The Ultimate Betrayal: Eidos’ Illegitimate Affair with Nintendo
For nearly two years, gamers have lavishly showered Square Enix and Eidos Montreal with praise for their ability to create a third installment in the Deus Ex series which, by many measures, surpassed the success of its predecessors. And now, fans everywhere, including those who have supported the series for 13 years, have elevated these companies on our good graces. Now, based on recent announcements from Eidos developers, they’re planning to squander those good graces for instant gratification.
It’s been weeks now since the announcement of Deus Ex: Human Revolution Director’s Cut, in development for release as a Wii U exclusive. It’s pretty easy to imagine what sort of business arrangements prompted this result. Some high level exec at Nintendo, likely Reggie Fils-Aime, went to Square Enix and Eidos offering a tidy cash infusion to whip up a new version of Human Revolution specifically for Nintendo’s upcoming system. Without having actually been there when the deal was sealed it’s impossible to know who was actually responsible for making the decision, but someone at either Square Enix or Eidos took the money with lusty eyes.
All material related to the project so far released by Square Enix suggests major changes to the game. At first, Eidos tried to pass off the exclusivity as rooted in the fact that some of the new features are being designed specifically for compatibility with the Wii U’s touch sensitive GamePad. Emile Pedneault, Project Coordinator and Lead Designer of Human Revolution, told Sophie Prell of The Penny Arcade Report, “The hacking by touch is so cool, it’s like it was intended all along to be done by touch.” But when you look at the feature list, it’s obvious many of the features could be easily implemented in a PC version. In fact, some of them already have been included in the short additional game segment released as The Missing Link DLC. Here are examples of several features highlighted in Vlad Pantea’s Analog Addiction overview of Human Revolution Director’s Cut:
- Director’s commentaries: For the hardcore ‘Deus Ex’ fans, this version presents approximately 8 hours of director’s commentary that reveals secrets and background info on the creation and production of ‘Deus Ex: Human Revolution’ – Director’s Cut.
- Strategy Guide: A strategy guide is available for the complete game, including both the ‘Missing Link’ and ‘Tong’s Rescue’ missions. The strategy guide is implemented in-game, and can be accessed through the Neural Hub at any time.
- Achievements system: Original game achievements, ‘The Missing Link’ achievements, and new achievements are available.
- A “Making of” Video: The “Making of” video of ‘Deus Ex: Human Revolution’, which is approximately 45 min.
- Grenade Throw-Back: Grenades near Jensen appear on the GamePad; the player can then swipe the grenade icon to throw the grenade back.
- Boss fights have been entirely redesigned. There are new map layouts and new gameplay mechanics that support the game’s main pillars (hacking, stealth, combat). This version also features AI, damage,and health tweaks for the best boss fights possible.
- It’s now possible to defeat bosses without the need to fire a single bullet.
- Improved visuals: The Director’s Cut version features better lighting system, fog, and smoother shadows. All visual improvements from ‘The Missing Link’ have been applied through the whole game. And with anti-aliasing, this is the best looking ‘Deus Ex’ available.
- Also, the AI has been tweaked for consistency.
On April 2, 2013, IGN pinned Pedneault as assuring the director’s cut would be available only on Wii U. If that’s true, then what appears to be an early marketing strategy will end up as a concerted effort to infuriate core fans of the Deus Ex series. I could understand a retooling of the game for optimization on Nintendo’s upcoming platform to make the game available for gamers who decide to take the plunge on a yet unproven console. But to overhaul the game, include additional content and improvements with the obvious intention of roping core Deus Ex fans into buying Nintendo’s new system represents the highest degree of hubris. Not to mention, Square Enix and Eidos would be shooting themselves in the foot, because they would forgo revenue of all additional content potentially sold to PC and Steam users who have proven their value to the Deus Ex franchise many times over. In fact, it was PC gamers who made all of this possible. If there were an award for games that have achieved cult status Deus Ex would deserve it, thanks to die-hard PC gamers who stood by the series all these years. How can they justify such callous treatment to fans that brought the game to this point in the first place?
Secret sources blame smug Nintendo of America President, Reggie Fils-Aime, a French name, prounounced ‘feel-lame.’ “…he’s [Reggie Fils-Aime] been making back alley power plays at nintendo for awhile,” one of them told me. ”He’s slippery. When Wii came out there was a tape of him laughing off the fact they profited off Microsoft’s ‘Move’ technology.” Whoever masterminded the idea at Nintendo, it’s an obvious desperation maneuver, a fight or flight response. It indicates an ailing company fresh out of ideas and unable to reconcile the fact you can’t continue building a successful business model on recycling old titles year after year on outdated technology. This notion they’re resting all of their faith in exclusivity of this one title to generate sales of their new hardware is not only foreboding. It’s outright delusional and arrogant. The deal doesn’t bode well for anyone; not for Nintendo, Square Enix and Eidos, nor for fans. These kinds of power grabs that hold the gaming community hostage get companies nowhere while backstabbing core fans of the Deus Ex series and those who have kept the title alive all these years. Look what it did for Remedy Entertainment’s Alan Wake. It became a critical success over time based on the inherent quality of the game, but Microsoft’s hostile takeover of exclusive rights kept the game from being anywhere near the financial performer it should have been.
To confuse the issue even more Pedneault has been involved in his fair share of double talk. When Craig Hunter of The Jace Hall Show asked candidly if the director’s cut will make its way onto other systems, Pedneault told him, “We are always open to ideas and would love to hear from our fans and the community what they would like to see next though!” That’s definitely a welcome response, but how can Pedneault feign ignorance on what fans want when he paid so much attention to the expectations of core Deus Ex supporters when making the original Human Revolution? Does anyone sense a demon from Nintendo sitting on his shoulder, monitoring his every move? These companies need to do the right thing. Instead of settling for an advance and a market segment based on potential sales of a machine that’s not even on the market, it makes a lot more sense to satisfy your pre-established market, by rewarding those who supported your product all along. You don’t even have to be a junior vice president to know that rule of business. Why can’t these high profile execs get it through their skulls? It’s simple, satisfy your customers or lose them.