Deus Ex Human Revolution EP15: Staff Meeting

By Josh
on Feb 7, 2012
Filed under:
Spoiler Warning

87 comments


Link (YouTube)

In this exciting episode, we finally lay down the law to our boss and… um… sell some stuff. And resolve some sidequests by… letting the guy we were trying to catch get away.

Huh.

Well, at least we didn’t hack anything!

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Footnotes:


202020207There are now 87 comments. Almost a hundred!

From the Archives:

  1. guy says:

    I note that the CASIE lists one of Sarif’s personality traits as “Envious”.

    What?

    I honestly saw no evidence whatsoever to say that Sarif was envious of anyone in my entire play-through. Aggressive, yes, excitable, sort of, but not at all envious. “Controlling”, “Secretive”, “Arrogant”, or “Irritable” are all higher on the list of how I’d describe his personality.

    • 4th Dimension says:

      Of course he is excitable, he’s nick if freneticpony

      • guy says:

        What?

        Anyway, I liked this conversation bossfight because a guy who was genuinely on your side was withholding information for an understandable reason.

        • Pete says:

          When he forwards you the data on Jensen and in a conversation log in one of the computers, Sarifs nick is freneticpony.

          The more you knoooow…

          • 4th Dimension says:

            You can figure it out sooner if you snoop around offices. Same goes for Pritchard = NUKLEARSNAKE

            • Infinitron says:

              There’s a whole little office conspiracy you can learn about if you read all the emails, including Pritchard enlisting the help of a Sarif employee, who’s evidently a bit of a wild hacker chick in her spare time, to investigate the neuropozyne thefts.

              She ends up having to sex up one of the guys she was investigating, to avoid being caught in the act of setting up a surveillance camera that was meant to spy on him. (Note that the man in question was NOT the thief, and neither are any of the other people that Pritchard suspects.)

          • Sumanai says:

            This definitely a case for accurate spelling.

            “…he’s nick if freneticpony”

            Could be either:

            “…his nick is freneticpony”

            or

            “…he is Nick of Freneticpony”

            Meaning, for example, that his voice actor takes part in a group, site or show called Freneticpony and is called Nick in it.

    • Thomas says:

      I can see where you’re coming from but there is another side to him none of those words suggest. He wants things his own way and he wants to be doing them. I can never see him settling to work for someone else or even knowing someone is above him in his field, in reputation etc

      But it’s not so much envy as …bloody-mindedness? He’d never join the illuminati no matter how much power it offered him, not because he didn’t want the power but because he would never be beholden to other people. And when you mix that in with his genuine desire to see humanity freed and freed from it’s physical constraints… darn he;s a good character. Everything about him fits the theme of freedom and individual derelegated capitalism but try to sum he up in one word…

      • Hal says:

        Honestly, that’s one of the things that bugged me all the way through. Are we truly sure he wasn’t part of the Illuminati? He seems to know an awful lot about them and the events happening.

        • Irridium says:

          From what I can tell, it seemed like he was offered to join them at one point or another. He probably did his own research into them and found things out.

          • Thomas says:

            I would except what you suggest as a twist next time round (if the speculation isn’t true that the big red button will be the canon ending) but he spent most of this game thwarting their plans. It could be a really devious game (I mean think about who we’re talking about) but the point is hard to see (which I guess it would be). I think character wise it makes sense he wouldn’t join when they offered him the chance. I can see him accepting a compromise with sneaky devious people in the same way I can see him stop calling you son.

            Still his enemy managed to fool me with his personality so I imagine Sarif is fully capable of it

  2. Thanatos Crows says:

    Thanks to the fever I have I’ve yet again forgot what to comment on about the episode.
    EDIT: So yeah, one thing was the cyberpunk tone which has switched from green to orange. I don’t know if you’ve noticed but orange is the color these days. They even changed the green-ness of Ghost in the Shell in the 2.0 remake. To me green will always be the color of cyberpunk – or any scifi set in near future – but changing it completely in between two installments of a series just wouldn’t seem natural. Well depending on the time between them, of course. Have to agree about the variety between cities, though.
    EDIT END
    However, I’d like Rutskarn’s email address just so I can send him the pic requested. Couldn’t resist.

