Deus Ex Human Revolution EP28:
The One True Pairing

By Shamus
on Feb 29, 2012
Filed under:
Spoiler Warning

181 comments

Management would like to apologize for the slash fic contained in this episode of Spoiler Warning, and for any personal injury or loss that the reading of this slash fic might have caused.


Link (YouTube)

About that earth / baseball motif…

Here is the “Hand” statue as it appears in the Illuminati base:

dehr_baseball2.jpg

You can see a similar hand in the opening cinematic of the original Deus Ex.

And here is David Sarif keeping his eye on the ball when we go to argue with him about the strange secrets he’s keeping:

dehr_baseball1.jpg

During the argument, he picks up the baseball and holds it in his metal hand to complete the image:

dehr_baseball4.jpg

Then he sets the baseball down for a minute:

dehr_baseball3.jpg

Is this…

  1. …a red herring on the part of the writers? Did they place this imagery here to make us think that David Sarif is part of the Illuminati? He’s pretty sketchy throughout the game. He keeps secrets, tells you half-truths, and sounds guilty every time he opens his mouth. As I said earlier in the series, he sounds like he’s lying when you reveal that Megan is alive during the scene in the computer core.
  2. …a secret within a secret? Sarif is never outed as an Illuminati during the course of the game, and at the end he comes across as pretty anti-conspiracy. But you could make the case that David is actually in on it, but unlike the rest of the Illuminati he’s actually good at his job. If he can’t hide the Illuminati itself from you, then he’ll try to misdirect you. This baseball thing is the developer’s way of hinting at this truth. Kind of like the (fan suggested) idea that in Bladerunner, Deckard was also a replicant. It’s not something spelled out in the work itself, but it’s something that is possible within the story, and which changes our perception of it in subsequent viewings.
  3. …a bunch of wanking? Like conspiracy nuts obsessing over the pyramid eye on the dollar bill, are we making too much of this, and perceiving intent behind random chance?

In an age where games are so afraid we’ll miss The Message that they imprint The Message on the face of a hammer and beat us with it, I’m very grateful that the devs have given us room to think for ourselves.

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Footnotes:



A Hundred!202020201I bet you won't even read all 181 comments before leaving your own.

From the Archives:

  1. Wandring says:

    Slash fic?!? AIIIIIEEEEEeeeee

    Seriously though, that’s a very interesting theory. I remember wondering aloud over what was with the weird orbs hanging in Sarif’s office were about… Maybe they are supposed to be planets… or just THE planet! Between the baseball = Earth thing and everything else, it really seems like Sarif has his eyes set on the whole world; His being Illuminati fits.

    Though he could just as well be the Illuminati’s new competition… especially considering that he isn’t bungling everything!

    • Paul Spooner says:

      Really, I wouldn’t be too upset if Sarif were Illuminati. I mean, why is the Illuminati automatically evil?
      Powerful people exist, yes? They use their power to affect how people act and think (which is what power is for in the first place). If you object at this point, then you either hate the idea of power, or that someone else has power and you don’t. The Illuminati are usually painted as “shadowy” and “secretive” and “manipulative” but, really, aren’t we all? Isn’t it really a message about how everyone just wants to knock the guy on top off of the pedestal, no matter how well they are doing? I could be mis-reading this of course, but the whole “Oh no! Powerful people use power to get what they want!” thing always strikes me as tautology mixed with envy.

      Unless, of course, you believe that people are generally evil to begin with, which I’m more than happy to accept. But that doesn’t seem to be what DE is going for.

      • Thomas says:

        The way the Illuminati are portrayed in this game, Sarif basically is one, just without the name. They’re a bunch of powerful people all with their own ideologies using manipulation and power to succeed. Sarif does that. The difference is Sarif doesn’t want to be beholden to other people so he rejects the co-operation aspect of the Illuminati.

        I guess the thing about the reveal is that it’d show Sarif was using yet another layer of manipulation. It would feel to me about the same as when Taggart was revealed. The persona they show is wholly believable, but so is their hidden one. The shock is that they manipulated you so well you didn’t uncover it.

        Even without it being Illuminati the ball still ties into the hand. It’s about people grasping control of something, just that Sarif aims a little smaller than the Illuminati

      • Eric says:

        Considering that we never see the “true” Illuminati, only its lesser members all vying for attention and entrance into its ranks, it makes a lot of sense that Sarif might be part of it – perhaps his actions are an attempt to keep what he views as competition out. I think it’s definitely plausible Sarif is in on it, but we just don’t have enough to really draw conclusions.

      • Klay F. says:

        Killing people does not strike me as a valid way to get what you want, no matter how rich you are.

      • Soylent Dave says:

        why is the Illuminati automatically evil?
        Powerful people exist, yes? They use their power to affect how people act and think (which is what power is for in the first place). If you object at this point, then you either hate the idea of power, or that someone else has power and you don’t.

        It’s tempting to use ‘power corrupts’ as the rejoinder to this, but it’s not as simple as that.

        I think secret power is automatically sinister – if you’re doing good things with your power, then it should be something you can hold up to the light. That’s where ‘shadowy and secret’ becomes ‘and therefore they are evil’ – it’s not a given, but it is a common enough concept (especially in fiction), that those who move in darkness do so because they have something to hide.

        I think also that gaining power has a tendency to remove you from humanity – literally and figuratively. The further removed you are from real people, and the real human impact of your decisions, the easier it is to do evil; it’s probably a lot easier to make a decision which will kill and hurt people if you don’t ever have to meet any of them (or think of them as anything but a number).

