PC Interview

Deus Ex 2

Ferrago interviews ION Storm's Harvey Smith on this much anticipated sequel.

Harvey, I gather you're the lead designer for Ion Storm Austin on the project; what exactly does your role entail?

As project director, I work with a team of about 20 strong-willed, highly creative, super smart people. My job is never, ever boring. I try to keep a coherent vision in everyone's mind and I try to keep people (especially those with less experience) focused on finishing the game. As lead designer, I do the initial work on game units, weapons, tools and player-character powers. There are also key game programmers and designers on the team with an interest in these aspects of the game. We collaborate well--our team has amazing chemistry. I also work with the writers and mission design team on a variety of fictional issues.

Secondly, what do you believe was the main weakness, if any, that you hope to correct or add in the sequel? Deus Ex 2

I cannot look at Deus Ex any more without seeing the mistakes we made. DX2 hopes to feature much improved AI, stealth gameplay and physics. Lighting (volumetric shadows), texturing (materials) and sound propagation are also next gen. Plus we have more flexible, globally-consistent tools for problem solving. We want to give the player more interesting options for character creation and advancement (including a female player-character).

Can you tell us how the plot will be continued in number two, will it be a total departure from the world of the first or a continuation? Any other teasers? Since Deus Ex ends with three possible endgames, a lot of people ask this. There's something interesting we're doing for DX2. I cannot comment yet. Chronologically, DX2 takes place after the events of Deus Ex. Many characters will be returning, fifteen years older. Deus Ex 2

Graphically, I gather you're working with the Unreal Warfare technology; what features has this new technology got over what has gone before, and what does this allow you to do in the game subsequently?

We've got a bunch of great programmers working here, revising the sound propagation system, AI, texturing, lighting and object/properties systems. We've licensed Havok, as you've probably read, for physics. Our technology is really next-gen and is going to afford players some amazing gameplay. We're using the latest Unreal tech as a starting point; it's nice to start off with art/level editing tools, so artists and designers can start working from day one.

The environments next: will the settings be inspired by the original - and as diverse or are you aiming for something totally different. Deus Ex 2 We're repeating some locations, but mostly we'll be sending the player to completely new areas. Very diverse...globe-spanning, in fact.

Can you tell us about any specific locales at the moment; I remember the originally being praised for it's detailed and realistic environments mapped on real areas such as New York.

As before, we're attempting to create a highly believable world. The game spaces will be richly populated with interactive objects. The player will be able to explore a plausible, interesting world at his own pace. We're building in many extraneous, side pockets of interaction.

Are you planning to refine the gameplay elements of plot, action and role-playing any further than the original - any new twists?

We hope to do an even better job of allowing the player to follow his own path. Some of the old organizations are returning, plus we've added some new ones.

The voice technology and dialogue of the original was particularly impressive, what can you give away about this in the sequel? We're handling dialogue and conversation in basically the same way. Lead writer Sheldon Pacotti is back, plus we've got a new writer, Sarah Paetsch. This time, all characters will have facial expressions.

Multiplayer: any specific plans of decisions made regarding this, yet?

DX2 is a single player game.

Finally, can you give us a clue when Deus Ex 2 will be nearing completion, I'm sure there are many gamers out there who simply can't wait!

Sorry...can't promise anything yet.

Thanks for your time Harvey, best of luck with completing Deus Ex 2. We look forward to playing it.

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