  3. Wandring says:

    Throughout the whole game there were stories being told through the environments. Stories about the people who lived in them. My favourite one, hands down, is David Sarif’s office.

    All the baseball paraphernalia and the “weird for the sake of weird” modern art and lights strewn about tell us about the indulgent and obsessive side of Sarif, looking around the office gave me insight on this character (and others elsewhere) that in turn changed my perspective on the interactions with him.

    I can’t think of many games that pull this off well, or even try to portray interesting characters with more than just dialog.

    • Gamer says:

      I think Bethesda games do this fairly well. Say what you will about their writing, the level designers tell tons of story without uttering a single line of dialogue.

  4. Paul Spooner says:

    This Sarif conversation is the only one I failed (and didn’t bother to re-play). Honestly, the whole conversation made no sense to me. It just didn’t seem to be worth it, to me, to wend through his convoluted logic. That he was deflecting the argument and going off-topic never occurred to me. Interesting.

    On the down side, it’s too bad that the “reward” is some backstory on Adam. Especially since this never comes up again. I would have been impressed if this information (which I failed to squeeze out of Sarif) later came back to bite you. Maybe a later boss rubs it in your face with a “Didn’t Sarif ever tell you?” As it is, this almost seems like a side-quest, even though it’s a required conversation.

    • guy says:

      I personally became really curious why he was avoiding giving Jensen a straight answer. I kept hammering Refocus because I could tell he was trying to dodge the question, and also because I figured he would not take well to defiance.

    • Thanatos Crows says:

      It actually is a sidequest that is started if you speak with Pritchard before going to Sarif. The questline continues past this point once you get back to Detroit

    • Tse says:

      It was the hardest “boss talk” for me as well, I don’t see how the spoiler warning team thinks it’s easy. I got all other conversations on the first try, I had to try at least 4 times to get this one right.

      • Vipermagi says:

        When I got to Sarif, I found it blindingly obvious that Refocus would get you shiny things. To me, his comments didn’t seem all that related to the topic, and Refocus was an attempt to rectify that.

        Interesting to read about such diverse experiences though.

  5. Gamer says:

    You’ll be glad that you helped O’ Malley. The reward is the only thing that Reginald Cuftburt covets: a couple bottles of alcohol.

    As for the conversations, I was like Shamus. The first time through I never touched the Social Enhancer and pass all the conversations. The second time through I got the augment and did significantly worse. It’s far better to just trust you gut and play it by the ear.

    I liked Sarif’s conversation, but I think my favorite conversation was the one with Taggart. It’s immensely satisfying to put a stupid politician in his place and that conversation had a few options that flesh out Jensen as a character.

  6. Daemian Lucifer says:

    Taggarts conversation does flip as well.I too wanted to know what everything does,and it jumbled around a few times.Thats actually how Ive noticed that the conversations arent always the same.

    So red alert is actually a midquel to deus ex?Interesting.But what about kane and lynch?Where does that one fit?

    I love it how josh went to the merchant to sell 2 boxes of ammo,and free up whooping 4 slots in the inventory.

    • Thomas says:

      I still haven’t pinned this down. When you say jumbled up a bit, do you mean it changed when you began to take options? So if you pick refocus, the next good option is defend, but it’s not necessarily defend if you picked placate first? Or is there some dice rolling in conversation order/set up to next response?

      • Even says:

        It’s more the way they react that gets juggled around. It means that at least in theory there’s more than one correct way to go through the discussions. I thought on my second playthrough that I’d just cheat my way out and use the same options I did on my previous run. Not paying much attention, turns out in the end I could only convince him to go backstage with Jensen to talk in private, and not make him denounce his ties to the terrorist group on live broadcast like I was expecting.

      • Daemian Lucifer says:

        The conversations all start the same,but have a few different ways they can play out afterwards.You can see it by them having slightly different reactions to what you are saying.So one time refocus may be best,but if you reload it could then become defend.

  7. littlefinger says:

    What did Chris say that Shamus replied “shut up Chris!”? I couldn’t understand what he said.