        And if you’re doing that in order to do good in the abstract – to help people because you know what’s best for them (even though they may disagree, because you know best and you’re in charge) – then are you doing good?

        Can you be good, no matter how noble your ideals, if you wield that much power? Or do such actions pervert even the highest goals?

        Ozymandias in Watchmen is a pretty good example of this sort of power in fiction – he kills millions in order to save billions, but in choosing who will live and who will die he becomes a monster (a sacrifice he makes willingly, partly because he gets off on power)

        Whether he’s right is debatable, but he’s definitely not good – and he’s definitely committing evil acts, even if he has (some) noble ideals – and it’s because he has the power to do so – in secret – that he does this.

        That’s usually the sort of level of social engineering the Illuminati are said to employ in these sort of stories.

    • MatthewH says:

      Slash Fic: After “You have the right to be aroused” I don’t know that Spoiler Warning has a leg to stand on here. On the other hand, I haven’t laughed this hard in a Spoiler Warning before (admittedly, I only started watching with Assassin’s Creed II).

      I think Sarif just likes his ball. Maybe it’s a reminder of a time before he had an augmented arm, or maybe it’s a symbol of his being an all-American businessman. I don’t think he’s Illuminati because he’s trying so very hard to stay independent. In fact, this is the story I wish they’d told. Hugh Darrow is fine, I guess. But the real conflict in the story is not old men trying to rule the world -it’s old men who rule the world, but that’s not enough. They have to have Sarif’s company too. “It is, Sir, as I have said, a small company, but there are those of us who love it,” to paraphrase Daniel Webster.

      But for all that, in the first game the Illuminati struck me as the closest thing the series had to “good guys.” They were a meritocratic and technocratic elite, sure. But one still bound by nobility and honor. They were Kings, but not Autocrats. Bob Paige, because he lacked their “ethical inflexibility” as a threat to all mankind. I’d have liked to see the grayer side of that meritocratic eliteness -that it isn’t really about the merit, it’s about the elite. All the best men must be Illuminati, even if they don’t want to be.

    • Phoenix says:

      I don’t think it’s something like that about the ball. He likes baseball and it’s only a way to show that’s holding something (ie lying).

      About blade runner, Deckard is a replicant. It’s confirmed also by Ripley Scott. They treat him like a replicant, also he himself got doubts, and the whole unicorn thing is simply impossible without being a replicant. In the “good” version of the film maybe it’s not so evident, I don’t remember since I don’t like that version

      • Sumanai says:

        And there’s a bunch of people working on the movie who disagree with it.

        A story exists of a writer going to a university where he heard his book was being used in a class to be interpreted. When he confronted the professor saying that his interpretation was wrong, the professor asked who he was to say it. After he responded that he was the writer, the professor said that “then you definitely have no say on the matter”.

        That’s not a rare perspective on works of art. Once it’s public, everyone’s interpretation is equally valid, assuming the argument for it is as good as the others.

        Oh yeah, Spoony did a piece about Blade Runner, it’s long and touches on why Deckard should be a human:
        http://spoonyexperiment.com/blade-runner/

        • Phoenix says:

          I hate when that happens.

          Cit. from spoony’s “I’m in the lunatic fringe on this issue, I think. Even I can admit that I and the other Deckard-Humanists are basically sticking our fingers in our ears and shrieking “La La La La!” over the undeniable facts”

          Anyway other films do far worse playing with ambiguity to provoke reactions but without an actual sense.

          • Sumanai says:

            The bad thing, as I understood it from Spoony’s article, wasn’t that it was ambiguous, but rather that what it is, is worse than than the fan theory. The article is actually a bad example of the “creator has no say on the interpretation of their work” being a sensible position. I mainly linked it because I found it interesting when I read it originally.

            (I’m indulging myself here, not really important.)
            The way I see it, holding a creators take on a story higher than anyone else’s is a variant and a reversal of ad hominem. A sort of misuse of argumentum at verecundiam (argument from authority, appeal to authority). If Alan Moore would come out and say “Rorschach was gay” I wouldn’t take it as truth without compelling argument. To me it feels more logical to assume that Rorschach was unable to handle his sexuality, and since he’s misogynist it implies that women in particular make him uncomfortable which in turns implies that women are waking up sexual feelings in him which he suppresses.

            But I only have passing knowledge of psychology, and I’m willing to bet it is either Freudian or Jungian. And since both are very much outdated, I’m almost certainly talking out of my ass.

    • RN3AOH says:

      As portrayed by Taggart, not to mention described in their endgame movie, or the original Deus Ex, the Illuminati embody the ideal of heavily concentrated power in everything. One Big Brother. One supercomputer that provides bandwidth for the entire world. The idea of personal empowerment through augmentation — as advocated by Sarif, and embraced by Sarif himself — is pretty much anathema to them, until they figure how can they exploit it to control everyone anyway.

      So I’d say there’s no way Sarif is tied to Illuminati. As for the hand itself… Sarif’s hand and ball are just that — a small ball, in his own, personal hand. He enjoys playing with it because the very fact that he can do it is a tremendous achievement in engineering. There are many balls, but this one is his. The Illuminati, instead, only have one hand to embrace the entire globe. Both symbols are about power, and are related, but the meaning, is very different.

  2. SKD says:

    Conspiracy theories are a zero sum game.

  3. CapHector says:

    Why no 720p version?

  4. Infinitron says:

    Yeah, Sarif I think was supposed to be kind of an idealized take on Steve Jobs. They even look similar, and like Jobs, Sarif seems to be of Arabic descent (Sarif = Sharif).

