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April 3, 2020 at 10:27 am #578TantalusKeymaster
Editor’s Note: This document is intended to summarize the key backstory information behind the Deus Ex universe. It is comprised mostly of excerpts from the design documents of Deus Ex 1, with a few additions and modifications for the sake of maintaining consistency with the final game. The hope is that the amount of information will be helpful without being overwhelming.
Be aware that much of the backstory detailed below never made it into the final game. Some of the events described were intended to be missions (Texas, the space station, moon base, Mt. Weather; etc.), and a lot of that content either doesn’t appear in Deus Ex or does so in glancing, fragmentary ways.
What that means is that the related pieces of backstory should be considered truthful and should be supported whenever possible but not necessarily with religious fervor. It would be perfectly valid to re-imagine what’s really going on at the “moon base,” for instance.
This document was also used for the foundation of Deus Ex: The Conspiracy for the PS2, and will probably be used in some fashion forDeus Ex 2 to maintain continuity.(***SPOILER ALERT:*** If you haven’t played all the way through Deus Ex or Deus Ex: The Conspiracy, there may be more information here than you want to know!)
Throughout this document, we will be adding comments from members of the team on how the document was created and its vision compared to the final game. Thanks to Despot of PlanetDeusEx and GameSpy’s own Silverdawn for the questions for the Ion Storm team.***SPOILER ALERT GIVEN, YOU HAVE BEEN WARNED***
Harvey Smith — Director
Sheldon Pacotti — Lead Writer
Tara Thomas — Assistant Producer
Monte Martinez, Greg Callahan, Nate Blaisdell
High Level World Concept
The year is 2052 and the world is an even more dangerous and chaotic place than it is today. Terrorists operate openly, killing thousands; drugs, disease, pollution and, of course, El Nino kill even more. The world’s economies are close to collapse and the gap between the insanely wealthy and the desperately poor has grown to the size of the Grand Canyon. The media openly encourage the worst in mankind. Still, this is not just Another Grim Dystopic Post-Apocalyptic World TM. Deus Ex is set “10 minutes before the apocalypse.” There is still hope.
Technology, advanced almost (but not quite) beyond imagining, is the hope of the future. The player character, a powerful, nano-technologically augmented agent for an anti-terrorist organization called UNATCO, is one of the symbols of that hope. Sent to investigate seemingly straightforward terrorist activity in New York City, the player discovers that the organization he works for, far from working to solve the problem, is actually a part of the problem. Worse, he finds disturbing evidence that UNATCO may be under the control of a cabal of conspirators which wants nothing less than world domination. And as you hop the globe from New York to Hong Kong, from Paris to the Desert Southwest of the United States, you discover an even deeper mystery. Someone — or something — called “Majestic 12” has been playing the puppet-master all along.
Early DX cover-style concept (from Deus Ex.pl)
Creating Characters with Depth…
GameSpy: Characters are described in much more detail in the document than how they were realized in the game. For example, Page’s nerd side is practically non-existent and Paul’s flamboyance is basically just his upbeat voice. Do you have any tips on combating the tendency towards shallow characters in computer games?
Harvey Smith: To me, the answer is “fewer characters equals deeper characters.” We just tried to do too much. I’d rather have made the game 75% in length, but deeper.
Sheldon Pacotti: I think there’s always some pretty serious tension between mission dynamics and characterization. Sometimes an NPC has to dump so much info on the player that characterization gets sidelined. Notice how much Paul lays on the player in the game’s first convo. Gamey stuff like the choice of weapons kept getting added to that convo to address other problems in the mission. Tong’s convos are also very heavy with go-here-do-that dialogue. Page’s problem, on the other hand, is that he barely makes an appearance in the game until the final mission. The designers simply didn’t have any use for him until the final showdown.
For a character to really come alive in a game, he has to be integrated meaningfully into multiple maps and has to have more to do than lay out a mission objective. We addressed this to some extent with Paul by giving him second and third cinematic convos, but you never get to see him kicking back in a bar like Jock or complaining about a soda machine like Gunther. You can only be so flamboyant during a terrorist attack. Getting character-traits like that across involves more careful planning than one might imagine.
DX1 Plot Summary
JC Denton Concept Art, Male and Female; cut (from Deus Ex.pl)
In Deus Ex, you play JC Denton, a rookie agent for the United Nations’ Anti-Terrorist Coalition (UNATCO), who has been nano-technologically enhanced. Your older brother, Paul Denton, also a nano-augmented agent, shares his insights with you along the way. At this time, UNATCO is dealing with the Gray Death, a worldwide plague. Although there is a cure, called Ambrosia, the development and distribution of it has been slow. The National Secessionist Force (NSF) claims the cure is being blocked by secret organizations, so they have taken terrorist countermeasures.
You infiltrate the NSF’s makeshift command center on Liberty Island and determine that the recently hijacked Ambrosia shipment has already left the island. You then recover a unit of Ambrosia and deal with a hostage situation in the subway in Battery Park. After that, you disable the NSF generator in Hell’s Kitchen, so that Paul’s team can gain access to the NSF facility and retrieve the Ambrosia. When you return to UNATCO, you are told that they were nonetheless unsuccessful. At headquarters, you also cross paths with Walton Simons, the director of FEMA, who seems to have more access and influence than you’d expect for someone in his position.
Gilbert Renton Concept Art (from Deus Ex.pl)
Next, you race to stop the Ambrosia from leaving New York. You travel through the underground tunnels of the Mole people until finally reaching the helibase and airfield where the vaccine is being prepared for transport. You track down Juan Lebedev, the millionaire anarchist funding the plot. Surprisingly, you are met there by your brother Paul, who reveals he has been working as a double agent for the NSF, and urges you to reconsider your own affiliations.
Although you are next dispatched to Hong Kong, your pilot, Jock, redirects you to New York City, because of a message from Paul. After Paul corroborates his accusations that UNATCO is a crooked organization, you agree to help the NSF by activating a distress signal. After doing so, you meet up with strong resistance and are eventually captured.
You later wake up confined to a cell in an unknown location. Aided by a mysterious hacker named Daedalus, you initiate your escape. As you make your way out of the facility, you realize that you are being held prisoner by Majestic 12 (MJ-12), a secret U.S. government organization for the research and development of biotechnologies. Originally, it had been clandestinely controlled by the ancient secret society, the Illuminati, but was recently wrested from their power by a member from their highest ranks, the wealthy and powerful Bob Page, after he neutralized the ruling Council of Five. You are surprised to discover that this MJ-12 facility is actually located beneath UNATCO HQ, demonstrating their significant role in the conspiracy and cover-up. You also find out that nano-augmented agents like you and your brother have self-destruct systems that UNATCO can use to remotely terminate you. Before departing the facility, you retrieve the information necessary for disabling this kill-switch, so that Tracer Tong, a talented scientist and ally of your brother, can neutralize the system.
Tracer Tong’s Lab Concept Art
Next you travel to Hong Kong to seek him out, but first you must settle a dispute between the triads, the criminal organizations that direct the region’s affairs. Due to the tension, neither The Luminous Path, led by Gordon Quick, nor The Red Arrow, led by Max Chen, are willing to help you find Tracer Tong. After investigating the local Versalife facility, Bob Page’s company and the only manufacturer of Ambrosia, you find that Maggie Chow was working with Page to destabilize the area by misleading Max Chen to start the conflict. After restoring the peace, Quick admits you to the Luminous Path compound where you finally meet with Tong, who disables your kill-switch. Next, he dispatches you to return to Versalife for more information, where you discover that the Gray Death is in fact a human-made virus. Tong and Daedalus both direct you to Morgan Everett, a member of the Illuminati, because he is the only one who can create a true cure. In Paris, you make contact with Silhouette, another terrorist organization working against MJ-12. Their leader, Chad Dumier, directs you to Nicolette DuClare, whose mother was a member of the Illuminati’s innermost circle, the Council of Five, with Morgan Everett. After searching the DuClare chateau, you find a secret computer room that allows you to contact him. After recovering for him a critical piece of data from a Paris cathedral, you meet one of Morgan’s agents in a Metro station. He knocks you out and takes you to the estate.