    Also, “Kane lives”, is that a reference to Red Alert, Vampire Bloodlines, Legacy of Kain (considering the spelling probably not), … So many Kanes to choose from.

    • Ringwraith says:

      I didn’t catch what Chris said there either.

      Although explicitly “Kane LIVES!” at least is the C&C Kane which we all refuse to question why he doesn’t look any older in subsequent games and are just glad he’s back.
      I may have to go and replay the C&C games now…

    • Even says:

      It’s about this new Die Hard game where you get to play as John McClane that Rockstar is making. He’s gone through a midlife-crisis, developed a bad drinking habit and a drug addiction and is now working in Brazil as a private security contractor. There’s some silly rumours about it being actually a sequel to the Max Payne series, but everybody knows that’s just plain humbug.

    • Shamus says:

      I don’t remember, but I’m betting he was alluding to Max Payne 3, which looks like some kind of horrible cover-based meathead man-shooter. I’m pretty miffed that my noir game has been stylistically transformed to “Kane & Lynch 3”.

      • Gamer says:

        I believe he said “Aren’t they doing that?” or something to that effect in response to your comments on how stupid a Max Payne in bright, sunlit areas would be.

        • Yeah, that’s exactly what it was. Joking about how DX only happens at nights -> “Well you can’t have DX take place during the day” -> “Same with Max Payne!” -> “But aren’t they doing that!?” -> “Shut up, Chris!”

          I apologize for my awful mic and cut-offiness of half of my statements. I’ll look into getting a better mic, but man, that Ventrillo bug is hard to get used to. You need to hold down for a full second or so after the fact.

      • Thomas says:

        I’m really optimistic for Max Payne 3. Remember how everyone thought that game based on Deus Ex was going to suck because it had regenerating health and a new visual style? (Or that Fallout was never going to be able to make the switch to Oblivion with guns but that ones a bit more contentious here :D )

        But they’re focusing on story and character rather than cool which was what made Max Payne 2 great than rather good. Noir doesn’t just have to be black and if you remember MP2 (the better one) actually spent a good portion of the game mocking the noir style of the first. Evolution is natural for the series

    • tengokujin says:

      “Max Payne 3”?

  8. Ringwraith says:

    The random appearance of money in Jensen’s apartment almost sounds like O’Mally pre-planned that he’d take the offer.
    Of course, it’s more likely he just using super-efficient stealthy couriers, but the phrasing does sound slightly odd.

  9. ACman says:

    The problem with having Chris and Shamus in the same podcast is that they are intellectually the same person.

    Chris is slightly more cynical and Shamus is slightly more earnest.

  10. Aanok says:

    Man, the beginning of this episode must have been the most awkward moment in Spoiler Warning history :p

    Also, I too felt that the CASIE was some sort of a cheesy augment. It was one of the first I took, a bit after Zeke’s conversation and I really wasn’t satisfied with it. I felt it took a lot out of the effort and social skill (=fun) required to get through those moments.

    When I’ll get to my second playthrough (which will come at a very safe distance, hoping that I’ll forget as much as possible from the game’s plot), I’ll be careful not to get it.

  11. Irridium says:

    One of my favorite moments of this game happened right here. Before all this I hacked into most of the employee rooms and took stuff, hacked computers, all that. And when I got here, I had a bunch of emails from people going “Uh, Jenson? Someone has been breaking into employee rooms lately and stealing stuff. You might want to look into this. Also, here’s my door code. Please check if my stuff is safe.”

    Loved that little touch.

  12. bassdrum says:

    About Deus Ex always being at night–look up while you’re in Hengsha. It’s daytime, you’re just under the Pangu.

    /tangent

  13. Spirit Bear says:

    Wasn’t Batman Arkham City using the Cain and Able symbolism for Batman and Joker?

