Bill Money (Ion Storm
– Producer of DX PS2 and DX2
talks exclusively to DeusEx-Machina.com
How does a dev team for a console conversion differ from a
straight PC team? For example, do you place more emphasis on QA as
with a console you cannot patch the game after release?
Bill Money - Ion Storm Austin
– QA is very important. We had testers working here in Austin as
well as in San Francisco and London. Other than a larger QA team,
the actual dev team was very similar to a standard PC game. We had
5 programmers, 5 designers and 4 artists as core team members. Of
those 14, 9 worked on the original PC version of DX or the
Has the team been able to exert any sort of "poetic license"
over the original PC version of Deus Ex? If you have, what did you
change and why?
Bill – We
left 99.9% of the content intact. Where we took some license was
with the interface; for example, you no longer need medbots to
install augs. The original team really liked the idea of being able
to install an aug as soon as it was found and it helps to streamline
the interface. Now medbots aren’t “overloaded” with functions, they
Deus Ex The Conspiracy you've had to port the Unreal Engine over to
the PS2, how hard was this, did you have to make any major changes
to the way the engine functions?
Bill – We basically re-wrote the
renderer, scrapped the animation system, replaced the object system
and converted many unreal script functions to C/C++. The first map
on UnatcoIsland on the PC loaded into 96 megs on the PC. The PS2
has 32. You can see the problem.
were the ingame cutscenes dropped in favour of pre-rendered FMV?
Does the Playstation 2 have trouble with ingame cutscenes, or was it
a more realistic look?
Bill – We wanted to do something a bit
different. Plus, we had the services of 2 fantastic artists. As a
bit of trivia, one of the artists, Denis Loubet did the cover art
for every Ultima game.
What aspect of the game’s design was the most challenging for
you to recreate on the Playstation 2?
Bill – The interface had to be
completely re-done. A lot of time was spent thinking about how
buttons/controls are mapped on a controller and how to provide the
player with quick access to the most common features of the game.
Warren would come into my office daily asking me if the design was
done yet. He was mad at me for awhile (for taking so long), but I
think he’s pretty happy with the way it came out.
At release, what is the size of the DXPS2 team? Do you feel that you
could have used more members, that you had just enough, or that
sometimes there were too many idle hands?
Bill – We could have used one more
low-level renderer guy. Trying to find someone with PS2 and Unreal
experience however was pretty futile.
Is there a particular game that you feel in rival with as you
release near its release as well? What games (if any) for the PS2
are most like Deus Ex and might’ve given you a run for your money?
Bill – We all love GTA3. The emergent
game play and the non-linear sandbox mode is very close to what we
try to create with a DX game. We are always hoping that other game
makers will adopt the immersive sim game design principals found DX
(which were first established in games like Ultima Underworld,
System Shock and Thief).
Were there any fundamental changes made to the game’s style and
concept that were necessary to ensure the game’s proper function?
Bill – When I came on to the project,
my #1 goal was to re-create the Deus Ex experience on the PS2. The
initial design called for the game to be made more “console’y.” In
other words, to change what made Deus Ex so great. I worked hard to
convinced management of the fault of that idea. Why change a great
Now that the game has been pushed out the door and is out of your
hands, do you have any regrets?
Bill – I think it turned out much
better than I initially anticipated. In my opinion, DX on the PS2
is the best Deus Ex experience available. I can’t think of another
game on the PS2 that has so much to offer.
And along these lines, are there any current or updated technologies
that you wish you could’ve used, if it were feasible both in time
Bill – I would have liked to have
re-done the particle system from what was there on the PC, but we
ran out of time. Overall, we made changes where changes needed to
How much (if any) correspondence have you had with the team that
worked on the original Deus Ex? Are your development offices
physically close to one another?
Bill – We are the same team. Almost
every member of the team from the PC version worked on the PS2
title. We even had basically the same QA team. We had 2
contractors who worked on the Mac version help us out, but a
majority of the work was done in-house at ISA.
(This really is for my own personal interest, because I get the
feeling that the game isn’t, but I still am not entirely sure,
sadly) Is the game multiplayer compatible? In what ways, if any?
Bill – Nope, DX is strictly a single
Though it is early, would you personally (either you, Mr. Money, or
various members of the team can answer this one – your discretion)
be interested in working on the Playstation 2 version of Deus Ex 2,
or any other Deus Ex series products?
Bill – The Playstation 2 is clearly the established console
leader and we are always looking for ways to expand our audience.
Currently, however, DX2 is a PC and Xbox title.
We’ve seen a taste of the re-recorded PS2 main theme for Deus Ex. Is
the rest of the music going to be similarly done, or will it keep
its cool metallic synth sound?
Bill – Just the main theme was completely redone. Some
sounds received some “tweaks” but the majority of the music remained
Thanks for the
questions – DX PS2 was sent to Sony for final approval last week.
You should be seeing it on store shelves by late March.
Well, that was a great bunch of
answers from the guys and gals at Ion Storm Austin, we wish them
well for their next project!