Eidos Montreal says Deus Ex bosses were a 'weakness'

Deus Ex: Human Revolution producer David Anfossi has admitted that the boss sequences in the Eidos Montreal-developed title were a misstep, noting: "We knew that would be a weakness for the game."

18

Deus Ex: Human Revolution producer David Anfossi has admitted that the boss sequences in the Eidos Montreal-developed title were a misstep, noting: "We knew that would be a weakness for the game."

Eidos Montreal outsourced the boss battles to crowd AI specialist Grip Entertainment; however, Anfossi says blame for the issues surrounding sequences should be put on Eidos Montreal alone.

"The problem was not the supplier, it was what we did with them," Anfossi told Edge at this week's Montreal International Game Summit "The boss fights were too much for the team to do internally in the time we had. We totally underestimated the effort to do that correctly. We had to work with an external supplier with that, but the design and everything is from the team at Eidos Montreal.

The producer went on say Eidos Montreal was forced to "make a compromise" in two ways: forcing the fights, which is "not the Deus Ex experience"; and not offering a "mix [of] solutions to tackle the boss fights," another ideal that goes against what Deus Ex is known for.

"It has been a nightmare, to be honest," Anfossi said. "We started from scratch. From recruitment to release date, it's been a nightmare."

Beyond that issue, which we stated was a hindrance to our overall enjoyable experience in the review for Deus Ex: Human Revolution, Anfossi says he is proud of the what his team was able to achieve. "It took us two years to do it," he said. "At the end I'm very proud of that, the stealth, hacking, social and combat within the game--it's well done, I think. I'm very proud of that because it's difficult to do."

If he had to do it all again, Anfossi wouldn't remove the boss sequences from Deus Ex: Human Revolution, but he says the team would do them correctly. "I'm pretty sure that now we have the knowledge to do it correctly," he added.

From The Chatty
  • reply
    November 2, 2011 4:30 PM

    Xav de Matos posted a new article, Eidos Montreal says Deus Ex bosses were a 'weakness'.

    Deus Ex: Human Revolution producer David Anfossi has admitted that the boss sequences in the Eidos Montreal-developed title were a misstep, noting: "We knew that would be a weakness for the game."

    • reply
      November 2, 2011 4:41 PM

      Yahtzee'll be happy.

    • reply
      November 2, 2011 4:45 PM

      I've got a lot of respect for these guys. They took on a hugely popular franchise and really did a fantastic job.

    • reply
      November 2, 2011 4:48 PM

      I don't quite understand all the hate, I really don't think the boss fights were all that bad. Sure they were significant changes from the gameplay leading up to and after the bosses, but the fights in and of themselves weren't impossibly hard or difficult to figure out (at least for me).

      • reply
        November 2, 2011 4:56 PM

        I agree. They weren't that bad. They can be kind of difficult, but they weren't game breaking. I don't hold it against them.

      • reply
        November 2, 2011 4:57 PM

        They weren't super hard, but they weren't fun either. And what's the point of playing a game if you are not having any fun?

      • reply
        November 2, 2011 5:02 PM

        just seemed like you had to cheese them to win, is all

      • reply
        November 2, 2011 5:15 PM

        They were jarringly out of place and not even remotely fun.

      • reply
        November 2, 2011 5:21 PM

        It's not that they were hard, it's that they were completely out of place in the game. The boss characters were all nameless deuce-bags that had no place in the story and no connection to the protagonist. They just appeared out of nowhere to fight you, for some reason. And forcing the player to kill every one of them broke the character development for people trying to play a stealthy, non-lethal hero. It's a huge flaw in the game.

      • reply
        November 2, 2011 5:23 PM

        Yeah, they were stupid but easily forgotten and only accounted for like 0.5% of play time.

      • reply
        November 2, 2011 5:47 PM

        lots of people got stuck there. also they were stupid

      • reply
        November 2, 2011 7:35 PM

        Problems arose if you invested heavily into a stealth, hacking, or diplomat builds. All of those skills were useless against bosses, except one where I hacked a turret and carried it into the boss room with me.

        • reply
          November 3, 2011 9:19 AM

          There's so much Praxis in the game and the skills trees are so relatively limited that it's pretty hard to really specialise your build without having any decent combat attributes - especially any later than the first boss.

          Even if you haven't put a single point into anything combat or defence related, the first and third boss will go down to 3 frag grenades and a single bullet in the head in less than 10 seconds.

          They were shitty from a fun perspective, but not hard to kill at all.

      • reply
        November 3, 2011 9:36 AM

        I thought all the boss battles would be along the lines of the hostage situation in the beginning, and that would have been fucking AWESOME.

        They weren't super hard to cheese, but you just spent the last 20 minutes, hacking, sneaking, fighting, tranquilizing, talking, and climbing to that point. Awesome! Your reward? A lame bullet sponge boss that can only be defeated by doing DPS to him. There's no route for being clever or actually thinking and being observant outside of, "oh yeah, a red barrel can damage this guy."

    • reply
      November 2, 2011 5:00 PM

      No fucking shit.

    • reply
      November 2, 2011 5:06 PM

      So... why not just make the boss fights into long cinematics that can be skipped? Put it in a patch as an option.