  14. Marlowe says:

    For true cyberpunk/Blade Runner ambience the game ought to feature more rain. It’s dark, you’re wearing mirror shades and it’s raining…
    Invisible War did get it partially right with all the flaming refuse bins. It just needed little kids riding bicycles past them and catching light.
    Regarding the idea of different visual filters for characters: in the 1990s, the cyberpunk novel Noir by K. W. Jeter featured a hard boiled copyright enforcer who had his eyes altered so he could only see in black & white. Before anyone comments: it predates Pitch Black by a couple of years.
    The next Deus Ex game will present Judas Jensen – the meanest member of the Jensen clan and he’ll work for the IRS before going rogue after a vision of JC appears before him.

  15. Infinitron says:

    Your point about Jensen’s side of the conversation actually being interesting and not just exposition-prompting filler is great. Probably the best point you guys have made in this season so far, that hasn’t already been played out in other reviews elsewhere on the web.

  16. dromer says:

    To be honest, I’d be fine with an eye-melting red if another Deus Ex game comes out. I could do any color, though, because all I usually do is find the mod that removes the filter when I get the game.

  17. Starkos says:

    Fun fact about a green-looking game I play: Fallout 3. I’ve tried playing it with the HUD color set to white and the so called “green filter” the game allegedly has seemed absent.

    • Tse says:

      Seriously, the filter is a feature of the HUD?!?! This sounds ridiculous, but the creator of the game is Bethesda…..

    • SyrusRayne says:

      Changing the HUD colour makes it a lot better. That’s what I did on the console; Changed the HUD to blue.

      • Ringwraith says:

        I think it’s more psychological thing than actually affecting the filter, it’s just that you do tend to get green overload with that shade used for the HUD.
        I actually used blue for 3 and mostly stuck with the default orange for New Vegas, as it fitted better than 3’s green, or at least, wasn’t as horrible.

        • SyrusRayne says:

          Oh yeah, I don’t think it really does anything to the filter. It just makes everything look better, since it’s not green. A weird thing, certainly, but it works.

  18. Bryan says:

    Um, a backtrace is what you look at in a debugger when you’re trying to figure out why your code just crashed. :-)

    The gdb command to print this is even “backtrace” (or “bt” if you don’t want to type the whole thing out).

  19. Sydney says:

    I like how Deus Ex has your dialogue options be about “what Jensen says” rather than “what Jensen is“. Games that are tied to good/bad morality need to have a “good” and a “bad” option in every talk, and very few game writers are good at creating interesting “bad” options. The result is you get a “right” and a “wrong” option – and the “wrong” option has to advance the plot in roughly the same way anyway. So your choices feel really extreme, but their effects are minimal.

    Here, you’re not reflecting some shallow imitation of “morality” – you’re talking to another human being. So you can have nuanced, grey, interesting options that the other person responds to in a nuanced, grey, interesting way. And you don’t always have to succeed, because there are so many other ways to resolve each problem. So you get reasonable, moderate choices with enormous effects.

    It’s much better.

    • Tizzy says:

      I also enjoy the way you’re trying to steer the conversation. You want to find something out, and the question is not *what* question do I need to ask? but rather *how* do I need to behave to get the most useful answer?

      It’s funny that, even though this is a conversation about fantastic events in an unrealistic future world, we can completely relate to the conversation options: dealing with a moderately cooperative boss is the same in all universes!

  20. So apparently ‘Steve’ is the new ‘Bob’.

    Also way to go Campster actually involving yourself in this episode. Not being mean neither, I think once you really get comfortable with it you’ll prove to be a damned valuable addition. Keep it up!

  21. Zaxares says:

    Sarif Conversation Battle: Wow, you guys did a lot better with him than I did on my first playthrough. He was the only convo battle (aside from Hugh Darrow) that I failed on my first attempt. Then again, maybe I just got a really vague path that some of the NPCs have.

    Regarding Sarif himself, I still don’t like the way he’s willing to bend the rules to get what he wants, and I really, REALLY hate the way he operates on a “need to know” basis. (I hate it when people keep secrets from me or leave me in the dark. It drives me bonkers.) But I DO acknowledge that he’s not really a bad guy. I think he’s far too optimistic and all too willing to dismiss the points of view of people who don’t agree with him, but he does genuinely want to make a difference in the world.