  5. Paul Spooner says:

    “How did I wind up on this show with all you awful people?”
    I’ve been wondering this myself for a while now. You should get your own website Shamus. Break away from this bad crowd. It’s pulling you down!

  6. littlefinger says:

    Am I the only one who will always associate funiculars with headcrab showers? (HL 1 related)

    edit: well, Rutskarn also does, so…

    there’s that, I guess

  7. Infinitron says:

    The AI from the first game that Shamus was referring to is named Morpheus. It’s the prototype for Daedalus and Icarus, and is also mentioned in the “secret ending” of DX:HR (Bob Page says that technology scavenged from Panchaea may be useful for the “Morpheus Project”).

    Despite being locked in a closet with no fancy holographic output, Morpheus is clearly more advanced than the child-like Eliza, with its high level philosophical reasoning. Daedalus and Icarus are more advanced still.

  8. Astor says:

    Really? Trying to accuse Sarif of *this*? Sarif is just too awesome for this “Illuminati” crap.

    Now, if he picks it up with the mech-arm, but sets it down with the flesh-arm, well that’s saying something.

    • Audacity says:

      I noticed that too. I wondered if his picking up the ball, but then putting it down was a foreshadowing that you could trust him. That is if, we assume a link between the baseball and the illuminati globe, Sarif’s setting the ball down could indicate that he’s not going to try to seize power and control the world. Which would tie in nicely with his strong views on individualism.

  9. Paul Spooner says:

    I really liked the hand sculpture, but never noticed the imagery with the baseball until now. Giving it some thought, I’m guessing it’s the ever popular option that you didn’t list, but that I made up on the spot:

    4. … leftover awesome? The writers began with a bunch of symbolism, deep parallels, and fantastic plot weave. As the project progressed, more and more was cut for gameplay, technology, and budget reasons. In the end, the symbols had lost most of the context, but remained because they were in there already.

    I’m guessing the sphere/hand symbol was intended as a much more common icon, but ended up in just these two places divorced from much of the surrounding context which would have made it much more meaningful. We’re seeing the remnants of a much more philosophical story, scattered over the game like chocolate shavings. They ended up going with the Pineapple cake, but the writers wanted German Chocolate, and they already made a handful of perfectly curled flakes. Why not use them, right?

  10. littlefinger says:

    On the topic of the moon base concept art – or whatever you want to call it -, according to the Deus Ex bible, they were originally going to set a level on the moon, with an AI gone rogue threatening the world with nuclear winter (at least, I think that was its agenda, it’s been too long since I read it). This, along with a level set in the White House and a third level I can’t recall had to be cancelled because of either time constraints or because they couldn’t make it work. The AI idea was recycled into either Icarus or Helios.

    edit: moderation, really?

    It’s “bible”, isn’t it? Bible bible bible bibsel blibes bibbles.

  11. Hitch says:

    I see you don’t understand how the Illuminati works. They control the world by controlling the spin that major news outlets put on it. Which ones? All of them. The Illuminati are behind Fox News. The Illuminati are behind CNN. The Illuminati are behind MSNBC. But wait, don’t they all disagree with each other? Only on certain levels. If you go deep enough they’re all working towards furthering the Illuminati’s goals.

    Is David Sarif part of the Illuminati? That’s really hard to say. According to Shamus he comes off as pretty anti-conspiracy. That would be a strong indication he’s part of it. On the other hand they drop hints that he may be on the inside and indulging in Illuminati symbolism with his baseball. That would indicate that he isn’t. No one who thinks their part of the Illuminati have any real power within the Illuminati. It’s run by people who don’t realize it.

    Changing the subject,
    Chris: I wonder if there’s any Jensen/Pritchard slash fiction out there?
    Ruts; I can find it on the internet.
    Chris: Really?
    Ruts: As soon as I finish uploading it.

    Finally, Josh was there a plan behind getting blind drunk and running off to an empty corner of the room to Typhoon? It seemed somewhat less than productive.

    And that’s not a proper funicular. The point of a funicular is two carts or trains connected by a cable so most of the work of pulling one to the top is done by the other one going down. You should never have to wait for the funicular to arrive from the other end. Pritchard calls and says that it’s halfway there. In a real funicular that would mean that there was no reason to wait to begin with.

    • Tohron says:

      It wasn’t an empty corner – it was a corner with a power conduit that the Typhoon destroyed, so he could get electrocuted before letting the boss unload two full machine pistol clips at him.

    • Eric says:

      The entire reason the Illuminati control media and provide contrary messages is to give people other things to focus on in life – constructed conflicts to become invested in and die over. Their only interest is to keep themselves at the top. Of course, in actuality it really doesn’t make much sense – in the original Deus Ex they had MJ12 to contend with, and in Invisible War, the Knights Templar, but in Human Revolution they’re just sort of… there. Having an antagonist gives them a drive and purpose, but without one (just this inner/outer circle thing) one never gets the sense of what the ultimate goal is.

      • Infinitron says:

        Their ostensible goal is “to lead humanity into the light”. You might want to read about the real-life Illuminati (such as they were).

        Morgan Everett in the the Deus Ex Illuminati ending:
        “We are the Invisible Hand. We are the Illuminati. We come before and after. We are forever. And eventually… eventually we will lead them into the day.”

        • MatthewH says:

          Yeah. They see themselves as the philosopher kings. It’s a noble calling for those who have the real ability – and so, Republic like, they have to force the Philosophers to be King. But the masses aren’t ready, so they have to guide them by manipulating the shadows so that eventually the people can be let out of the cave. If they didn’t act carefully and slowly -the people would kill the Philosophers because they prefer their chains. JC Denton decided to solve the latter problem by just forcibly throwing everyong out into the sun (and brainwashing them at the same time) before they could kill him.