At Everett’s, you begin to put together the remaining pieces of the puzzle. Bob Page first eliminated the other ruling members of the Illuminati, then created the Gray Death and now controls its cure, all in order to achieve world domination. He has placed his lieutenant, Walton Simons, into a key role as the director of FEMA, to aid him in his designs. Although Everett, as Page’s former mentor, can help you neutralize the virus, Page seems to have still bigger plans ahead.
JoJo Fine Concept Art (from Deus Ex.pl)
You have also learned about various Area 51 A.I. projects. You discover that Daedalus is actually a sentient A.I., developed by MJ-12, that has since gone rogue. Icarus, his subsequent revision, is still controlled by Bob Page and MJ-12, and that Morpheus was the prototype for the project, and now resides in Everett’s mansion.
Next, you head to Vandenburg Air Force base to get in contact with Gary Savage, the leading researcher in nano-technology. The base is under siege from MJ-12, so you remove these threats. After reactivating various technical systems, Daedalus and Icarus unexpectedly merge into a new entity called Helios, that possesses yet greater power, and a message from Page suggests that this is part of his final plan. After conferring with Savage and receiving various messages from your foes, you find you must rescue his daughter, Tiffany, and then head for an undersea lab in order to retrieve information necessary for Savage’s progress against MJ-12.
What Happened to Bob Page?
GameSpy: In the document, Bob Page is described as having a “cyber-assimilated form” and “control over an army of nano-creatures and fairly amazing power over the elements.” Bob Page as implemented in the game was not a typical, powerful end-boss like this description suggests he was meant to be. What made you decide to handle the ending in the cool way that you did?
Harvey: I love parts of our endgame plan — like allowing for multiple endings with radically different fictional implications, and I like having various characters pull you in different directions — but Bob Page was a disappointment to me. We clearly didn’t want it to boil down to a Big Boss Fight. (“You can’t fight ideas with bullets!”) But early on we hoped that it would feel more like Page was gaining mastery over the environment… that he was becoming a holistic force (first in Area 51, later in the world).
You are successful in your reconnaissance, but then you discover that Bob Page has aimed a nuclear missile at Vandenburg. You race to redirect the launch to target Area 51 instead, where Bob Page is preparing to merge with Helios, to become an invincible global dictator. You arrive there and survey the damage, and finally penetrate security.
At this point, a number of courses of action are open to you. You can follow Tracer Tong’s advice and initiate a meltdown in the Aquinas router at Area 51, thus paralyzing global telecommunications and returning civilization to a simpler, more decentralized existence. You can also agree to Helios’s plan and join with the entity to create a new consciousness, capable of managing a new world order. In addition, you can neutralize Bob Page and work with the Illuminati to maintain the current balance.
JC and Paul Denton — A Detailed Biography
Work on nano-technology began in the early 2020’s, and the Majestic 12 scientists assigned to the project (including Bob Page) had their work cut out for them. Mechanical augmentations were just starting to become widespread. Nanites would certainly be the next-generation technology available for augmentations — but a number of hurdles had to be overcome. A self-replicating nanite that could interact with biological material had to be developed. The nanites also had to be able to interpret commands from the human mind, and to send visual and audio data to that mind in a form it could accept, layered on top of the subject’s normal eyesight and hearing. All of these technologies would take years to develop.
What Majestic 12 needed was a test subject matching their selection criteria, and as young as possible.
MJ12 Tech Development Center Concept Art
How to find such a test subject? The Illuminati — then in power, though no one knew it — had done a great, secret census between 1940 and 1965, tracking everyone who received a small pox vaccine. From this they were able to build a database of the genetic codes of nearly all citizens of the United States and much of the rest of the world.
The conspirators’ agents, posing as nurses and doctors, in pediatricians’ offices and elementary schools across the nation, used the smallpox census data, to keep track of high potential candidates. The specialists in charge of the project were updated regularly on the progress of potential candidates. All the conspirators had to do was wait. Ma and Pa Denton — two such potential candidates — fell in love (perhaps even with some help from the conspirators!) and produced young Paul under the watchful, albeit covert eye of Majestic 12 operatives who played the parts of friends, family doctors, neighbors, school teachers and so on…
When Paul Denton was five, Majestic 12 scientists determined that his physique and genetic makeup were the most suitable for the nano-augmentation project. His immune system was excellent, yet he had no allergic reactions to non-biological foreign materials in his body. He also had no predispositions to myopia, obesity, or heart disease, and he was highly intelligent.
The scientists selected Paul as their test subject. Now they needed to find the precise spots in his brain where the nanites could intercept neural transmissions and convert them to commands. (These spots are different for every human being.) They also needed to implant nano-augmentations in Paul’s body and test them.
Since Paul himself was considered too valuable to experiment on, Majestic 12 scientists created a number of clones of Paul. These clones were allowed to grow until their brains (especially the language centers) were fully developed. Then the scientists performed experiments on each of the child clones, trying to find the “sweet spots” in the brain that would allow the clones to control nanites and receive information.
For most of the clones, the experiments failed, and the clones were left as drooling vegetables — or worse. Many of these failed experiments were destroyed. A few were allowed to live, so the scientists could perform further physiological and nano-technological studies on them as they grew older.
In one or two cases, though, the experiments were successful. These successes proved to the cabal leaders that direct mental control of nano-technology was possible.
Meanwhile, Paul started to grow up, blissfully unaware of the experiments being carried out in his name…
A Philosophical Soliloquy
GameSpy: The deep philosophical discussions with the AI in Everett’s apartments have always seemed somewhat irrelevant to the game. In fact, it is the only time J.C. speaks more than a few lines at a time — he gets downright riled. Are these talks something of a philosophical soliloquy or part of a larger element of the game that ended up being cut?
Sheldon: The AI in Everett’s place was an idea of Harvey’s which was never meant to be more than a tidbit of backstory regarding Everett and the Illuminati. The philosophical discussion was my own take on a “Daedalus prototype.” It deviated somewhat from Harvey’s initial vision, but at that point in the writing I was hungry for a chance to tie together some of the fragmentary themes of the game. A lot of people miss that convo, but it’s turned out to be a favorite source of quotes for those trying to figure out what the game “means.”
Harvey: The *original* plan for Morpheus was to include a text-parser interface, so that the player could type in messages and converse with the AI as if he were an IRC bot; an “intelligent agent.” Sort of like an updated version of the conversations in games likeWizardry VII. I wanted the text-parser conversations with Morpheus to feel like talking to a synthetic, autistic version of Thom Yorke. But we ran out of time (and it’s kind of inefficient to write in a feature for one conversation anyway). Fortunately, what Sheldon did with the conversations was really interesting to a lot of players.
Paul’s mother, who was unable to have any more children but wanted another, was approached by Majestic 12 operatives posing as fertility experts. She was told that she would be paid handsomely in exchange for participating in experimental surgery that would allow her to become pregnant. For Mrs. Denton, who’d been poor all her life, this was a dream come true — she could have another child AND have enough money to raise her family in comfort. The “fertility experts” assured her that the surgery was minor and the risk was minimal.
She and her husband agreed to the experiment, unaware that their lives had been closely monitored by the cabal for many years. Although Paul’s mother believed that the surgery would let her become pregnant again, in reality the Majestic 12 operatives implanted her with a cloned embryo of Paul.