    On the whole, I agree with you guys that the conversations in DX:HR are REALLY well done in that there’s no overlap or collapsing dialogue trees. It’s something I would love to see more of in other games, especially RPGs. Still, Jensen doesn’t really have a lot of freedom in conversations outside of the boss battles, so I’d cut Bioware and other RPG companies some slack; they have a LOT more writing to do. XD

    9:00: I disagree somewhat with the notion that Jensen’s responses are more ‘interesting’. The fact that you generally have very little choice in what Jensen says to people means that it’s strongly reinforced that Jensen is his own character. He’s not a player-created character as in most RPGs, nor is he a self-insert character like Gordon Freeman or most other protagonists in FPS games. Adam Jensen is a person in the Deus Ex world; he has his own history, his own personality, and his own goals, none of which the player can change. All the player can do, in fact, is help him along his pre-determined path.

    Now this isn’t necessarily a bad thing. If done right, it can make for some very memorable, compelling characters. However, the impression that I got from watching Jensen throughout the game is that he’s quite wishy-washy. He doesn’t seem to have a firm stance on the augmentation debate (even neutrality), and he never comments on other political, social or economic issues that are everywhere in the world. He feels ‘muted’, as if the devs were trying to retain a sense that the player can help shape Adam’s personality, when they really should have gone the whole way and made Adam into a distinct character like Batman.

    10:33: “It also says you were adopted. That is funny. Ha ha.”

    12:23: Yeah, I felt the big reveal about his adoption was done rather poorly. Jensen’s reaction is… almost non-existent. In fact, he never mentions it to anyone, never has an internal monologue about it. If it weren’t for the teeny little side-quest later in the game (which still doesn’t do or reveal much), you could cut out this entire side-plot out of the game and it never would have been missed. The whole business about Jensen’s amazing adaptability to augmentation could simply have been chalked up to a random, one in a trillion genetic mutation.

    17:10: BOW CHICKA WOW WOW! Welcome to Deux Ex: Augmented Porn edition. XD

  22. RTBones says:

    The last scene is one thing in the game that bothered me.

    Josh ducks, covers, cloaks, gets up behind him. In reality, you don’t have to do any of that. If you just stroll into the room naked except for your bonnet and cool shades (which are still optional), stun him or perform a takedown, you’re done. No talking, no fighting. It’s over in the time it takes to play the takedown cutscene. It completely breaks any immersion you may have had in the game. Of course, if you do talk to him and decline his offer, you fight him, which is probably what the devs intended. To me, the quest line end here is broken.

    In my first playthrough, I had taken him down before I realized I probably should have been sneaking my way in – at which point I just said, “what just happened? wait, that was the guy I was after. oh, well, he’s a heap on the floor, which is what I was supposed to do.”

  23. Jokerman says:

    Scarn called Sarif “Manderley” a mistake only a true Deus ex fan could make :D

  24. RCN says:

    Shamus had to bring up Max Payne 3 and make me sad.

    Not sad because I hate the path Max Payne 3 is taking, but sad because people are still berating Max Payne 3 because “it is not noir if it is not New York at night!” And you HAD to bring the beach argument. São Paulo is NOT Rio de Janeiro. It is as insulting as saying anything on Canada will be a frozen wasteland, anything on Germany will be connected to Nazis or that the US is also a beach country because it has Miami and LA. São Paulo doesn’t even have beaches and in fact is a good 100 Km from the coast. That’s right, LA and New York are more of a “sunny beach location” than everyone who doesn’t know the first thing about Brazil think São Paulo is.

    Sigh…

    I’ve talked directly to James Portnow of Extra Credits recently about this, and he is also of the opinion this could be a very good Max Payne if the switch to São Paulo is an actual consented transition chosen by the writers. Since, you know, he recently VISITED São Paulo and could attest that it is a very Noir city. Industrial with a very active night life. You know what is happening RIGHT NOW in your sunny, sunny São Paulo? Entire sections of the city are being washed away by the CONSTANT AND INCESSANT RAINS it is known for. Because the city is such a Noir environment the cool rainy weather is actually a national disaster of Dantesque proportions. So, thanks for reminding me of how Sunny and Cheerful and Bright and Chirpy São Paulo is. Ugh.

