Game on for Dubai
Dubai-based gamers who have bought the recently-released Deus Ex: Mankind Divided will be more than familiar with the opening level.
The game, which is set in the near future and depicts the struggles of physically augmented people to fit into society, opens with a team of soldiers leaping from an airplane above the Burj Khalifa to infiltrate a terrorist cell before they strike.
Most of the action takes place a few hundred metres from the world’s tallest building, on a luxury hotel complex that was abandoned long before completion – fictional, of course.
Jean Francois Dugas, Executive Game Director at developers Eidos Montreal in Canada, spoke to 7DAYS about the project and how they brought Dubai to pixelated life. He said: “We did look at Google Maps, reference pictures, etc.
“We didn’t necessarily try to match everything as is but emulate the feeling of being there.
“We were supposed to visit Dubai early on in the project but, due to the nature of how we’d use the city in the game, background landscape, it wouldn’t have been the best financial decision to send a team there.”
He said this was the first time that the acclaimed studio, which also produces the Tomb Raider series, has depicted Dubai in one of its games. “It was a first, for me at least. Deus Ex is all about exploring global conspiracies,” he added.
“Therefore, our goal is to make the player travel in various places in the world and not always to the same typical well-known places. “We try to mix things up and bring the player with us in adventures to familiar and not so familiar places.”
One of the key features to the Dubai level is a sandstorm that takes place towards the end.
“Every city has its own challenge,” he said.
“For Dubai, we had to think about sand which was not the case with Prague, or Detroit in the last game.
“So, we thought about how to use sand in an interesting way. This is how the sandstorm was born.
“We made sure to make it play a part in the scenario of the level.”
Dugas said that he hopes the game meets the approval of residents in Dubai.
“I hope you enjoyed the game and that the Dubai level looked credible enough for players from there,” he said. “All we want is to be faithful to the places we visit.”
‘Every city has its own challenges. For Dubai we had to think about sand.’ – Jean Fancois Dugas