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Video: How Deus Ex: HR balanced authorial control and player choice

Deus Ex: Human Revolution writer Mary DeMarle explains how Eidos Montreal created a game that offers meaningful choice within the context of an authored narrative.

September 4, 2012

2 Min Read

[Note: To access chapter selection, click the fullscreen button or check out the video on the GDC Vault website] At first glance, the pitch for Eidos Montreal's Deus Ex: Human Revolution is somewhat of a paradox. It's a game that offers a rich, pre-defined narrative, but also allows players to choose how the experience plays out. As writer Mary DeMarle tells it, it wasn't easy to offer meaningful choices within an authored storyline. At last year's Game Narrative Summit at GDC Online, DeMarle explained how Eidos Montreal walked the line between player autonomy and authorial control, and created a game that found a satisfying middle ground between these two seemingly dissonant ideas. As the game's narrative designer, DeMarle played a major role in blending story with gameplay. Unlike a typical game writer, who writes in isolation from the development team, she stayed on board throughout much of the development cycle to ensure that her writing supported the choices and options that remained crucial to the game's design. "My job, in the narrative design position, is to collaborate with [the lead game designer] to know and understand the game direction," she said. "Then you have to create a story that's going to fulfill the needs of that game direction." During Human Revolution's inception, the team at Eidos Montreal came up with a unique blueprint that helped keep track of its complex narrative and its myriad player choices. To see for yourself how that process guided development, check out the above video, courtesy of the GDC Vault. Simply click the Play button above to start the video.

About the GDC Vault

In addition to all of this free content, the GDC Vault also offers more than 300 additional lecture videos and hundreds of slide collections from GDC 2012 for GDC Vault subscribers. GDC 2012 All Access pass holders already have full access to GDC Vault, and interested parties can apply for the individual subscription Beta via a GDC Vault inquiry form. Group subscriptions are also available: game-related schools and development studios who sign up for GDC Vault Studio Subscriptions can receive access for their entire office or company. More information on this option is available via an online demonstration, and interested parties can send an email to Gillian Crowley. In addition, current subscribers with access issues can contact GDC Vault admins. Be sure to keep an eye on GDC Vault for even more free content, as GDC organizers will also archive videos, audio, and slides from upcoming 2012 events like GDC Europe, GDC Online, and GDC China. To stay abreast of all the latest updates to GDC Vault, be sure to check out the news feed on the official GDC website, or subscribe to updates via Twitter, Facebook, or RSS.

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