          The Illuminati’s problem is far deeper, though. Not every brilliant man is a philosopher. For David Sarif – a philosopher who knows enough to refuse to be made king – there is also Bob Paige -an Alcibiades waiting to be given power for his own agrandizement.

    • Paul Spooner says:

      On Funiculars: What you’re saying makes a lot of sense… unless if it doesn’t. Maybe there isn’t enough space to have two cars pass side by side. Maybe counterweights are cheaper than fully outfitted cars. Maybe the traffic isn’t heavy enough to warrant two cars.

      I’m pretty sure that the point of a funicular is just to go up and down a steep hill. It’s cheaper to build a ramp on an existing incline than to tunnel an elevator shaft. The existing hill supports and stabilizes the rails. Besides, some elevators are double-car, and some have counterweights. Both are “proper” elevators, but the point is to move stuff up and down, not to have two cabins, or cars, or whatever they are called when a passenger transport container is mounted on a funicular. A funiculous? Funiculette? Funucleon? Funicule?

      Of course, this is an artificial structure, so there’s no reason for it to be inclined except for architectural concerns. It’s a funicular because some designer thought, “Waitaminute! Let’s make this tower all tilted over! That would be awesome!” And then the transport infrastructure guy was all, “I’m getting too old for this #*&$!”

    • noahpocalypse says:

      You’re saying that the same people behind Fox are behind CNN?

      Impossible. There is no way anyone could do that, not even on purpose. Anyone insane enough to come up with what airs on Fox could not produce another news show that makes even the tiniest bit of sense. I disbelieve you.

      • JohnnySteps says:

        Bro you’re acting like a fool.

        All news spots corporate interests. Even though some networks may have a more exaggerated slant they all have the same owners.

        Let me guess, you believe that their is a difference between the two parties and that you actually have a say in the U.S. government by voting?

        lol

      • krellen says:

        You think CNN’s shows make sense?

        The Illuminati have already won!

      • Paul Spooner says:

        “… another news show that makes even the tiniest bit of sense.”
        Where are you finding these shows? I haven’t seen anything that makes sense on TV in years, let alone on “the news”.

  12. Thomas says:

    I think Picus is okay. On the surface it’s like Fox News. It’s something that already exists today and has a huge amount of influence on the world as it is, and they’re probably better at it.

    On another level, as the person above mentioned. The Illuminati grab power everywhere. Instead of efficiently working towards a plan like Chris suggests, it’s much more, ‘ I have a lot of power, if we take over this we’ll have even more power’. If Picus didn’t complete their aim they’d control it anyway because it generally increases their influence.

    The way I see it working, the top floor is Fox with editorial bias caused by the opinions of the people they hire. (And remember Fox already deliberately falsifies information
    http://mediamatters.org/blog/201006280019
    http://flowingdata.com/2011/12/12/fox-news-still-makes-awesome-charts/)

    But the bottom level is stuff that the top level can’t know about without being in on the conspiracy. Maybe a plant gets taken out and instead of stirring up anti-aug outcry they want to hush it up so people don’t find out about it. So the people on the bottom edit the news to fit that.

    The problem of course is, as you’ve said, all those people can’t just take the Funicular railway to work. Someone will get drunk, someone will spill. But that’s a problem with conspiracies and the Illuminati can at least take refuge in audacity. People in bars tend not to be believed when talking about how they alter the news to fit the plans for world domination by a few key individuals

  13. Raygereio says:

    I interpreted Sarif playing with his ball as something similar to Jensen and his clockmaking. Something help you get better control over his artificial arm.

    • That would be the in-universe story, not so much the actual reason for having it as a motif.

      • Raygereio says:

        Well if you’re going to be like that, you can easily expand on that with the motif being Sarif seeking to further his control over augmentation. By constantly training with his augments, he’s seeking to eliminate the boundaries between flesh and machine. Crap like that.

        But really I viewed as what I said: Sarif having the need to practice with his arm. Meaning that maybe augments aren’t that perfect.

        • Michael says:

          Honestly, that brings up a nice parallel. The image comes up twice as a symbol of trying to control. Either humanity trying to control things beyond it’s grasp (Civilization for the Illuminati, his prosthetic for Serif) or simply an attempt to control and influence one’s surroundings without damaging them (the Illuminati would lose power in any major upheaval, which is the course for the rest of the series, Serif may not have any tactile feedback in his prosthetic, something the trailers suggest that Adam lacks as well).

          Regardless, one of the Illuminati members confesses to their attempts to court Serif for membership earlier, and the attack in the prolog only makes sense if he wasn’t playing ball with them, so to speak. (Another (goofier) possibility for the baseball metaphors with Serif.)

          • Sumanai says:

            Do you mean “absolutely no tactile feedback” or “imperfect tactile feedback”?

            Because the former would cause some havoc if its combined with strength augs.

    • Exetera says:

      Sarif also has baseball scores on his screen wall, so you know he’s a fan. Doesn’t make it any less of a cool theory, though.

    • Indy says:

      I completely missed Jensen’s clockmaking. When does it happen/When is it mentioned in the game?

  14. No, the giant moon room isn’t just plans for the moon base, it’s the sound stage in which they fake it’s existence and doctor all the shots from it. It’s a cool detail where they one-up the original moon hoax conspiracy. So in Missing link those weren’t plans so much as the 3D models used to build it. There are actual emails talking about them faking it, it’s one of my favourite details in the game, along with the email to the new guy who hasn’t quite got the hang of spinning news stories, so one of the staff gives him a lesson on manipulation.

