Humanity Struggles With Augmentation Addiction in Mind-Blowing Deus Ex Trailer

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Deus Ex Human Revolution featureHoly Crap, this thing is awesome. Straight from Comic Con comes one of the most amazing and enthralling video game trailers I've ever seen. It's sixteen years in the future, 2027, and the world is in love with human augmentation. Synthetic limbs, improved brains, and all forms of integrated technology are on the market, but they come with a hefty price tag: chemical addiction, poverty, and possible enslavement. That's the reality of Deus Ex: Human Revolution, and its latest trailer, titled "Purity First", makes it seem as true as the news we see every night on TV. Check out the video below. I'm more than impressed with the world and presentation of Deus Ex, I'm practically giddy over it. Yet I can't help but wonder, why are we so convinced that future technology will be humanity's downfall?

Damn but that was a great ride, wasn't it? I absolutely love how they use hyper-realistic news-like footage. All the little tropes we've come to expect - the distorted voices and concealed identities, the commentary from experts, the slick propaganda - are blended together so seamlessly. Absolutely great. And it doesn't stop with this trailer, mind you. Eidos Montreal, the creators of Deus Ex: Human Revolution, has created a faux website for the primary corporation in the game, Sarif Industries. You have to check it out just to experience how trippy it is. On every angle, Eidos has applied some brilliantly immersive story-telling techniques to build our anticipation for this game.

I just wish it had a better message about the future. You've heard me sing this tune before when I reviewed the last (almost equally awesome) trailer for Deus Ex. The effort put into this game is phenomenal, but the pessimism is a little much for me to let pass unchallenged. Human augmentation is just a new form of enslavement? C'mon. Last time I checked, the real world scientists and companies creating artificial eyes and limbs were much more concerned with helping people than turning them into drug-addicted minions.

Meh, maybe great story-telling needs its villains. I wish they didn't have to be tech-enthusiasts like myself, but what are ya gonna do? Fear of the future is practically an entertainment industry standard. You keep turning me off with your hate for transhumanism, but I can't stay mad at you, Deus Ex. ...You're just too damn pretty.

[screen capture and video credits: Eidos Montreal]
[source: Deus Ex]

Discussion — 13 Responses

  • Joe Nickence July 30, 2011 on 7:13 am

    Using a parallel argument: steroids. Athletes have been abusing them for years. Outside of the current use as prosthetics, the first use as every day enhancements will go to athletes as suggested in the trailer. But the majority are going to behave themselves. I proudly hold up Amiee Mullins as an example. So the anarchy suggested in the game just ain’t gonna happen!

    • nalkin Joe Nickence July 30, 2011 on 2:34 pm

      One might argue that the predictions of technology enthusiasts on how a specific important technology will impact society and transform in 15, 10 or even 5 years from first adoption has proven little better than wild guessing so far…
      I think we’ll be better off admitting that we have no clue how this amazing emerging tehnology will transform life on this earth.

  • Leonardo Nunes Ricucci July 30, 2011 on 7:31 am

    I think that all the pessimism in the game itself its just for the sake of a good storyline. The dystopian future presented in Deus ex is nothing more than a stage for the characters and the plot.My guess is that the team behind this game are really in favor of human augmentation, because of the giant amount of detail put into every aspect of that specific topic inside the game. Their “hate” or “fear” for this technology may only be a facade of the developer team to have some conflict in the storyline and continue with the overaal story arch of the Deus Ex Franchise.

  • Neurosys July 30, 2011 on 8:16 am

    As far as dystopian plots go, that was actually pretty tame.

    I actually expected a bit more from Deus Ex.
    Aside from the bad acting, I did like the style of the trailer.

    I’m buying this game either way, The first Deus Ex as a kid was a religious experience for me. Can’t wait to see how it looks now that we have real computers 😛

  • droon July 30, 2011 on 1:42 pm

    science fiction is fiction and follows the rules of fiction! great adversity must be overcome. Classic (greek) story lines (greed, ambition vs uncorruptible heroes and non-conformism) , driven by know human tribulations (sport doping, drug addiction, drugged soldiers) are augmented and covered in future sauce (android sport doping, android drug addiction, drugged android soldiers)

    If this game were portraying a much more perfect society aligned with what the author dreams/hopes/expects post-man to be like, they you can bet on it that at the end of the story the portrayed perfect society just ends up being a big mind control conspiracy or something.

