There’s a fantastic new video game called “Deus Ex: Mankind Divided.” Never heard of it? Get yourself acquainted: It’s super fresh.
The big sell point of “Deus Ex” is being able to play the game however you want. It’s a first-person shooter! And a stealth game! And a story-driven thriller! And and and!
Marketing aside, the game delivers on this promise over and over. In fact, the very first option you have in the game is beautiful emblematic of how seriously the game delivers on its promise. Behold:
Looks like a typical difficulty selection screen, right? It’s so much more than that. Above, you can see I’m choosing the “Give me a challenge” setting. The description notes that it’s “how the game is meant to be played.” And hey, who am I to fight the game’s creators on how to play the game they made?
Anyway. What’s more important here is that the other options are more than the simple, “Easy / Medium / Hard / Expert.” Not only does that tell you nothing, but it’s belittling.
Instead, the game’s developers at Eidos Montreal offered “Give me a story” and “Give me Deus Ex.” And those are important choices, because they offer two meaningful layers of accessibility to two entirely different groups of people. Did you know that 50% of American adults play video games? Yet, only one in 10 of that group identify as “gamers.” That’s according to the Pew Research Center’s December 2015 “Gaming and Gamers” report.
Here’s a handy (short!) video with the tentpole data points:
For many adults, spending 40 hours carefully sneaking through each level in “Mankind Divided” is impossible. Between work and family life and chores and whatever else, that kind of time is in short supply. Giving those players — the majority of players — an option to simply experience the story and maybe, actually, hopefully finish the game is a brilliant move.
On the flipside, for those of you who want the game “as it’s meant to be played,” there’s an option for that. Or maybe you want it to be as hard as you remember the original games being? That’s what “Give me Deus Ex” is for. Everyone wins!
“Deus Ex: Mankind Divided” is out now on Xbox One, PlayStation 4, and PC.