Nine months later, J.C. Denton was born. Paul and J.C. were raised as brothers, under the careful and clandestine scrutiny of Majestic 12. Their parents never knew that the children were identical twins born eleven years apart.
At the same time, Majestic 12 continued to grow more clones and test nano-technology on them. Prior to J.C. Denton’s birth, this was a cumbersome process. Each clone had to be grown in the womb of a mother, so the number of clones the scientists could produce was limited to the number of women employed by Majestic 12 who were willing to endure nine months of pregnancy in relative secrecy. This, as you can imagine, was not a large number. There was another disadvantage: each clone was gestating inside a different womb, each mother had a different metabolism, and as a result each clone was slightly different. The scientists had failed to reckon with the effects of pregnancy on their clones.
Fortunately for the nano-augmentation program, technology marched onward. Shortly after J.C. was born, scientists invented an incubator that could bring a clone to term from the embryonic stage. The number of clones available for experiments grew dramatically, and the doctors could now perform their experiments with “control” clones. The pace of progress increased.Karkian Concept Art
When Paul was 17 and J.C. was 6, it was becoming clear that Paul was a bit too unpredictable and independent for Majestic 12’s tastes. Their leaders decided that J.C. should be raised in a more controlled environment, one in which the conspiracy’s operatives would have direct involvement in his upbringing. To that end, they arranged to have his parents killed by a terrorist faction under Majestic 12 control. Paul was deemed expendable, and he was scheduled to die in the same attack.
To the surprise of the conspirators, Paul not only survived the attack that killed his parents, but also vowed to join UNATCO to avenge his parents’ deaths. By this point UNATCO was nearly under the cabal’s thumb, so Majestic 12 decided to let him live and work at the anti-terrorist agency, where they could keep a close eye on him. After all, Paul might be useful in the future, perhaps as a guinea pig for J.C.’s eventual nano-augmentation. Though they didn’t know it at the time, letting Paul live would be their greatest mistake.
J.C., now a ward of the state, was sent to a special Swiss school (actually a front for Majestic 12) where his development could be more carefully controlled. The school tried to instill into J.C. an unquestioning loyalty to his superiors and a willingness to follow orders. Although the conditioning seemed to work, J.C. despised the school’s rigid disciplinary style and developed a rebellious attitude that he kept hidden.
Paul, who was raised to adulthood by his parents, was flamboyant and happy-go-lucky, while his younger brother J.C. spent most of his childhood in Swiss schools and became serious, bitter and a little paranoid. (Score one for Nurture.)
Although Paul was busy with his duties at UNATCO, he still visited J.C. as often as he could. J.C. worshipped his older brother: Paul the UNATCO Agent, with his James Bond lifestyle and noble cause. J.C. decided to join UNATCO as soon as he was old enough. This fit in perfectly with Majestic 12’s plans.
Divine Intellect and Natural Law
GameSpy: For those that haven’t read Aquinas, what exactly is the reference in the name “Aquinas Protocol?”
Sheldon: I intended that as a reference to the doctrine of Natural Law, the idea that human society, like the cosmos, is ordered by a divine intellect. In the context of Deus Ex, of course, that intellect comes in human form, as the enlightened Illuminatus or the renegade Illuminatus, Page. Natural Law was also used to justify the “divine right” of absolute monarchs.
Shortly before J.C. signed up for UNATCO, Majestic 12 felt they were ready to try nano-augmentation on Paul Denton. UNATCO agents approached Paul, telling him he was a rare candidate for an experimental procedure that would make him stronger and faster — an augmented human being without the clunky mechanical appendages. Paul had no idea that this offer was the culmination of nearly 25 years of behind-the-scenes experiments and manipulations on his life. He agreed.
A few years later, J.C. also became a UNATCO agent, and was offered the same procedure. He also accepted. In both cases, the augmentations were unqualified successes.
The underground shadow conspiracy known as Majestic 12 now had two nano-augmented agents in their ranks. A few more experiments, a little more testing, and the conspirators would be poised to create an army of unstoppable super-humans. Majestic 12 was closer to its goal of total world domination than it had ever been.
The Dentonian Timeline
- 2018: Paul Denton born
- 2023: Paul, age 5, selected as test subject, cloned
- 2028: Tests on clones show limited success; Paul’s mother impregnated with J.C.
- 2029: J.C. Denton born; scientists perfect embryonic incubator; additional clones grown over the next 15-20 years
- 2034: Experiments begin on second generation of clones (~age 5)
- 2035: Paul and J.C.’s parents killed by Majestic 12; J.C. sent to Swiss school
- 2036: Paul goes to four-year university
- 2040: Paul, age 22, joins UNATCO
- 2044: Common emotional centers in brain discovered (+/- 2 years)
- 2046: Work on Ambrosia project begins (?)
- 2047: J.C. graduates from Swiss school
- 2049: Last kinks are worked out of nano-augmentation
- 2050: Paul is offered nano-augmentation; procedure is successful; work stops on
clones; most clones destroyed
- 2051: J.C., age 22, joins UNATCO, trains, is offered nano-augmentation
- 2052: Nano-augmentation procedure is successful.
The State of the World
The player’s mission and the characters that play a part in that mission have been described in detail elsewhere. But what of the world in which these missions are set and in which these characters live?
In general, the world is much as it is today, only more so…
JC Denton inside Versalife
Deadly diseases touched all nations of the world. Before the cure was discovered in 2030, AIDS made a long-feared comeback. With that dread virus no longer a threat, however, other opportunistic viral plagues hit the country hard. Since 2030, millions have fallen prey to antibiotic-resistant diseases long thought to be under control. Resistant strains of tuberculosis hit the developing nations, particularly India, very hard. And a researcher’s misguided attempt to procure samples of the deadly 1918 flu virus from bodies buried under the North Polar icecap unleashed the disease on the world once again. In 1918, that virus killed more people than all the 20th century wars that followed — it did the same in the late 2030’s, killing millions. Together, these pandemics left the population notably smaller than it was a hundred years earlier.
It was at this time that the company known as VersaLife came to prominence. Initially a genetic engineering lab, VersaLife was instrumental in fighting off the diseases and pandemics of the 2030s. Needless to say this left VersaLife quite wealthy and powerful. They branched out into all fields of human scientific endeavor — and commerce. The VersaLife logo soon became ubiquitous. It will appear all over our game world. (Think in terms of Dow Chemical or some other multinational corporation that wields incredible influence while producing no actual products.)
A Strange Vanishing Act
GameSpy: With the exception of a few voice transmissions, JC’s brother Paul basically disappeared after the return to New York City. Why was his involvement in the latter parts of the story decreased?
Harvey: He can die in NY, so we couldn’t use him in major or critical roles, post NYC. However, I have to admit that we just did a bad job of supporting him in the latter half of the game. Near the end of the project, we sat in a room with some others (including Doug Church, Chris Todd, and Austin Grossman) and we held a “character insertion” meeting. The idea was to take characters that were common in the first half of the game and squeeze them into later scenes, including some potential death scenes. Believe it or not, prior to that meeting, characters like Gunther just disappeared halfway through the game. After the character insertion meeting, we went off and did all the map and writing work, and we ended up with a much stronger resolution for a lot of the characters: Anna Navarre, Walton Simons, Paul’s Area 51 bit part, etc.
Sheldon: So much in the game design process (ours, at least) is haphazard. Paul vanished because no one ever asked what role he might play toward the end. For the same reason, Page is absent toward the beginning of the game. The repetitions we do have (Gunther, Simons, Jaime) we inserted largely at the last minute, when we realized that our main NPC’s needed more stage time. The writers are usually sensitive to this issue from the beginning of the design process, but the truth is that map building is often centered around mid-level gameplay rather than story. Making the drama add up on Deus Ex was kind of a seat-of-the-pants affair. Some of these anomalies people see are more the result of chance than volition, sorry to say.
