Art director Jonathan Jacques-Belletete says he had to consider the art influences of previous games, but felt that ultimately, a fully-realized world trumped being beholden to tradition. "We thought, let's do our homework about where things are going to be in 30 years and base our stuff on that," he said. "At that point, whether it matches or doesn't match 100% with the first game, we didn't care about that much. Not in a disrespectful way, but because a lot of the tech in the first Deus Ex is outdated now; a lot of the televisions are still 4:3 ratio and already our world looks more futuristic than the first Deus Ex."
The decision was also cleared by the series' original mastermind. "I remember talking with Warren Spector about this (he hasn't worked on the game at all, not even as a consultant, I've just bumped into him), and even he said, 'hey, maybe we just visited the really gritty places of the world in the first one and all the stuff you've done was already extant, it's just not where the player went.'"
Jacques-Belletete says he took design influence from contemporary architecture in locations like Japan and Scandinavia, and tried to mix baroque and renaissance design elements with the general cyberpunk aesthetic. He also suggests that it's more interesting to insert surprising design elements, like original abstract sculpture, rather than reproducing an environment exactly as it would appear in real life.
Check out the full video below for a nice look at the design elements as they've turned out in Human Revolution. Plus you get to see more of the game in action, and that's never a bad thing.