Big Smoke

'cause it's hard to see from where I'm standin'

Deus Ex: What are we fighting for

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I would love a cybernetic-implanted special agent in an urbane corporate dystopia. I loved Syndicate and Syndicate Wars. I liked the feel of Deus Ex’s settings. I’m looking at Brunner, Gibson and Stephenson on my bookshelf right now. Hell, I love Blade Runner and Ghost in the Shell, which this trailer is not not reminding me of.

I want that postmodern cyberpunk noir, but it has to be smart.

The plot of the original Deus Ex fell flat to me because underneath all that New World Order talk was very little indeed. Mass Effect populated itself with plenty of good intrigue, but all that follow-the-money made me want to affect and disrupt Binary Helix, ExoGeni and Cerberus’ front corps, not just witness them and register the proper amount of disgust for paragon points. At this point I get more backstabbing and intrigue in fantasy games like the Witcher 2, and I’m not terribly fond of dragons and the black plague.

I’m worried this new game won’t deliver: Whether I’ll see something that makes me wanna think – actual honest-to-god philosophizing about future society – or if it’ll be all “shadowy puppeteers of shadowiness” like Alpha Protocol.

I suppose the gist of what I’m getting as is that I’m kinda sick of “save the world” story arcs. What I liked most out of Aliens, Blade Runner and Ghost in the Shell was that the world itself was almost ancillary – the important part was the drawing out of primal questions. In the latter two, the question was, “what makes one human?” In the former, the question was, “how far are humans willing to go?”

Weyland-Yutani – and I remember the corp name off the top of my head – is, aside from Ripley, the real center of the arc, and not because it was omnipotent, but because it was not omnipotent. I’m reminded of the Greek heroes, where they weren’t more capable of insight as they were just supremely powerful. Likewise, the gist of Gibson and Stephenson wasn’t to save the world but just to survive in a system that was hostile and inherently flawed; specifically, to posit and log how it twists men.

Like good detective novels (and good noir or neo-noir movies). Like Palahniuk without the Jesus surrogates. I don’t necessarily want questions answered; I just want them to be good questions – and I haven’t really seen that in the previews to date.

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