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Wednesday, November 28, 2007

An Expert Looks at DX3
10:47:04 PM EST - Dan
The venerable Kieron Gillen who, unlike myself, is an actual professional gaming journalist, has done what I have done but, also unlike myself, was a bit more serious about it, and did more research on the team than just look at the photos in the flash animation on the website.

That said, the interesting article is still not terribly enlightening, as it mainly conjectures about what a DX3 game could be like as made by a bunch of guys and gals who have done many games nothing like Deus Ex. I think we were already on that page, but at least we now know the page number and how many pages there are.

Coincidentally, he also answers a question I raised about the company size - they do plan on growing to be much, much larger than 80 people; four times that size in fact, but in fact plan on always keeping the team sizes down to 80.

What I have not read is Kieron's article about Harvey Smith, the man some blame for DX2's faults who just released a new game, Blacksite Area 51. I have not read this article, but note that it does contain a screenshot of System Shock 1, which instantly makes it awesome.

Thanks DX-455 for letting us know about the DX3 article.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Flashy-Image Breakdown
8:27:31 PM EST - Dan
Proving yet again that those with a great deal of free time are a boon to those who have very little, Shacknews has done an image by image breakdown of the flashy part of the trailer.
The game seems to focus heavily on the sociopolitical impact of biomodification as seen in the Deus Ex series. There's religious iconography, political divisiveness, potential terrorism, and segregation. And a representation of the Fibonacci sequence.
It is all as the wikipedia article stated, but now you can see it all for yourself. As discrimination against augments seems to be a common theme in these images, combined with the date on the ballot box, many have speculated that this game is a prequel.

It is true that the canceled DX3 in development at ION Storm was a prequel. There is no reason to believe (in fact I'd say that it's unlikely) that this team and project are using any material from the canceled one, but that does not rule out the possibility that it is indeed a prequel. For what it's worth, I hope that it is. Part of Deus Ex's appeal to me was how close to home it was in the form of themes, settings, and organizations - DX2 in contrast was a distant futuristic setting which seemed detached from present day reality. DX3 moving in the opposite direction - more towards the real world, seems like it would give more of a good thing. Let's just hope that it doesn't overflow into that dangerously obscure 'too much of a good thing' area which I am not even of liberty to define at the moment. We'll see! I look forward to it.

So. Deus Ex 3.
7:58:28 AM EST - Dan
Yes, so.

A Canadian Deus Ex. They chose an interesting subtitle: "3". Maybe it will have more in common with Deus Ex than the last two spinoffs: Invisible War and Project Snowblind.

We've got this gamasutra article on the topic.

D'Astous highlighted, "Montreal has low operational costs compared to other cities. Montreal has always been a city where the cost of living has been very reasonable, and this is also true for companies. So we can control our costs. The real estate is quite reasonable, the talent is there and that’s certainly an important point -- even though our dollar is going up, I think we are still very competitive on that side."
Hilarious. So we're getting a Canadian Deux Ex because it's cheaper that way. I love it.

So it's a new studio, new goals, new ambitions, and this is their first project. Maybe that's fitting - Deus Ex started that way, after all. These guys don't have an 'idea guru' as their leader though, which may not be a bad thing. Oh look my coffee is done.

Actually they do have this Stéphane D’Astous guy in charge of things. Let's see what his online profile looks like. ... seems like he's got several upper-management credits for various console games listed under him. (Thanks henke and HellSing.) Well all of those games shipped, so I guess we have that!

Mmm, nothing like a hot cup of coffee at 7:38 am est on 11/27/2007.

So Gamasutra also said...

So how many developers will be working on the game? According to D'Astous, teams will stay small and dev cycles will be lengthier. He stressed, "We’re only working on AAA, major titles. We’re going to be developing only major AAA games, using only next-gen technology."

Therefore, he continued, "We will want to limit our dev teams to a human-sized team of 80 people at the very highest of the peak in the production cycle. We don’t want to become a huge studio where there’s over 100 people on a title. We want a smaller, multi-discipline group that are tightly knit together. But by doing so, we will give them at least 18 to 24 months for the production cycle."

So they're going to be developing [meaningless marketing term] using only [meaningless marketing term]! This is great news guys! Thankfully the next paragraph contains some actual information in it. I am not at all sure, but I think that 80 people is about how many ION Storm had while doing DXIW and TDS (okay I made that up) so I guess that's a good number to be making two games at once, right? 24 months sounds like a great span of time to get people excited, let them grow apathetic, and then give them time to forget their apathy and get excited again in time for release!

This brings us to a website for the developer. What does this site teach us about this developer?

  • They use Dell Gaming Laptops, have toys on their desks, they read books, and take pills.
  • They advertise other eidos games to their employees.
  • They love Lara.
  • Their office is well lit.
  • They think that pipes and wires and hardware is COOL.
  • Their office may be HAUNTED.

    Well I'm sold. Based on all of that I mean. In fact, I am ready to send in my application to work there! (I wonder how far short of their 80 people they are, or if they have decided that they need a little more than 80... the mind begs to know.)

    Which brings us to Their Deus Ex Page. No, don't watch the flash animation. The sounds aren't coming from there. Scroll down to the teaser trailer. Yes, down there. Once you get past the awful IN A WORLD voiceover you can listen to a few scant seconds of (no sarcasm here, honest) totally awesome Deus Ex 1 remixed OST music (no not the original umod music) which for a few scant seconds may make you want to believe that this is the answer to all of your prayers for a good Deus Ex sequel. It may!

    So what does this teaser tell us? That their team is a manager, someone who knows 3ds Max, The Movie Trailer Voice Guy, and an audio mixer? Aside from that, it seems to show an embryo which already has glowly lights and mechanical parts, and then a flashy too-fast-to-really-see so-how-could-it-actually-be-important series of images which only wikipedia could decrypt. Damn these guys are good! Makes me think that I should leave coverage of this game to Wikipedia and stick to Thief Fan Missions!

    Other than the teaser, we get nothing else from this page - other than that someone seems to think that a PC is now a next-gen console, and that the blurb about which game systems they are developing for actually has nothing to do with Deus Ex 3 itself.

    Well if you're still reading I am sure you want to read what a bunch of other people think, all of whom are probably just as qualified as I to have written all of the above, so check out the threads in General Gaming and Deus Ex General about it. The developer also has a forum, but why should we care? This is TTLG!

    Okay, I am done. Look at how much time I wasted. It's 8:00 am now, and I have schoolwork to do. Oh well - at least my coffee is still hot.

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