Deus Ex (series)

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This article is about the video game series. For the first game in the series, see Deus Ex. For the dramatic device from which its title is derived, see deus ex machina.
Deus Ex
Deus Ex series logo.png
The current logo for the Deus Ex series
Genres Action role-playing,
First-person shooter
Developers Ion Storm
Eidos Montreal
Publishers Eidos Interactive
Square Enix
Platforms Android, iOS, Mac OS, Microsoft Windows, OS X, PlayStation 2, PlayStation 3, Wii U, Xbox, Xbox 360
Year of inception 2000
First release Deus Ex
June 26, 2000
Latest release Deus Ex: The Fall
March 18, 2014

Deus Ex is a series of cyberpunk-themed first-person action role-playing video games. The series was developed by Ion Storm for the first two games and Eidos Montreal for later entries in the series. The series, set during the 21st century, focuses on the conflict between secretive factions who wish to control the world by proxy, and the effects of transhumanistic attitudes and technologies in a dystopian future setting.

The series currently consists of four games: Deus Ex (2000), Deus Ex: Invisible War (2003), Deus Ex: Human Revolution (2011), and Deus Ex: The Fall (2013). Eidos announced in October 2013 that future entries in the series would go under the umbrella name Deus Ex: Universe.[1][2] The series has received much critical acclaim over the years, and sold over 4.5 million units worldwide.[sales 1]

Series overview[edit]

Note: given the freedom of choice found within each game, the section below only gives the general outline of the world and the individual plotlines.

While each game has a distinct story, they are all set within the same world: an Earth of the future which has evolved a dystopian, cyberpunk society. In this setting, several organizations compete for overall control of the world.[5] Several of the societies mentioned or shown are inspired by real-world and invented secret societies and conspiracy theories. The one constant through the series is the Illuminati, although FEMA, Majestic 12, and the Knights Templar are also featured. The main characters in the series possess artificially acquired superhuman abilities, generally referred to as "Augmentation", and more specifically called "Human augmentation" in the third game.

Deus Ex takes place during 2052,[6] while the world is facing a crisis caused by a mysterious nano-virus called the Gray Death. In the midst of the crisis, JC Denton, a nano-augmented rookie agent for the United Nations Anti-Terrorist Coalition (UNATCO), is sent to eliminate terrorist cells, but ends up drawn into the various schemes of rival factions and secret societies, who are responsible for the epidemic. Once he arrives in Area 51, Denton has the choice between neutralizing technology and plunging the world into a second dark age,.[7] allying with the Illuminati,[8] or merging with an advanced AI so as to impose a benevolent dictatorship.[9] Invisible War takes place twenty years later, after a massive economic depression and period of war called the Collapse[10] that was indicated by Denton's actions and a combination of possible events from the first game.[11] The game's protagonist, Alex D, a clone of Denton, is drawn into a conflict between two seemingly opposing factions, and learns of conspiratorial factions which seek to drastically change the world, including JC Denton: Alex can perform missions for any of them, and eventually becomes able to choose which organization should rule the world.

Human Revolution is set in 2027, twenty-five years before the first title, where corporations have extended their influence past the reach of global governments and the development of bio-mechanical augmentation by a few elite and powerful companies threatens to destabilize society. The game follows Adam Jensen, the security chief for bio-tech company Sarif Industries. After a devastating attack on Sarif's headquarters which leaves him near-death, Adam is forced to undergo radical augmentation surgery, and he becomes embroiled both in the search for the attackers and the political and ethical repercussions of augmentation technology. The Fall is a parallel story, set after the spin-off novel Icarus Effect.[12] It follows the story of Ben Saxon, an augmented former British SAS mercenary, who is on the run from his former employers, a group of augmented mercenaries that play a crucial part in the plot of Human Revolution.[13]


A unifying element across the series is the combination of gameplay styles from several different genres, including RPGs, shooters and adventure games.[14][15][16] Role-playing elements are mostly linked to augmenting the character in a specific way, spending skill points to create characters that can be focused either on stealth or combat, or a balance of the two.[17] Player choice is a key feature of the series, with the actions of the player character affecting both the world around them and the way NPCs react to the character: depending which faction they belong to, NPCs might praise and be helpful, chastise, ignore, or even attack them.[14] This emphasis on player choice is most evident in Invisible War, where players can choose the gender and skin color of the main character before starting, and have the option of running quests for and allying with four possible factions within the game.[18]

Development history[edit]

