The transhuman
factor (continued)

Originally published in the Montreal Mirror (Aug 2011) 

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Much of the Deus Ex:Human Revolution's storyline unfolds with Jensen exploring the game's main hubs and interacting with characters around him, so to ensure players remain cognizant of their new surroundings, the team strove to make their vision  of the future as realistic as possible. The Game's main hubs---which include real world cities like Detroit and Shanghai are designed to marry current architecture with futuristic buildings dotting familiar landscapes.

"We don't raze cities in real life," says Belletête. "It's not the massive structures that change over time, but the smaller things like light fixtures or parking meters." In terms of new buildings, Belletête found inspiration in existing constructions, citing London-based architect Zaha Hadid as a good example of how cutting-edge designs already exist. Not ones to exclude their hometown, Montreal makes a brief appearance in the game, as Jensen visits a repurposed Olympic Stadium that houses media conglomerate Picus Communications.

"Montreal was originally going to be a full hub," admits Belletête, who says he has an impressive secret stash of discarded Montreal artwork. "I envisioned what the Plateau might look like, because there was going to be a house Jensen would have to infiltrate there. In our early tech demos, the first city we put together was the Plateau, based on the brick duplexes and triplexes with spiral staircases. It was honestly really stunning to see it in a 3d environment because to people who aren't from here it looked so unique, but if you live here it was quite touching. We even modeled it."


In speaking with the team, it's remarkable to consider how much was obsessed over and ultimately didn't make the final package gamers will be able to finally experience on Aug. 23. It's even harder to imagine working on something for over four years, which is what Eidos Montreal's team (which totals over 300 people working on multiple projects) did. In that span, U.K.-based parent company Eidos underwent a massive restructuring and was eventually purchased by Japanese publisher Square Enix, known primarily as the creators of Final Fantasy. Yet as tumultuous as things appeared around the brand new studio, the project was never affected, and when it came time to delay the project in late 2010, it was a decision made by the team to make the game as complete as possible.

Eidos Montreal has a short history, but as the studio's general manager Stephane D'Astous says, it's a dense one. What would be considered the most successful first game by a new studio?" he confidently asks. "I don't know the answer, but I will say we're creating a very high mark."

Reflecting the attitude of the team, though, Belletête says the predominant feeling after four years of hard work is relief. "It's really done, this game needs to get out. We gave it everything we had, and there's really nothing we could have added to the game."