Last week at New York Comic Con, Square-Enix was one of the major gaming presences in the city. Among the previews and demos they offered was the upcoming Deus Ex: Mankind Divided. Mankind Divided picks up where the story left off, with our favorite augmented human Adam Jensen rocking a few new upgrades from past titles in the series. I will say this – the game looks really good, and adds a new formula for gameplay that makes this the most attractive entry into the series yet.
Eidos Montreal has the player reprise the role of Jensen, following the Aug Incident of 2027, when a malicious signal broadcast by Hugh Darrow to all augmented humans caused them to glitch and go insane, forcing them to violently attack anyone around them. After the death of millions, augmented humans (Augs) are viewed worldwide as a threat to humanity, forcing Augs underground into slums and squalor, while Aug manufacturers shut down around them. This environment – that of repressed Augs in a Apartheid-style world of forced segregation – is where the game begins.
Jensen is still working as a covert operative, whose job it is to help find the people responsible for the events of Deus Ex: Human Revolution. While the series has been known to offer players some choice in gameplay, the options in the new title go beyond that, giving the player complete control over how they want Jensen to act, and thus augmenting how the story unfolds.With his various new upgrades, Jensen can be played a number of different ways. As this is a Deus Ex game, the combat option is there, allowing the player to progress through the game through running, gunning, and dispatching their foes with extreme prejudice. There’s also a non-lethal option, giving players the opportunity to progress through levels without killing – for example choosing to knock someone out with a takedown after sneaking up on them instead of a ferocious aug-based attack. Also available is the ability to stealth through the entire game, forgoing violence altogether and focusing instead on not being seen. This might be a great plus for gamers who love stealth games like Thief Assassin’s Creed.
Of course, then there’s the tech! Jensen’s new upgrades would make any IT department on earth jealous (mine included). New skills include the Icarus Dash and Icarus Ram, some of the skills that are helpful in a non-lethal play option. The coolest upgrade, in my opinion, is the Titan Shield. This baller-as-hell aug upgrade lets Jensen encase himself in a sweet shield, rendering him impervious to damage as he handles business. Also visually probably one of the most satisfying things from the demos.
Mankind Divided also provides an upgraded hacking system as well as smart vision, allowing Jensen to see loot that would normally not be seen by the player’s naked eyes.
But there’s a bit more to it than that. Even though this was a big demo at NYCC, I recall a conversation I had with Stéphane Roy, Executive Producer on the project back at E3 this summer about some major themes in the game. I asked him about some of the details of this separatist society portrayed in the game evoking player emotions, and whether or not there was any social commentary involved in that aspect. His response:
“It’s complex. It’s complex because we work on that type of details for guys like you, you know? We want to make sure that if you play and pay attention you will notice all these small things and you’re going to start really being in this universe. Nothing is black and white in real life so we want to make sure that the subtleties are around you and you truly believe in this. So it’s a lot of work for us because if we decide to change something here there are ripple effects and it could mean that we have to change something in this mission by changing something here. So it’s demanding for the team, but at the same time at the end when everything is like this, I really want to suck you into the story and you’re trapped. And to be able to do that, we have to have this kind of details.”
He went on with some more commentary on choice in games:
“We want to make sure that choices and consequences are really important. I want to make sure when you’re faced with choice, it won’t be easy. ‘What should I do? Who am I? What are my values?’ So like you just said because you saw this guy and think it’s unfair, when it will be time to make a decision, I guarantee it’s going to affect your judgement, and I think this is where the richness of the product will flourish. You can see it.”
Mankind Divided so far looks like way more than than just a shooter or an action game. Eidos Montreal has really used the medium to try to deliver something that’s more than pure basic fun. Want to see what we did at the last couple of shows? Check out the gameplay trailer below complete with commentary.
Look for Deus Ex: Mankind Divided to release on February 23, 2016.
Imagine, if you will, a small peaceful town in Vermont, land of the Bed & Breakfast. Now mash it up with werewolves and a neon-clad savior intent on stopping them. Now envision that whole strange and twisted scenario in the hands of Adult Swim. That is Neon Joe, Werewolf Hunter, and it’s coming soon to a television near you.
This past week at New York Comic Con I got the chance to talk to some of the folks that are a part of this project to see more on what this show is all about. The show stars Jon Glaser (you know him from Parks and Recreation, Girls, and Delocated) as the titular Neon Joe, who makes it his life’s work to battle lycanthropy in this tiny B&B-laden Vermont town. Also featured are Scott Adsit(30 Rock, Big Hero 6) as a colorful local who wants to be Joe’s BFF and Stephanie March (Law & Order: SVU) who plays, in her words, the “randy lesbian mayor” of the town.
The show was recorded as “the craziest miniseries of all time,” being chunked into five 30 minute episodes with a continuous storyline, which is a bit of a departure from the deliciously random 15 minute episodes on Adult Swim that we’re used to enjoying. “It’s just like Roots,” Adsit joked about the miniseries format. “With werewolves, definitely no vampires, we can be very specific about that” March added.
But the real fun is how the show even came to be in the first place.