    I really didn’t think of the baseball connection at all until now, I assumed it was just their way of making Sarif more human, giving him interests. I don’t know if it was intentional but it’s really cool if it was, however I don’t think it’s supposed to show he’s an Illuminatus. His ending directly opposes the Illuminati ending, and he’s on record as turning them down (there are emails in this level saying how Sarif was refusing to cooperate with them). I think it’s more probable that it’s saying he’s not so different – the way he’s going, he’ll end up trying to take rule the world regardless, but through augmentation, not through politics or a lust for power, much in the way Steve Jobs basically took over the music industry with the iPod.

    In that scenario, the illuminati (Taggart in particular) are basically Bill Gates and Microsoft, realizing they have competition, and now face a very real threat to their dominance. With Sarif’s scientists leading the forefront of augmentation research, their company, TYM, can’t compete. Actually, a better analogy would be Sony, who basically owned the portable music market with the Walkman, until Jobs came along and made everything digital, turning the tables overnight.

    I really do love the writing in this game, even if it has it’s dumb moments.

  15. Adam P says:

    Hey Shamus, what’s the likelihood of adding an RSS feed? I know you’re pretty awesome at having things posted daily (and sometimes on weekends!) But sometimes you’ll post at 11am EST, and sometimes at 5pm. I don’t mind visiting several times a day, but I also don’t like contributing to your bounce statistics.

    Or, tweets when new stuff goes up? (For that matter, you could have Josh start a Twitter account to keep us in the loop for Spoiler Warning. Make him one of us. [On second thought, I can only imagine that resulting in tweet trolling. I’m not entirely sure if that’s a bad thing, though.])

  16. Even says:

    You should open a Kickstarter fund for that trip, Josh. I’m glad I didn’t break my headphones after tearing them off.

    • Paul Spooner says:

      I can see the backers awards now:
      $5 tier: You help us rid the world of Rutskarn. We will send you a random shard of broken glass from his room.
      $15 tier: All of the above, plus a postcard from a gas station along the way.
      $25 tier: All of the above, plus the shard of glass will have some of Rutskarn’s blood on it.
      $50 tier: All of the above, plus we will engrave your name on one of the lead pipes we use to beat Rutskarn to death.
      $180 tier: Limited Reward (0 of 3 remaining) All of the above, plus you get one of the lead pipes.
      $250 tier: Limited Reward (0 of 1 remaining) All up to the $50 reward, plus Josh will deliver a one-liner of your choosing after kicking down the door.
      $350 tier: Limited Reward (0 of 1 remaining) All up to the $50 reward, plus Shamus will deliver a pun of your choosing afterwords. Must be a beating related pun.

      • LunaticFringe says:

        And here I was going to give some money to Tim Schafer. This kickstarter project is way better. His university should preserve Rutskarn ala Jeremy Bentham to serve as a warning to all pun-spewing slash fic writers.

  17. CapHector says:

    Shame there isn’t a battle on the funicular. Then Jensen could commit funicular homicide.

  18. WILL says:

    Try Dark Souls. The entire plot is composed of strange enigmas left by developpers that the community has slowly put back together.
    Some people hate it, but I think it makes the lore feel much more wonderful to figure out, and much more interesting.

    Acutally, just try Dark Souls, Shamus. These games are too easy.

    • Clint Olson says:

      From what I hear, Dark Souls is mostly a DIAS kind of hard. Given that Shamus’ post on the subject is the first result on Google when you search for “do it again stupid”, he may not be quite as into it as you’d think ;)

      • Shamus says:

        Yeah. We would need to start a kickstarter fund to buy the massive stockpile of keyboards and mice that I would smash during the game. It wouldn’t be pretty.

        • burningdragoon says:

          I would contribute to that. To be fair to Dark Souls, it is very upfront about it and since it’s an RPG you always at least have the option to grind. It may be very “do it again stupid” but it is also very “slow and steady wins the race.”

          Oh, looks like my bias is showing again.

        • WILL says:

          Although I’m very curious how someone like Josh would play Dark Souls.

        • Zastrick says:

          Actually Dark Souls didn’t anger me that much, and I have a moderate tendency to anger in games. The Assassin’s Creed series makes me rage, to give a frame of reference. I think the main thing that annoys me is when I don’t feel I have sufficient control. Using AC again, Ezio is very loosely controlled (or at least feels like that to me) by the player. The game does a lot of inferring of the player’s intent and the same button presses results in many different actions. Frequently I would be dashing down the street and then Ezio would stop dead to press up against a wall because I got too close to it. I found it extremely frustrating.

          Dark Souls comparatively controls very tightly. I almost never felt like a death wasn’t my fault. It’s not uncommon for mobs to be able to one-shot you, but mobs generally are very predictable and they usually broadcast their intent several seconds ahead of time to give you a window to react.

          That said, Dark Souls does have a steep learning curve and you have to go slowly in order to not get slaughtered. It takes a bit of investment, but it feels genuinely rewarding when you succeed. If you ever run low on games to play, I’d suggest giving it a try.

  19. Lord of Rapture says:

    I don’t see Sarif being a part of the Illuminati. There’s an email where he says fuck off to DeBeers when he tries to recruit Sarif into the Illuminati. Maybe that’s why his company is targeted for attacks so much.

  20. Raygereio says:

    Something that really bugged me about Eliza was why she’s the face of Picus (by the way, calling back to the overdone Daedelus and Icarus references: I thought Picus was a rather clever one).