      • reply
        November 2, 2011 5:27 PM

        My post from the first boss fight, back when I played it in late September: http://www.shacknews.com/chatty?id=26790541#item_26790541

        ...and I don't think I've started DX:HR since then. I was really disappointed by having to slog through a stupid boss battle worse than the stupid boss battles in Deus Ex 1. That was a month ago.

      • reply
        November 2, 2011 5:33 PM

        that sounds like a pretty significant amount of work

        • reply
          November 2, 2011 5:45 PM

          Eh, they already start and end with cinematics. I doubt it'd be difficult technically. Though of course rendering out Square-quality cinematics for the fights wouldn't be cheap.

          • reply
            November 2, 2011 5:48 PM

            yes I meant creating a slew of new cinematics in and of itself is a ton of work, in engine or not

            • reply
              November 2, 2011 5:54 PM

              Yeah, after posting, I thought of that, and said, "crap, animation is expensive". So maybe turn it into a QTE-fest that has Jensen auto-ducking on success, but gives plenty of leeway (tuned by skill setting) to survive? The boss fight I played was something I did not feel was fun, and I'd probably have slightly less angst if it was a QTE (I know, I'm digging myself into a hole, but I feel like a QTE instead of that crapfest would be better).

              • reply
                November 2, 2011 6:06 PM

                maybe, I think it's probably just too much to fix and one of those design decisions you have to live with and hopefully learn from in the sequel. It's not like removing the boss fights at this point is going to generate a lot of new sales or make reviewers go adjust its score.

                • reply
                  November 2, 2011 6:14 PM

                  Well, it's going to be like Far Cry and Crysis, where I don't play the game past those parts unless I have a save directly after it, or have a guide to cheese through it.

                  • reply
                    November 2, 2011 6:20 PM

                    yeah, I do hate when stuff like that happens. Typically I just drop the game, too many other things to play. I've had Batman sitting here awhile but can't pull myself away from Dark Souls (which remarkably 50 hours in I have yet to get to a rage inducing quit the game point).

              • reply
                November 2, 2011 7:49 PM

                Neither of those sound particularly fun. I think I'd rather just not have bosses.

          • reply
            November 3, 2011 9:41 AM

            Oh man, I love when people not involved in game development try to estimate the amount of work vs reward/value you'd get for doing something. I probably sound like the same thing when I talk about science or politics or whatever.

            • reply
              November 3, 2011 9:55 AM

              I didn't say it would be worth it. I just said that aside from actual doing the animation it wouldn't be that technically difficult. I actually don't like the idea in the first place regardless of not liking the boss fights.

              And whereas I'm not a game developer, I am a developer by profession and do some game stuff as a hobby (currently building a canvas-based 2D engine), so I'm not approaching this from a position of absolute ignorance.

    • reply
      November 2, 2011 5:52 PM

      Judging by the Missing Link DLC, looks like they're on the right track. The end confrontation in that is handled a lot better. Still not perfect, but way more in line with the game.

      • reply
        November 2, 2011 5:56 PM

        Also, am I the only one noticed that, in this game published by Square Enix, there's a guy with a machine gun arm named Barrett? lol

        • reply
          November 2, 2011 6:02 PM

          No, you're not. And there were future Final Fantasy posters around in offices.

    • reply
      November 2, 2011 8:37 PM

      Weakness, yes. But they weren't horrible and the rest of the game was so great that it still deserves GotY consideration.

    • reply
      November 3, 2011 9:16 AM

      This says it all
      "The producer went on say Eidos Montreal was forced to "make a compromise" in two ways: forcing the fights, which is "not the Deus Ex experience"; and not offering a "mix [of] solutions to tackle the boss fights," another ideal that goes against what Deus Ex is known for."
      Boss battles found in Human Revolution have no place in Deus EX. Being forced into direct combat completely killed the use of skill points. Players are force to place points in to combat areas to survive and fundamentally change their style of play.
      They really should have cut the bosses or delayed the game and done it right the first time.
      The rest of the game was so on point with Deus EX, so the boss battles just stand out that much more.

      • reply
        November 3, 2011 9:24 AM

        Yeah, it felt like someone with decision-making power said that "MGS has great bosses so we need bosses in our game too!" DXHR was at its best when it was being a Deus Ex game.

    • reply
      November 3, 2011 9:42 AM

      I thought the first boss was really hard until I watched a tutorial and realized you can just throw barrels and gas canisters at him and kill him in like 30 seconds. He went from the hardest to the easiest once I fully understood the game's mechanics. That said, they did a bad job of teaching you how powerful throwing an explosive barrel can be.

    • reply
      November 3, 2011 10:21 AM

      That whole game is terribly overrated by steam punk nerds. I can't think of a single element that isn't done better by a handful of other games and the boss fights just suck and reveal just how little the developer really cared.

      • reply
        November 3, 2011 10:24 AM

        Steam punk nerds? More like cyberpunk. Get your sci-fi stereotypes right! That aside, there's no way you can say the art direction in the game is anything less than AAA.

      • reply
        November 3, 2011 10:26 AM

        It is a solid 7 or 8. And really, 7 and 8s are worth playing.

      • reply
        November 3, 2011 10:29 AM

        Steampunk? Oookay.

      • reply
        November 3, 2011 10:30 AM

        how little the developer really cared. hahaha holy FUCK people are fickle ass spergers