Deus Ex: Mankind Divided's Narrative Director Comments on Game Ending

Alpha Phoenix

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Narrative Director Mary DeMarle was involved in a recent interview in which she had this to say regarding Mankind Divided's ending:

It's interesting that you ask that. My talk won't be specifically about that, but will touch on it. It's part of working on a project for so long and how you keep pushing to make it better. My talk will touch on those unresolved plot lines and how they came about due to the way we were working. I know that some of the fans were disappointed that some of the plot lines were left unanswered. If we had more time then perhaps we would have dealt with some of them differently, but that's part of the issue with developing a creative game and trying to go farther.
Follow-up:

I like making people think about things and I like having unresolved questions. Hopefully we can have a payoff for some of those questions in the future in some way. It's fun stimulating the imagination of the player and having them figure things out. I enjoy having the player put the pieces together. I do wish we could have wrapped up a few plot lines a little bit better, but that's what it is.
So, it basically sounds like the 5-year dev schedule wasn't long enough for them. Square Enix must have been pushing them hard.

Note: Mary DeMarle is set to discuss multiyear development cycles along with some of her experience in the Deus Ex games at DICE Europe 2017. This interview is a 'prologue' to that.
 

Atolm

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I wish someday we'll get a full post-mortem about the game or some insider info, because the only explanation about Mankind Divided is that there's a ton of cut content already made and that another game was planned for shortly thereafter (maybe a year or two).

Otherwise a 5-year development cycle doesn't make sense. The game is good but certainly it isn't that ambitious, certainly not enough to warrant such a lengthy development.
 

Alpha Phoenix

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I really have to wonder how 5 years wasn't enough, that's long by most AAA standards :/
She does acknowledge as much in the interview. It just sounds like there was something going on internally that nobody foresaw, and it likely involved Square Enix themselves.
 

Trago

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I don't know that more time would have made a big difference. When I finished the game, it felt like they were setting up another sequel. Maybe that was the plan from the get go?

Also the main plot involving the terrorists was basically finished in the game anyway. I think that the overall story didn't have the same impact as past games and people didn't like that. And yeah, it definitely didn't have the same impact. I thought it was pretty good anyway.
 

funkystudent

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I wish someday we'll get a full post-mortem about the game or some insider info, because the only explanation about Mankind Divided is that there's a ton of cut content already made and that another game was planned for shortly thereafter (maybe a year or two).

Otherwise a 5-year development cycle doesn't make sense. The game is good but certainly it isn't that ambitious.
Rumour has it a sequel was in the works and they planned for a trilogy so that's why so many plot points went nowhere in the first game.

Then the game bombed and everything was cancelled.


Great example of not counting your eggs before they hatch. They expected a multi game story so much they failed to make game 1 satisfying because that what game 2 / 3 are for.
 

tuxfool

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Otherwise a 5-year development cycle doesn't make sense. The game is good but certainly it isn't that ambitious, certainly not enough to warrant such a lengthy development.
It also all depends on the size of the team. You can have a small team take longer, or a larger team take a shorter amount of time. Assassin's Creed is a go to example of a 3 year cycle game, that is only possible because of the number of bodies thrown at the problem.

It seems that they spent a great deal of time developing their technology pipeline, possibly with the expectation of developing a series.

I don't know that more time would have made a big difference. When I finished the game, it felt like they were setting up another sequel. Maybe that was the plan from the get go?
There are some very interesting hints/secrets in the game that would definitely have provided material for a sequel.
 

Samir Sedlar

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I don't think the game had 5 years in development, if I recall correctly, Obsidian was supposed to be working on a sequel to Human Revolution that would have come much earlier, and on the other hand with Next Gen coming up, Square was looking at the whole MP/MMO focus world. I remember freaking out when I heard about Deus Ex Universe, that was the original next in my opinion, but Square went back and made a SP Only game = Mankind Divided, and it shows in the game. So that's why I don't think that Mankind Divided had a true 5 years of development.
 
