Deus Ex Could Have Been a Totally Different Game

Freelance writer Joe Martin has studied the development history of the original Deus Ex extensively and recently wrote of the original pitch for the game for Trusted Reviews. As it turns out, the game he originally envisioned and pitched to Origin Systems was a very different beast, with a similar focus on multiple solutions and tactical depth, but none of the focus on conspiracy theories and RPG systems.

It's a really good piece, and if you're a fan of the game you'd be doing yourself a disservice by not reading it, so I'll try to keep my quote as brief and to the point as possible:

"Troubleshooter is a mission-orientated action simulation with no huge plot," says Spector's original pitch to Origin Systems. "Just get in and get out of each mission... None of this 100 hours to finish the game and get your reward stuff. Like a flight sim, but it's you, on the ground, with a gun."

While Troubleshooter wouldn't have had a similar plot to Deus Ex, it did share a counter-terrorist premise. The difference is that, where Deus Ex cast you as a super-spy with artificial enhancements and a mission to save the world, Troubleshooter was grounded in the real world.

"You're an ex-cop turned security specialist," says Spector. "That just means you get all the dirty jobs no one else has the guts to do. When the government or police or business can't handle a problem, they call you. Bomb threat? You get to check it out. Hijackers threaten to take over a plane? You end up on board."

Spector's two-page pitch for Troubleshooter even plans a simple gameplay loop for these scenarios, each of which was intended to take just 10-30 minutes to complete as a standalone mission.