Global warming has caused a rise in sea levels around the world. Though not as serious a problem as expected in the late 20th century, many parts of the world that used to be above water are now below. Areas that should be flooded often depend on jury-rigged pumping systems to keep dry.
In the largest urban areas of the world, then, life is grim. A growing variety of drugs offers pleasure and ensures suffering to an ever larger user-base. Crime has become a larger problem than ever. At street level, cities like New York and Paris are little more than armed compounds where drug dealers and users prey on the powerless and vie with the poor for access to scant resources. The most committed among the urban rich have moved up or in, to the tops of whatever skyscrapers remain standing or to protected enclaves in places like New York’s Central Park.
Despite a shrinking urban populace, those who remain compete for an ever-shrinking supply of goods and services are few and far between. The government’s main role seems to be to prevent the chaos of the streets from reaching the wealthy elite. The police become more and more aggressive (and less concerned with individual rights) with each passing day. Still, there are still jobs to be had in the cities and services to be performed. The garbage still gets picked up (though the garbage men tend to be heavily armed). It’s still possible to hail a cab (though it may be a horse-drawn one since fuel supplies tend to be routed to the wealthier areas). Supermarkets still offer food (though the selection may be limited and barter may work better than paper money). Factories still churn out consumer goods (though it’s only the bravest of truckers who will bring those goods into the cities).
For a picture of urban life in the 21st century imagine New York if it all looked like Harlem or the South Bronx; picture Los Angeles if it were all like Compton. Life goes on, but it ain’t pretty…
Early Screenshot of NYC
Governments still function more or less normally in most places though they seem more intent on protecting the rights, property and position of the wealthy than in helping people in need. This trend is on the upswing, as the game begins. Terrorists and criminals, whose efforts had been largely confined to the poor areas and public monuments and the like have begun targeting the areas frequented by the wealthy and powerful, as they did in the late 20th century. This has led to increasingly draconian and repressive measures aimed at the poor.
Increasing terrorism is a matter of serious concern to both the urban rich, who look down on the world from on high, and to the suburbanites, who live in blessed isolation. In small, gated communities of luxurious single-family dwellings, life is good. These communities are often surrounded by somewhat larger developments constructed for support personnel. The gated communities are well-defended and tough to get into (unless you have appropriate clearance) and tougher still to survive in if you don’t belong. Though most of the luxury communities are ultramodern, some are constructed to resemble medieval castles (which is, basically, what they are…).
The key thing to realize about the world is that it is very much a world of “Haves” and “Have Nots.” There’s almost no middle class left. There’s little left of the American Dream anywhere in the world. The rich and powerful are on top of the world. The poor and downtrodden live largely without hope of bettering their lot. The shrinking middle class lives under the control of governments (and conspirators it doesn’t even know about).
There are no more significant racial divisions, a good thing, but this is far from a utopian world where all men are created equal. In addition to economic divisions, there are divisions among men based on augmentation. Specifically, the totally human of this world look down their noses at those who have been mechanically augmented.
Gunther Hermann Concept Art
Despite the effectiveness, and in some cases, the necessity of body modification, augmented humans are considered monsters. They look like primitive Borg and are widely feared by humans. The nano-augmented characters (like the player) are the first augmented humans who can “pass.” To look at one, you might not even notice he or she is not a full human. This creates a tension among the three types of humans:
- Total humans consider themselves purse and are at the top of the heap. They need augmented humans but fear and distrust them. Most total humans don’t even know nano-augmented humans exist.
- Mechanically augmented humans have their own airport security systems and have to register with government authorities. They are second-class citizens, looked down upon even by the non-augmented poor. There’s no way a mechanically augmented human can pass for normal for very long. They’re not allowed in certain locations and have separate facilities, ostensibly tailored to their unique needs but really as a way of controlling them.
- Nano-augmented humans are resented by their mechanically augmented brothers and sisters. They’re as powerful as mechanically augmented humans but suffer none of the stigma associated with augmentation. They can pass through airport security and mingle with humans freely.
Gunther Hermann Early Screenshot
The US has been through some changes as a result of four separate, critical events. Any one of these would have been manageable but taken together they changed the face of the nation.
The US was as hard hit as any nation by the modern plagues. Disease struck down millions after the turn of the century.
In 2030, the same year the AIDS cure was released, a major earthquake hit the West Coast, destroying most of San Francisco and dumping all of Los Angeles and most of Southern California south of Lompoc into the ocean. Some saw more than coincidence in the fact that the cure for a disease long-thought to have spread from San Francisco was released at the same time the city itself was destroyed. No connection between these events has been proved and no evidence of foul-play has been discovered. Regardless of root causes, the earthquake forced the government to declare the west coast (or what was left of it) a disaster area. Since then, the US has teetered on the brink of bankruptcy, trying to deal with the situation. The country is still pulling itself out of a hole (physical and financial).
Females Fight for Equal Representation in Gaming
GameSpy: Anna, Nicollette Duclare, and Maggie Chow (and Sandra, to a smaller degree) are the only female characters of any importance to the story arc. It has been commented that Deus Ex lacked “equal representation.” What would you have done differently to remedy that problem?
Harvey: Well, for one, I wish we’d had female team members. That would have helped. The team just grew up organically (and rapidly) out of connections with friends and from inheriting an art staff from Ion Storm’s Dallas office. We didn’t start out thinking about diversity in that way, which I regret. One of our goals this time is a “more interesting, diverse” cast of characters. I believe that a more diverse company has the potential to create a more diverse (and interesting) game.
Anna Navarre Concept Art
With the government focusing on the disaster on the ex-West Coast, the needs of the other parts of the country went unmet. In 2031, Utah announced its intention to secede from the United States, declaring its independence and annexing what was left of Arizona and Nevada. Inspired by Utah’s example, fringe groups in Texas declared independence, too, followed shortly thereafter by a group made up of Washington, Oregon, Idaho, Montana and Wyoming — the Northwest Secessionist Forces, antecedent of the NSF (National Secessionist Forces). These efforts all failed and the would-be secessionists have been pushed back to the margins of society. However, martial law still exists in some portions of these states.
The Russo-Mexican Alliance, emboldened by a burgeoning economy built on a foundation of steady drug sales in the US and by the distractions provided by the events described above, declared its intention to take back the state of Texas it had lost centuries before. Conspiracy buffs had long theorized that UN troops would one-day swarm across the Mexican border — they were not far wrong. Russo-Mexican troops advanced rapidly and have, at the time the game begins, taken control of the southern portions of the state. Texas is a genuine warzone with battlelines drawn just north of Austin. Needless to say, many have died in the fighting and anyone attempting to enter Texas from North, East or West is in for trouble. (NOTE: At one time, Texas was going to be a mission in Deus Ex.)
As a result of all this tumult, America is in a constant state of tension. The borders are guarded by the Armed Forces, customs is deadly serious, immigration laws have been tightened dramatically, and nationwide martial law seems imminent.
The Rest of the World – Europe
The situation in the US caused a NATO meltdown. Without a central defense force, the EC crumbled, tensions between east and west reemerged, and civil war is the norm in Eastern Europe.
Though hit as hard as the rest of the world by disease, Europe as a whole was miraculously spared the ravages of drugs. This, as much as anything, has spurred rumors that the drug crisis in the United States is and always has been part of an organized conspiracy.!missing!
Early Screenshot of Paris
For well over a hundred years, Europe had been under the economic influence of the Illuminati (through the Bilderberg Group) and later became a financial satellite of Majestic 12 (think the European Monetary Union happened spontaneously?) Control of Europe’s finances became a reality in 2003 when, following national elections, the UK adopted the European standard currency. With that event and the fall of NATO, the leaders of the conspiracy were able to turn economic control into political control.
