Square Enix has released a brand new cinematic trailer introducing us to the world of Deus Ex: Human Revolution.
The trailer, which you can watch below, and from which we've captured a large number of still images, introduces us to Adam Jensen and the world of 2027.
Events in the game take place 25 years before the original Deus Ex, so biomechanical augmentations are all the rage with nanotechnological updates still some way off.
The game is set across five metropolises including Detroit, Shanghai and Montreal - home in the present day to developer Eidos Montreal, of course - and will be released for PC, PS3 and Xbox 360 in early 2011.
Given the series' background and fanatical support, we also used this week's trailer as an opportunity to speak to game director Jean-Francois Dugas, who talked us through some of the imagery and provided more context.
Check out the full interview beneath the trailer, and look forward to extensive coverage of the game next week when we report on our trip to Eidos Montreal to see it in action and speak to the developers ahead of E3.
Eurogamer: The initial Icarus dream sequence is pretty evocative given the trailer's theme - and indeed the game's subtitle. What can you tell us about the Renaissance contrast and the Human Revolution?
Jean-Francois Dugas: The beginning of the video is Adam's dream. In the world of Deus Ex: Human Revolution, society has mixed Renaissance elements with archetypical Cyberpunk stereotypes and the Icarus myth weaves its way through the story of the game.
The Icarus myth dealt with Icarus being given wings to fly. But the wings were made of wax and he was perhaps not ready for such a gift; so in his haste, he flew too close to the sun which melted his wings and he fell to earth and his death.
This story parallels our Deus Ex universe where mankind is using mechanical augmentations but there is still much to be determined in terms of their effect on society and the ultimate direction it will lead us in.
The progress of technology and the advent of mechanical augmentations has offered mankind many exciting new possibilities but also many dangerous ones as well. In Deus Ex: Human Revolution, humanity will come to a tipping point where Adam Jensen will have to decide the path our society takes.
It's a time of wonderful advancements but also much unrest as the general public, governments, and corporations all struggle to come to terms with the new possibilities.
Eurogamer: Adam Jensen himself looks pretty sharp - can you talk a little about the thinking behind the character design there?
Jean-Francois Dugas: The main character is Adam Jensen, the character you play throughout the game. Adam is a security specialist who has been handpicked to oversee the defensive needs of one of America's most experimental biotechnology firms. Adam has a rich back-story and will soon become one of the key ingredients in a vast global conspiracy.
Adam is nearly killed and must become augmented to save his life. In the world of Deus Ex: Human Revolution, mechanical augmentations are commonplace and can take the form of everything from microchips implanted in the brain to fully replacing limbs.
In Adam's case, he has a host of new augmentations received from a generous donor, some of which are military-grade.
The circumstances of Adam being critically wounded, and the impetus for his life-saving operation, are suspect. Is becoming augmented something Adam was ready for? Or wanted at all? And who supplied him with his military-grade augmentations?
In terms of his design, obviously we look to the first game and JC Denton but also archetypical cyberpunk movies like Blade Runner. We wanted to bring the sunglasses back which didn't appear in the second game and the trench coat of course is a must!
Our designs have a Renaissance flair to them so you see some interesting designs and patterns that just help to make things more interesting with great levels of detail. We think we've created a very interesting and iconic character.
Eurogamer: What can you tell us about the city in the trailer?
Jean-Francois Dugas: One of the cities is Adam's hometown Detroit, USA, which is also the home to one of the world's largest and most powerful biotechnology firms. It is one of many locations across the globe that Adam's search will lead him to during the game, and we also feature Shanghai, which is kind of the "Silicon Valley" of mechanical augmentation companies in our game.
Eurogamer: Can you tell us a little bit about the biomechanical augmentations we see there? The cloak, mind control, punching through walls...
Jean-Francois Dugas: We can't go into specifics but those are all augmentations that players will have access to in the game. Players are able to customise Adam depending on their play style, with numerous different augmentations with various levels of upgrades. The mind control you mention actually isn't Adam doing thatů it's someone else!
Eurogamer: The combat looks stylish and frantic - can you talk a little about the encounters we're seeing there and how else they might look based on player choice?
Jean-Francois Dugas: On top of first-person shooting with a variety of weapons and upgrades, Deus Ex: Human Revolution features aggressive takedowns where the camera pulls back from first- to third-person in order to see the damage done.
We have tons of different takedowns, from lethal to non-lethal, and the outcome changes depending on what angle, or how many, of enemies you are attacking, in addition to the various levels of upgrades.
In the first two games, due to the nature of nano augmentations, you really couldn't see your character change as you upgraded them, but with our mechanical augmentations, and with our contextual third person camera, during combat you will really get to see some of your more brutal augmentations in action.
Eurogamer: We get to see Adam kicking back with a drink and a cigarette at one point - is that his apartment? Can you elaborate on what we're seeing there?
Jean-Francois Dugas: As mentioned, at that point in the video Adam has been nearly killed and he is resting at home just days after his operation. Adam's apartment is located in Detroit and it's a location players will visit throughout the game.
Eurogamer: Adam says he doesn't even know whose side he's on. Can that ambiguity be persistent, or will players end up taking sides?
Jean-Francois Dugas: The ambiguity will be consistent right up until the end of the game where the player, as Adam Jensen, will have to make a choice.
That's a good question and something that's really important to our design philosophy - we never want to tell the player how to feel or what decisions to make. Instead, we want to lay things out there for them and have them make their own decisions based off who they are or what they play style is.
During the game, you will meet tonnes of different people with their own agendas and you're never really sure who you can trust.
Eurogamer: There has been some scepticism about the underlying game technology based on the use of Crystal Engine (from Tomb Raider studio Crystal Dynamics), but the trailer suggests we shouldn't be worried... How's the game shaping up technically?
Jean-Francois Dugas: I don't know where that skepticism is coming from because things are looking great! We did start with that tech as a base, and it was great for us because it was very mature, but over the past two plus years we've made so many modifications to it and enhanced it that it's almost completely different now.
That being said, our game is not driven by the technology but mainly by the art direction needs, and we think people will love it.
Eurogamer: How was the trailer put together? Square Enix' Japanese studios are obviously very keen on this kind of thing - were you able to draw on their experience?
Jean-Francois Dugas: The Deus Ex: Human Revolution CGI is a joint venture between Eidos Montreal, Square Enix's Visual Works in Tokyo, and a creative company called Goldtooth Creative in Vancouver.
Initially, Goldtooth Creative created a concept pitch based off the game itself, which had to be approved before Visual Works started building the video.
It was a long process with international travel and daily communication and conference calls across the globe, but it was a fantastic partnership that everyone really enjoyed and we think the results speak for themselves!
The Visual Works team is the industry's best at creating these kinds of videos so from a technical point of view, there was never any doubt that they would deliver something spectacular.
Combined with the direction of the people at Goldtooth Creative, we were able to merge Visual Works' expertise with our Western designs and storytelling and it worked out spectacularly in the end.
Eurogamer: You're aiming for "early 2011" which may come as a surprise to some people - was that always the plan?
Jean-Francois Dugas: The plan was always "when it's done"! A Deus Ex game is huge and complicated to make, so we were never going to rush it.
We knew we had to do it right, and at this point, we're happy with the 2011 date!
Deus Ex: Human Revolution is due out for PC, PS3 and Xbox 360 in early 2011.