Deus Ex: Human Revolution Q&A

A GameSpy Reader Q&A talks with Deus Ex: Human Revolution designer Antoine Thisdale about the upcoming action/RPG prequel and includes a recent IGN trailer where Thisdale answers other questions and shows off some gameplay footage. Here's his explanation of why they did away with weapon skills:
That's a very good question, and I have a very good answer. We wanted combat to rely on player skill, and not the fictional character's skill. We wanted to avoid the possibility of just buying the skill for sniper rifles, then you never use a sniper rifle, and later in the game you pick it up because, hey, that's going to be good for this situation -- and you take everyone down because you [bought the skill]. Also, one of the reasons for the skill system not being used is because it really portrays nanotechnology as mechanical. It's more about learning to physically use your body and use the mechanics that go with it, more than a skill-based system. It's kind of the same idea; we just spin it in a different way. But we didn't want it to directly affect combat with weapons. That was a very early choice, specifically because we wanted players to actually train with the weapons.
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Re: Deus Ex: Human Revolution Q&A
Aug 16, 2011, 02:58
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Re: Deus Ex: Human Revolution Q&A Aug 16, 2011, 02:58
Aug 16, 2011, 02:58
 
Out of curiosity, have you actually played DX:HR yet? You seem to be harboring an inordinate amount of hate towards the game. I was skeptical myself until I played the leaked press build. Are there design choices I disagree with? Sure. I don't like the third-person stuff, the unskippable boss fights, the lack of environmental interactivity or the general ease of stealth. But I love the open-ended level design that lets you play the way you want to play, even if you want to completely avoid all enemies. I also like the ambiguous moral choices and the dialogue system. I also really like the attention given to the PC version, particularly the overhauled UI.

Will DX:HR be a perfect game? Nope. No game is perfect. I could write a book dissecting the flaws of even my favorite games. Will it be a highly enjoyable game that's a worthy addition to the series? Based on the leaked press build, I believe so.
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Re: Deus Ex: Human Revolution Q&A
Aug 16, 2011, 02:36
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Re: Deus Ex: Human Revolution Q&A Aug 16, 2011, 02:36
Aug 16, 2011, 02:36
 
This is a the worst interview Eidos has done about this game. I don't know where to start. So I'll start at the beginning.

That's really hard to answer, but I think one of the biggest lessons that we learned from [Invisible War] is not to dilute the experience -- not to change it in strange and weird ways, and try to melt everything into one big pot.

Uh yeah because constantly switching between 1st and 3rd person is not strange or weird at all. Mhmm. But you know, at least HR isn't 'one big pot'. Whatever that means.

On third person:
One of the big reasons for this is, Adam Jensen looks cool; we wanted to show the character.

Right yes, well done Eidos. Forget gameplay considerations, it's more important to show off your character design because all the cool kids like their sword arms.

In the original game, you have J.C. Denton, for example, and you only see him in a few dialogue [sequences]. He's just standing there doing nothing.

Yep, what a forgettable character JC Denton was. It's not like he's a cult favourite game character or anything is it? No, no one remembers him. Maybe if he had sword arms! Of course.

We realized that [the third-person view] is a really good tool to situate a player. Sometimes, you go into a room, but you're not exactly sure of the dimensions and such. It's kind of confusing

Attention every 1st person game made in the last 20 years: Eidos says you are too confusing. You can't tell the dimensions of a room in 1st person, so that's why 3rd person is necessary. Got that, every 1st person game ever made? Good.

On unskippable must-kill boss fights:
I can't really answer that question, because I'd be giving away a few plot points. But basically, it's story-driven. That's the kind of thing that we can't really let the player decide, because then the story would just stop. It's hard to answer, because of the story.

Yes of course, all design principles can be thrown at the window in service of the crappy story. Story comes first, forget gameplay.

On no shadow stealth play:
No, you don't. That was a sort of early decision -- partially because it's not very realistic, to be honest.
Exactly. Hear that Thief? Hear that Splinter Cell? Hear that Riddick? You're not realistic. Eidos knows how to fix you though.

We don't have [the previous games'] weird shadow system.
Let's reflect on this for a moment. A designer at the studio which is currently making Thief 4 just called light-based stealth systems 'weird'. Good grief.

And if their problem is that there wasn't enough feedback in DX1's stealth and the simpletons couldn't figure it out (which is the other excuse they've used), they could have just added a light meter. They have so many other HUD indicators that another one wouldn't have mattered. Maybe that was just too much trouble to go to.
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Re: Deus Ex: Human Revolution Q&A
Aug 16, 2011, 01:12
5.
Re: Deus Ex: Human Revolution Q&A Aug 16, 2011, 01:12
Aug 16, 2011, 01:12
 
I don't really have a problem with stats affecting accuracy. Makes perfect sense to me. However, most people don't like that. They focus more on the shooting part than the role-playing part so they don't want stats to affect them at all.
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Re: Deus Ex: Human Revolution Q&A
Aug 16, 2011, 00:00
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Re: Deus Ex: Human Revolution Q&A Aug 16, 2011, 00:00
Aug 16, 2011, 00:00
 
Weapon skills in action-RPGs are generally a bad idea for the same reason that they were removed going from ME1 to ME2: because there's just no good way (yet) to explain why the same gun, that fires the same-powered bullet, to the same spot on the target should somehow do any different amount of damage by characters with two different "skill" levels in that gun. (It's also why using level disparity to reduce weapon power in games like Borderlands became really annoying when the disparity was any more than tiny. How many 50cal-sized bullets, regardless of my level, do I really need to dump into this asshole's head to penetrate through his skull?)

The only gameplay-related way to balance it, then, is to make the gun's sights shake and wave all around if you don't have enough skill. Go and play Mass Effect 1 and use a sniper rifle early game to find out how successful that idea turned out (hint: it was infuriating to try and play, and completely silly to see some lauded Commander in the Alliance Navy that couldn't hold a rifle inside of a 15-meter spread on a downrange target). To balance it, they had to sway the sights so much as to make you feel like you were falling-over drunk just to stop people from still getting headshot after headshot. It was annoying and ineffective. ME2 tried to deal with this by allowing only some classes to use some gun types, and then in higher difficulty levels and by adding kinetic barriers and armor to nearly every enemy - but it still wasn't really perfect.

Now, if you had a game with a lot of diving, jumping, and running, then maybe you could get away with huge accuracy adjustments with skill by saying that the character's skill is in aiming the weapon with precision while doing acrobatic moves, but that's generally not how most action-RPGs play out.
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Re: Deus Ex: Human Revolution Q&A
Aug 15, 2011, 23:57
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Re: Deus Ex: Human Revolution Q&A Aug 15, 2011, 23:57
Aug 15, 2011, 23:57
 
I brought the sniper rifle up (yeah yeah, I got the press release) and it started swaying a bit.. and I bunched up and squealed, "It's Deus Ex!"

Game is awesome. I'm now trying not to touch the leaked version any further so I don't spoil it. But it sits there, beckoning me with its goodness.
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Re: Deus Ex: Human Revolution Q&A
Aug 15, 2011, 23:10
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Re: Deus Ex: Human Revolution Q&A Aug 15, 2011, 23:10
Aug 15, 2011, 23:10
 
Hehe, how hard can it be to learn to use their weapons?
‘What is this bullshit that you people are doing?’
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