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Thread: Deus Ex Franchis on Hiatus after poor sales

  1. #1
    Member
    Registered: May 2004

    Deus Ex Franchis on Hiatus after poor sales

    http://www.ign.com/articles/2017/01/...us-says-report

    So, great... they chopped the game in half and now won't give us the 2nd half because sales tanked due to their fuckery.

  2. #2
    Member
    Registered: Nov 2003
    Location: The Plateaux Of Mirror
    What a load of shit. And, at least on PC, I bet a lot of those lost sales were due to their stupid microtransaction model. So basically Squeenix tried out an experimental feature, everyone hated it (while the game itself reviewed well), and now they're killing the final prequel game because of their own stupidity.

  3. #3
    Member
    Registered: May 2004
    So much of what they did with MD was an insult to the fans and a huge disservice to a wonderful game, and now they're gonna respond with even more of the same. When will they learn?

  4. #4
    Classical Master 2008
    Registered: Jun 2002
    Location: Civitas Quinque Ecclesiae HU
    Eurogamer reports that inside sources have said that developer Eidos Montreal has moved the majority of its efforts towards developing the next game in another rebooted series, Tomb Raider.
    The more things change...

  5. #5
    Member
    Registered: Sep 2001
    Location: Lockdown... if only
    Hopefully they recognize that the poor sales were due to problems with their vision and execution, and not a lack of interest in Deus Ex titles.

    There are a lot of lessons to be learned I think.

    /rant on

    One problem was the long wait time between DXHR and DXMD, which was exacerbated by the publisher’s indecision. Remember they wanted to get away from making big, expensive, high stakes AAA titles, and focus more on tablet gaming and episodic gaming? They sunk time and resources into The Fall, which was to be the first of a spin-off series, then abandoned their plans for further episodes. Afterward, it seemed to take a while to get going on Mankind Divided because the key people were busy on other projects. The franchise lost momentum and the long wait caused fan interest to wane somewhat.

    Another problem was their vision of creating a Deus Ex “Universe” of cross-marketed products including apps, mobile games, books, and clothing. This isn’t Star Wars. I doubt they made any money off of that stuff, and the time and energy wasted producing it could have been put into the game. That’s especially true of DX GO and Breach Mode. If you want to fashion DX into a mobile puzzle game, fine. If you want to make a free-to-play arcade version of the game, fine. But please Eidos Monteal, prioritize your developer resources to make sure the main game gets finished. The extra stuff rides the coattails of the main game.

    Cutting missions out of the campaign to sell as DLC didn’t help either. Nor did the obnoxious pre-order pyramid scheme they first announced. And they were kind of deceptive in how they marketed Breach, which led to a lot of teeth gnashing when people became aware of all the microtransactions in the game. A lot of people jumped to assume that the main game was afflicted with advertising push, or you’d have to keep paying more to get all the content. By the time it became clear to everyone that Breach mode was really a separate F2P game and the main game was fine, it was too late because a lot of potential buyers had already passed on it due to all the bad-mouthing on Steam. If SE had messaged it differently, e.g. “hey, we created a F2P game based on Deus Ex and we’re going to bundle it with Mankind Divided” it would have been less of a controversy. All of the bad marketing decisions added up, and generated a backlash with a bunch of users (many who hadn’t even played the game) piling on negative reviews to drive the Steam score down.

    I know the marketing bothered a lot of people, but to me, a bigger problem with Mankind Divided was the design of the game which seemed to prioritize the virtual tourist experience over a compelling main plot. The development team over-achieved on world building and under-achieved on the story. And I’m not saying it’s short on gameplay. I spent about 40 hours in my first (and so far only) playthrough, but a completionist who does a lot of ghosting could probably get 60 hours out of it. That’s roughly similar to Human Revolution or Deus Ex. The problem is that most of the game content is in side quests and points of interest, most of which don’t really advance the narrative. And some of the side quests don’t even do much for the world building, e.g. Cult of Personality. I would have happily given up some side quests, POIs, and even some world detail for more meat in the main quest. And maybe an actual climax?

    Finally, the writers just didn’t come up with anything interesting to say on the major themes of game. Everyone in the target audience for this game knows that racism is bad. Everyone in the target audience understands that terrorism is not the right response to oppression. If you’re going to tell a story based on those themes, you need to offer something more insightful or thought provoking than putting the player into apartheid so they can see it’s bad. District 9 did a much better job of running with a similar allegory. Human Revolution was also more effective in its use of racism. And it had a better conspiracy to figure out.

