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Walking the divide in a darker world: Mary DeMarle on Deus Ex: Mankind Divided

Continuing our discussion with Deus Ex’s Executive Narrative Director, Mary DeMarle, Stevivor dived into the topic of current protagonist Adam Jensen, and the landscape before him in his new title.

Two years after the events of Human Revolution, Mankind Divided opens on a very different world. “It’s a lot darker. Because of such a tragic event that happened,” DeMarle said, referring to the augmentation incident in Human Revolution’s endgame.

“There’s an upsurge in paranoia and fear towards the augmented. They don’t know why they went crazy, and they don’t know if they can ever trust them again,” she added. “There’s a lot of racism towards them and a lot of backlash. There’s been a lot of terror attacks against the augs but also BY the augs as they’re trying to be heard, so you’re dealing with a world that is much more divided than ever before.”

One could almost say that this new games sees a world where mankind is divided.

In addition to the changes in the world, Jensen himself has transformed in the two year gap since his last outing. Having undergone extreme augmentation in the first game’s opening act, we all became aware the he never asked for this – so is he still the same reluctant hero we remember?

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“I think like the world itself he’s become a little colder, more bitter about what happened. Maybe a little judgemental on himself – he thought he could save the world, and look what’s happened.”

In the time since the aug incident, Jensen has had time to get accustomed to his new self, and recognise his own abilities: “We’ve gone from someone who never asked for this, to someone who now has to embrace what you’ve become, and find a way – knowing your strengths and abilities – how can you direct that in the way you need to, to make a difference.”

At the opening of Mankind Divided we’ll see Jensen working with a counter-terrorism unit to try and quell some of the unrest that’s led on from his actions in the previous title.

“Jensen’s got his agenda, he’s working with the taskforce to really get to the heart but he’s also working covertly because he knows who’s behind it. He knows on a theoretical level but he doesn’t have faces to put to it. But he’s aware they’re manipulating things so he’s even wondering, is the taskforce one of their manipulative tools?”

We asked DeMarle whether Jensen has any conflict in this role, potentially having to work against other augmented humans in the name of peace.

“He’s got a purpose and a focus, but it does make him a bit of a fish out of water everywhere he goes – because when he’s with the taskforce, the taskforce does use augmented agents, but in his particular unit he’s the only one.”

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Meanwhile, walking amongst other augmented humans he’s in much the same boat: “When he goes into [the augmented areas] even in there they’re kind of like, Well you don’t belong here because you’re shiny and if you really were one of us you’d be in the same situation we are.”

With conflict on all sides, it would make sense for Adam Jensen to fall back on the support of his allies from Human Revolution; I asked whether we’re likely to see any familiar faces backing up Jensen, but it seems the topic is one Eidos Montreal aren’t ready to dive into.

“I don’t know that I can talk about any of them!” Mary laughed. She toed the line by adding, “I think you hear Eliza [Cassan]’s voice in the game, you hear her in all the news reports, so we can tell you Eliza’s there! But I can’t really share too much at this point.”

So it appears that Jensen’s favourite virtual reporter will be making a return – possibly with more to be announced later.



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About the author

Matt Gosper

aka Ponk – a Melburnian gay gamer who works with snail mail. Enthusiastically keeping a finger in every pie of the games industry. I'll beat you at Mario Kart, and lose to you in any shooter you can name.