Deus Ex: Mankind Divided producer talks VR

Chris Stead 31 August 2016


It’s been a hit with critics, but will Eidos bring Deus Ex to the virtual reality revolution?

Interviews must be annoying if you’re a developer working on a standard triple-A video game for the PS4, Xbox One and PC – a developer like Eidos Montreal, for example, which just released Deus Ex: Mankind Divided to positive reviews. Everyone just keeps asking about your plans for virtual reality and for the Nintendo Switch. And so it was with when we interviewed Olivier Proulx, the producer of Mankind Divided. Thankfully, on the topic of virtual reality, he did have something interesting to say about a Deus Ex VR experience the studio has been tinkering with:

Mankind Divided is a first-person game starring an augmented hero, which is a ripe premise for some virtual reality: was there much discussion around VR during the game’s development and where did that discussion go?

I think every developer is at least curious about VR so yeah, sometimes we do talk about it. But we never thought about just slapping this game on VR. Just the technical requirements to run this thing at 60fps on two displays would be completely insane. You would need a great rig. Though, as we were working on the PC version and thinking about how we can showcase some of the detailed environments we build, we thought, “hey, why not just see what happens if you have a great rig and you put the player in a virtual reality environment.” Maybe in Jensen's apartment, or in other cool locations that we've developed in the game.
We were going to support that little VR demo with the benchmarking tool for PC, which is really cool. It is super-immersive when you put the VR goggles on and you are in Jensen's apartment. But beyond that, we were focused on just building the game for consoles - for the platform that it's meant to be on. I think that, for VR, it's going to go where the content will take it, and I think that it's not about just putting a triple-A game there - I think we'll have to have content that's adapted to that platform.

Like what EA has done with the X-Wing VR spin-off from Star Wars Battlefront?

I think that's the right approach. To really craft experiences that makes sense for the VR experience.

Our take

It would appear there is a wait-and-see approach for many developers when it comes to virtual reality, but there is also clearly a desire to experiment with the platform in some way. Given that Eidos has successful brought spin-offs for Deus Ex, Hitman and Tomb Raider to mobile by honing in on the strengths of mobile platforms, we could read a little more into Proulx’s comments about bespoke VR appearances. Deus Ex: Mankind Divided in VR sounds unlikely, but a spin-off experience that is made bespoke for VR could definitely be on the cards for 2017.

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