On January 29th, Eidos Montreal announced on X a huge round of layoffs, in which 97 people were let go from the development teams, administration and support services.
The same day, journalist Jason Schreier broke the news that Embracer Group, Eidos’ owner, has canceled an unannounced Deus Ex game that had been in the works for 2 years.
A sad ending to the legendary Deus Ex franchise?
The true sad story is the 97 people who are out of jobs, which pains me, as their work has given me much joy over the years. However, as a Deus Ex fan, the news of the cancellation is a welcome one, as I do not think that under Embracer’s pressure, and in this landscape, Eidos could have done a great game. Do we need yet another sequel?
The classic Deus Ex game still stands tall as one of the best games in history and one of the most engaging scifi universes. Its modern sequel, Deus Ex: Human Revolution, proved the cyberpunk genre can still work even in the late 2010s, so far from the heyday of Neuromancer. It also was responsible for a lot of the hype around Cyberpunk 2077 initially.
Does anyone remember just how much hype was around Deus Ex: Human Revolution after this awe-inducing trailer? A homage to Rembrandt’s Anatomy Lesson and a direct nod to the tale of Icarus, set to an epic Michael McCann soundtrack, this tiny clip truly captured what makes the cyberpunk genre have such a timeless appeal.
However, it was followed by Deus Ex: Mankind Divided, which felt very much uneccesary.
While it was an improved gameplay experience, for those who chose a specific ending in Human Revolution the story was basically a slap in the face. With developers hesitant to have a new character replacing Adam Jensen, Mankind Divided’s story deleted a lot of the emotional impact of the previous game’s ending.
One Slashdot commenter also emphasized just how formulaic and derivative scifi franchises end up and, to be honest, I’d like that to not be the fate of Deus Ex:
“Do we want endless Deus Ex: Modern Crapfare 202x editions? Yeah, it’s been 8 years since a DX game and 12 since a good one (Sorry, Mankind Divided had much improved gameplay but didn’t take advantage of it, it was mostly made out of the boring bits of DX:HR, like a season of The Walking Dead made entirely of talking and crying episodes).
Deus Ex was a truly great game, Deus Ex: Human Revolution was a very, very good game (not great, but by no means bad), lets stop trying to “monetise” every “property” and just let great games lie. If anything, contact some decent Sci Fi writers and have them write a new story (I’d recommend Alastair Reynolds, Neal Asher, Marko Kloos, John Scalzi, just to name a few, Richard K. Morgan, writer of Altered Carbon also did a lot on the Mass Effect series). Please, enough with the endless sequels, remakes, reimaginings, rehashes and straight up hashes, give us some new content. Cyberpunk 2077 has been mentioned on this thread and that was a tabletop game adaptation (that worked quite well, for all the faults in the earlier versions, the story wasn’t one).
Hollywood has already seen fit to shit all over the classics I loved as a kid, please don’t let the video game industry do the same.”
A few years ago, Embracer went on a shopping spree for smaller studios, including the makers of Deus Ex, possibly in the hope they could be bought up by a bigger company in Saudi Arabia. With that in mind, the Deus Ex sequel didn’t sound like a labor of love but more like a cash grab, so no loss there.
Again, it’s sad to know so many Eidos employees have been let go, but this particular IP should be laid to rest.
Perhaps we can revisit it in 2027, the date of Human Revolution’s story, to see how close we are to that universe? Thanks to the proliferation of deepfakes, we will definitely have our own Eliza Cassan, and with Elon Musk’s Neuralink entering human trials, things could get… interesting.