“I was on Jimmy Fallon’s show I think it was 3 years ago maybe to promote the finale of Delocated, another show I made for Adult Swim,” said star and creator Jon Glaser. “And I wanted to do something just dumb to amuse myself for the segment and not have a straight interview, so I took the two articles of clothing that I own and that I use for live comedy shows in New York, one of which was a neon yellow hoodie and a knit cap from American Apparel and another of which was a pair of Coors Light sweatpants. And I just paired them arbitrarily and went on the show and I just said ‘I’m really sad Delocated is over but I’m really excited about my new project it’s called Neon Joe,Werewolf Hunter and I’m dressed as the character right now. And that’s really all we have right now but we’re excited to kind of figure out the rest.’ And that was 100% made up, it was a fake idea. It was not a real idea for a TV show I had, and I kinda thought at the time I could see Adult Swim knowing it’s a joke and saying it still sounds funny, could that be a show? And I said sure, and that’s what happened. So we had a meeting and they said why don’t you write a pilot and see if it’s something.”
Yes kids. This show was born from an arbitrary joke Jon Glaser made to Jimmy Fallon. That joke became a meeting, that meeting led to a character, and now we’ll be able to see the final product on Adult Swim.
“It’s really treated like a super dramatic show – it’s a stupid comedy” he said about Neon Joe.
That one joke and idea with a crazy set of characters was enough to draw a great cast of actors for the project, all of whom were trying pretty hard to tell us things without really telling us too much of the plot. Within a twenty minute timeframe, the show was described as being an epic miniseries with tones of Don Quixote and a little bit of Batman. “I would say it’s about our hero’s epic journey to himself. To return to himself as we follow his plights and his struggles” was what Stephanie March could tell us about the character of Neon Joe. As for the plot, “By the end you will know definitively whether there’s werewolves in this universe or not” from Scott Adsit.
“It’s Glaser sensibilities,” Adsit said about the show’s humor, “and Glaser is a brilliant original voice in comedy as far as I can see. Everything filters through him and he’s so incredibly funny in this role he’s created for himself. It’s really really a pleasure just to be on the set and watch him work through this script that’s really funny, and he’s really good at it.”
I also got to speak with Steve Cirbus (Delocated, Gotham) and Steve Little (The Heart She Holler, Adventure Time, Eastbound and Down), who play the town’s sheriff and janitor. The sheriff has almost a buddy cop relation with Neon Joe, with Cirbus agreeing with me (one sec while I praise my own ballerdom) that their relationship is akin to Commissioner Gordon and Batman. Steve Little had his own fun story on why he joined the cast:
“I had a good time on The Heart, She Holler, then I got an email about this and then I forwarded it to my manager because sometimes like you get something called Neon Joe, Werewolf Hunter and you don’t know how to even process that. And then my manager was like ‘Oh! I love this!’ – you know, a testament to her.” He’d never worked with Glaser before so he wanted a second opinion, watched Delocated and jumped in.
Do yourselves a favor and watch this amazing trailer from Adult Swim:
Neon Joe, Werewolf Hunter starts on December 7 and will play one episode per night through the 11th at midnight. Seeing a cast that has this much fun together with a plot as wonderfully twisted as this is, I can’t wait to start watching.
Our Sub Cultured team is gearing up for New York Comic-Con, and we want you to join us in a more interactive kind of game — an NYCC Instagram challenge! It’s like a scavenger hunt meets photography. Take a photo that falls under one of the prompts, post it to Instagram, and use the hashtag #NYCCSC to join in!
Want to play along but worried you wont remember all the prompts? Easy! This image is conveniently square, so save and upload this photo to Instagram to serve as your handy dandy reference guide — and encourage others to take photos, too! Make sure you caption your photos with #NYCCSC, and don’t feel bad if you miss one of the prompts. There’s so much to do at NYCC and we want to make sure you remember it! Happy hunting!
Recent #NYCCSC Posts!
For some of us, ReedPOP’s New York Comic Con is like Christmas: there’s jolly folks you only get to see once a year, everyone is in a festive spirit, and there are scores of gifts to purchase (mainly for ourselves!). It’s an absolute blast for those craving a huge convention akin to the geek Mecca that is San Diego Comic Con, but much more comic oriented. This convention is an immersive and inclusive experience that aims to bring the energy, passion and color of the entire universe of popular culture to every corner of NYC.
This year boasts big names from Marvel and DC, including writers Amy Reeder, Scott Snyder, and artists Marjorie Liu, and Humberto Ramos, among many more, even manga creator Masashi Kishimoto in his first trip to the USA (Naruto). Topping our list are also creators Brian K. Vaughan (Saga, We Stand Guard, and new work Paper Girls), Annie Wu (Black Canary), Charles Soule (basically everything at Marvel) and Marguerite Bennett (Bombshells, and basically is writing amazing things at every publisher).
If you’re not interested in the floppy, stapled pages of comics, there’s still tons for you to enjoy, such as panels ranging from screenings of upcoming shows, to the round table fun with the cast of Once Upon A Time, to what you can expect in the coming year from Funimation, Capcom, and more!
Maybe your tastes run more toward the art of cosplay? No worries, you have the chance to be among a sea of fellow cosplayers, and show off the long hours put into the labor of love that is cosplay. Just make sure to find us so we can take your photo!!
Lastly, who can forget the stars lovingly sitting behind tables signing each of their fan’s loved items? NYCC is bringing an armful of our favorite stars and there’s also a huge roster of voice actors from your favorite cartoons, and in some cases, actors who hit you right in the nostalgia.
NYCC rolls into the Jacob K. Javits Convention Center on October 8th and runs until October 11th. Grab your tickets while you still can, from the official convention website or get your buns to the downtown Midtown Comics location to buy tickets while they still have them! We hope to see you in New York, and if you’re so inclined, join in our fun with our upcoming NYCC Instagram challenge!