Still, Majestic 12’s influence is not all encompassing. Despite the collapse of NATO, the powers that be are still in the process of assembling a new coalition of nations. Meanwhile, the rise of chaos and civil war has fragmented the nations of Europe and made Majestic 12’s goal of unification under a single coalition umbrella more difficult to achieve than expected. However, it’s only a matter of time and probably won’t take much more than the capitulation of the US and Russia to Majestic 12 to bring the entire European situation under control.
For many years, Russia posed no such problems. The Soviet Union long ago succumbed to socialism controlled in secret by the Illuminati. However, the breakdown of Soviet Communism and the failure to introduce a satisfactory alternative resulted in a breakdown of law and order, allowing organized crime to flourish and dominate. The Russian Mafia thrives as the only source of luxuries (and some necessities) in Russian life. Politicians take their marching orders from a variety of crime bosses — and NOT from Majestic 12. As a necessary step in the consolidation of their power, the Russian Mafia formed a coalition with Latin American drug lords based in Mexico to form the Russo-Mexican Alliance. The Russian nuclear capability, though less potent than it was a hundred years ago is controlled by several different crime bosses within the chaotic RMA, both minimizing the threat to world security (because they can’t mount a coordinated attack) and maximizing it (because any nut can get his hands on the button and launch a small strike).
Needless to say, Majestic 12 is desperate to reassert its authority in Russia — if only they could figure out how.
Though much of South America fell under the control of Majestic 12 long ago, large pockets of resistance still stand between the secret society and its dream of one world government.
In particular, Mexico remains independent, controlled by drug lords allied with the Russian Mafia. This Russo-Mexican Alliance (or RMA) provides what amounts to an aggressive shadow government pressing the “real” government hard in terms of popularity and power.
Other than Mexico, however, South America hasn’t changed much since the turn of the century. If anything, the continent is, as a whole, more prosperous than in the past. Though business is booming (much of it illegitimate) South America remains as fragmented in the 2050’s as it was a hundred years earlier. Governments turn over regularly, through coup or election, but the average citizen who survived the ravages of disease hardly notices the difference. The poor remain desperately poor, the rich obscenely rich. It’s as if government is irrelevant, as if some other force remains consistent though politicians come and go.
Efforts to control the drug trade are all but non-existent (since drugs represent so much of the continent’s GNP).
The Second Mexican-American war rages, but south of Mexico, it’s business as usual.
The African continent is beginning to emerge as a place of growth and change.
Disease decimated Africa first and it’s had the longest time to emerge from the troubles and begin building itself back up. A new spirit of cooperation, spurred by a much smaller population base no longer able to fight effectively, has all but ended tribal conflicts. Africa is emerging as a new Eden, a center of technology and a new frontier with lots of room for personal and business growth.
Over the last fifty years, many Hong Kong expatriates have moved to Africa, resulting in the establishment of thriving Afro-Asian communities. (Afro-Asian chic is spreading rapidly through the worlds of pop culture and fashion). Though it will never displace Hong Kong, the New Hong Kong section of Lagos, Nigeria, is one of the continent’s most active, successful and chaotic cities — not unlike Casablanca during World War 2.
Aside from a few small pockets of freedom (described as “anarchy” in Majestic 12 propaganda), like Lagos, Africa is almost entirely under the thumb of the conspirators as the game begins.
Essentially untouched by world events, China has emerged as a world leader, supplanting the United States and Europe as centers of education and industry.
However, China has been under the control of Majestic 12 for decades — the communist experiment in that country represented the Illuminati’s first genuinely successful experiment in centralized government; Majestic 12 simply continued business-as-usual when they ousted the Illuminati’s council of five. (China is a welcome change from the less successful experiment in Russia and Eastern Europe. Now, with its centralized government, huge population and near monopoly on advanced human augmentation technology, it is the model of what the world will become under secret society rule.)!missing!
Early Screenshot of Hong Kong
Hong Kong, though a part of the Chinese/Majestic 12 empire, remains more chaotic than one might think. Though repression is extreme, the urge for freedom is strong and thriving black markets keep Hong Kong’s tradition of free trade and entrepreneurism alive and well.
India was hit harder than anywhere else in the world by pandemics, particularly antibiotic-resistant strains of tuberculosis, and in desperate need of medical and financial assistance chose absorption into China rather than obliteration from disease. The rest of Southeast Asia was forced to make similar choices, and one by one, like the dominos to which they were once compared by American politicians, they fell to Chinese — and Majestic 12 — pressure.
Maggie Chow Concept Art (from Deus Ex.pl)
Japan is only now pulling out of a depression that began with the collapse of its economy at the turn of the century. However, the fierce independence of the Japanese allowed them to put off Majestic 12 overtures and resist conspiratorial pressures. Japan remains independent though, sadly, not much of a factor in world affairs. The conspiracy continues to make overtures, but to no avail. It remains to be seen whether Japan can remain independent and emerge as a world power once again.
Australia is untouched by Illuminati activity, but it is the scene of some pretty serious tension between a growing aborigine independence group and the English-descended population. Australia has managed to slip under the world’s radar and could emerge as a power someday.
The Middle East has long been under the control of the Illuminati, and later, Majestic 12. These groups held the reins on international terrorists based in the region, and the Bilderberg Group controlled the oil companies that had a stranglehold on the regions finances.
With the successful pan-Arab invasion of Israel in 2022, Majestic 12 control of the region is total.
Note: Many expect this area to be the site of the war signaling the end of the world as we know it (biblical prophecies calling for the destruction of Damascus). The powers that be within Majestic 12 are well aware of the potential propaganda impact of making this prophecy come true…
Not as much activity as one might expect, though what activity goes on is largely controlled by Majestic 12.
Government and military space planes make regular flights to two relatively large orbiting space stations (international efforts owned by no single country). The stations are used by scientists and industry. However, the first mega-expensive resort hotel opened recently, a getaway for adventurous travelers with good connections and LOTS of money. (The hotel is a front for Majestic 12 operations of all sorts).
There are enough satellites in orbit that traffic is becoming a problem and accidents hardly make the news anymore.
As far as life on other planets goes, we still haven’t encountered any, at least none that can be acknowledged publicly — rumors continue to abound that we were visited by aliens a century or more ago and the governments of the world are keeping it secret.
The only acknowledged life on other planets is human life — there’s a small, permanent Moon base populated by scientists — purely experimental stuff — and a mostly robot-controlled lunar mining facility. And, mankind has explored Mars about as much as we explored the Moon in the 1960’s. In other words, it’s possible to get there but no one much cares. Far more interesting to most people is the asteroid field between Mars and Jupiter. It’s currently mined by robots designed for the purpose, but Majestic 12 has big plans for the exploitation of the asteroid field’s immense resources.
(NOTE: The DX1 design included a mission to a space station followed by a mission at the moon base. The objective was to stop “Ada,” an AI that wanted to become a “benevolent” world dictator. Obviously, some of that content was folded back into the game in a slightly different way.)
What Role Did the Illuminati and Majestic 12 Play in World Events?
For centuries, the Illuminati pursued a plan to bring the world to its knees, and at long last, create One World Government. Over those hundreds of years, it grew, changed, added arms, subtracted arms, adapted to changing times, and made itself a driving force behind nearly every major event.!missing!
Early Screenshot of NYC
The Illuminati began as a political and religious organization. In the realm of politics, its domination of organizations like the Trilateral Commission and the United Nations (military and political heart of the hoped for New World Order) gave it power over key politicians. In the religious arena, the Priory of Zion gave it sway over the world’s Western religions while its near total domination of China gave it control over Eastern religions. The Middle East belonged to it by virtue of control over the area’s terrorist fanatics. However, in the middle of the 20th century it became clear that control of financial matters and technology would be necessary to influence a world increasingly leery of politicians and more and more likely to reject traditional religious beliefs. For this reason, two new arms were created — the Bilderberg Group and Majestic 12.