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There's no way they were in full development for 5 years, right? It's basically the same game as the first one from a systems perspective. Same engine, mostly same mechanics.
 

shockthrill

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so is there going to be one more game with Jensen

someone once said they are planning a trilogy with Jensen
 

nOoblet16

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There's no way they were in full development for 5 years, right? It's basically the same game as the first one from a systems perspective. Same engine, mostly same mechanics.
It's not the same engine, not even close. Human Revolution used a modified Tomb Raider Underworld engine, Mankind Divided uses Dawn engine which was developed by the studio themselves and is a a heavily modified Glacier 2 engine (Hitman Absolution engine).


Also the gameplay mechanics on their own make up for a tiny percentage of a game. The bulk of the development would be spent on designing assets/levels and encounter around a game design that makes use of that gameplay. Prague is the densest hub I've seen in any game till date by a long margin, it's jam packed with little details, alternate paths and the game design is centered around the game being aware of player having this freedom (like when you do certain objectives out of order). Even including something as simple as Icarus Dash would mean they have to change the level design to accommodate for that while also keeping in mind that the player has to have the ability to get there without the dash. All of that takes time, a lot more time than making the core gameplay mechanics.

Making immersive sim is a complicated business. Plus I have no doubt the game during these 5 years the game had a lot of content being made for a much larger game which Squeniz then probably decided to split into sequels.
 

tuxfool

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Same engine, mostly same mechanics.
The engine is completely different. The Human Revolution used a version of the Crystal Engine by Crystal Dynamics.

The Mankind Divided engine is the Dawn Engine, which is a heavily modified fork of the Glacier 2 engine by IO.
 
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Rumour has it a sequel was in the works and they planned for a trilogy so that's why so many plot points went nowhere in the first game.

Then the game bombed and everything was cancelled.


Great example of not counting your eggs before they hatch. They expected a multi game story so much they failed to make game 1 satisfying because that what game 2 / 3 are for.
Uh, this is the second game in the reboot series. The first sold incredibly well. They just waited too long to do a by-the-numbers sequel, then released it during a busy period.

so is there going to be one more game with Jensen

someone once said they are planning a trilogy with Jensen
The series is on ice now.

Those things make up for a small percentage of a game. The bulk of the development would be spent on designing levels and encounter around a game design that makes use of the gameplay.

Prague is the densest hub I've seen in any game till date by a long margin, it's jam packed with little details, alternate paths and the game design is centered around the game being aware of player having this freedom (like when you do certain objectives out of order).
Bulk of the dev cycle is engine work and art assets. I love Mankind Divided, but it was obviously a troubled project that took too long to bake, especially for what amounted to a very marginal upgrade to the first game.
 

nOoblet16

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Bulk of the dev cycle is engine work and art assets. I love Mankind Divided, but it was obviously a troubled project that took too long to bake, especially for what amounted to a very marginal upgrade to the first game.
Art and assets would be included in level design, you can't design game levels without creating assets can you now? A dense level design automatically means lots of assets.

And are you are telling me Mankind Divided's art and engine is a marginal improvement over Human Revolution? Ok lol. You are free to believe whatever you wish but creating a forked engine by heavily modifying Glacier 2 around their needs and creating one of, if not the densest environment ever seen in a game with assets that have a lot of detail and variation...is not marginal amount of work.
 

Marcel

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They made an interstitial game with an sparse, interstitial ending thinking that they would get another chance at resolving the plot. Well, Mankind Divided's sales and its ultimate fate is why you don't fucking do that.

What a mess. I actually liked what they were doing with Adam and the prequel series.
 

horkrux

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What a joke the plot in MD was. It was simply not sufficient for one game.

Fuck you Squeenix
 

Lime

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I wish someday we'll get a full post-mortem about the game or some insider info, because the only explanation about Mankind Divided is that there's a ton of cut content already made and that another game was planned for shortly thereafter (maybe a year or two).

