Monday 29 January 2024

New DEUS EX game cancelled

A new Deus Ex game in early development at Eidos Montreal has been cancelled. The news broke as Embracer Group, who acquired Eidos Montreal in 2022, confirmed over 100 layoffs at the company.

"I never asked for this."
"A new Deus Ex game? I'm pretty sure everyone asked for that."
"No, I was referring to the layoffs and cancellation."
"Oh, that was unclear."
"Yeah, I get that now."

Embracer Group went on a buying spree of IPs and development studios during and just after the COVID pandemic, when video game stocks were riding high. Embracer planned to leverage a huge portfolio of talent to do a massive deal with a Saudi investment company. However, as the post-COVID video game bubble burst, the Saudi company pulled out, leaving Embracer suddenly flapping in the breeze. The company has since been shedding jobs and closing down studios at a rate of knots as it tries to balance its books.

The Deus Ex franchise is one of the best-regarded in all of video gaming, with original entry Deus Ex (2000) still often cited as one of the greatest video games ever made for its iconic story, characters and incredible freedom of choice. It is often cited as a shining example of both the RPG and immersive sim genres, with the player allowed to follow the story and events however they wish, no matter how implausible or seemingly game-breaking. Console-centric follow up Deus Ex: Invisible War (2003) was much less successful, both critically and commercially, and was believed to have killed the franchise. However, the series was brought back from the brink of extinction for Deus Ex: Human Revolution (2011), which was regarded as another modern classic and sold extremely well. Sequel Deus Ex: Mankind Divided (2016) was critically praised, but sales were cooler, with anger over an attempt to monetise the single-player-only game with cosmetics and a cliffhanger ending which some believed made the game feel incomplete.

Eidos Montreal were moved to other projects, spearheading development of Shadow of the Tomb Raider (2018) and working with Crystal Dynamics on Marvel's Avengers (2020). Eidos Montreal then developed the well-received Marvel's Guardians of the Galaxy (2021) before the Embracer sale, and apparently began work on a new Deus Ex at that time. It was unclear if this game was a follow-up to Human Revolution and Mankind Divided (which followed the same cast and storyline) or a new story in the same universe, or even a remake of the original game.

The Deus Ex series has bounced back from total extinction the past, so hopefully that will be the case here.

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