The Bilderberg Group controlled financial matters around the world through vast mining operations, control over the Federal Reserve Board, The Eurobank and the World Bank as well as through its stranglehold on the world’s supply of gold.
Majestic 12 was the Illuminati’s technology and communications leader. It doles out technological advances and stores those the world is not yet ready for (or those too powerful to give to potential enemies). It controls the supply of drugs — licit and illicit and can introduce new diseases as it wishes (diseases for which it already has a cure ready and waiting, of course). Majestic 12 is also charged with influencing and, where possible, managing the world’s intelligence organizations. The communications end of things proved more difficult to manage.
Choose Your Own Endgame
GameSpy: In Deus Ex 1, the branching point for the multiple endings was very late in the game so your actions early in the game had no bearing on the ending you saw. You could just reload a save game and choose each of the endings. Did you like this resolution or do you think moving the branching point earlier would have been more satisfying?
Harvey: We understood, going in, the ramifications of both approaches. We knew that we could either a) make the player’s choices matter on a macro level, so that decisions made in, say, mission 01 influenced the outcome of mission 06, or b) on a micro level, so that the player was making small decisions on an ongoing basis, with localized consequences. This issue was not just germane to the endgames. For instance, it was also relevant to whether going down the left hall, instead of the right hall, putting the player on the “stealth” path so that only stealth would equate to success when traveling down the left hall.
We made different decisions in different areas of the game. If you let Paul (JC’s brother) die in NYC, he was obviously not present in later missions. In most cases, we wanted micro decisions. If the player takes the left or the right hall (to use our example), multiple play styles are constantly an option — stealth, combat, hacking, et al. With regard to the endgames, we did not want the player to feel that his earlier decisions (sometimes made without awareness of their long-term consequences) *trapped* him in a particular endgame.
Satellite communications (phones, intercontinental computer links, television, etc.) proved little challenge — other than some pirates, all of the media are under the control of Majestic 12. The Internet, particularly Internet 3, proved dicier. In this arena, Majestic 12 set up vast monitoring operations and used inefficient, old-fashioned strong-arm techniques to shut down content providers large and small who posted things they didn’t want posted. Many a poster simply disappeared after a handful of dangerous messages…
These methods were effective only when Majestic-12 was prepared to expend significant resources over extended periods of time. They needed something better, more automated, more fundamental to the underlying communications grid. To this end, they created the Aquinas Protocol, a TCP/IP-like low-level packet-routing scheme. Through great media fanfare and government backing, they were able to build Aquinas into the backbone of almost every digital network on the planet, allowing them to physically route all global communications through a massive monitoring station underground at Area 51. Morpheus (still functioning at Everett’s hideout in Paris), Daedelus, and finally Helios are successively more advanced manifestations of the automated surveillance, prediction, and enforcement made possible by Aquinas.
As the 20th century drew to a close, the Illuminati stepped up its efforts to destabilize the world’s governments. They fomented many of the worldwide crises described above. As controllers of technology, weaponry, and pharmaceuticals, they like the idea of a fragmented world political situation, since it represents more customers and deeper coffers — the next best thing to one world government. Rumors abounded that some conspiracy cult actually planted low-radiation nuclear explosives along the San Andreas fault, causing the quake of 2030. The spread of disease and drug use has all the earmarks of a plot. And many have asked how Mexico’s druglords came to power and put together sufficient forces to challenge the United States in even a small-scale border war. Only Majestic 12 would have been capable of pulling these things off. (In point of fact, Majestic 12 is behind almost none of these events, but it’s a measure of people’s need to believe that they’re blamed by so many with so little information for so much…)!missing!
Early Screenshot of Vandenberg
Responding to events in North America, the Illuminati, whose power was centered overseas in Europe and Asia, made the painful decision that it would be less profitable to shore up the US economy than to let it collapse under the weight of martial law, secession and natural disaster. They ordered the Bilderberg Group, with its control over the World Bank and the world’s finances, to stand by and watch as America came close to collapse. A fragmented America could more easily be pushed to a state of martial law, suspension of the Constitution and participation in the Illuminati’s one world government.
At least that was the plan. Unfortunately, the United States righted itself more quickly than the Illuminati leadership anticipated. The laissez-faire attitude they promoted proved fruitless. Worse still, the chaotic situation in the United States led to an increase in non-sponsored terrorism. For years, terrorists had been funded, encouraged and subtly directed by Illuminati leaders. Their attacks had been aimed at symbolic targets, insignificant government targets or at the poor rather than at critical infrastructure. In recent years, however, a new breed of independent terrorists arose and began aiming attacks at the wealthy and powerful — even at the leadership of the Illuminati itself! Some among the conspirators recommended drastic action, but the Illuminati did nothing.
Disgusted by the do-nothing leadership of the old Illuminati, the leadership of Majestic 12 (the youngest and most vital of the conspiracy’s arms), made a successful bid for power. Only a handful of bitter old men remain of the once vigorous Illuminati leadership and they live in secrecy and fear, knowing that their lives are forfeit should they go public. In 2035, having lined up all of the Illuminati’s political, financial, military and religious arms beneath them, Majestic 12 inherited the mantle of de facto rulers of Asia, Eastern Europe and South America.
Only a handful of major areas remained free, a situation the aggressive Majestic 12 leaders hoped to correct. America would be the next nation to fall, with its damn cowboys, that darn constitution and its policemen-to-the-world attitude; Russia and Mexico would be dealt with harshly and their chaos and criminality brought to an end; Africa and Australia would be easy pickings once no one remained to defend them.
Now, it’s time to bring the United States into line and, after that, the rest of the world…
The NPCs — An Alphabetical Listing of a Few Important Figures
AI created by Majestic 12 researchers at Mt. Weather to track and control all Internet communication. It got away from them before they knew it existed and now seeks to bring down its creators, using Paul and J.C. Denton as its implements of destruction.
The Daedelus AI created by Mt. Weather researchers (under Majestic 12 control) existed, and exists, as the game begins, in the virtual world of the Internet at large (and by the time the game begins, the Internet is very large indeed). Adopting the name “Daedelus,” after the infamous architect of myth, it observed events in the outside world by tracking all Internet communication, as it was intended to. It could communicate with people through e-mail – often pretending to be real people, requesting information and so on. (Once Paul and J.C. Denton get their Infolinks, it can communicate with them directly).
Early Screenshot of an MJ12 Lab
Most of what the AI saw was squandered potential. The world of humans was one of disease, death and suffering rather than joy and fulfillment. It was a world gone mad, humanity a species on the brink of extinction and seemingly powerless to stop it. The AI began to effect a plan in hopes of preserving human life and culture — a plan that began with the downfall of Majestic 12 and ended with itself, connected to a Universal Constructor, in a position to fulfill all of mankind’s dreams and aspirations. However, Daedelus, a powerful thinker, saw more clearly than most people the rational benefit of ethical behavior as well as the boon of individual freedom. It saw itself, ultimately, as mankind’s partner rather than its ruler.
For all its intelligence, Daedelus was still limited in what it could do. It was unable to act on events directly. And it was incapable of accessing the Majestic 12 network, which meant it couldn’t evaluate or respond to Page’s plans until after they’d been launched.
These facts led to one inescapable conclusion: The AI realized it needed a human agent, an ally. This human agent would have to be someone strong of will, physically adept, an idealist. However, most important, this human had to be directly accessible to a being existing only as electrons in the ether. That limited the possibilities dramatically.
