Ever since Deus Ex’s release in 2000, fans have debated about the meaning behind protagonist JC Denton’s initials. One popular theory was that the initials stood for “Jesus Christ” and were a reference to Denton’s potential role as a savior in the story.
Today at a postmortem panel on the classic game during the Game Developers Conference, developer Warren Spector confirmed this theory — sort of.
During the Q&A portion of his panel, Spector answered an audience member’s question about this lingering fan question. Spector said it went back to the source of Denton’s last name: a reference to Spector’s friend, sci-fi author Bradley Denton.
According to Spector, Denton is one of the nicest and most helpful people he’s ever met — so helpful, in fact, that it eventually became annoying. Spector would often jokingly groan, “Jesus Christ, Denton, don’t be so helpful.”
With Spector borrowing Denton’s last name for the Deus Ex hero, he decided to borrow the initials from his common epithet about Denton as well.
The Jesus Christ theory has come up in interviews with Deus Ex developers before. Speaking to IGN back in 2003, Deus Ex designer Harvey Smith said:
“A lot of people don’t know this but J.C. Denton was supposed to be a descendant of Jesus Christ. We were going to pick up the old theory that Jesus had kids and that J.C. Denton had DNA from Jesus.”
While that may be where the story was eventually intended to go, Spector is adamant that the name originally began via the anecdote he described at the panel, as an innocent goof poking fun at a friend.