    So a world famous newsreader is an AI. Jensen even comments on this with a “people would know”, which Eliza handwaves away with the message that she controls all of the Intertubes.
    I have a lot of issues with that. She’s supposed to be a celebrity. People would notice that there’s something odd about this woman who never appears outside, or can’t touch anything if she did.

    But disregarding the sillyness of the concept. What’s the point? I don’t get what’s the added value of using Eliza. Wouldn’t it be far easier and effective to just grab an empty headed bimbo, dress her up in a silly outfit and tell her to read of a teleprompter?

    • Klay F. says:

      I have a very simple answer to your “people would notice” argument. Many celebrities absolutely hate the attention being a celebrity gets them, and they go out of their way, often sparing no expense to not be seen by the public. Same logic applies.

    • MatthewH says:

      This is a universe where the Internet exists as a physical object, and is Area 51. The only question I have is when it was moved from Montreal and who convinced the Quebecois to give anything to anyone who spoke English as a first language.

    • X2Eliah says:

      She can just create fake videos of herself appearing at some perhaps not widely attended, but important events that had “exclusive access only” and weren’t real.

      Also – the people would know? Seriously? You are saying that in a world where nearly half of Americans believe Fox News?

      • Shamus says:

        Reminder: If you find yourself needing to call HALF of everyone stupid, you’re probably writing something that doesn’t belong in my comments.

        Hate on the news corporation all you like, but please don’t make posts that are going to compel people to defend themselves.

        • X2Eliah says:

          Consider my statement amended to say “It beggars belief to know there exist people who believe in Fox News, but they are real, and that is extremely scary. And they aren’t a minority either.”

          • Daemian Lucifer says:

            Next time use the one fourth.Because while “half of the americans is stupid” is insulting,but “one fourth of the americans are retards” is just referencing south park.

          • Shamus says:

            They key here is to phrase it with just enough qualifiers.

            “There are some people who swallow everything from news source X without even thinking about it.”

            And then someone thinks, “This can’t possibly apply to me, because I’m not an unthinking rube. Clearly he’s talking about other people!”

          • Paul Spooner says:

            The real trick is, there’s no way to directly measure what people believe, let alone quantify how many trust this or that organization. So my question is, how do you know that the majority of people believe Fox?

            Of course, any news organization is going to tell you that tons of people “trust us as the best source of news”. Plus they sell hype, speculation, and terror (irony, the “mass media” are the real terrorists?). A great way to do this is to say “Hey, you know our competition? They are crazy! And tons of people believe them! Scary huh? Tune in for details at 11.”

            Anyone else selling confidence will tell you the same, but there’s no way to know if they are just lying, or not. There’s no way to measure it. The point you are trying to make is that people should not trust Fox. That’s questionable (poisoning the well fallacy, etc), but I don’t trust them either. The real danger you have fallen into is making definite statements about something that is neither directly measurable, nor commonly agreed on.

        • Alex the Too Old says:

          [beh, comment withdrawn, hopefully this has been settled and will not come up again.]

  21. CalDazar says:

    How did Rutskarn get on this show?
    I can’t remember.

  22. guy says:

    I figured Eliza actually did filter all the news at once through the power of being a giant supercomputer. Being the face of Picus is only one of the things she does, and another is definitely screwing with the GPL satellites. So it doesn’t seem like too much of a stretch that she somehow messes with all the other news sources as well. Or at least does the tone control for all the Illuminati-controlled ones.

  23. During the Eliza chat at the end there we heard some of the music of the game (with a female voice). (Edit: appears it is called “Everybody Lies”)
    I don’t know if any of you pay much attention to the music in the game but, if you have the chance then try to listen through the full soundtrack for the game.
    Some of it is really great.

    “Icarus/Main Theme” and “Everybody Lies” and “Endings” also work well as a suite.
    My fav are probably those three as well, in particular the Icarus theme.

    The music reminds me a lot of a hybrid of Blade Runner and Tron Legacy soundtracks in a way.

    I know you guys record these in batches but.. there’s still a few eps to be recorded, maybe do a few mins discussing the sound direction (music, voice (Shamus touched on this earlier), sfx) Josh is probably the only one that hears ambient and environmental sounds well enough to talk about them tough.

    • This plot doesn’t really include a lot of deceit considering “Everybody lies” was in the trailer.

      People who lie to Jensen in this game post Montreal:
      -Possibly Megan?
      -Nobody else.

      Taggart gets confronted, then he’s pretty much honest after, Sarif is honest for the rest of the game, Tong has already lied, but doesn’t afterwards, Darrow only talks to Jensen ones and he doesn’t lie, Zhao doesn’t lie either.

      • Indy says:

        Who lies in this game, total?

        Sarif, about Jensen’s backstory.
        Megan, about Patient X.
        Tong, about not being Tong (Lie of omission).
        Zhao, about being the ‘hired help’.
        Sandoval, trying to be discreet about his ‘friend’.

        Jensen’s probably the biggest liar. He bluffed his way into TYM. He lied about O’Malley escaping. He lied when he told Pritchard he was going to file a report. He is the main liar and the game tries to justify it by saying everybody else does.

        • Daemian Lucifer says:

          And he lied that he didnt ask for this.

        • Phoenix says:

          Depends how you play it.

        • Thomas says:

          Taggart lies right up until the end of the game, Darrow’s lies in his sidequest.

          Besides, I don’t think it matters that people end up telling the truth because it takes a colossal amount of lies and work to get there. I think only Pritchard and Malik don’t lie in the game and both conceal information (or try to)

          • Indy says:

            Taggart doesn’t lie. He says over and over that he just wants regulation in augmentation.

