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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Aug 15, 2011, 22:35
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removed Aug 15, 2011, 22:35
Aug 15, 2011, 22:35
 
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This comment was deleted on Aug 16, 2011, 01:47.
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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?’
The worst criminal in human history, undeniably.
Beating and Gassing Americans for Jesus!
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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 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 16, 2011, 01:12
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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, 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, 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, 03:23
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Re: Deus Ex: Human Revolution Q&A Aug 16, 2011, 03:23
Aug 16, 2011, 03:23
 
Wow, never have read a rant that not only completely misses the point but quotes things without understanding what they mean. And this isn't the first post by you that does this, it seems to me you just bash "change" instead of thinking about why they are changes that had to be done.

Firstly, in a story there needs to be a confrontation phase (have you never read a book?) that should never be OPTIONAL, as its an elementary element of story telling. So the game *has* to force the confrontation - particularly when its about personal revenge. Sure it might go a bit the Hollywood way with making those confrontations flashy and huge but why not..

Second, he is talking about shadow systems, that means to spread shadows throughout levels so that players can sneak around even when realistically there'd be no shadows at all, this is unrealistic. (perfect example is the first level of Deus EX where there are crates and badly lit walls everywhere in the park, which is completely hilarious. In the age of LED lights there are simply no unlit places in high security areas. And yes, LED lights in such areas have batteries, you can cut the power all you want, it won't get dark! Welcome to the 21st century ;p (Deus EX was made when the technology of the real world wasn't as far as now, after all)

Sneaking should be, timing, overview, planning. Not hiding in a dark corner while an enemy walks by (realistically, those dark corners are places you'd put light sources first)

It befuddles me why you rant and rant and rant about Deus EX HR, if you liked Deus EX and don't like this you have a great option here.. not buying it.
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Re: Deus Ex: Human Revolution Q&A
Aug 16, 2011, 03:33
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Re: Deus Ex: Human Revolution Q&A Aug 16, 2011, 03:33
Aug 16, 2011, 03:33
 
Firstly, in a story there needs to be a confrontation phase (have you never read a book?) that should never be OPTIONAL, as its an elementary element of story telling. So the game *has* to force the confrontation - particularly when its about personal revenge. Sure it might go a bit the Hollywood way with making those confrontations flashy and huge but why not..

I don't have a problem with confrontations. I just have a problem with combat being the only solution. In an RPG, there are many possible roles you can play. What if you've invested all your skill points into non-combat skills? You're basically screwed during boss fights. This happened in Alpha Protocol and KOTOR. It even happened in classic RPGs like Fallout and Arcanum (the final boss can only be defeated through violence or words, not stealth). If a game is going to let you make a diplomatic or stealth-based character, they need to ensure that both diplomacy and stealth are viable ways to complete the game.
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Re: Deus Ex: Human Revolution Q&A
Aug 16, 2011, 03:41
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Re: Deus Ex: Human Revolution Q&A Aug 16, 2011, 03:41
Aug 16, 2011, 03:41
 
I have played the HR leak and I do think it will be good. That doesn't mean I can't complain about the bad decisions and poor justifications Eidos is making. People always take a binary attitude to these things, like I either need to think HR is the best game ever made, or the worst. I think neither.

Firstly, in a story there needs to be a confrontation phase (have you never read a book?) that should never be OPTIONAL

I've actually read many books in which nobody died. Haven't you? There can still be conflict without actually killing anyone. And besides, even if you privilege the story over gameplay, there's no reason why you should have to engage in balls-to-the-wall combat in a Deus Ex game which is supposed to be all about playing how you want. You only need to look to the original game. You needed to kill Anna, for example. But players with an exploratory mind were rewarded with an alternative method: a kill phrase. Eidos only needed to think outside the box instead of forcing us into cliched BOSS BATTLES in which you comicly throw explosive barrels to kill them (at least the first one).

Second, he is talking about shadow systems, that means to spread shadows throughout levels so that players can sneak around even when realistically there'd be no shadows at all, this is unrealistic.

