...only they use more layered level design...nothing more I hate than flat bland level layouts....

Loonerinoes:
Props to the guys for realizing that player agency is not just a 'waste of resources'. It's what can make the experience unique for a vareity of players, save for completionists.

Obsidian covered this issue at their PAX panel of 'But thou must' very well too. Of how if even half the people playing HL2 never even got to the end, why would anyone invest time into things players won't see, if they can't even finish games like that to the end?

Glad to see that doing the 'rational' and 'cost effective' thing is still not just blindly followed on every case.

Hmmm, well I think it's not just that it's a "waste of resources" as they put it, but also because designers want people to see their work like artists do. Creating something that only a tiny handfull of players are going to see... like some high end raid zones in MMORPGS used to be, makes them feel like they are wasting their time. Not to mention the fact that if the work is not well known and is hard for anyone to verify it makes it difficult to put on a resume later.

I also maintain that the cost of games is an illusion given that most of the money goes towards human resources to begin with. I'm not sure what kind of "resources" they are talking about here, unless they simply mean themselves, and the fact that nobody wants to be the guy stuck in doing a very involved "secret area" that maybe 3% of the player base is going to see, sort of like the fat kid being stuck "way out deep" in a baseball game. :P

In absolute terms to develop a game you need office space, computers, and code monkeys to bang on those computers (graphics design, line coding, etc... voice actors and such are not code monkeys but are in the same catagory as human resources). If you've got say a hundred million dollars, the office space and computers might count for a few million but the rest goes towards the people.

Simply looking at it this way is what fuels a lot of my discussions on the subject (which occasionally get John Funk involved), the secrecy of the industry when it comes to their use of money also doesn't help. In a lot of respects when I see complaints about game developers and the costs a lot of it seems to me like people basically saying "well, one of the big problems is that I demand so much money that finding people to keep paying me is rough".

Credge:
These are the same guys that did Prince of Persia and Mirrors Edge, and Assassins Creed, right?

If so... they're completely used to making games like that.

Nope, Ubisoft did PoP and AC, DICE did ME.

There are doubters out there, and I dare say already that they're completely wrong.

This game will be both Deus Ex and a game of 2011. I can feel it in my boner bones.

Basically to summarise this: the team working on Deus Ex 3 have not ever played Deus Ex. Assuming they are on average in their 20s and 30s, this is atrocious.

Nor have they likely played any Thief or System Shock game, or any RPG to speak of like Baldur's Gate, Elder Scrolls or even Zelda. Any one of those would have equipped them with the right expectations for a Deus Ex game. Even the people that worked on the disappointing Invisible War had either worked on the first game or played it, so what chance does this lot have?

The companies that are involved in the production of this game is mostly Eidos which did Tomb Raider/Legacy of Kain(the last one) correct? With some small support from Square-Enix giving criticism and doing the animation/cut-scenes(expecting Final Fantasy 13 likeness if this is true)?

Arec Balrin:
Basically to summarise this: the team working on Deus Ex 3 have not ever played Deus Ex. Assuming they are on average in their 20s and 30s, this is atrocious.

Nor have they likely played any Thief or System Shock game, or any RPG to speak of like Baldur's Gate, Elder Scrolls or even Zelda. Any one of those would have equipped them with the right expectations for a Deus Ex game. Even the people that worked on the disappointing Invisible War had either worked on the first game or played it, so what chance does this lot have?

I think what we will get is a lite adventure shooter, something with a bit more meat than Singularity or Wolfenstine but not much more than DX:IW which as a standalone adventure shooter was not so bad. Really the only way they can screw it up is make ti a level by level shooter with no real customization(like Crysis but more on the rails). I hope its more like Bioshock but I got this feeling it will be more like Dark sector with more customization....which is not to bad..... I just wish it would be something more than a predictable half hearted FPS RPG....

Leonbelmont64:
The companies that are involved in the production of this game is mostly Eidos which did Tomb Raider/Legacy of Kain(the last one) correct? With some small support from Square-Enix giving criticism and doing the animation/cut-scenes(expecting Final Fantasy 13 likeness if this is true)?