            Darrows doesn’t lie either. He gives the information on a need-to-know basis. In reality, the content of the chip isn’t important (merely relevant later).

            • Thomas says:

              He lies about being Illuminati He puts on much more of an anti-aug face than he wants. He lies about his motivation for anti-augs. He lies about Zeke, and his association with humanity front.

              Darrow does conceal the purpose of the chip, even if you try to find out and he deliberately tries to put a less evil light on it. Darrow lies less in particular, but then he’s lied to the Illuminati and to everyone else about being illuminati

    • X2Eliah says:

      Where can you actually get the soundtrack? The game’s files are still encrypted and packed, so you can’t get them out of your on-drive installation :|

  24. Ringwraith says:

    One of the emails in those offices actually mentions how having a weird moon base projection room and stuff comes off as some sort of Bond villain, as well as being a waste of of money. So even the employees thought it was silly.

  25. Ringwraith says:

    One of the emails in those offices actually mentions how having a weird moon base projection room and stuff comes off as some sort of Bond villain, as well as being a waste of of money. So even the employees thought it was silly.

    Also, the funicular probably goes to other floors, much like how most of the lifts in the game probably go to other floors, but Jensen only really takes them to the highest or lowest they can go, as that’s where he needs to be.
    This can sort of be seen with the penthouse elevator in Sarif Industries, as you can pick it up from two different floors of the main lobby and it just goes straight to the top.

  26. Lame Duck says:

    If you’re ever wondering whether slash fic of any subject exists all you need to do is go to Google. Once Google loads sucessfully, you have confirmed that the internet is still functioning and consequently that the slash fic exists.

  27. burningdragoon says:

    If I had to guess what would actually be the most disturbing Human Revolution slashfic that probably exists… Pre-aug Jensen and post-aug Jensen.

    I don’t know if that exists (but it definitely does), but I assume so because if you type “link dark link” into google, the second auto-fill option is “link dark link yaoi”

  28. Atarlost says:

    I long for the halcyon days of yore when slash was just the subgenre of horror based on extreme violence.

  29. Duhad says:

    You know this episode brings up some interesting points about the principle characters of the story, the nature and inner workings of both the in game and meta game conspiracies, its sparked interesting discussion in the form about the nature of power and its role in the concept of good and evil and has even given us some less then wanted incites into Rutskarn tasted in… literature… yet the only thing I can think about since finishing the episode is “WHAT THE HELL JOSH!?!”

  30. Dude says:

    Do you guys plan on covering the Missing Link DLC?

      • X2Eliah says:

        Do you now?

        How about now?

        Maybe now?

      • Daemian Lucifer says:

        Why then not talk about it?I mean,since you arent going to play it,you may as well talk about it.It would be better than reading slash fic.

        • Phoenix says:

          It’s ugly, better leave it alone :P

        • Chris says:

          I wanted to avoid talking about it because Shamus bought it this weekend during the Steam sale and had yet to play it. :X

          • tengokujin says:

            This, I want to read about.

            I got the DLC several months after the main game had come out, and did not play it for a few months after that. When I’d finally gotten around to playing it, it was amazing. Not only did it have the feel of the main game, it had the flexibility and replayability of the first game (I found out all the options I’d missed because I chose to go another direction, play and aug-wise, whilst reading about it after my first playthrough).

            If this was a standalone game with appropriate backstory appropriately attached to it, I would’ve easily paid 20 bucks for it. As it were, it came out too soon after the main game. Humans are awful at perceived v. actual value, and having the DLC mere weeks after the main launch killed the goodwill the main game generated. But buying it on the cheap and playing it months after the main game, I almost feel like I should’ve bought it at full price. (But I’m poor and I can’t afford that, so I continue to await more Steam sales for other things)

  31. Gruhunchously says:

    Hmmm. Between Shamus’s heartfelt response to the fully upgraded inventory, Rutskarn’s…refined taste in literature, and Josh’s handling of the boss in traditional Cuftbert style, this may very well be one of the best episodes ever.

  32. Daemian Lucifer says:

    Having a bunch of people working there and keeping it a secret isnt that big of a stretch actually.How long did news of the world do their illegal stuff before it got discovered?Do you think they are the only organization that does this?People may not like what their company does,but they also want to keep their jobs.Also,if you ever applied to work in an organization that is sworn to secrecy(cia for example),youd know that one of the things they do is psych screening,so they wouldnt just hire someone who is prone to blurting everything out the first time they go to a bar.

    What is a stretch,however,is that theyd do this from underground.If you want to have a news organization that spins the news,youd do it in a regular office building.Plain view is the best place to hide,since people seldom find that suspicious.

  33. el_b says:

    Reginald: a boss fight? Bring it on!
    drinks everything then starts to blow up the machine is trying to get information from.

  34. Zaxares says:

    Don’t have time to write a complete report tonight, but… Congratulations, guys. This was the very first episode of Spoiler Warning that I actually laughed out loud to. XD

  35. Rodyle says:

    Why those bloody room numbers? Really? The hologram was in room 404, and the signal originated from room 802-11. There’s no need for those jokes…

    • Daemian Lucifer says:

      Wow,I didnt notice that.But thanks,it made me laugh.

      • Rodyle says:

        I think the joke as such isn’t that bad, to be honest, but they’re cramped in really ham-handedly, with that snarky guy saying those numbers very slowly in a clear voice.

