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Warren Spector Q&A

There's a Warren Spector Q&A on talking with the ION Storm designer about DX2: Invisible War, the upcoming Deus Ex sequel. Topics include his role in production, goals for the project, linearity, the temptation to imbue the game with more of an anime influence, the difficulty in pigeonholing a project like this, and more.

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25. Re: Deus Ex without killing Feb 13, 2003, 16:59 Cholma
Thanks, Creston. Yeah, I do the trick with planting Gas Grenades in the Ton also. I always try to tranq the MiBs, so they don't blow up. I can't remember if I've ever used a Prod on one; but they shouldn't blow that way, since they aren't dead. Oh well. (I've never tried total stealh either, though.) I do like to Master the rifle so I can then shoot out cameras & turrets. I Mastered the pistol once, but I couldn't see any special advantage to it.

Really looking forward to DX2.

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24. Re: Deus Ex without killing Feb 13, 2003, 01:46 Creston
Not really, since I didn't think there would be much demand for it. It's not as if you can really fail at the game in any way, except for getting killed, so there's hardly any need for a detailed step by step walkthrough.

I mean, a game like Final Fantasy, with 15 billion secrets to find, sure, but in the end, although you can play Deus Ex's missions in lots of different ways (even though the start and the end are always the same), there's not a lot of "secret" stuff in there.

Writing a FAQ might not have been a bad idea. Maybe I'll do one for Deus Ex 2


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23. Re: Deus Ex without killing Feb 12, 2003, 22:39 nin
Creston, you clearly know you stuff about this game. Ever thought about writing up a FAQ or walkthrough?
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22. Re: Deus Ex without killing Feb 12, 2003, 22:34 Creston
Hi Cholma,

Actually, like I said, I did kill Anna, Gunther and Simons, because you sorta have to kill them in the story. Apparently there are some ways you can avoid killing them, but I can't really figure out how. If you don't kill Anna during the Lebedev fight (no she's not invulnerable, but she's wearing very powerful body armor, just move behind her while she is still talking, then when she opens fire on Lebedev, empty an assault gun clip into the back of her head. This usually takes her out), you have to kill her in the Unatco HQ, and if you DON'T kill her, you cannot get the key to get out of the building, so I'm not sure how people managed to get further in the game when they don't kill her.
Gunther is sort of a similar story, since I don't think the cutscene actually runs without you killing him.. But, there are people who claim to have done it, or to have read how to do it, so I suppose it's possible.
Walton Simons IS possible, just by ignoring him both times you get the opportunity to fight him.

Actually, with the cargo ship crew, I don't think I took any of them out. Invisibility and speed go a very long way towards not having to get into any scrapes, and there are quite a few optic camouflage armors in the game. If you upgrade your skill in them long enough, you can do pretty much the whole inside of the ship while wearing two armors.
So, realistically, you would think that the crew got off the ship itself once they realised it was sinking.

If you had to fight them and knock them unconscious, then I guess the inside guys would technically be considered dead, since they won't escape the ship sinking.
This is actually a non occurence in the game, so I didn't really worry about it

I fretted for a long time on how to not get those MJ12 commandos at Vanderbilt AFB killed, but eventually I just gave up, since there is no way to stun them or make them leave their posts long enough.

As for Paul, there are two ways you can do this. You save Paul's life either by staying in the Ton, taking out all the troops so he can walk out, then running towards the subway station (and be taken out by Gunther and his bots. Gunther is actually invulnerable in this fight, I've tried many times to take him out, but it's just impossible), OR by getting taken out in the Ton hotel.
So if you want to do it the easy way, just fight a little, then get shot by the Unatco troops or the MiBs, and Paul will be fine.
If, however, you want to take down all the troops without killing them, there is a neat little function on gas grenades that people often forget about. You can set them as proximity bombs on walls. Before you go talk to Paul again, plant the main floor and the hallway in front of the apartment with gas grenades, then go talk to Paul. While the dialogue is running, you will actually hear the grenades go off, and the troops start to choke.
Now, a single shot of any weapon will take the troops down, INCLUDING a single shot of your tranq gun (and this doesn't kill them), or a single shot of your prod. And since you've presumably put a few skillpoints in suits etc already, you can wear a chemsuit, and casually walk around stunning everybody
Btw, the MiB die even if you try to stun them, so be careful that they aren't too close to Unatco guys when you take them out, otherwise they will kill the troops caught in the blast radius.
And no, I don't consider killing the MiB a problem, since they're robots anyways