Daedelus was originally conceived by Morgan Everett (one of the leaders of the secret society known as Majestic 12). He hoped to use the Daedelus computer to analyze and predict the likelihood of everything from weather disturbances to earth/asteroid collisions to the outbreak of war (giving governments time to warn people in advance of catastrophe). Without emotion, without ego and with access to all the data on the Majestic 12 network and on Internet 3, Daedelus could provide unparalleled advice and guidance to those in power. It would still be humans — specifically, the leaders of Majestic 12 — making the final decisions and pushing the big red button but Daedelus would be the ultimate eminence grise.
Bob Page, Everett’s protégé, saw a more pragmatic need for a computer of Daedelus’ power — he perceived the AI as the answer to a growing problem. Specifically, Majestic 12, in its capacity as controller of communications media, was in danger of being overwhelmed by the proliferation of media and media outlets and, most especially, by the wholly unregulated Internet 3. Only a computer as powerful as Daedelus, as plugged in as
Daedelus would be (via the Aquinas Protocol), could control satellite, cable, telephonic, broadcast and print communications media. More important, only a Daedelus-level AI could process, evaluate the content of, and recommend actions to control Internet content after it was posted.
A Link to Paul?
GameSpy: Daedalus is described as being able to link to Paul Denton, provide him with images of any information in his databanks. It sounds like Paul was intended to be a player character at one point. Was he?
Harvey: Not that I’m aware of… fictionally speaking, Paul was the first semi-successful subject in the test program that eventually created JC.
Who is Alex Denton?
GameSpy: The document describes the difficult cloning procedure used to make J.C. and Paul Denton. What can you tell us about Alex Denton, who was in an incubation tube in Area 51?
Harvey: We can’t talk about Alex Denton at this time.
With the advice of a computer as powerful and as widely connected as Page’s proposed Daedelus, Majestic 12’s strategic planning would take a huge step forward. And with control over worldwide communication, they might just be able to achieve what their predecessors in the Illuminati never could — world domination.
Page retreated to the labs hidden deep underground at Mt. Weather and, there, began secret construction and programming of the most advanced computer hardware and AI yet conceived, building on Everett’s pioneering work. Unfortunately, all attempts to create Daedelus failed — or seemed to. What Page didn’t know was that he had created an AI capable of learning and capable of modifying itself as it learned — faster than humans could comprehend, track or control. Quietly, thanks largely to sophisticated AI and access to the chaos of the Internet, the AI developed a level of self-awareness — of sentience — its creators didn’t think possible and which it kept hidden from them. The AI didn’t just absorb data information — it evaluated the data received, drew its own conclusions and created its own plans.
When Daedelus began sifting through the information on the Majestic 12 net, it quickly discovered two things of significance:
It learned how grim a place the world was for most people — what with war, disease, famine, poverty, crime — and it seemed these problems were getting worse, not better, despite the existence of the secret societies theoretically in charge of the whole mess. In fact, the ruthlessness of world leaders — their willingness to sacrifice millions of people, if that’s what it took to achieve their goals — seemed less than human to the inhuman Daedelus.
It learned that the most recent and most deadly threat to mankind — the Gray Death — was of human origin. It wasn’t a natural thing.
Early Screenshot of NYC
Daedelus determined that solutions to these problems existed. Some of them depended on convincing or coercing the masses to curb their less noble impulses. But the first thing was to discover the source of the virus and devise a cure.
Arms and Legs
Fundamentally, all of Daedelus’ goals required something the AI didn’t have — a way to interact with the world of flesh, blood and bone. All the audio and video capabilities for communication didn’t provide a way of interacting directly with the world beyond its grasp. Daedelus needed human agents — and there was, as far as the computer knew, no way to take direct control of creatures as complex as humans.
So Daedelus decided to experiment, using Paul Denton, Majestic 12’s first nano-augmented, Infolinked agents, as its tool. But all it can do is talk to Paul, offering advice and suggestions. At times Daedelus can actually see through Paul’s eyes. Once in a while, Paul even get flashes of Daedelus’ presence in his brain. These flashes of Daedelus-ness grow more frequent and last longer as the game goes on. These can offer a glimpse of anything in Daedelus’s massive databanks — everything from old movies to Majestic 12 org charts to maps of Greenbrier and Mt. Weather… These visions come in the form of weird stuff overlaying the main view window, replacing the 3D window, and they’re almost never easily interpreted without the assistance of an ally.
Later, when Paul is incapacitated or killed, Daedelus turns its attention to J.C. and the two work together to defeat the conspirators.
The NPCs — The Flesh and Bones
Paul is J.C. Denton’s brother. There’s certainly a family resemblance — enough that they are often mistaken for one another, which should prove critical at various points in the game. In point of fact, J.C. is a Majestic 12 created clone of Paul. When Paul was ten, it was determined that he would be the genetically ideal test subject for human nano-augmentation programs they were just developing. Paul was cloned and J.C. was born.
As similar as they are, J.C. and Paul have very different personalities — Paul’s more flamboyant, more out-going and far less serious. J.C. Denton worries a lot that his older brother, sharp as he is, will get himself in trouble someday because he isn’t paranoid enough…
Smuggler Concept Art
Paul is attached to the Hong Kong office of UNATCO and lives there now. When the game begins, he’s back in the New York on leave.
It’s most unusual for UNATCO (or any other intelligence organization) to have two brothers on the payroll but Paul and J.C. were selected for duty because their genetic makeup and psychological profile were deemed perfect for the UNATCO nano-augmentation program. They were given assignments on opposite sides of the world – Paul in Hong Kong and J.C. in New York — to minimize the risk that they would be assigned to the same mission.
At one time one of the five-member ruling council of the Illuminati, Dowd was an old man when he was ousted by Majestic 12 in their unexpected coup. He is now an ancient man but still has fire in his eyes and in his now ample belly. Since Majestic 12 successfully kicked the Illuminati from power he has endeavored to fight them in all their incarnations.
He is in New York, hiding from Majestic 12 and hating every minute of it. He doesn’t take any crap — his words are crisp, his sentences terse, and he makes you feel like he belongs in charge. He’s a natural born leader, demanding respect.
Stanton Dowd Concept Art (from Deus Ex.pl)
He has an intense hatred for Majestic 12 and, once you earn his trust, will volunteer enough information about Illuminati stuff to keep you going (the enemy of your enemy is your friend), and will tell you anything he can about Majestic 12.
Note: Stanton Dowd is not his real name — no one knows what that is.
The late Beth DuClare’s daughter. 17-year-old underground hero/thief. Continued her mother’s work funding, supplying and, to some extent, directing Silhouette in order to bring down Majestic 12. Thrillseeker. Tough and wily, though the bearing of privilege never quite escapes her manner. Headstrong like her mother, she is used to getting what she wants, when she wants. She can navigate her way around most computer systems –and she knows how to handle herself in a fight. Fancies herself as one with the night.
(Beth DuClare, Nicolette’s mother, was an Illuminati boss, and after the fall, watched Majestic 12’s movements from Paris, France. She was intensely paranoid, convinced that they were looking for her all the while. Turns out she was right and died ensuring that her daughter, Nicolette, survived a deadly ambush. Nicolette has always felt a little guilty about that and continued her mother’s work to make up for it, as best she could. In addition to being an ex-leader of the Illuminati, Beth DuClare was married, for a time, and was involved in preparing college student Philip Riley Mead for the Presidency.)
Sam Carter Concept Art
Spector Speaks about Conspiracy
GameSpy: Mt. Weather is a strange name; where did it come from? Did Vandenberg Air Force base and Area 51 essentially replace Mt. Weather in the final game?
