Posted on 24 January by Steven Ciciola – Level Designer, Eidos Montreal
Hey everyone! You’d be surprised at how many of us actually do read your comments on a variety of articles and forums concerning Deus Ex: Human Revolution. Whether it’s a thread about health regen (again…) or a comment about the faint floral pattern on Adam’s trench coat, chances are we’ve seen it! Your voices are being heard! We really do appreciate your comments, and hope they never stop.
That said, I’m nearing the end of my role on the project and putting on the final touches to the game. I wanted to reflect on the past development and give you a peek at some of the challenges the level design team had to face when developing Deus Ex: Human Revolution.
The biggest rule for us level designers, by far, was to always keep in mind the idea of “Multi-Path, Multi-Solution” for practically every challenge we wanted to lay down for the player. Basically what that entails is for every obstacle we set, there is always a variety of ways to progress past it; with some methods being more obvious than others. This is very reminiscent of the design philosophy found in the original Deus Ex … a design which promotes emergent game play.
One of the reveals from gamescom was showing the Police Station level and how there were four different ways (Combat, Hacking, Stealth, and Social) to play through it. The truth of the matter is that there are far more than just four different ways to progress through that level. There are so many different ways to progress through that I couldn’t possibly list them all; and chances are there are even methods to progress through that we haven’t even thought of! While at first glance that seems like a nightmare for a level designer, what ends up happening is our level designs promote multiple playthroughs in order to try out many different styles of play. All we have to ensure is that we’ve provided the tools and the environment for the player to just explore, imagine, and act-out their creative solutions.
The downside to this open and emergent style game play is that there are a lot paths and features that we designed that most players will never see! We hope you all try playing through the game multiple times, using different styles of approach, and exploring every nook and cranny and possible option that we’ve made available to you. Until next time… Ciao!