  6. #6
    Member
    Registered: May 2004
    Well, there WAS a microtransaction store for the main campaign, and while the game wasn't balanced in a way that required the store (in fact, I never once opened it - it was easy to ignore). The fact that it was available for the main campaign at all made a lot of people question it. Not to mention the pre-order bonus/DLC consumables being one time use.

    Also, Go was developed by a different studio. I don't think that game or any of the other tie in stuff factored into the budget of the main game or even had anything to do with Eidos Montreal (aside from them having to implement the praxis kit rewards from Go), so calling that a misuse of resources seems misguided. Breach is a bit less clear - that was developed by a different team, and I can't tell if it was a team within EM or not. There are rumors that a different team in EM was working on the sequel to MD (which was either untrue or it's now been cancelled?), and another team there was working on the multiplayer for Rise of the Tomb Raider. I doubt there are 4 separate teams at EM, so either Breach, the sequel or both were not being developed there. Anyway, what DID divert resources from the main game was Square's insistence on adding a store.

    As for your story criticisms - that's actually EXACTLY how I felt about HR, so this was no surprise to me. It seemed to be building up to something epic, and instead of making a point, it ends with zombies and a caricature antagonist. Actually the same way I feel about District 9, to be honest - the documentary half of it is AWESOME, but then it turns into a generic action film and fails to actually say anything beyond the parallel it's drawing.

    Also, I think you're drastically overestimating gamers by saying all of them know that racism and oppression are bad... there's a lot of racism in the tech community.

    Many also complained that Jensen didn't really belong in this story, and having him as the protagonist instead of a new interpol agent was a mistake.

    Anyway, since I didn't expect the game to say anything, the real problem was obviously that the story was cut in half, not just for the main quest, but for most of the side quests as well. It suffered greatly from middle-of-a-trilogy syndrome, and despite the long run time, there were only 3 large levels outside of Prague and the story didn't have much movement. And people were vocal about this and the game's many other problems. So instead of doing the right thing and trying to address the complaints, they just put the series on hold and insult everyone further, which is awesome.
    Last edited by froghawk; 31st Jan 2017 at 19:56.

  7. #7
    Ouch, kind of bittersweet. It's amusing to see all of EM's poor decisions come back to bite them, but in the end, no more Deus Ex games is a bad thing. And I'm guessing sales must have been really bad for them to cancel, considering they were obviously looking to build a huge franchise with the Dawn engine and the whole Deus Ex universe thing.

    So, I guess we won't be getting any more Thief game either, eh?

    Edit: Just saw this, it might make people cry a little bit:

    http://www.ign.com/articles/2017/01/...ign-unfiltered

  8. #8
    Member
    Registered: Sep 2001
    Location: Lockdown... if only
    froqhawk - I felt the same was as you at the end of Human Revolution. But when holding it up against Mankind Divided it looks rather better. When playing Mankind Divided, I felt like the developers were trying to beat me over the head with simple and self-evident messages to the point where it seemed like caricature. The conspiracy was also a rather tired and obvious one: the Illuminati are secretly supporting a terrorist organization to get their security measure passed. Yawn. I'm not going to hold up Human Revolution as an example of great writing, but the main story did have more pieces to put together and more twists. Enough to keep me engaged with the story anyway, which Mankind Divided didn't do.

    To some extent it did feel like a middle episode of a series, and I'm sure that's what Eidos Montreal intended it to be. But I'm not convinced they had a full story arc written that they chopped in half to make two games. One reason is the ending: The enactment of the Human Restoration Act depends on whether you save Brown. The ramifications of the Act would be really big, so it would be a major fork in the story line. If they did cut a longer story they would have known one ending was canon and one wasn't. If they knew which way it was going to go then why introduce the fork? Also, the ratio of filler content to story content is pretty high for a Deus Ex game. The main story line could easily have been 50% longer, maybe even 100% longer, and still fit within the same game time and development budget, just with less filler. That could be the result of a conscious decision to make a smaller, richer, more sandboxy setting. Or it could be the writers only gave them so much to work with and they had to fill it out until they had enough gameplay to justify a AAA price tag. I'm also not sure what to conclude from revealing the Illuminati are using Jensen to get to Janus. It was an obvious setup for the next game, but also seems like a big spoiler.