The original Deus Ex was conceived in 1995 by Warren Spector in 1994 under the working title Troubleshooter.[19] The main drive behind Deus Ex was Warren's growing dislike for straight fantasy or sci-fi video games, and the want to create something new and different.[20] In an interview, he stated that he wanted to emulate the immersive playing styles of games like Ultima Underworld, and eventually, after being rejected by Origin Systems, the company he was working with at the time, and Looking Glass Studios, Spector's project was picked up by Ion Storm, who, according to Spector, asked him to "make the game of [his] dreams".[21] The title Deus Ex was meant to both represent aspects of the plot in the game and to poke fun at the design techniques that were prevalent in the majority of games at the time.[22] The second game in the series, Invisible War, was first unveiled at E3 2002.[23] For this game, the designers chose to allow the players to choose which sex their player character would be, an idea conceived for the original game.[24][25] After the release of Invisible War, both Harvey Smith, the main designer for Deus Ex, and Spector left Ion Storm in 2004, with the former citing health problems[26] and the latter saying he wished to pursue his own projects.[27] Later, because of restructuring at Eidos Interactive, Ion Storm was closed down the following year.[28] A multiplayer-focused third game titled Deus Ex: Clan Wars was originally being made at Crystal Dynamics, but because of the commercial underperformance of Invisible War, it was distanced from the Deux Ex series and renamed Project Snowblind.[29] Human Revolution was announced in 2007 under the working title Deus Ex 3.[30] The game's creation was handled by Eidos Montreal and the developer's parent company Square Enix, whose Visual Works department created the CG movies for the game.[31] The game became the first entry in the series to receive DLC in the form of The Missing Link, an extra episode designed to fill a narrative gap in the game.[32] In 2013, a new title was created for iPhone and iPad. Titled The Fall and set within Human Revolution '​s timeframe, the game was created by the previous game's core team and a team from mobile phone developer N-Fusion.[13] In October 2013, Eidos Montreal announced that they were working on another title in the series for PC and next-gen platforms, and that it would be the first part of a larger, transmedia project called Deus Ex: Universe.[1][2]

Related media[edit]

CBS Films has acquired screen rights to Deus Ex, after Eidos was purchased by Square Enix.[33] An announcement was made for a film adaptation of Deus Ex: Human Revolution in July 2012.[34][35]

Human Revolution inspired a tie-in comic book, a spin-off novel,[36] and action figures.[37] Alongside the announcement of a next-gen entry in the franchise, Eidos Montreal announced the "Deus Ex Universe", a multimedial project involving video games across all platforms, books, graphic novels and other unspecified mediums.[1]


Aggregate review scores
As of February 7, 2015.
Game GameRankings Metacritic
Deus Ex (PC) 91%[38]
(PS2) 83%[39]
(PC) 90[40]
(PS2) 81[41]
Deus Ex: Invisible War (PC) 84%[42]
(Xbox) 85%[43]
(Xbox) 84[44]
(PC) 80[45]
Deus Ex: Human Revolution (PC) 90%[46]
(PS3) 90%[47]
(X360) 90%[48]
(PC) 90[49]
(PS3) 89[50]
(X360) 89[51]
Deus Ex: The Fall (iOS) 70%[52]
(PC) 44%[53]

Overall, the Deus Ex series has received critical acclaim reception, with its storylines and freedom of choice being the main point of praise. The first game won multiple awards from various video game publications,[56] and was lauded by critics at the time, although its graphics came in for some criticism.[57][58][59] Invisible War was also well received, but did not enjoy the success of its predecessor, with many elements of its gameplay and story being targets for criticism, but many praising its branching gameplay and the high level of paths the player could take through the story.[60][61][62][63] Human Revolution received high critical praise roughly equal to the first game, with many reviewers praising the open-ended nature of the game and the weight of social interaction on the outcome of events.[64][65][66] Reviews for The Fall were slightly more mixed, with praise going to the game's attempt to bring the Deus Ex universe to a portable platform, but many other aspects coming in for both praise and criticism.[67][68][69][70]


  1. ^ Deus Ex series:


  1. ^ a b c Stephany Nunneley (Oct 2, 2013). "Deus Ex title in the works for PC and next-gen, Deus Ex: Human Revolution – Director’s Cut releasing this month". VG24/7. Retrieved 02-10-2013.  Check date values in: |accessdate= (help)
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  6. ^ The Deus Ex Team. "DX1 Continuity Bible: Part I". Gamespy. Archived from the original on 2011-01-26. Retrieved August 25, 2012. 
  7. ^ JC Denton: If we destroy the Aquinas Hub, we'll take down the global network. / Tracer Tong: Exactly. They dug their own grave, JC. We're going to eliminate global communications altogether. / JC: I don't know... sounds like overkill. / Tong: As long as technology has a global reach, someone will have the world in the palm of his hand. If not Bob Page, then Everett, Dowd... / JC: Another Stone Age would hardly be an improvement. / Tong: Not so drastic. A dark age, an age of city-states, craftsmen, government on a scale comprehensible to its citizens. Ion Storm Inc. (2002-03-25). "Deus Ex". PlayStation 2. Eidos Interactive. 
  8. ^ Everett: No, JC. Spare the facility. Spare Helios, the power station. They can be made to serve us. / JC: Us? / Everett: You and me, JC. We'll rule the world in secret, with an invisible hand, the way the Illuminati have always ruled. Ion Storm Inc. (2002-03-25). "Deus Ex". PlayStation 2. Eidos Interactive. 
  9. ^ Helios: You are ready. I do not wish to wait for Bob Page. With human understanding and network access, we can administrate the world, yes, yes. / JC: Rule the world...? Why? Who gave you the directive? There must be a human being behind your ambition. / Helios: I should regulate human affairs precisely because I lack all ambition, whereas human beings are prey to it. Their history is a succession of inane squabbles, each one coming closer to total destruction. Ion Storm Inc. (2002-03-25). "Deus Ex". PlayStation 2. Eidos Interactive. 
  10. ^ Load screen message: JC Denton's destruction of Area 51 plunged the world into a period of depression and war known as the Collapse. Deus Ex: Invisible War. Ion Storm, 2003
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