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Deus Ex Ample: Should Valve Follow Eidos’ Lead?

Discussion & Analysis Gaming Industry

Yesterday, Eidos Montreal announced their plans for the Deus Ex series.

For the uninitiated, the series explores heavy themes of conspiracy, transhumanism and the ethics of technological advancement, and consists of two cyberpunk RPGs that are routinely held up along with Half-Life as the greatest PC games of all time, plus two more that are…well, not.

Deus Ex Ample: Should Valve Follow Eidos’ Lead?

The plan for the Deus Ex franchise, related by Eidos Montreal’s studio head David Anfossi, is to expand it into a multimedia ‘Deus Ex: Universe’, with graphic novels, mobile tie-ins, and more – all centering around original-flavor video games, of course. Anfossi also released a sprawling piece of concept art for the next game, and an admission that this is still in very early production, and so concrete dates won’t be seen for a long while.

Now, whether you think this “universe” concept is a good idea or not (I’ll withhold judgement until I actually see some of these tie-ins, though I’m not optimistic about the quality of all this – the original was so successful because it was crafted by a single team of writers, who didn’t think that saying “404” and “802.11” out of nowhere was the height of referential humor), my first thought upon reading it was “This is exactly what the Half-Life community has wanted from Valve, for years.”

I’ve heard all the excuses from employees and fans alike, for why Valve can’t break their complete radio silence on the future of Half-Life: “The twists and turns the development has taken would be worse than nothing”, “They’re too focused on [Valve’s current project at that the time] to say anything about Half-Life”, “We made too many fat jokes about Gabe”, and so on.

But for all that, Eidos isn’t in a very different position from Valve – they have quite a few IP’s across various platforms to juggle, and even have a nicely-hyped Triple-A release this winter. And while there isn’t exactly a legion of gamers chomping at the bit for a new Deus Ex release, it’s a welcome announcement for a sizable fan community – and it doesn’t really reveal a whole lot, at all. We have a non-specific title, a guarantee to continue the story of 2011’s Human Revolution, some concept art that isn’t a huge leap from that game’s visual style…and that’s all she wrote. But it’s more than enough, and it would be plenty to tide us Freemanites (related: this fandom needs a name) over for something more substantial.

 

Come on – we’ll take anything. To quote Dr. Breen, “What is it exactly that you have created?”

“Can you name even one thing?”

I thought not.

7 Comments

  1. I think people need to realize that we’ve hit a point of no return. The longer a title stays vaporware, the more the hype around it becomes, until a moment where expectations run too high, and the Half-Life series already had a reputation of being groundbreaking. Now the mystery surrounding Half-Life 3 gives way to extremely unreasonable expectations, just making it harder for the game to actually come out. The mistake was Valve’s to begin with, by apparently not having a very strong plan from the start for their episodes and for just letting ambition run too high and get too unwieldy, but everyone else has just made it worse over the years.

    Frankly, I wish that external-episodes idea had been successful. Then we’d really have a similar situation to Deus Ex, or maybe closer to the Kingdom Hearts franchise, where a big handful of spin-offs have been released during the wait for the third main game in the series. Return to Ravenholm, the “Episode Four” that never was, would’ve been a welcome distraction during the period of radio silence regarding Half-Life 3; instead, Half-Life has become a running gag and Valve will find it troublesome to climb back from that pit.

    Not that they need to, unfortunately for us. They make enough money that they can just forget about Half-Life and move on.

  2. Valve is in a situation that I can’t even imagine how they’ll get out of it in one piece. In my opinion the episodic story telling for half-life was the worst thing valve ever decided to do. Not because it’s good enough (because it is) but because if we think about it, the 3 episodes that were supposed to come out were in fact Half-life 3. We’ve been asking for half-life 3 for so long, but we’ve already played 2/3 of it. That’s the problem. Something went wrong inside valve, so they could not do the final 1/3 of the game, so now it’s too late to just give out a 2 hour game just to wrap everything up and they must be having problems with creating a full game out of an ending. I thought at one point they would just release a comic telling episode 3 and then announce half-life 4 or 3 or whatever, but I realized that wasn’t a good option soon after. One things for sure. Valve is in a strange position, but I think all they’ve been doing so far is recreating the whole universe since they realized they fucked up. If we think about it the theory of Half-life 3 and Portal 3 being the same game is more and more appealing…

  3. I would agree with most of it.

    Valve is the only company that can do what it does – maintain absolute silence about it’s future titles. People don’t “hate” them to the point where they let go and leave. Maybe I’m different, since I only started 3 years ago with the first half life. I haven’t been waiting since 2007 or earlier and following it every day. I’m sitting here, not really ripping at it, but eager for the next one. I just shrug and say “It’s coming”.

    Like you pointed out, there are countless reasons why people excuse Valve for not even confirming it’s existence. It’s almost a game Valve purposely play with the community. It’s interesting how they get away with it. Not that I’m saying it’s a crime or anything, it’s just different and odd.

    That all being said, it’s this that makes Valve special. I crave creativity and originality in a market where it seems everyone wants to copy the two major FPS titles.

  4. Noice Job on imitating my art style.

  5. I agree. People often misinterpret Half-Life fans’ complaints as a demand for Valve to give them a game, when all (most) people really want is a clear message from Valve as to the future of the series. Something as simple and straight-forward as this Eidos post would be excellent, regardless of whether the news is good or bad. I feel that all of the “Ricochet 2″, T-shirt and leak antics just make things worse for both fans and Valve, by building the expectations for the game to an unattainable, mythical level.

  6. Lovin’ the Breen quote! I’ve always understood that Valve is afraid of revealing too much and leading to potential disappointments later on. But you’re right, even small acknowledgements of its existence would be more than enough to hold us Freemanites (cute name; not sure how I feel about it, though) over. And why I’ve just reiterated exactly what you’ve said here is unclear to me, but great article!

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