At Microsoft's X15 event in Toronto, I had the opportunity to sit down with Eidos Montreal and see a gameplay demo of Deus Ex: Mankind Divided. The demo was the same as the one seen at E3 (below), but I was able to learn a few more details about the game, particularly as it pertains to stealth and social gameplay.
The main theme of Makind Divided is "mechanical apartheid," as augmented people have been ghettoized due to fears rising from events in Human Revolution. Of course, there are now uprisings taking place both pro- and anti-augmentation, and the Illuminati is probably pulling the strings behind it all. Jensen, having embraced his new identity as an augmented agent, aims to use all the tools at his disposal to uncover the Illuminati plot.
Jensen's Icarus Dash, which many people have noted bears similarities to level traversal skills from Dishonored, is just part of a new focus on verticality in Mankind Divided's levels. Now Jensen will be able to get to bottom and the top of things as he investigates international conspiracies. He will not, however, be able to summon swarms of plague rats.
Jensen's stealth arsenal has been diversified and made more fun. I was a particular fan of the Tesla group shocker, for when that one stubborn group of scientists just won't move out of your way. The smart vision he demonstrates in the E3 demo can be used for all sorts of purposes, including previewing the tasty loot that enemies are carrying with them. In addition, his takedown animations will vary depending on his play style, adding some individuality for stealthy and non-lethal players.
The developers have also made sure there are ways to "reset the scenario" if you get too deep into combat and want to retreat back into stealth. The AI characters are not omnicient, so you can lose them by hiding or retreating into air ducts. You can also use some of Jensen's fun new toys like the cloaker to disappear back into stealth mode, and alerted enemies will eventually calm down and return to normal.
We haven't gotten to see much of Mankind Divided's social gameplay, but rest assured that it's important to the team. Social augmentations are now useful during more than just the "social boss fights," and can be used to get goodies and information out of ordinary NPCs.
As an unapologetic super-fan of Faridah Malik, I just had to ask if we'd be running into some old friends during our Mankind Divided playthrough. Of course, I wasn't able to get any specific details, but the developers promise that there will be things in the game for fans of both the original games and the Human Revolution reboot to appreciate.
I liked what I saw of Mankind Divided at the X15 event. Online videos certainly don't do justice to how great the game looks on a quality PC rig, especially the texture detail and lighting effects. It also appears that the team has made strides to make NPCs less racially stereotypical, which I appreciate. I'm looking forward to continuing this adventure with a more confident, mature Adam Jensen.
Thanks to Producer Olivier Proulx and Senior Designer Robert Rabin for taking the time to chat with me!