        • Daemian Lucifer says:

          Actually,that even adds to the joke:

          “Hah,you dimwitted rent a cop.You went into the room 404,and are surprised to find a hologram.Pick you for their show instead of me wont they?Well lets see how they like you now.”

          • silentStatic says:

            On the same note, as a Computer Scientist Eliza‘s name was a dead give-away.

            And why in the world does she need a huge screen to show her image on Matrix style? And what is it with all the water splashing freely around right next to the power couplings (or whatever they are) in the room that houses the billion-dollar hardware that runs the super important news controlling AI?

    • X2Eliah says:

      I suspect it might as well be down to the level designers having a bit of fun themselves. That sort of thing, from personal experience, really brightens up whatever semi-dreary task you need to fulfill. Even if nobody ever spots these, it’s just enjoyable to seed a few hidden in-jokes in whatever you are making/modelling/writing.

  36. Harry says:

    Correct me if someone’s already pointed this out, but Sarif is already connected to a prominent image of a ball-like thing being held in a hand – his advertising in Detroit.

    It’s an image which saturates both the Illuminati and Sarif, and certainly implies a connection. Maybe it’s hinting towards a conspiracy within the conspiracy…?

  37. Daemian Lucifer says:

    After some thought I figured it out.The baseball thing isnt there to make us wonder if sarif is with the illuminati,but to tell us that he is a badass.

  38. Dev Null says:

    On Bladerunner: that idea isn’t fan generated, its the core question of the book the movie is based on. It is, in fact, the title of the book: “Do androids dream…?” Its a great book, if very different from the movie (which is also great.)

    Depending on which version of the movie you happen to like (can’t keep them straight myself; I like the version without the voiceovers, but I also like the voiceovers themselves, so my perfect version doesn’t exist yet, I don’t think) its presented much more subtly or not at all.

  39. ps238principal says:

    Re: Snow Crash.

    I think I’m the only nerd on the planet that didn’t like Snow Crash that much. Overall, I thought the book was a huge mish-mash of things that the author just wanted to write about without really caring much about how they hung together. On the one hand, he was lampooning cyberpunk/sci-fi with a lot of humorously cynical concepts (names, burbclaves, etc.), but he then tried to sell this idea of ancient priests as programmers, which didn’t seem to mesh well with the more tongue-in-cheek concepts. The idea of “human brains as computers” isn’t new to sci-fi of any stripe, so the mind control concept and virus concept weren’t all that “gosh-wow” to me.

    It’s kind of like the Mass Effect of novels; it’s a ton of ideas crammed together with bits people like, but it doesn’t (to me, at least) believably hold together as a single work. This is something I’ve noticed about the cyberpunk genre in general, where someone tosses in ideas about cybernetics, religion, corporations, and tries to tie it all together with whatever mirrorshade-wearing idea about computers they think is cool that month.

  40. Hal says:

    Re: The moonbase

    I kind of thought it was a pre-runner to a plot line only visible in datacubes and newspapers in DX1. In that, there’s a company running a mining operation on the moon and using Mag rails to send cargo back to Earth. Early in the game, you read stories about their operation sending material back to Earth, and later about them winning bids for something about it over Page Industries. The final story you see is about the operation being shut down due to the cargo inadvertantly slamming into a village rather than its designated landing site.

    I can’t recall if it was Page attempting a hostile takeover and failing or just losing the bid, but the implication is that Page sabotages their operations using Icarus.

  41. Johan says:

    To be fair, the Hand holding the Globe was also in the Versalife building of Deus Ex, you wonder how the Illuminati stay concealed when they stick their motif everywhere.

    But really that’s just the conceit of Deus Ex, I didn’t see anything wrong with the Illuminati part of the Picus building.

  42. Alex the Too Old says:

    It’s Marquess of Queensberry, not Marquis! Of all the non-British people in the world, I would never have expected Rutskarn to muff that one. :)

  43. AxiomaticBadger says:

    [conspiracy]
    Don’t you see? The ball does represent the world, an allusion to the illuminati, but he puts it down. He could grasp it, as the illuminati statue does, but instead he removes his hand, symbolically rejecting them, and the inflicted control they embody.
    [/conspiracy]
    Or he likes balls.

    p.s.
    Dear Rutskarn,
    ALL MY HATE.
    ಠ_ಠ
    Yours,
    AxiomaticBadger

  44. GhW says:

    *cue Left behind, VNV Nation*

    From: Robert Matta
    To: Stella Bogh

    Subject: Regrets?

    Do you sometimes wonder if we really can do what we’re doing here?

    I mean, we obviously can’t. We lie, we fabricate information, we manipulate public opinion, but I mean, I’ve recently started to really wonder what I’m doing here.

    At first, I believed the public wasn’t able to make the right decisions, anyway. That manipulating people this way was necessary evil. Also, there’s a nihilistic part of me, telling me everything’s worth is equal, and not really worth much, after all.

    But I don’t know… I feel like a small germ of morality has started growing in me. Whaddya think?

    Robert.

  45. RCN says:

    Personally, I think that conversation represents precisely what is going on. He eyes the ball to hint he’s aware of the Illuminati, he picks it up to show he was invited by the organization and he considered it, then he put it down because he ultimately refuse it.

    Then again, that’s only one interpretation. Valid or not, I really like this one, and considering how much thought the writers gave to subconscious “tells” throughout conversations, I don’t believe it is that far-fetched.

  46. Ateius says:

    This is another boss fight that mines absolutely break.

    Toss an EMP mine down during her initial charge. She will be stunned. Throw frag mines at her feet while she is stunned. Win.

    (also you should have the aug that reduces EMP damage or this will go badly)

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