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Trivia / Deus Ex

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  • Accidentally-Correct Writing:
    • The New York City skyline background is missing the Twin Towers. This was due to technical limitations, but the explanation the developers gave is that they were destroyed in a terrorist attack some time in the game's past. This may have been an educated guess on their part, as the World Trade Center had previously been the subject of a terrorist bombing in 1993 intended to topple the Twin Towers, but the attack ultimately wasn't large enough to work. Nevertheless, after 9/11, the developers themselves commented on how eerily prescient this part of the game's lore was.
    • In the mission where you save someone from a gas station, you can see the prices. At the time it may have represented something far off, as gas prices were on average about $1.20 and the game depicted gas prices at $3.58, for regular in 2030.note  Cue 10-12 years later after the game's release and that's exactly where those gas prices are.
    • One article found at the very beginning of the game tells readers to keep an eye out for terrorists and report any suspicious activities. The messages are clearly intended to be alarming signs of the dystopian state of the current government, both in the fear mongering "everyone can be a terrorist" message used to scare everyone into accepting the Big Brother level of control the government has, and in the invasion of privacy advocated by suggesting a through background search on anyone who is a foreigner or spent too much time on the net. Thus it's rather shocking how close this came to actual suggestions put out shortly after 9/11 for 'how to spot a terrorist'. What should one think when their own government is now repeating word for word the dystopian messages we're told to watch out for?
    • The in-game subplot revolving around the world's failed attempts to handle a deadly plague-like disease that has gotten rapidly out-of-control feels eerie in light of the outbreak of Ebola in 2014. The Ebola outbreak was declared by the World Health Organization to have been contained in January 2016... but then came the Zika virus outbreak in that same year... And then 2020 came along and Covid-19 happened.
      • Not only that, but mentions are made of a series of escalating pandemics in the 2030s. While the timeline is a few decades early, and they haven't killed anywhere near as many as in the game's timeline, it's hard to not see some of Deus Ex's 30s in our 00s/10s; SARS in 2002-04, H1N1 in 2009, Ebola in 2013-2016 (and intermittently thereon), Zika in 2015-16, and the ongoing fight against COVID-19 and its variants...
  • Acting for Two: JC and his brother Paul share the same voice actor. This makes perfect sense, really. As do the Triad leaders in Hong Kong, and given the number of NPC conversations that you can listen in on and the cast sheet, it's possible that some of these qualify.
  • Beam Me Up, Scotty!: It's "Icarus found you!", not "Icarus has found you!".
  • Creator Backlash: Warren Specter initially hated Alexander Brandon's main theme when he first heard it. He grew to love it in short order when it was incorporated into the game, though.
  • Dummied Out: Now has its own sub-page.
  • Serendipity Writes the Plot:
    • The Unreal Engine at the time would not have been able to handle a fully-rendered city, causing the creators to box in the Paris and New York levels and justify it with a lock-down due to terrorists for the former, and a way to separate ghettos and other high crime areas for the latter.
    • One rather infamous example is the lack of the Twin Towers in the NYC skyline. Due to memory issues, the half of the sky texture with them in it was cut out, and the developers justified it by saying they were destroyed in a terrorist attack prior to the game.
  • Technology Marches On: A few (minor) examples here and there.
    • What's interesting is one of the few things the game did predict completely right about future-tech. One in-game article mentions the 2050 World Cup was broadcast over the net, over 7 or 8 years before streaming shows over the internet became common.
    • Another, more subtle example: at one point in the game, a nano augmented character is getting a lecture about not letting their batteries completely drain before recharging them, implying that engineers from the future have never heard of Lithium-Ion batteries (Lithium-Ion batteries weren't practical for consumer electronics until the mid-2000's), and early Lithium-Ion batteries had the same problems with losing charge.
  • Troubled Production: While the game was a big success for Ion Storm, it wasn't less troubled for it, with lead director Warren Spector giving a detailed post-mortem in the November 2000 issue of Game Developer Magazine about the challenges and mistakes of its production.
    • Warren Spector struggled for years to get the concept (initially titled Troubleshooter) off the ground, with Origin Systems rejecting it and Looking Glass Studios unable to find funding. Spector nearly took a contract with Electronic Arts in 1997 when John Romero, having recently helped to establish Ion Storm, offered Spector the chance to make his game at Ion Storm without any limitations. Spector gladly accepted, quickly starting pre-production in Austin, Texas with a small team of former Looking Glass staff.
    • Spector's team was soon bolstered by former Origin Systems employees, including Ultima IX lead designer Robert White, as part of a walk-out due to EA's Executive Meddling at Origin, but problems soon arose as White's team had a very different design ethos. This led Spector to split developers into two camps with White leading a "traditional roleplaying group" against an "immersive simulation group" led by Harvey Smith, hoping that a Friendly Rivalry would bring the best out of both. Instead, the two groups clashed over everything, with just the idea of a set name for the player character nearly inciting a "holy war". Spector ultimately merged the two groups into a single team with Harvey Smith as the lone design lead, and later regarded the two groups decision as a costly blunder.
    • There were also troubles regarding art assets and engine choice. Early in development, assets were outsourced to Ion Storm's Dallas offices who seemed disinterested in the game, leading Spector to beg for a dedicated art team which he eventually got. As for the engine, the team licensed the Unreal engine and had to spend over half a year learning it, cautiously programming role-playing features like skill systems and dialogue trees for an engine built around shooting.
    • Meanwhile, the Dallas branch of Ion Storm was under fire. Their real-time strategy game Dominions: Storm Over Gift 3 had released to negative reviews and was utterly crushed by StarCraft in salesnote , Tom Hall's Anachronox and John Romero's Daikatana were punching bags in the gaming press for their protracted developments and confrontational marketing, also casting doubts on Deus Ex, and private emails were leaked to the public. The bad press hurt morale and made it nigh-impossible for Ion Storm to hire more developers. Ultimately, the Austin team adapted a "we'll show them" mentality to continue work on the game.
    • As private prototype tests were held in 1999, the feedback was dire. Game systems were criticized for lacking tension while the realistic level design wasn't creating compelling gameplay. Realizing a "less is more" approach was needed, the team began toning down their ambitions and refocused their efforts, cutting their design document in half and trimming many locations from the story to allow the team to focus their efforts on what worked.
    • And even as the game finally began to take shape, Eidos Interactive (who had made a publishing deal with Ion Storm) grew increasingly concerned with the turbulence within Ion Storm's walls. Spector claimed that Eidos repeatedly pressured him to make the game a conventional shooter, while Romero claimed years later that he had to step in late in development to stop Eidos from canceling the game entirely.
  • Uncredited Role: the music for Area 51 was composed by Bryan Rudge, who chose to be uncredited.
  • What Could Have Been: Has its own sub-page.
  • Working Title: Shooter: Majestic Revelations, as it was called on the original design document.