    /Rant off

    Sorry… that set me off so much I can’t even bring myself to comment on the awesome dialog with Sarif at Deus Ex: Samba Molestation.

    • Shamus says:

      The “noir” thing is a bit of a distraction. The “New York at Night” is part of the flavor of the series. So is the look of Max, both his physical appearance and personal style. So is the gameplay.

      As for São Paulo? Hey, I’m just going by what they’re showing us in the trailers. We can argue about climate and rainfall in the real world, but if all they’re showing us is sun baked landscape, then that’s what we know is in the game.

      So when we have a new setting, a different tone, the protagonist looks different, and the gameplay is totally changed (cover-shooter now, of course) then I think you have some pretty good reasons to be skeptical. I mean, what did they keep?

      This doesn’t mean the game will be bad, but it does mean the game will likely be missing many key elements that made it work for so many people.

      • RCN says:

        This is just much of a rage button for me in the internet. I just go off like crazy in any site I visit whenever people criticize Max Payne 3 on the setting alone.

        As for they changing everything… have you kept tabs on the game since its first screenshots? There was a more recent trailer where they pretty much nail how the game is keeping the Noir feel. And I’ve always got the impression the most important Noir element for the Max Payne games was the constant downfall of the protagonist, always plunging deeper and deeper because he can’t let go. From the start, before even knowing the setting, I thought it was a bold and mature move to change his looks to something more beaten and world-weary.

        Another recent video tells about the gameplay. It shows how they’re taking special care of the ballistics of the game and giving firefights a cinematic look. There are cover mechanics in the gameplay, but it is there as another tool for the player than an enforced way of playing. From the video at least they said the biggest incentive is to plunge head-first into firefights with bullet-time on your side. It is not like they’re taking a third person shooter and turning it into a turn-based tactical squad game (always remember the real crimes of the industry).

        As for the sunny screenshots, what I noticed in them was that Max was in a favela. Brazil has gotten this sort of reputation where favelas are those places where the lowest of the low gather and fester. How much this is true is debatable, but I can see they using favelas as a setting for a metaphor about Max. However, the sunny shots seemed more like “Market department wide-range appeal tactics” than any real indication of the game itself. Heck, I’m yet to see a game where its first marketing approved screens had much to do with the game.

        And even if it turns out this is all just PR damage control and the game sucks, this is no reason for criticizing the game for the setting alone, which is what 90% of the fans are doing right now. Not even touching anything else other than “this sunny São Paulo is the opposite of Noir”. Everyone is reading São Paulo and picturing Rio (I hate Rio so freaking much). And I’m from neither and yet this makes me angry. We associate São Paulo with a lot of things. Industrial Dystopia, sure. Indiscriminate pollution, of course. Criminal Underground is a given. The City of Drizzle is a common homonym. Sunny São Paulo… if you’re in the loony bin. And apparently in the entirety of the northern hemisphere because I’ve read that title in disbelief over and over and over every time Max Payne 3 is whispered in the corners of the internet.

        It is the second most famous city of Brazil (and one of the hands down biggest in the WORLD) and still people know that little about it? I hear the international view of Brazil has been changing over the last few years and that we’re a far cry from being thought of as those “Monkey-people who swing around in jungle vines like Tarzan” (approximate quote) like we always had, but the internet is more than happy to prove me how tangible this trend really is. Maybe we’re not monkey-people anymore, but certainly Brazil is now the same as Rio (which is equated to a lot of favelas surrounded by beaches), and the general consensus of the population about Rio is the same of the US about New York: only foreigners and the locals think it is awesome.

        … Well, I didn’t expect any response to this. But I’ve already said too much and usually I’m not even a bit patriotic, but I hate Rio so much. I can’t help it. If the world like it so much I’d say the US is free to annex it. Please. Let us finally get an actual identity separate from it.

    • Sumanai says:

      Just because it’s dark and serious in the real world doesn’t mean it will be in a game. As Shamus said, you have to go by what is shown, not by what it should be.

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