Deus Ex: Mankind Divided trailer dissection

Square Enix and Eidos Montreal, the publisher and studio behind 2011’s Deus Ex sequel, Human Revolution, released the first trailer for their upcoming follow-up, Deus Ex: Mankind Divided. Visual Works, the studio that handles some of Square’s CGI trailers (including Human Revolution’s), produced this trailer.

Visual Works’ trailers are nearly completely comprised of in-game moments, but they’re skewed or staged differently than presented in the game. For example, in the original Human Revolution trailer, we have Megan Reed getting kidnapped, the Barret boss fight and the display of several augmented abilities and hand-to-hand moves that Adam Jensen actually uses in the game. They don’t play out the exact same way from trailer to game, but they’re pretty close.

If I keep that in mind while viewing the Mankind Divided trailer, here’s what I deduce:

The original Human Revolution team is back

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All the key players from Human Revolution are returning. David Anfossi, who served as lead producer last time, is now the Eidos Montreal studio head. Jean-Francois Dugas is directing again, Jonathan Jacques-Belletete returns as art director, Mary DeMarle is back as lead narrative director, Steve Szczepkowski is audio director again and Michael McCann is back for the score.

This is great news because this exact team crafted Human Revolution with every key playstyle (action, stealth, exploration) in mind. No matter how action-packed the trailer looks, they won’t sacrifice player choice and pacing to make a linear first-person shooter. The original Visual Works trailers for Human Revolution were also action-focused, yet the game can still be played any way the player wants.

They’ll keep it cannon

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At the conclusion of Deus Ex: Human Revolution, the player was given the choice to twist the news and broadcast different radio signals to give mankind a more focused outlook on the human augmentation situation. An option also existed to let humans figure it out for themselves and implode the finale base Jensen explored. Although it appears the final game decision doesn’t end up having any weight on how mankind progresses, shots of Jensen floating in water tell us that the base probably blew up no matter which decision the player made. Now he’s floating in water and probably gets rescued Jason Bourne-style by someone toward the start of the game.

Who might or might not be returning

Screen Shot 2015-04-08 at 12.34.59 PMEliza Cassan, a major player in Human Revolution’s story, is shown anchoring a news broadcast in the trailer. Somehow she must have escaped the Human Revolution debacle unscathed (probably because she isn’t a real person) and kept her job. Whether she’s still working for Picus news, which was nearly gutted in Human Revolution, is unknown.

It’s also worth noting who isn’t shown in the trailer. David Sarif, Jensen’s boss at Sarif Industries, played a major role in the early Human Revolution trailers and in the game itself. He isn’t shown, nor is Jensen’s tech handler Francis Pritchard. Faridah Malik, Jensen’s sassy pilot who most certainly escaped Human Revolution on her chopper, also isn’t shown. This means Jensen could be on his own in Mankind Divided, he could have a new team or the original crew just hasn’t been shown yet. If the final base in Human Revolution imploded, Sarif was on the base, too. Could he have survived?

Megan Reed, former long-time partner of Jensen, pops up the trailer, which shows he’s still salty about their lack of closure in Human Revolution. Maybe she’ll be in Mankind Divided?

The story looks pretty X-Men-like

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I’m getting some serious X-Men vibes from the trailer, and that’s not a bad thing. Instead of mutants, sub in augmented people. Insert a global police force trying to contain them, an augmented leader who’s fighting for augmented people’s rights, and we have the right mix of components.

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Jensen is Professor X and the Russian guy is Magneto. Each is going about navigating a world in which global militarized forces crack down on augmented people a different way. The Russian guy probably wants to fight them, and Jensen might look for a more elegant solution? Either way, they’re at odds, which will no doubt lead to a boss fight between them at some point in the game.

This dude is important?

Screen Shot 2015-04-08 at 12.37.36 PMAlthough we have no idea who he is yet, this guy is shown several times in the trailer. Maybe he holds the key to something that Jensen and the Russian guy both need? I’m not sure, but if he’s looking to hide from the police, he should probably invest in the cloak augment instead of simply pulling a gold hood up over his head.

Existing technology is back

Screen Shot 2015-04-08 at 12.39.10 PMThe Russian guy is shown carrying the same grenade launcher Jensen used (via pre-order DLC) in Human Revolution. Also Jensen is shown using the Zenith pistol from Human Revolution. This shows that handgun and rifle technology is still in the same era from Human Revolution, and currently existing weapons will make a come-back.

New Augmentations

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Several new augmentations are shown. One is a stun-gun fired straight from an augmented arm’s knuckles. Does this mean the death of the old folding stun gun?

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Jensen’s arm also shifts to reveal a large (PEPs gun?) stun weapon that shoots directly from his wrist.

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Jensen’s arm blades are back, but they’re projectiles this time, too.

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One of the final shots is Jensen covering his entire body in a hard, polygonal cast to harden against incoming fire. If he uses this against an incoming grenade, it’s a much more serious defensive tactic than the simple skin hardening augmentation from Human Revolution.

Crysis-like weapon upgrading


Although this image isn’t from the trailer, if it’s truly from the game, it shows a weapon upgrading mechanic similar to Crysis 2 and 3’s. I personally enjoyed the fluid weapon upgrading in those games, so it’s welcome here. Human Revolution features upgradable weapons, but once the upgrades were attached, they couldn’t be removed nor modified. Mankind Divided might change that.

Based on the first trailer alone, those points are the most important ones I’m picking out. As more news surfaces, I’ll perhaps keep updating my thoughts on them. Most likely on Twitter.

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