Crystal dynamics did the last LOK game, I am un sure who did the last couple of tomb raider games. But not all game design styles are interchangeable.... will they make a worth while game probably will they make a great game....doubtfull as the market hates deep games and Bioshock,FO3 and Dragon age are shallow compared to Buldrs gate,Fallout 1-2 and System shock.

Therumancer:
I also maintain that the cost of games is an illusion given that most of the money goes towards human resources to begin with. I'm not sure what kind of "resources" they are talking about here, unless they simply mean themselves, and the fact that nobody wants to be the guy stuck in doing a very involved "secret area" that maybe 3% of the player base is going to see, sort of like the fat kid being stuck "way out deep" in a baseball game. :P

While you've quite accurately identified that the majority of a project's budget is spent on wages for people, to call it an "illusion" is, and I cannot stress this enough, a vast underestimation of how much it costs to pay a reasonably-sized dev team working on a modern game. Especially in recent years, where the time required to simply design and create a single room or character model has increased exponentially. The only reason we're able to see expansive, open-world games like Fallout 3 or FUEL is because of the growing use of procedurally-generated content, which allows large amounts of randomised, realistic-looking landscape to be created automatically. This means that manpower can be directed towards the individual and unique details which people actually pay attention to, rather than spending weeks hand-crafting forgettable expanses of land.

To be honest, I'm not quite sure how to go about making you realise what kind of misconception you've made, simply because it's so damn big. I don't suppose it'd be as easy as telling you "that's not how it works, just because it's mostly Human Resources doesn't make it cheap"?

Break:

Therumancer:
I also maintain that the cost of games is an illusion given that most of the money goes towards human resources to begin with. I'm not sure what kind of "resources" they are talking about here, unless they simply mean themselves, and the fact that nobody wants to be the guy stuck in doing a very involved "secret area" that maybe 3% of the player base is going to see, sort of like the fat kid being stuck "way out deep" in a baseball game. :P

While you've quite accurately identified that the majority of a project's budget is spent on wages for people, to call it an "illusion" is, and I cannot stress this enough, a vast underestimation of how much it costs to pay a reasonably-sized dev team working on a modern game. Especially in recent years, where the time required to simply design and create a single room or character model has increased exponentially. The only reason we're able to see expansive, open-world games like Fallout 3 or FUEL is because of the growing use of procedurally-generated content, which allows large amounts of randomised, realistic-looking landscape to be created automatically. This means that manpower can be directed towards the individual and unique details which people actually pay attention to, rather than spending weeks hand-crafting forgettable expanses of land.

To be honest, I'm not quite sure how to go about making you realise what kind of misconception you've made, simply because it's so damn big. I don't suppose it'd be as easy as telling you "that's not how it works, just because it's mostly Human Resources doesn't make it cheap"?

The way I've seen him explain it before is that he believes that either anyone of senior management level and above is being payed way over the odds compared to the regular staff, or the regular staff are getting obscene salaries in comparison to other fields which utilise the same skillset. I don't know personally whether that's true or not, but that's the argument on the face of it.

...Good start. It's strange that in the era of "sandbox" games so many games limit player choice to things that have no effect on plot like choosing vehicles and routes or collecting secret hidden gewgaws.

I think if I were in charge I would suggest to my team that the upside of being responsible for options the player might not choose would be the opportunity to make content that was itself a little more "off the beaten path": encourage them to find unusual uses for abilities the player might not have considered, create minor, one-scene characters who add dimension to their settings, let the player see things that give them a deeper sense of what's happening "behind the scenes" with particular factions, and so on.

So I guess no one in the whole team has ever played a Bethesda game or even the original Deus Ex?

Well, lets hope they got the idea later...although from what I have heard and seen...it looks like they have done a bang up job!

There

Therumancer:

Loonerinoes:
Props to the guys for realizing that player agency is not just a 'waste of resources'. It's what can make the experience unique for a vareity of players, save for completionists.