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21. Re: Deus Ex without killing Feb 12, 2003, 17:31 Cholma
Wow, Creston. That's amazing. I tried once to kill Anna onboard the plane, but she seemed to be invulnerable; I figured it was coded that way and never tried again. The only time I went with "no killing" is in the beginning of the game, so I don't get chewed out by the "Supply Daddy". (well, that and because technically the terrorists turn out to be the good guys, so I tried not hurt them)
I also tried stunning the cargo ship crew and carrying them off the ship before sinking it. (boy, was THAT time intensive! I felt sorry for the guys... they didn't do anything wrong)

So you avoided Anna and didn't use the killphrase either? AND avoided Gunther but was still able to activate the Templar Knights computer? Did you just use cloaking? That's how I survive the opening seconds of the fight with them & Simons.

Question: How did you save Paul's life if you don't kill anyone during the fight at the Hotel? Are you able to Gas & Prod all the MiBs and troops without shooting?

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20. Re: Deus Ex without killing Feb 12, 2003, 16:23 Creston
Thanks Tom

What can I say, I **** L O V E **** Deus Ex. It is by far the best game ever made in my book, and I just couldn't stop playing it, but you need to find a different way to play it sometimes, otherwise it gets boring more quickly than it needs to.

And yes, that was dedication. It took me well over 50 hours to complete the game that way, and there were a few sections where I got REALLY annoyed at those MJ12 commandos, and was sorely tempted to just whip out an assault gun and have some 9mm high explosive fun


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19. Re: Deus Ex without killing Feb 12, 2003, 00:51 Tom
Creston, that's truly amazing. I can't believe you went to such great lengths to try to get through the game without letting anyone die! I mean, yeah, being stealthy can be fun, sure, but the WHOLE GAME?! Trying to lure guys away from getting killed by battle droids you have to turn on? That's dedication.

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18. Re: No subject Feb 11, 2003, 23:05 Creston
True, but Warren is actually very gracious and remindful of this, often stating that he doesn't make the games alone, that there's a whole lot of people that made this game.

I never forget Harvey Smith, Harvey was working with Warren when they were both still at Origin IIRC. But besides Harvey Smith, there is a host of talented people working at Ion Austin, not the least of which is one heck of a good writer (Sheldon Pacotti).
I wish Sheldon would start writing sci-fi or Clancy'esque stuff already, I'd be in line for when it was released


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17. No subject Feb 11, 2003, 22:55 Squirmer
I always think about poor Harvey Smith when interviews like this are done. People always seem to skip over the fact that Harvey Smith is actually in charge of this project, not Warren Spector.

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16. Re: Deus Ex without killing Feb 11, 2003, 20:18 Xombie
I know that it's POSSIBLE to not kill Anna or Gunther yourself, but in the course of the game they still (have to) die, so in the end I count that as killing them anyways.
No, it is possible to finish the game without them getting killed.
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15. Re: Deus Ex without killing Feb 11, 2003, 20:18 Xombie
It sucks, but he's probably due for a failure.
Developer failure is always due to egocentric arrogance or allowing the publisher to have too much control. Warren Spector knows he's good, but he's still humble about it, and he knows better than to let Eidos release his games unfinished. Not to mention that the head on the DX2 project is Harvey Smith.
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14. Re: Deus Ex without killing Feb 11, 2003, 19:20 Mad Max RW
I don't want to set myself up for a let down. That's all.