Otherwise a 5-year development cycle doesn't make sense. The game is good but certainly it isn't that ambitious, certainly not enough to warrant such a lengthy development.
I really have to wonder how 5 years wasn't enough, that's long by most AAA standards :/
I don't think the game had 5 years in development, if I recall correctly, Obsidian was supposed to be working on a sequel to Human Revolution that would have come much earlier, and on the other hand with Next Gen coming up, Square was looking at the whole MP/MMO focus world. I remember freaking out when I heard about Deus Ex Universe, that was the original next in my opinion, but Square went back and made a SP Only game = Mankind Divided, and it shows in the game. So that's why I don't think that Mankind Divided had a true 5 years of development.
There's no way they were in full development for 5 years, right? It's basically the same game as the first one from a systems perspective. Same engine, mostly same mechanics.
Wasnt it 5 years because they wasted like 2 doing a MMO or something?
They created a new engine, and this caused troubles, at least the narrative director has been saying so in previous interviews.
 

obeast

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The thing I found frustrating about the unfinished plotlines in MD is that they were disproportionately the ones I was interested in, because they touched things that seemed important to my character (things like
your suspicious coma and strange augments, or the hints that you might even be a clone
).

I expect unresolved plotlines in a game centered around shadowy conspiracies, but I think it's a failure of writing to resolve (some of) the impersonal stories while leaving the personal ones dangling. Compare to HR: Jensen doesn't figure everything out in that game, but he learns (or can learn) most of the relevant story as it pertains to his own role.
 

h0r0

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Rarely mentioned when discussing what happened behind the scenes of DE:MD's development is the departure of EM's general manager and founder, Stephane D'Astous. Resigned over SE meddling in the games development?

Link to article
 

xrnzaaas

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Mankind Divided's and Andromeda's development hells would probably make really interesting articles (or maybe even books). That is if only we knew more details that aren't going to surface anytime soon.
 

RuhRo

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As others pointed out in this thread, it's not just that so little was resolved, it's that there are no stakes for the main character in what was left in.
 
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Alpha Phoenix

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Art and assets would be included in level design, you can't design game levels without creating assets can you now? A dense level design automatically means lots of assets.

And are you are telling me Mankind Divided's art and engine is a marginal improvement over Human Revolution? Ok lol. You are free to believe whatever you wish but creating a forked engine by heavily modifying Glacier 2 around their needs and creating one of, if not the densest environment ever seen in a game with assets that have a lot of detail and variation...is not marginal amount of work.
Yeah, I don't get why people say it's a 'marginal' improvement. There is a lot that went under the hood that makes it a big improvement over HR; it's just not necessarily obvious to your average Joe. The new engine is probably the biggest change, and that alone can take years.
 

Fisty

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Probably had something to do with them being forced to tack on a bunch of GaaS nonsense to this game
 

badnewsbeers

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Yeah, I don't get why people say it's a 'marginal' improvement. There is a lot that went under the hood that makes it a big improvement over HR; it's just not necessarily obvious to your average Joe. The new engine is probably the biggest change, and that alone can take years.
That's the problem. After 5 years, I expect obvious changes and improvements. At best it stayed still.
 

rtcn63

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I played MD at launch and remember nothing about the story. Just hacking. Nonstop. Hacking.
 

GameAddict411

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All I hear are excuses. The game story was weak from the get go. The only saving grace is the hub area and some of the side quests. They add insults to injury when they decided not to finish it. I have no idea why they were so confident in a sequel like this. Always assume that shit is going to hit the fan in the future. Don't make plans on an empty promise of a sequel. Deux Ex along with Mass Effect are going to be buried with this generation of consoles. Very sad indeed.
 

Zukkoyaki

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While assuming can be bad, I agree with the consensus that some stuff went down during development that compromised the vision of the game. Still loved it though, one of my favorite games of 2016. It's a damn shame that we probably aren't going to see a sequel and a proper conclusion to the story.