    Regarding the resources, you're right in that if they skipped all of the extraneous stuff it wouldn't necessarily have meant more resources would be available for the main game. However, I think you also have to consider the bottom line; how much did Square Enix spend on the Deus Ex "Universe" and how much did they get in return on sales? We don't know how much SE spent on Go, Breach, The Fall, all the novels and comics, the apparel and other merch. But given the relative lack of interest, I suspect they all lost money. In any case, it seems like Square Enix isn't content to make great games that sell millions of copies. If they can't milk the franchise through sales of ancillary stuff, they're not interested in continuing it.

  9. #9
    Member
    Registered: Aug 2004
    Quote Originally Posted by heywood View Post
    The enactment of the Human Restoration Act depends on whether you save Brown. The ramifications of the Act would be really big, so it would be a major fork in the story line.
    Eh, Deus Ex has a long history of basically ignoring its optional endings.

  10. #10
    Member
    Registered: Sep 2001
    Location: Lockdown... if only
    So what? DX, IW, and HR were all written as standalone stories, not written as an episode of a series, as has been suggested of Mankind Divided.

  11. #11
    Member
    Registered: Aug 2004
    So what? They could easily gloss over or retcon it; they always have before. Oh, the act didn't pass? Well, it passed next week. Oh, the act passed? It got repealed. Or, maybe the act passed, but we're just not going to reference it next game. It's only a big fork if they want it to be.

  12. #12
    Member
    Registered: Sep 2001
    Location: Lockdown... if only
    Sure they could. But if you had already written the full story line, and then decided to break it in two parts, why would you insert a false fork into the middle of it? It seems more logical to me that they had only written as far as the ending of Mankind Divided.

    I'm just skeptical of the theory that Eidos Montreal had a bigger story & bigger game that Square Enix made them chop in two.

  13. #13
    Member
    Registered: May 2004
    Well that theory mainly comes from the Jim Sterling video claiming 'inside sources' told him they were simultaneously working on the 2nd and 3rd game. How reliable is that - who knows?

    But for it to be a proper DX game, it HAS to have an ending fork. They could have easily put that in despite knowing exactly where the next one was going.

    And on the flipside, how do you explain the fact that probably half of the side quests have unresolved endings? It makes sense for them to leave lots of questions unanswered in the main story, but the side quests?

    Anyway, I'm not convinced it's fair to blame EM for any of this. The blame lies squarely on Squenix.

    That said, while I really did enjoy MD a lot, I would have probably preferred the Obsidian game. MD was more of HR with much improved level design, but a new protagonist and different team probably would have made it feel more in line with the DX spirit.
    Last edited by froghawk; 1st Feb 2017 at 17:17.

  14. #14
    Member
    Registered: Jul 2014

    I was personally didn't buy it because I found the "Augs Lives Matters" theme a turn off. Drawing inspiration from modern events is one thing, but it seemed more like a hijacking of a cultural zeitgeist in the hopes of driving sales rather than an exploration of our society and culture through the lens of sci-fi. As noted above, it's been done before and it really didn't seem like MD was pioneering any new territory with it. Not to mention, a story of racism through a eyes of a superhuman white male lead is also probably not the best choice to reinforce themes here.

    That said, I played DX1 for the first time last summer at the urging of members on this forum and I found the story both fascinating and eerily resonant with current events today, more so than when it came out. To ignore or subdue those themes seems either like a deliberate omission or the writers miopic fixation on a pet plot point at the expense of greater range of topics that form the bedrock of the series: surveillance and the power of technology, transhumanism, the undermining and usurping of world governments by shadowy interest groups, manipulation of the media, artificial intelligence, the consequences of genetic engineering - all extremely fascinating and rife for exploration. More importantly for EM's bottom line, these topics are still basically untouched fertile ground that no other series is touching upon in depth.

    While prejudice against augs is certainly interesting, it just doesn't warrant enough interest for me to play an entire game ruminating over it like a high school English teacher in the throes of a semester filled thresher of To Kill a Mockingbird.
    Last edited by TannisRoot; 3rd Feb 2017 at 14:56.

  15. #15
    Member
    Registered: May 2004
    I very much agree with your first paragraph - and they have the gall to claim that they started using the term in game before BLM became a real movement? Yeah right.

    As for the rest, that's again just how I felt about HR. Deus Ex had a ton of themes going on in its plot, and the new games have been relentlessly focusing on the transhuman element. There were virtually no mechanical augs in the original Deus Ex - do we even meet more than two? And yet we're supposed that the entire world was pretty much defined around them prior to that game?

