Deus Ex: Mankind Divided won't end with a button
In a video interview with GamesRadar (embedded below), Mary DeMarle, the Narrative Director for Deus Ex: Mankind Divided revealed details about what players can expect from the from the game's ending. For those of you who have played through Deus Ex: Human Revolution, you are no doubt aware the game ended with a button press. This was a decision that clashed completely against the open-ended nature of the game's design fundamentals, though to be fair, every game in the series has ended this same way.
The famous Ralph Waldo Emerson quote, "Life is a journey, not a destination" is a tenant that a lot of narratively oriented games appear to adhere to, but to assume that developers don't care about their game's endings would be presumptuous. This is especially true for the Deus Ex series. DeMarle acknowledges that creating the ending to Human Revolution was a bit difficult in the sense that the team wanted something that tied everything together in a satisfying way that was also unexpected while making it concrete from a canonical perspective.
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However, the decision wasn't made because someone thought that a button would be more impactful on the player than an ending that was formed from the multitude of decisions along the way. Of course the narrative team at Eidos Montreal wanted each player's ending to feel unique and earned (duh), but according to DeMarle, the rigors of game development took their toll with time becoming a major factor. Ultimately the team had to settle for the ending that shipped with the game.
For Human Revolution we actually didn’t want [the ending to be dictated by] a press of a button, [but we had to] for production reasons and timeline and schedule. We actually wanted to have the player do things, and we believed that if you really believed in your ending you’d have to work for it.
For Mankind Divided, the team is aiming to address this weakness and given the fact that the game isn't starting over from scratch like it's predecessor did, there would seem to be a lot more time for ironing out the things that didn't work.
If the team succeeds, Mankind Divided could very well be the ultimate Deus Ex game that long time series fans were hoping for from Human Revolution. Stay tuned.
Quick take: Endings can be a messy business since no matter what you do, you are never going to please everybody. Mass Effect 3's ending was notorious for how it so blatantly disregarded everything you had done up to that point, that it likely left a sour taste in the mouths of many gamers. I'm not going to stake my hopes and dreams on it, but if Mankind Divided can somehow pull off the "earned ending" rather than settling for a planned one, the game could prove to be very special.