Interview by Wesley Yin-Poole. Introduction by Martin Robinson.
You're dropped in a prison cell, stripped of all your powers and with escape your aim. We've been here countless times before, but Deus Ex: Human Revolution's substantial add-on performs an effective trick; this time it's challenging, engaging and far from a chore.
The Missing Link dumps Adam Jensen in the hold of a Belltower boat on its way to Singapore, set some way into Human Revolution's own plot and plugging one of its plot holes.
If it's an awkwardly attached appendage to Jensen's tale, the game itself at least fits comfortably within Human Revolution's blend of action. With no abilities or weapons at the outset there's a razor-sharp focus on stealth, and it's a focus that's well served by the ship's sprawling corridors.
Narrow walkways are interlinked with vents and, of course, boxes, ensuring that while stealth is the only option it can at least be approached from multiple directions.
It does open up eventually; a little while into the demo, which presents a mere slice of the five-hour running time claimed for The Missing Link, you're presented with a hunk of Praxis Points. These allow you to experiment with augmentations that can take your Jensen in a vastly different direction than the one that's served you in the main game.
There's more to the game than the steel and oak of the ship's interior: a trip to the upper deck shows off some of the steps forward Eidos Montreal has made with Human Revolution's engine, with rain lashing the deck in a scene that's reminiscent of Metal Gear Solid 2's stunning introduction. We caught up with Eidos Montreal's Marce-Andre Dufort to tell us more. (MR)
Eurogamer: What exactly are we getting with this DLC?
Marce-Andre Dufort: You will get some technical improvements. We reworked the post-process, shaders, lighting and stuff like that, since we weren't really happy with what we had on the core game. We worked a lot on that. It is about five hours long, give or take.
Eurogamer: How have you improved the visuals?
Marce-Andre Dufort: It's mostly the contrast. The objects are more defined and it's a bit less flat.
Eurogamer: Why weren't you happy with some of the aspects of the visuals?
Marce-Andre Dufort: We had to take some decisions going forward to deliver the full game, so we took some notes and decided to maybe keep that for later. We just wanted to improve.
Eurogamer: Just how improved are the visuals?
Marce-Andre Dufort: Since the lighting was the biggest thing we needed to improve, this was what we worked the most on. The art direction is pretty much the same because Jonathan [Jacques-Belletête, art director] was working with us. The whole design is, in my opinion, better because we learnt a lot working on Human Revolution. We used that experience to build the levels on The Missing Link.
Eurogamer: What makes them better?
Marce-Andre Dufort: The layout and multi-path and stuff like that is better because... I don't really know how to explain that, but the fun factor is even better going through the level because of the layout and the story we tell with the environment. All of that has been improved.
Eurogamer: Have any improvements been made to character faces and animations?
Marce-Andre Dufort: We worked a lot on the facial animation for the cut-scenes. It was an area we identified as something we needed to work on for the DLC.