Eidos is newly free of Square Enix, as per their recent sale to Embracer Group along with Crystal Dynamics. But while we know at least three things Crystal Dynamics has been working on, Avengers content, helping Microsoft with Perfect Dark and a new Unreal Engine 5 Tomb Raider game, it’s been less clear where Eidos goes from here.
Though we’ve heard they’re going to also work on Unreal Engine 5 projects, IPs like Thief and Legacy of Kain were brought up when the sale happened. But according to journalist/insider Jeff Grubb, they may want to turn their attention immediately back to Deus Ex.
“It’s early,” says Grubb on a Giant Bomb podcast. “The rumbling I’ve heard is that the studio wants to immediately get into Deus Ex. They want to get right back into that. They want to challenge – they want to do what Cyberpunk 2077 couldn’t, and stuff like that. That’s the word going around. We’ll see if that happens. It’s so early, like what that will turn into. But there was no possibility for that conversation to begin under the current Square Enix, right?”
As you may recall, Deus Ex: Human Revolution was released in 2013 to great acclaim (it was definitely my GOTY back then), and then it had a follow-up in the form of Mankind Divided in 2016. That wasn’t quite as well received as it felt a bit unfinished and smaller scale, and it seemed like there was a third part of that trilogy that very much needed to be completed. But because of Square Enix’s disappointment with the trajectory of the franchise’s performance, that’s not what happened. Eidos went on to work on Avengers with Crystal Dynamics and later did Guardians of the Galaxy.
Now, under Embracer, it seems like there are far more options on the table, including a return to Deus Ex. What is not clear from what Grubb is saying here is whether or not this would be the third game in the Adam Jensen trilogy, or something entirely new.
I can understand wanting to go after Cyberpunk 2077, which seems like it would be a different path, possibly with larger, more open zones and custom player characters. Cyberpunk sold an astonishing amount of copies initially, but the game was sunk over the longer term by bad buzz and boatloads of bugs that took a year plus to fix. The idea here is the Eidos already has this brilliantly realized world of Deus Ex to draw on, so what if they made their own Cyberpunk that didn’t screw up everything at launch?
I’d certainly be on board for that idea, and as much as I liked Adam Jensen an the first game, it probably would make more sense to move on from the format of the last two games and build something new, bigger and more customizable within the Deus Ex world. That said, making something of that scale is obviously an enormously tall order, and even if Embracer is more open to new ideas than Square Enix was, I wonder if they’d agree going this ambitious with this franchise would be the right call.
Again, even Grubb is just saying this is “early interest” so absolutely nothing concrete is in place here, and we could very well see them pick another franchise instead. But my vote is certainly for Deus Ex, both in terms of how much I like that world and those games, and how much potential I can also see that Cyberpunk left on the table.
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