With humanity segregated into augmented and nonaugmented people, how will Adam Jensen uncover the conspiracy that controls the world?
Here's what we know so far about Deus Ex: Mankind Divided.
Just the facts
Developer: Eidos Montreal
Publisher: Square Enix
Platforms: PlayStation 4, Windows PC, Xbox One
Release date: Aug. 23, 2016
Deus Ex: Mankind Divided takes place in 2029, two years after the events of Deus Ex: Human Revolution. In the "Aug Incident" at the end of that game, mechanically augmented humans went haywire, suffering hallucinations that led them to kill everybody in sight. Now the "augs" have been forced to live on the fringes of society in segregated enclaves.
Adam Jensen, the protagonist of Human Revolution, returns and is now working with Interpol. As a member of the covert group Task Force 29, Jensen tackles the rise in global terrorism in the wake of the Aug Incident. He is also secretly working with a hacker collective to fight the Illuminati, the shadowy organization that was behind the Aug Incident.
Asked and answered
What is Deus Ex: Mankind Divided?
Deus Ex: Mankind Divided is a follow-up to 2011's Deus Ex: Human Revolution, which brought back the Deus Ex franchise after an eight-year hiatus. Like its predecessor, it is an open-world action game played in the first- and third-person perspectives that is centered on freedom, with the player's actions affecting the path of the story.
What will you be doing in the game?
As Adam Jensen, you'll upgrade your body with new augmentations to suit your play style. It's up to you to choose between combat, stealth, hacking and social strategies — along with the larger decision of whether to take a lethal or nonlethal approach — as you navigate a world in the midst of "mechanical apartheid."
the world is in the midst of "mechanical apartheid"
I'm sorry, mechanical what-now?
So yeah, developer Eidos Montreal is using "mechanical apartheid" to describe the social structure of Mankind Divided's world. For the studio, it's convenient shorthand for a segregated society in which people see their augmented brethren as lesser humans. Of course, the term originated in South Africa — where apartheid was the set of laws that segregated and brutally repressed the nation's black population for more than 40 years — and it might seem shallow to market a video game with a play on that incredibly loaded word.
Eidos Montreal defended the practice at E3 last year, telling Polygon that it was hypocritical for people to praise video games as art and then come down on game makers when they attempted to address serious topics.
Weird. Anyway, let's get back to this Adam Jensen guy.
Adam Jensen began Human Revolution as a security manager for Sarif Industries, a biotechnology firm that develops mechanical augmentations for humans. After he was severely wounded in an attack on the company's headquarters in Detroit, his employer, David Sarif, brought him back to life — but by augmenting Jensen's body without his permission.
Megan Reed, a Sarif scientist who is also Jensen's ex-girlfriend, discovered prior to the events of Human Revolution that Jensen is a special individual: His body can accept mechanical augmentations without any consequences, so he doesn't need Neuropozyne, the expensive and hard-to-acquire immunosuppressant that all other augmented humans require.
Jensen's body was augmented without his permission
How did he get here?
Well, that's a long story, but here's what you need to know. Jensen spent Human Revolution tracking down the origins of the attack on Sarif Industries, which also included the kidnapping of a team of scientists led by Reed. The mercenaries who attacked the company were working for the Illuminati, and they forced Reed to work on her augmentation research for them. The Illuminati wanted to use bio-chips implanted in all augmented humans to control them.
Jensen eventually rescued Reed and her team, and discovered that Hugh Darrow, the inventor of mechanical augmentations, had a different plan. Darrow had come to believe that augmentations would be the downfall of humanity, so he orchestrated the Aug Incident as an extreme example to the world of the dangers of body modification. Jensen ended up being able to choose from four possible endings, one of which was to broadcast Darrow's full confession around the planet.
Yikes. How does that lead into Mankind Divided?
Like the makers of Dishonored 2, Eidos Montreal isn't giving Mankind Divided players the ability to import their save files from the previous game. Instead, the studio decided to pluck elements from all of Human Revolution's endings in forming the canonical backstory for Mankind Divided. Which is this: Panchaea — the network of environmental facilities built by Darrow in an effort to curb global warming — explodes, and because of conflicting information on the Aug Incident, no one really knows what happened or who was behind it. The end result is the aforementioned societal state of mechanical apartheid.
Breach offers stylized puzzles and platforming
You said I'd be able to play with a nonlethal approach. But what about Human Revolution's awful boss battles?
Those fights sure were garbage, weren't they? Thankfully, Eidos Montreal has said that it heard players' feedback loud and clear — it will be possible to complete Mankind Divided without killing anybody, even bosses.
Is there anything else besides the story?
Funny you should ask. Just before E3 2016, Eidos Montreal announced that Mankind Divided will contain a new mode, Breach, which offers about 75 levels of platforming and puzzles.
No, seriously! Breach has a stylized, polygonal look, and you don't play as Jensen in it. Instead, you're a hacker who breaks into the data banks of corporations. The levels are virtual representations of those companies' firewalls, complete with puzzles and guards. You must retrieve data and then make it out alive within a set time limit, so speedrunning and leaderboards will be a major draw for skilled players.
"We looked at abstracting ourselves from the constraints of the real world," said producer Fleur Marty. "It's taking the core of Deus Ex and having fun with it."
Thisdale pointed out that unlike the warm hues of Dubai, the Czech capital is bathed in a cool bluish cast, highlighting the dominance of non-augmented humans. Just like Human Revolution's Lower Hengsha and Upper Hengsha, the settings for Mankind Divided are designed to help tell the game's story.