Oh look the realism argument. You must have missed my point: I don't care about realism. I care about gameplay. If HR had a light-based stealth system the gameplay possibilities would be increased. And a Deus Ex game should always, always be about gameplay possibilities. Imagine hacking into a computer system in order to turn off a facility's lights, which kicks in some sparse backup lights and also creates shadows for you to hide in. (And if you're going to give me the LED argument again, see above.)

Here's the thing: a light-based stealth system is ALSO a line of sight stealth system most of the time. You can still hide behind things just as effectively as you can in a line of sight only system. But you have the added complexity (and resultant possibilities) of playing with light sources. This was, of course, a key element in the Thief games, the best stealth series yet made.

HR's line of sight stealth merely removes options. It adds nothing. That's why it's inferior.

Let me repeat: I think HR will be well received. I think it'll be pretty good. I also think it'll be inferior to the original.

Here's the thing: the good stuff about HR Eidos owes to Ion Storm. They are the things they have emulated pretty well. The 'additions' and changes Eidos has made are almost uniformly bad. That doesn't mean the whole game will be bad. Just disappointing in a few ways.
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Re: Deus Ex: Human Revolution Q&A
Aug 16, 2011, 03:56
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Re: Deus Ex: Human Revolution Q&A Aug 16, 2011, 03:56
Aug 16, 2011, 03:56
 
But players with an exploratory mind were rewarded with an alternative method: a kill phrase. Eidos only needed to think outside the box instead of forcing us into cliched BOSS BATTLES in which you comicly throw explosive barrels to kill them (at least the first one).

That's not completely true. If I remember right, you had to fight Walton Simmons, Maggie Chow and Bob Page. I think there was an emergent way to avoid Simmons but that wasn't what the designers intended.

In any case, I agree that boss fights should never be mandatory in RPGs. I also agree that light-based stealth would add more depth to the stealth experience. That said, I don't really consider it essential. If this were Splinter Cell or Thief, I would because those are pure stealth games, not hybrids. The individual mechanics of a hybrid game will never match up to games that specialize in those mechanics and I adjust my expectations accordingly.
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Re: Deus Ex: Human Revolution Q&A
Aug 16, 2011, 04:13
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Re: Deus Ex: Human Revolution Q&A Aug 16, 2011, 04:13
Aug 16, 2011, 04:13
 
You could just run away from Simons (twice) and Maggie, and you never 'fight' Bob Page. There's Howard Strong in the missle silo who needs to die to progress, but I think he's the only one who can't be avoided or defeatable through non-combat means (unless you count him blowing himself up with a LAM). And in Invisible War you don't need to kill a single person.
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Re: Deus Ex: Human Revolution Q&A
Aug 16, 2011, 04:34
J
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Re: Deus Ex: Human Revolution Q&A Aug 16, 2011, 04:34
Aug 16, 2011, 04:34
J
 
Squirmer wrote on Aug 16, 2011, 03:41:
Eidos only needed to think outside the box instead of forcing us into cliched BOSS BATTLES in which you comicly throw explosive barrels to kill them (at least the first one).

LULWUT? I've fought that guy different ways with each playthrough I had and I've never done it that way. You know what that means? It means you chose to do it that way - and now that's your argument against Eidos? That and twisting (and misinterpreting?) their context. You're like a running joke without a punchline.
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Re: Deus Ex: Human Revolution Q&A
Aug 16, 2011, 05:38
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Re: Deus Ex: Human Revolution Q&A Aug 16, 2011, 05:38
Aug 16, 2011, 05:38
 
OK please tell us all the different ways you did that fight. Did you like ... shoot him with a gun?

And then the next time did you ... shoot him with a different gun?

And then the next time, wait wait let me guess ... you shot him with still another gun?

