Human Revolution Game Director: Boss Fights Were "exactly what we asked for."
In his review of Deus Ex: Human Revolution, Rock Paper Shotgun’s John Walker recognized that the game’s controversial boss fights were not just a nuisance, but a mystery. “Feeling as though they were programmed by another team, from another planet, they absolutely, unequivocally do not fit in this game. They’re the sort of inclusion that you can only think, ‘I can’t wait until enough time has passed that the developers will feel able to tell the miserable story of why this happened.’
The story seemed to be revealing itself when we learned that that the boss battles were designed by another team. “Aha!” we could say. “It wasn’t Eidos Montreal’s fault at all! They really are as brilliant as the rest of the game would suggest!”
Perhaps unsurprisingly, it’s not that simple. In an interview with G4, game director Jean-Francoise Dugas confirms that while the boss fights were outsourced to one G.R.I.P Entertainment, they were designed to Eidos Montreal’s specifications.
“Grip did an excellent job with us for the mandate they had, they did exactly what we asked for, and so the only people responsible for the boss fights are us internally,” explained Dugas. “The thing is we couldn’t make them with the vision we had first, and when we realized that, we were so far along in the development process that cutting them totally would have created other problems elsewhere in the storyline which would have created more damage to the experience. We decided to support them, even though they were more combat oriented – the goal was that at least they will be somewhat entertaining, and we won’t make them frustrating.”
So there you have it. Eidos Montreal was wholly aware that the boss fights were not consistent with the rest of game’s design or its vision. He noted that in the original design, boss fights “were meant to be like the rest of the game, where you have different choices – you can be stealthy, you can be lethal or non-lethal, you can be combat oriented.” Yet as so often happens, the team underestimated the time it would take to implement their design plan, and nuanced boss fights – along with extra city-hubs, weapons, and augmentations – were what got cut. Why exactly this decision was made so late in the design process, or why they weren’t able to complete it despite a four-year development cycle, remains to be seen.
Source: G4TV, “Deus Ex: Human Revolution – The Story Behind the Game”