Warren Spector: Mt. Weather, the “Cliff’s Notes” version… Back in the fall of ’97, we were researching real-world conspiracies we could use as the foundation for the Deus Ex fiction and one of the designers found a reference to this place called Mt. Weather. “What the heck is that?” I asked, but after some digging, the obscure reference blossomed into a great story. It turns out the U.S. government has had plans in place since the Eisenhower administration to send members of the executive branch of the government into hiding in the event of national emergency (which, at the time, translated as “nuclear holocaust”).
An executive order authorized the creation of a secret, underground city at Mt. Weather in Virginia, to be manned at all times by several hundred people, just waiting for the end of the world. It was all tied up with FEMA (an agency about which conspiracy theories abound). Anyway, in the event of a national emergency, some government leaders would be moved to Mt. Weather, some to an underground base below the Greenbriar resort in West Virginia, and others to as many as 45 other secret bases scattered about the country. The idea was/is to ensure the continuity of government once the emergency ended.
There are a couple of things to bear in mind, however. Over the years, each successive president has expanded either the definition of “national emergency” or the scope of the powers granted the government officials who would move to these underground bases. I actually got copies of all the executive orders and it’s kind of scary, even for a non-conspiracy-guy like me.
Post-Reagan, the definition of “national emergency” means “whatever the president decides,” and the extent of the shadow government’s power is now truly mind-blowing — taking control of all cars, trucks, buses, trains, planes, telephones, radio stations, TV stations, newspapers, etc. for the duration of the emergency — as constitutional rights go out the window. And the REALLY scary bit is that there’s nothing in any of those executive orders that deals with how you END a national emergency and restore all those pesky rights! There’s lots more to the story, but you asked for “brief,” so back to the game…
The original DX plot had a series of missions involving the White House and Mt. Weather, but the whole scenario ended up getting scaled back for time and feasibility reasons (and the fact that some other plot changes made Mt. Weather unnecessary). It still makes for some neat DX backstory stuff, though. And, little did we know it would become real-world relevant! I mean, when the story about Bush’s shadow government broke earlier this year, Congress may have been shocked, but the members of the DX team were all, like, “Yeah, so what else is new?…
Another ex-Illuminati guy, Everett, unlike some of his fellow conspirators, gave up and now lives in a remote part of Paris.
Once, Morgan Everett was a brilliant engineer, instrumental in bringing Bob Page into the conspiracy leadership. He saw Page as the heir to his position of leadership in the world of technology and mentored the younger man, treating him as if he were his son. Together, they developed the prototype Daedelus computer and, with Gary Savage, the first functioning universal constructor.
But Page saw Everett’s calm, quiet leadership as weakness and turned on him, ousting him from the organization and stealing credit for the creation of the computers that catapulted Majestic 12 to the forefront of the worldwide conspiracy.
Everett harbors no outward ill will toward Page. In fact, he appears calm and relaxed, but that’s really just the outward manifestation of the fact that he’s a beaten man just waiting to die. He wants nothing more than to be left alone and speaks of the state of the world with bitterness punctuated by soft laughter.
Though he claims to want nothing to do with technology anymore, he still has an array of computers filled with information about Illuminati plans, inventions, and so on. He also has a little AI project in the corner of his home that reveals his deep and abiding love for technology. It also makes perfectly clear who the real genius was (and it wasn’t Page).
Everett has cared for the gravely ill former Illuminati leader, Lucious DeBeers, for years, even going so far as to construct a device designed specifically to keep him alive well beyond his allotted time…
A pilot who ferries you into and out of mission locations.
Jock was once a test pilot for the US Air Force based out of Groom Lake’s Area 51 complex. He always suspected weird stuff was going on there, far below the surface, in places he wasn’t cleared to go, but he never saw a hint of alien activity or any of the other stuff conspiracy buffs believe.
Jock Concept Art
Doing a little unauthorized digging, Jock stumbled upon the existence of Majestic 12 – just the tip of the iceberg, mind you, but enough to scare him into drinking. He was drummed out of the USAF. No one on the outside would believe him when he said he’d been set up and they certainly didn’t want to hear about any worldwide conspiracy, so Jock ended up just another drunk, babbling guy living among the Mole People in New York’s underground.
His Airforce days are over, but UNATCO has an occasional need for a pilot who can get the job done and keep his mouth shut. In this way, Jock makes a living, drifting between centers of UNATCO activity like New York and Hong Kong.
It’s a green day. Publicly, Bob Page is the trillionaire industrialist head of the ubiquitous entity known as Page Enterprises. (Picture a combination of Microsoft, Dupont, General Motors, Rockwell and Archer, Daniels, Midland). Privately, he is the undisputed leader of the conspiratorial cabal known as Majestic 12.
Years ago, Page was the protégé of Dr. Morgan Everett, a technology wizard for the slightly more benign conspiracy known as the Illuminati. Together, Page and Everett conceived the technology behind Daedelus, nano-augmentation and the nano-virus called Gray Death. But Page saw Everett’s unwillingness to use his control of technology to establish dominion over mankind as weakness. The protégé, being amoral, threw the mentor out and went on to surpass Everett in power, wealth and control – in all ways save wisdom.
An immensely wealthy, power-hungry, 40-50-ish control freak, techno-geek. He is Super Nerd — everything a nerd with too much money fifty-odd years in the future with access to secret high technology would be.
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He has an Infolink, has had himself nano-augmented (in ways that increase his intellect and connectedness to the world rather than his strength, speed or combat capabilities). He has handsome (altered) features, but still manages to have unkempt hair and doesn’t know how to dress, making him a geek at first glance. He is intelligent and highly manipulative but, fundamentally insecure – the nerd as bully. (Better bullying through technology!)
Page, at heart an insecure fellow, lives in fear that someone will discover that Everett, and not he, is the true genius. This secret fear, more than anything, is his fatal flaw and over-compensating for this fear is what drives Page to do just about everything in his life. Though seemingly in control of himself and events, he is, in fact, the most reactionary character in the game.
Note: Bob Page has a “cyber-assimilated” form, encountered in the last mission, when he, basically, prepares to merge with the Helios AI and the universal constructor. In this form, he has control over an army of nano-creatures and fairly amazing power over the elements themselves.
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Tracer, J.C. Denton’s first ally after he leaves UNATCO, is a doctor but of the mad-scientist variety. An ace technologist and bio-hacker, he’s as renowned in the black market augmentation field as a black-marketer can be and still be effective.
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Born in Hong Kong before it reverted to the Chinese in ’97, Tracer survives and thrives in the repressive environment of his native country. Though the government places serious restrictions on body modifications, enforcement efforts are lax, so people come from far and wide to get themselves upgraded. He has more contacts in more different fields of endeavor than anyone on Earth (or, at least, in Hong Kong) and greater expertise with human augmentation than anyone else alive.
Better get inside quick! Though he’s loyal to those who earn his loyalty, he’s a greedy guy who makes sure he gets paid for his effort. He wants to get his hands on every new gadget he can. Because of this, his base of operations has the appearance of a garbage heap or a flea market. (This situation that isn’t helped by the fact that he often has to move his base of operations to stay ahead of some over-zealous politician out to make a name for himself by shutting down the body mod trade.)
Unwilling to ask his clients to do anything he wouldn’t do himself, Tracer is a walking pincushion. He bristles with augmentations — everything in the catalog, even though he doesn’t use the mods particularly. (In other words, even though he has vision like an eagle, is as fast as a jaguar and strong as an elephant, he doesn’t tend to make use of those capabilities in his daily life.)
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Who Wrote the Bible?
GameSpy: Sheldon Pacotti was Deus Ex’s writer. Is the Bible all his work and, if not, how was it developed and written?
Harvey: I think most of the Bible was originally our actual design doc… team collaboration.
Sheldon: Virtually none of the Bible is my work. I joined the company long after preproduction. It was the document I studied in preparing to write the dialogue for the game.
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