  16. #16
    Member
    Registered: Mar 2014
    Location: Yeah.
    This really does piss me off. Mankind Divided had the potential to be an amazing game, but what seems like corporate intervention undercut that potential. The gameplay was really good but the story was forced to be gutted in favor of a side mode that's merely alright, and then was made into a F2P mode. Now both Square and the fans are paying the price for their terrible decisions.

    This has put them on my shitlist and the only thing that might take them off is if they bring Final Fantasy XV to PC and make it an amazing port.

  17. #17
    Member
    Registered: May 2010
    Frankly, i don't think i even care much. The modern Deus Ex games were catered rather to nowadays crowd of gamers, and that's unlikely to change in the future, it rather gets worse. So, the only viable option for me would be a fan made project, with people who know what they're doing, and who try to recreate the vibe of the first Deus Ex. Sort of like The Dark Mod, just with a strong "official" campaign. I'm not sure if that will ever happen, and it surely will take years and years, so, not holding my breath here. In the meantime, i just enjoy Deus Ex Revision, and, partly, Human Revolution, which really had its moments. Not really waiting for anything else, won't happen anywhere soon anyway.

    Edit: Oh, and i'll surely check out DX Invisible War, with the visible upgrade soon. I never played that game through, but, i remember having quite some fun with it some time ago. It has its flaws, yes, but, surely had its moments too.
    Last edited by chk772; 7th Feb 2017 at 06:50.

  18. #18
    Member
    Registered: Sep 2001
    Location: Lockdown... if only
    Quote Originally Posted by TannisRoot View Post
    That said, I played DX1 for the first time last summer at the urging of members on this forum and I found the story both fascinating and eerily resonant with current events today, more so than when it came out. To ignore or subdue those themes seems either like a deliberate omission or the writers miopic fixation on a pet plot point at the expense of greater range of topics that form the bedrock of the series: surveillance and the power of technology, transhumanism, the undermining and usurping of world governments by shadowy interest groups, manipulation of the media, artificial intelligence, the consequences of genetic engineering - all extremely fascinating and rife for exploration. More importantly for EM's bottom line, these topics are still basically untouched fertile ground that no other series is touching upon in depth.
    I give Human Revolution some credit for at least trying to touch on most of those topics, as well as geoengineering, corporatization of the military and militarization of law enforcement, and providing some back story on the origins of augmentation and motivations for it. It didn't succeed everywhere. The Hyron project in particular seemed like a promising concept but turned out to be a big letdown. But there was enough going on in HR to keep me engaged with the story and reading everything.

    While prejudice against augs is certainly interesting, it just doesn't warrant enough interest for me to play an entire game ruminating over it like a high school English teacher in the throes of a semester filled thresher of To Kill a Mockingbird.
    Agreed. It makes me wonder what happened to the writers who worked on Human Revolution.

  19. #19
    Member
    Registered: Oct 2009
    Location: Pawtucket,Rhode Island
    I think the writers were mostly the same and at the end of the Mankind Divided was a still a pretty damn good game with story that still better than a lot of its contemporary's.I think what really hurt DX:MD was whoever made the decision to cut the game in half in order push for a sequel so it could be a trilogy.But it should have been a trilogy but its gonna take even longer no that the series on hold and when they restart on work on the third in the Adam Jensen/Rise of MJ12 Trilogy its now gonna contain what should have been the and final act of Mankind Divided.This was further worsened by them cutting additional content out of the game in order for it be sold as DLC.Add on top the that the anger over their original pre order bonus system and micro transactions. The DLC should have been in the game at release,it should have been longer and included a real third act.Then for DLC make something that would lead to the events of the sequel.

    I think the whole focusing on the prejudice against Augs in the form of the Human Restoration Act and Mechanical Apartheid,felt like a logical continuation after the Aug Incident.They also where influenced in this decision by world events.So people think that prejudice and racism are not really problems anymore at least in the Western World.But events especially in US with Police Violence against minorities and the rise of Black Lives Matter and ever growing racial divide and tension in the US but also the rest of the Western World.One just has to look at the rise in stature and popularity of Nationalist and Fascist Political candidates in the Western World.The Mechanical Apartheid was meant to be an metaphor for real world prejudice faced by people of different races,nationalities,ethnicity's,religions,genders/identity,and sexual orientation around the world.With Augs being the catch all,the point being to give the player even the smallest taste of what this like especially to those unlikely to experience this ever in the real world.