At the same time, I'm excited to see what Eidos Montreal can bring to other franchises. Their Marvel and Tomb Raider games should be great.
 

Rap2thaMoon

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I finished it a couple days ago, awful game. Very disappointed with it.
That's such hyperbolic bullshit that you have to reach that depp and fucking hard too to call mankind divided an aweful game. Define a good game please?
 
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The prequels seem to have been designed as a trilogy from the start. After Human Revolution ended not even close to the world as it is at the start of Deus Ex, it looked like that's where they were going, and then Mankind Divided's story kind of went nowhere and didn't expand on the overall Deus Ex story/ universe beyond "this is why mechanical augmentation is rare in 2052."

That's the problem. After 5 years, I expect obvious changes and improvements. At best it stayed still.
Like what though? Smoother movement, sure. What else should we expect? The areas are much larger than in Human Revolution; compare the ARC compound to most of the areas in Human Revolution.
 

SolidSnakeUS

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In all honestly, I wish Eidos was owned by a more competent company so they can do what they can to make a great game. I'm sure there can a bit better writing here and there, but I think they could do better away from SE.
 

Zukkoyaki

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In all honestly, I wish Eidos was owned by a more competent company so they can do what they can to make a great game. I'm sure there can a bit better writing here and there, but I think they could do better away from SE.
All of Square's western studios, Crystal, IO and such, consistently put out great games despite unreasonable expectations and bizarre marketing decisions from higher up. Seeing what they'd do under different ownership or if Eidos as an entity were still its own publisher would be fascinating.
 

funkystudent

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Uh, this is the second game in the reboot series. The first sold incredibly well. They just waited too long to do a by-the-numbers sequel, then released it during a busy period.


.
I know.

I loved HR. Great game. Its story was very much self contained as a prequel to Deus Ex though.

With Mankind Divided it very much seemed like the first part of a greater plan that unfortunately got extinguished.


But yes. The gap between HR and MD was ridiculous for how similar the games where gameplay wise and with how stripped back in some areas MD felt.

IMO Mankind Divided felt like a year one console gen game. It probably could have gotten released right after the console launch instead of Thief and felt right at home with the rest of the kind of thin cross gen games at the time.
 
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All of Square's western studios, Crystal, IO and such, consistently put out great games despite unreasonable expectations and bizarre marketing decisions from higher up. Seeing what they'd do under different ownership or if Eidos as an entity were still its own publisher would be fascinating.
Now that IO Interactive is an independent studio with ownership of the Hitman IP, you'll get the chance to see that.
 

Alpha Phoenix

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IMO Mankind Divided felt like a year one console gen game. It probably could have gotten released right after the console launch instead of Thief and felt right at home with the rest of the kind of thin cross gen games at the time.
While I understand what you're getting at, MD is quite a bit more technically sophisticated than Thief, in just about every aspect. You need to play it on a good PC to really appreciate all the bells and whistles that went into it, but even on consoles I think it's quite impressive.
 

Javier23

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Uh, this is the second game in the reboot series.
The series has never been rebooted. Both Human Revolution and Mankind Divided act as prequels to the original Deus Ex and Invisible War. Everything that happens in both games is clearly setting up the events of Deus Ex, specially in Mankind Divided. Jensen's story is obviously still unfinished, but when it comes to the big picture expect things to be left open ended and tied up in the original.
How were the dlcs?
Inconsequential nonsense?
Any threads tied to the main plot?
Not relevant to the plot, but they're good. A Criminal Past is particularly excellent and has better level design than HR and MD. Very much worth playing.
 

selo

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This wasn't as bad as Andromeda, but closer to ME2 in story impact. MD is a great game mechanically and technically (finished it a month ago or so, don't know its state on launch), the little story we get is good too, sadly it does seem cut way too short.

Were the sales bad for this?