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13. Re: Deus Ex without killing Feb 11, 2003, 18:49 Creston
Heh, alternatively you could say that due to Cosmic Balance (tm) the insane amount of Bad Games will be offset by a number of Good Games.

Since Unreal 2 wasn't all that great, Deus Ex 2 will rock

Seriously, you're worried about nothing. Warren being "due for a failure" because "nobody can hold this trend" isn't any kind of quantum revelation or anything, it's merely what your mind is whispering to you when you start to hope again that Deus Ex 2 will be all that you want it to be.

Don't listen to teh dark voicez!!!


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12. Re: Deus Ex without killing Feb 11, 2003, 18:41 Mad Max RW
"on the fence" is more than I've been in recent years. I'm very skeptical when it comes to big games and I noticed skeptics are right at least 90% of the time. Warren has made a lot of great games, but nobody can hold this trend. It sucks, but he's probably due for a failure. I truly want DX2 to be a kickass sequel to the best story driven FPS of all time.

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11. Deus Ex without killing Feb 11, 2003, 18:19 Creston
Ok, here go some tips of how to do it without killing. Btw, Xombie, I know that it's POSSIBLE to not kill Anna or Gunther yourself, but in the course of the game they still (have to) die, so in the end I count that as killing them anyways.
I assume it's possible to not kill Walton Simon twice by avoiding him (my first time through the game, I actually never even SAW him in the underwater base, and met with him in Area 51), and thus keeping him alive.

Ok, no killing.
First off, most missions will have several dark corners, places to hide, where you can avoid a lot of the enemies that just walk around. If you can get past a guy without having to fight him, go for it. Normally you wouldn't do this, because he might come fight you later on, but since you're not planning on fighting anybody anyways, this doesn't matter. Also, every level that offers alternative ways to getting somewhere (such as the Hong Kong MJ12 base), take them.

Second, only two weapons matter. The crossbow and the prod. Put all your skillpoints in those two. (However, don't bothering mastering in them. By the time you've got enough skillpoints for buying those two master skills, you're better off spending those on first aid, using gadgets and grenades). You will only have a limited supply of tranq darts and prod charges, and those need to count. Don't use any of them on enemies that you can simply avoid (for example, in the entire first mission, there are only two guards that you really need to take down, the ones just below the NSA leader. And even they can be avoided if you just run up, ignoring them shooting at you. All the other NSA guys on the island do not have to be taken down, so don't bother.)

Three, two augs are vital. Speed and Invisibility. I know you'd be tempted to think that the Stealth aug instead of the Speed aug would be the way to go, but you will need that speed later on, and most enemies spot you by sight, not by sound.

Four, optic camouflage armor. Since you're not hauling around 6 weapons, you have a lot of room in your inventory. Take them with you, but resist the urge to use them early in the game. You will NEED them later on. Also make sure that your skill in using them is at least 3, because otherwise they don't last long enough to be of any use.

Finally, once you start coming up against the MJ12 commando's, there is no way to take them down without killing them. They are immune to both your tranq darts and your prod gun. Some of those commando's will be guarding areas that you need to go through, and there's no way around them. You will have to lure them out, draw them away from that area, then go invisible and speed past them (that's why you need speed). You will get hit quite a few times doing this, and this makes it VERY hard to do on the realistic difficulty setting.

Note that while I say no killing, I do make a few distinctions. Critters are fair game. You can tranq them if you want, but I just shot them with a pistol. Mutated green acid spitting birds in my eyes do not count as human life.
Also, I have no qualms about taking out or destroying a security bot. You don't necessarily HAVE to do this, but it makes your life a whole lot easier. If you can get past them without interfering with them, so much the better.

Also, there are some points in the game where actions you have to take in order to move on will kill some people. One good example is VanderBilt AFB. Once you activate the battle droids, they will take out the other droids, but they will ALSO take out any MJ12 troops stupid enough to fire on them. Since you HAVE to activate the droids, there is no way around this. (I tried to tranq all of them to get them out of the way before activating the droids, and even luring them to other parts of the level, but those two commando's just won't be saved no matter what you try).