A M A Z I N G

Human Revolution? MORE LIKE GAMEPLAY REVOLUTION HUH? A CHOICE OF GUNS.
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Re: Deus Ex: Human Revolution Q&A
Aug 16, 2011, 06:25
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Re: Deus Ex: Human Revolution Q&A Aug 16, 2011, 06:25
Aug 16, 2011, 06:25
 
I agree this crap about having to kill is nonsense.

The idea a story has to be written where it comes to a screeching halt because you didn't kill someone is truly laughable. What the address or secret code does fall out of his ass unless he's dead? The sheer power of being beaten to an inch of his life still allows super human sphincter control! No lootz for you, his sphincter is still working.
‘What is this bullshit that you people are doing?’
The worst criminal in human history, undeniably.
Beating and Gassing Americans for Jesus!
Ain't no tweetin, in jail jammies!
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Re: Deus Ex: Human Revolution Q&A
Aug 16, 2011, 07:00
J
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Re: Deus Ex: Human Revolution Q&A Aug 16, 2011, 07:00
Aug 16, 2011, 07:00
J
 
Squirmer wrote on Aug 16, 2011, 05:38:
OK please tell us all the different ways you did that fight. Did you like ... shoot him with a gun?

And then the next time did you ... shoot him with a different gun?

And then the next time, wait wait let me guess ... you shot him with still another gun?

A M A Z I N G

Human Revolution? MORE LIKE GAMEPLAY REVOLUTION HUH? A CHOICE OF GUNS.

2/10. And I only gave you an extra point because you put so much effort in.

Evidently you're unable to comprehend tactics, so I won't trouble you with the details.
nin: This forum is headed for a disaster of biblical proportions.
Blue: What do you mean, "biblical"?
xXBatmanXx: What he means is Old BBS, El Presidente, real wrath of SysOp type stuff.
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Re: Deus Ex: Human Revolution Q&A
Aug 16, 2011, 07:26
17.
Re: Deus Ex: Human Revolution Q&A Aug 16, 2011, 07:26
Aug 16, 2011, 07:26
 
JC Denton kind of was a very forgettable character. He had next to no personality of his own. He shown because of the game, not because of the character.
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Re: Deus Ex: Human Revolution Q&A
Aug 16, 2011, 07:46
nin
 
18.
Re: Deus Ex: Human Revolution Q&A Aug 16, 2011, 07:46
Aug 16, 2011, 07:46
 nin
 
You're like a running joke without a punchline.

Or he's just a troll, begging for attention.

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Re: Deus Ex: Human Revolution Q&A
Aug 16, 2011, 08:03
J
19.
Re: Deus Ex: Human Revolution Q&A Aug 16, 2011, 08:03
Aug 16, 2011, 08:03
J
 
nin wrote on Aug 16, 2011, 07:46:
You're like a running joke without a punchline.

Or he's just a troll, begging for attention.


Nothing a battery cell's worth of battery wouldn't fix

10 days to go!
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Blue: What do you mean, "biblical"?
xXBatmanXx: What he means is Old BBS, El Presidente, real wrath of SysOp type stuff.
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20.
 
Re: Deus Ex: Human Revolution Q&A
Aug 16, 2011, 08:06
20.
Re: Deus Ex: Human Revolution Q&A Aug 16, 2011, 08:06
Aug 16, 2011, 08:06
 
I might be trolling but I'm not begging for it.

Think of it this way. If Eidos had made this game with shadow-based stealth, would people be saying 'ooo I don't know Eidos shadow based stealth is pretty unrealistic, I don't think you should do that'. Or would they be saying 'wow, they are really staying true to the original game here, that's awesome'. I expect the latter. But because Eidos went the other way the asslickers come shuffling out declaring it genius and oh yeah Deus Ex had crappy stealth this whole time who knew.

Likewise, if Eidos made a game in which you could avoid all boss fights or find solutions to them that matched with different playstyles, would people be saying 'ooo gee Eidos, that's not a good idea you know, you need to make us kill people to create tension in the storyline!' Or would they say 'wow Eidos is really taking those Deus Ex design principles on board and making a remarkable game, that's amazing'. Again, I'm gonna guess the latter.
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