Obsidian covered this issue at their PAX panel of 'But thou must' very well too. Of how if even half the people playing HL2 never even got to the end, why would anyone invest time into things players won't see, if they can't even finish games like that to the end?

Glad to see that doing the 'rational' and 'cost effective' thing is still not just blindly followed on every case.

Hmmm, well I think it's not just that it's a "waste of resources" as they put it, but also because designers want people to see their work like artists do. Creating something that only a tiny handfull of players are going to see... like some high end raid zones in MMORPGS used to be, makes them feel like they are wasting their time. Not to mention the fact that if the work is not well known and is hard for anyone to verify it makes it difficult to put on a resume later.

I also maintain that the cost of games is an illusion given that most of the money goes towards human resources to begin with. I'm not sure what kind of "resources" they are talking about here, unless they simply mean themselves, and the fact that nobody wants to be the guy stuck in doing a very involved "secret area" that maybe 3% of the player base is going to see, sort of like the fat kid being stuck "way out deep" in a baseball game. :P

In absolute terms to develop a game you need office space, computers, and code monkeys to bang on those computers (graphics design, line coding, etc... voice actors and such are not code monkeys but are in the same catagory as human resources). If you've got say a hundred million dollars, the office space and computers might count for a few million but the rest goes towards the people.

Simply looking at it this way is what fuels a lot of my discussions on the subject (which occasionally get John Funk involved), the secrecy of the industry when it comes to their use of money also doesn't help. In a lot of respects when I see complaints about game developers and the costs a lot of it seems to me like people basically saying "well, one of the big problems is that I demand so much money that finding people to keep paying me is rough".

I'd say there are different costs involved. There's the cost of money and then there's the cost of energy and the most critical one can be the cost of time.

Allowing for player agency will *always* cost time first, some energy second and perhaps also money if it involves complex cinematics or voice acting. To say that including player agency is not that big of a strain on monetary cost can even be correct in some cases.

But in terms of energy and time costs? Dude...I assure you, player agency costs a ton. Really, it's better explained in "But thou must", so I might as well link it to you. It's somewhere in the middle I think, explained very well with Alpha Protocol development being set as the example.

http://www.blip.tv/file/3491456

Too bad they're ruining it with bloom, regen health and a cover system. Ah well, that's consoles for you.

Well, no matter how much player agency costs, it's worth it.

It just got bumped on the to-buy list like 10 places.

when i saw Let's Plays, and Walkthrough on youtube of Deus Ex, i discovered stuff that otherwise i wouldn't have known to exist, so as for me, this game will be

"Game of the Decade" !

sneakypenguin:
Joy agame I have to play 3 times in arbitrary manners to see half the content.

And here we have a textbook example of someone who doesn't get it.

I don't play games just to see the content. I play them for the experience and the fun. Having choices that actually make a significant difference to how the game progresses makes this game so much more interesting, and gives it replay value by varying the experience depending on what you do.

Ideally, you won't have to play through it again. You'll want to.

I really don't want them to screw this up but chances are they will...

I want it now but kinda don't because I want them to take there time and not rush!

I've never played Deus Ex (I missed having a pc to play it by about 9 years) so I'm definitely interested in how this is shaping up. Everything I've heard has been good, and worst case scenario, at least we know the cutscenes will be awesome by the gobsmacking trailer.

Eagle Est1986:
Well that's reassuring to hear, though I'm a little confused as to why they didn't get it to start with. Just hand them all a copy of Deus Ex, then when everyone has completed it get them to see who did what differently to everyone else. Problem solved.

Deus Ex cost much less money than it would cost to make the exact same game today. That is really the issue... imagine you spend two or three days working on a character model and then realize that players could bypass it completely.

Still, good for them...Deus Ex is one of my favorite games, and I am not an FPS person at all.

This post actually has my hopes up a bit since I'm really tired of my games treating me like I'm new to the whole gaming thing, on the 4th playthrough no less.

These tutorials are useless in most games, that's what the MANUAL is for, did they forget that? If you don't know what jump is and theres no control lay out, pull out that analog instruction device and READ.

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