    The writers at Eidos Montreal clearly follow a certain position on these issues,whether you agree with it or not doesn't matter since it does fall in line with a lot of the themes and beliefs of commonly recognized Cyberpunk.Whether one likes or not by Cyberpunk by its very nature and Deus Ex is no exception deals very heavily with Social,Political,Philosophical,Theological matters,and like hence the punk portion most of the stances it tends to take if it doesn't go with the decide for yourself route in regards to its questions are usually not of a right wing nature.Since the punk subculture and cyberpunk especially tends to lean heavily to Anarchist leanings.The dystopia,of high poverty,crime and mega corporations are almost never implied to be positives.

    So I think they always intended for that to play apart in the story and world of DX:MD but decided to put heavier focus as these issue jumped again to the forefront of discussion in regards to international issues.The world is becoming more cyberpunk with every passing day.They maybe fun places to read about or run around in a video game but for the vast majority its not a nice place to live.The world as depicted in a majority of cyberpunk fiction was never a guide on how to run the world,but well its what's happened.

    The point being this would have never happened if they had never pulled that preorder bullshit,cut down the game in order to put it in the sequel(Pulling a Hobbit)and then sell what remained as DLC,Microtransactions,not explaining Breach as a free to play addition to the game and not something else.Without this happening,I think that plus with getting the word out about the game a little better,and the none of this would have happened.I don't know who made these decisions someone from Square or EM,I am leaning towards Square cause this smells like them,really shot the series in the foot,trying to squeeze more money out of gamers.Will these companies learn that there is a limit to the amount of BS that consumers but especially Gamers will put up with.

    Thief 2014 suffered the same fate thought in that case it was also hampered by poor design and story decisions. Even then the final product wasn't the worst thing ever and it was still playable,It was a good game just not a good Thief game.They really should have made the game as a love letter to fans of original games with maybe some QOL changes or other modern changes as long as they didn't sacrifice what made the originals great.It think with good advertising and the game would have been a bigger success even with modern gamers with no experience with the classic originals hell they could have maybe remade them for consoles so more people could taste of what the originals where all about.It would of affected those of us on the PC at all and would have built a wider fan base and great anticipation for the return of the series.But they decided to shoot themselves and the games chances in the foot.

    I hope the hiatus isn't too long since the long development time between HR and MD then MD's short length,really didn't help.
    Last edited by Maxrebo6; 8th Feb 2017 at 01:00.

  20. #20
    Member
    Registered: May 2004
    The writers were actually different between the two games. The only main positions that were the same were the director and composer. From Wikipedia:

    HR:
    Director: Jean-François Dugas
    Producer: David Anfossi
    Designer: François Lapikas
    Programmers: Simon Hamelin, Julien Bouvrais
    Artist: Jonathan Jacques-Belletête
    Writer: Mary DeMarle
    Composer: Michael McCann

    MD:
    Director: Jean-François Dugas
    Producer: Olivier Proulx
    Designers: Patrick Fortier, Richard Knight
    Programmers: David Gallardo, Sébastien Michel
    Artists: Martin Dubeau, Michael Lanoie
    Writers: Jason Dozois, Steven Gallagher
    Composers: Michael McCann, Sascha Dikiciyan
    Last edited by froghawk; 8th Feb 2017 at 10:13.

  21. #21
    Member
    Registered: Jan 2001
    Location: the Sheeple Pen
    Quote Originally Posted by froghawk View Post
    MD:

    Writers: Jason Dozois, Steven Gallagher
    Wasn't Steven Gallagher responsible for the story of the Thief reboot as well?

  22. #22
    Member
    Registered: Jul 2014
    Quote Originally Posted by Tomi View Post
    Wasn't Steven Gallagher responsible for the story of the Thief reboot as well?
    Yes - he was narrative director on Thief.

  23. #23
    Member
    Registered: Jul 2014
    FYI looks like Mary Demarle was the head writer on both EM Deus Ex games according to this article. Don't know why she is missing from the credits on the wiki.

  24. #24
    Member
    Registered: May 2004
    Oof -- the flashbacks...


  25. #25
    Member
    Registered: May 2004
    Quote Originally Posted by TannisRoot View Post
    FYI looks like Mary Demarle was the head writer on both EM Deus Ex games according to this article. Don't know why she is missing from the credits on the wiki.
    Great picture caption - "Jensen hiding in 'Dues Ex: Mankind United'"

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