building on a foundation already laid for us. Second, and on a personal level, DEUS EX is a game I’ve been thinking about
Several years passed. I left Origin to go work for wanted to achieve in mind, we were able to
Looking Glass, but TROUBLESHOOTER stayed on my mind. In the fall of 1997, before Ion Storm entered the DEUS EX picture, I drafted a mani-festo—a description of an ideal game—and also a set of “rules of roleplaying.” Much of that material ended up in an article published in Game Developer (“Remodeling RPGs for the New Millennium,” February 1999), which is still available online on Gamasutra.com.
Ultimately, we settled on a conspiracy-oriented background. We did a vast amount of research into “real” conspiracies—the Kennedy assassi-nation, Area 51, the CIA pushing crack in East
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L.A., Dwight Eisenhower’s UFO connection, and of course Freemasons tunneling below the Denver airport and building abducted-baby caf-eterias for alien invaders at George Bush’s direc-tion. Only a fraction of this stuff ended up in the game, but it gave us a peek into the minds of conspiracy buffs that was both scary and useful.
3. Recognizing that game design is an organic process
Why did our thinking and goals change? There were lots of reasons. First, new people joined the team, with new ideas. Our staff grew from six people to roughly 20. I hired a bunch of peo-
As we brought on new people, we found our-selves to be a team of hardcore ULTIMA geeks, hardcore shooter fans, hardcore immersive sim fans, strategy game nuts, and console gamers. Some of our new team members proved to be“maximalists”—wanting to do everything, spe-cial-case lots of stuff, and stick as close to reality as possible. Other team members proved to be minimalists—wanting to include fewer game elements but implementing them exceptionally