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



  1. Tyler Clark

    There would have been no negative consequences if they cut the boss fights. They offered nothing to the game, at all. Hell, most can’t even remember the character’s names.

    • I suspect what Dugas is referring to is simple continuity, like the bosses already appearing in cutscenes and recorded dialog, and that they couldn’t go and remake/re-record all that with the time they had left. You’re absolutely right that they aren’t important to the story or gameplay, but if they literally just yanked the fights and left everything else there would have been a number of head-scratching temporal holes, akin to the one they engineered in for The Missing Link.

  2. David

    You mean fights that, for all illusion of character choice, screw you up the asshole into your spine if you don’t have a stun gun (or another equally non-skill-based method of combat)?

  3. Fernando Cordeiro

    The answer why that decision was taken late into the development process is already familiar with anyone who managed a project before: you can’t predict everything. Good projects are the ones where early activities are done in advance because you can be sure that extra time will be consumed in the later parts of the project. Shit happens and soon, that time window you thought was enough to develop something isn’t. Run out of margin for error and you have to make a choice, delay, adapt to the circumstances or alter the original design.

    Delaying will be faced with pressure from the publisher, who needs to get the money invested ASAP – just like any company would like the money paid for a consulting service to start generating income. Altering the original design might put the whole project into risk.

    • Vagrant

      That is a very intelligent respond and I agree fully. As a man majoring marketing, its understandable why the bosses seem so out of place. Their decision was the correct one. They are sour notes in a visual and practical symphony, nothing more. Deus Ex Human Revolution still exceeded my expectations and they offer a bit of redemption for such choice with their DLC. Who knows, this might be wishful thinking, but they might be able to patch said boss fights with choice, as unlikely as it is.

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