I think that pretty much sums it up. Note that it's not a totally stealthy way of doing things, which is a shame. It's like the designers allowed for you to be stealthy, but didn't plan on you being stealthy throughout the whole game. For example, when you steal the design schematics of the monomolecular sword, the alarm will go off, and you HAVE to run past some troops in order to get out. Why you cannot simply climb back up inside the airduct and sneak out is a mystery to me. Hopefully Deus Ex 2 will allow for total sneakage everywhere.

I hope that helps, have fun


This comment was edited on Feb 11, 18:22.
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10. Re: Warren Spector, Deus Ex 2 and Interface Feb 11, 2003, 17:26 Xombie
For me, replaying Deus Ex without any fatal takedowns was an awesome challenge (I made it too, with ofcourse the three "have to kill" characters excepted).
You can actually make it without killing those three. Someone on the PlanetDeusEx boards did it, and then someone from ISA was able to.
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9. Creston Feb 11, 2003, 17:26 Von Helmet
You managed it without killing anyone? How did you do it? Any obvious tips?

I've played through it on all difficulty levels and I'm just starting on my second time through doing it on realistic, which is hard enough.

I'd quite like a bit of advice on how on earth you can pull it off without ever killing anyone.

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8. Warren Spector, Deus Ex 2 and Interface Feb 11, 2003, 16:51 Creston
Let's do the interface first. I can't exactly remember where I read it, it was awhile back, but Spector had said that they were planning on substantially redesigning the rather clumsy interface of the original Deus Ex. In fact, the PSX2 version of Deus Ex already sports a much improved interface, so I don't think anybody has to worry about that too much.

"I'm still on the fence here. DX2 can easily turn out to be crap"

Silence, Heathen!

I don't know, it's conceivable that any game turns out to be crap, but you'll notice very distinctive design approaches between Spector & Co and just about everybody else out there. Deus Ex 2 isn't being hyped up the wazoo like some other product I could mention *cough* Unreal2 *cough* , and I have NEVER seen a bad game made by Warren Spector. EVERYTHING he has worked on has been great. Maybe not for everybody, but Warren makes the games that I want to play. Therefore, I am absolutely convinced that Deus Ex 2 is going to be the best game this year. (Pllleeeeaasseeee let it come out this year).
I might not agree with all the design decisions (like that whole 'relationship' thing with the pilots), or with the choice of levels (come on, Egypt TWICE??), but overal it will have just as good a story (Sheldon Pacotti is doing the writing again), the graphics look GREAT, and in the end you're still this cool dude with nanotech etc. And they've promised TOTAL freedom this time, if you don't WANT to kill anybody, you don't HAVE to. For me, replaying Deus Ex without any fatal takedowns was an awesome challenge (I made it too, with ofcourse the three "have to kill" characters excepted).

Ahhh Warren, how sad and dreary the game industry would be without you. Please don't ever leave.


Edit : Btw, there's a rather large mistake in that interview, made by Warren no less. He says that he believes there are three people you HAVE to kill in the game. That is correct. However, Lebedev is not one of them. If you kill Anna instead of Lebedev, Lebedev stays alive.
The three people you actually have to kill are Anna Navarre, Gunther Herman and Walton Simon.
Funny that he doesn't remember that. Then again, I've played Deus Ex well over a dozen times by now, so..

This comment was edited on Feb 11, 17:05.
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7. Blarg. Feb 11, 2003, 15:48 Azraelot
"Would you ever consider adopting, say, a more anime-style look to better appeal to console gamers?"

So, console gamer = big anime fan? Good idea; make Deus Ex into Shogo. Thankfully Spector shoots him down.
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6. Re: This is the only... Feb 11, 2003, 15:18 Wazootyman
I liked System Shock 2's interface... neat, easy and so fast I could usually finish searching a body and taking what I needed before it finished its "fall over" animation.

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