Ion Storm's Lost Deus Ex Sequels

Joe Martin, who has specialized in the subject in the last couple of years, has penned an editorial on the work (conceptual and otherwise) done on potential Deus Ex threequels from Ion Storm, which include a "Deus Ex: Insurrection" led by ex-Valve Art Min, which was going to be a prequel to the original title and aimed to recapture its more or less grounded atmosphere, but was ultimately canceled after Warren Spector left the company.

Interestingly, the game was also going to feature a home base that sounds similar to the safehouses in Obsidian's Alpha Protocol, and seemingly reverted many of the least liked design decisions made for Deus Ex: Invisible War:

Positioned as the fourth Deus Ex game due to the then-on-going development of Deus Ex: Clan Wars (later released separately as Project Snowblind), Insurrection used the same engine as Invisible War but distanced itself from its mistakes. Internal documents claim a focus on larger levels and less dialogue as testament to this, alongside mentions of StarCraft: Ghost as a key influence.

More telling than the wider ambitions however are more concretely designed features, some of which later showed up in games inspired by Deus Ex, such as 2010's Alpha Protocol.

"The player... has a home base where he can store gear, re-equip and heal between missions," explains a concept document. "[The home base] is many things: briefing room, rendezvous point, clinic, armoury, moral-compass story space and bridge between missions."

Similar to UNATCO's HQ in the original Deus Ex and the safehouse from Alpha Protocol, the home base would provide a place to explore story through recruitable allies. These allies would align themselves to Insurrection's main factions and respond appropriately - making it difficult to recruit certain combinations or make some choices.

"[In Insurrection] the player builds an elite team that evolves its own personality over time. Will you hire the ace hacker or weapons specialist? Can you trust the gung-ho marine you recruited in New York now you're taking orders from the EU? No one on your team trusts the Chinese nanotech expert - do you fire him or stay the course?"

While the concept document paints an intriguing sketch, it's ultimately unrealised. Drafted in February 2004 and littered with Warren Spector's annotations - one of which tantalisingly just asks 'Online?' - the notes shortly preceded Insurrection's abandonment.

"We had about 12-18 months to go [and] a team of 10-12 when we stopped," says Min, now an executive producer at Rumble Studios. "We had prototypes of new AI behaviour and concept art... I don't recall, but I think we had decided to go back to non-universal ammo too."

"Insurrection came to an end because Warren Spector left Ion Storm. I left shortly after Warren [and] a year later we founded Junction Point Studios together."

Some of the other concepts include another take on the prequel storyline with dynamic storyline systems set in an open world New Orleans, and a number of storyline proposals for games set in various points of the universe's timeline that never went farther. Overall, I highly recommend you read the full editorial, if you are a fan of the series or even just the original title.