    That’s why most singularity sci-fi is dystopian, it just works better as a story, you need big problems or it’s boring to watch. Post-scarcity and hence post-war post-crime society? Boring. Whatever problems post-singularity peeps will have are impossible to predict and might be nothing we can relate to. Hard turn that into a blockbuster or a big game..

    • Khannea Suntzu droon August 6, 2011 on 3:38 pm

      Our current world would be more dystopian SF than utopian to people from anywhere in the last decades, century or centuries. While some have it ludicrously better most live quite horrific lives.

  • Chrontius July 30, 2011 on 8:34 pm

    Never underestimate the ability of the average American to get themselves into financial trouble, I suppose, is the moral of this story. When you’re buying body parts and can’t afford the maintenance, you really should put together some kind of “plan B”.

    I don’t think it’s the enhancements themselves that are giving the world of DX fits, I think it’s the same old story of getting in over your head, living beyond (or barely at) your means and giving no thought at all to what happens if your means change.

  • LutherianX July 31, 2011 on 1:53 am

    It is times like these that I want to get up and slap every Transhumanist across the face – hard. I’ve been a Transhmanist since 1997 and we need to take a serious look at our selves. (Max More – please come back)

    Transhumanism is about plotting a course for human enhancement by use of technology in such a manner that pitfalls are avoided and benefits are gained for all.
    This is achieved through hard debate about ethical and human rights issues.

    The true transhmanist relies on logical, critical mindset.
    The current mind-set of “Technology is always good and will save us all” is the same type of [email protected] that I hear from the religious nuts “God will save us all … all I have to do is sit on my fat ass and talk about how great it is going to be”

    There are real risks, and NO the Singularity is not just going to make everything great and cool. It’s going to take ACTIVE PARTICIPATION AND HARD DECISIONS.

    Get it right people – the bigger the prize, the bigger the risk.

  • losthobbit July 31, 2011 on 4:27 am

    Firstly, adversity is required for a story.

    But that is not the only reason, because this is exactly how capitalism works. We will not be inventing artificial limbs in order to help starving children in Africa. We’ll be doing it to make money. Because of that only the rich people will be able to afford them. There will then be advertisements, making people feel bad about their human limbs, because human limbs cannot make money for these corporations.

    Imagine the singularity, a point in time where machines could do any job that humans could do. In the money system only rich people and corporations would have access to these machines, and everyone else will have to work (if they’re qualified enough to work). This would be the essential system so that people can try to repay their debts.

    The alternative, is that the money system gets scrapped, everyone gets their own robot, and we live as equals, without being forced to work.

    As technology progresses we will need to move to a resource based economy as defined by the Venus Project, or we’re just screwing up our planet.

    • LutherianX losthobbit July 31, 2011 on 6:14 am

      Yes, the point is that technology is driven by market forces. Example, Scientist Kosta Grammatis can’t get $150,000 raised to provide free / low cost internet for Africa by buying an unused Sattelite, but Cartoonishly simplistic rhyme reciter Soulja Boy gets $55 MILLION for rapping about hookers, crack, booze and how hard life is for a brother.

      We know Communism doesn’t work, but let’s face it, neither does Capitalism if we want to get where we need to be.

      Perhaps Charles Stross in his book Accelerando has the right idea – a market based on scarcity is not the way.
      A Hybrid Capital-Socialist infrastructure?

      Charles Stross – Accelerando –

      Kosta Grammatis – Free Internet for Africa

  • wildzbill July 31, 2011 on 7:07 am

    SciFi serves a very useful function. It dramatizes bad choices, so we are entertained by the drama instead of having to live through it.
    Society avoids dramatic choices when possible.

  • Khannea Suntzu August 6, 2011 on 3:35 pm

    Game design as a narrative vehicle of what this is all about. The point is clear – game designers SEE the endemic corruption and exploitation and predation in our curreht society and extrapolating this trend forward is becoming easier and easier. But the heroin demagogues at SingU stay singing the same old happy tune ‘all will be well, all will be well’.