Following a report last year that claimed Square Enix put the Deus Ex series on hiatus after underwhelming sales of the latest entry, Deus Ex: Mankind Divided, the publisher said the franchise will come back someday. Square Enix CEO Yosuke Matsuda also said at the time that preliminary plans for a new entry in the series were already in the works. Now, one of the leaders at Mankind Divided studio Eidos Montreal has doubled down on this.
Speaking to PCGamesN, studio head David Anfossi said, “Deus Ex is not dead; I confirm that.”
As for why Eidos isn’t moving forward with production on a new Deus Ex game at this point, Anfossi said the team is already stretched with its work on Shadow of the Tomb Raider (which it is co-developing with Crystal Dynamics) and an all-new Avengers game with Marvel. Additionally, the studio is working on an unannounced third game, Anfossi teased.
“So it’s enough at the moment for us,” Anfossi said.
Regarding the unannounced third game, Anfossi strongly suggested it is not a new Thief title. However, it could be the rumoured Guardians of the Galaxy game, though this is not confirmed. When Square Enix announced its partnership with Marvel, the companies said it was for multiple games, so Guardians of the Galaxy could be one of the other ones.
Anfossi’s comments match up closely with what Matsuda said before about the future of the Deus Ex franchise. At the time, Matsuda said Eidos had a full plate already, and that the Deus Ex franchise will have to wait until a later date to come back.
“The issue is we do not have limitless resources,” Matsuda said. “We have several big titles that we work with and that’s partly a factor in what our lineup looks like. Of course, it would be ideal if we could work on all of them all of the time, but the fact of the matter is some titles have to wait their turn. The reason there isn’t a Deus Ex right now is just a product of our development lineup because there are other titles we are working on.”
In an interview with GI.biz, Anfossi said he has observed that the “story-driven experience” in gaming today is going through what he called a “generational change.” As such, he said Eidos will be looking to “adapt and try new models” going forward.
“Looking at God of War, that’s a pretty good example of a great single-player experience. I like it a lot, but I might not get the time to complete it,” he said. “For me, that’s a frustration. Because when you start a story-driven experience you want to see the conclusion. So we have to adapt and try new models.”
Eidos is still committed to single-player games, Anfossi added. “Single-player for me is as strong as before, and it should continue,” he said.
Eidos’ website states that future products from the studio may have more of an “added emphasis” on “online experiences.” This doesn’t necessarily mean future games from the studio will be multiplayer-centric titles, however.
“We need to try new things, experience stuff and learn,” Anfossi said. “We want to build strong online technology. We are doing tests, we are learning, and we are working out how to apply that to our games, but we have to be careful about the fans. Online does not have to mean multiplayer. It could, but it could also be something different. It can be a single-player experience but online.”
One reasons some studios are incorporating deeper online elements in their games is because it offers another way for players to spend money. For example, GTA V’s online mode, GTA Online, adds new content all the time–and it’s proven to be incredibly lucrative. This is especially front of mind for some developers because AAA single-player games are hugely expensive to make and promote, Anfossi said.
“Shadow of the Tomb Raider, and other different AAA single-player games, cost $ 75 million to $ 100 million,” Anfossi said. “And that’s production only; it’s close to $ 35 million on the promotion. So there’s definitely a pressure. We cannot avoid it. But, at the same time, for us to have these incubation projects and to try small things… that gives us the opportunity to test, prepare and secure some stuff, and remove some risk.”
You can read the full interview here at GI.biz.
Mankind Divided launched in August 2016 for PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and PC. GameSpot’s Mankind Divided review scored it an 8/10, with reviewer Edmond Tran writing, “Mankind Divided is still a uniquely fulfilling experience, one which feels rare in games today.” For more, you can read GameSpot’s full review here.