The answer is maybe.
Square Enix is turning attention to developing Marvel games, a new Tomb Raider, and other AAA titles. That leaves Deus Ex on the back burner. Not to say it isn’t being worked on, but it is not going be getting the same level of attention. This means fans will potentially have another 5 year wait before the new game in this series will arrive. So that leaves fans ( including me) to speculate about the future of the series and what could occur.
I returned to the Deus Ex world when playing the last DLC pack for Mankind Divided. Returning to the story after learning about the wait that was come started my thought process. Mankind Divided itself is the sequel to Human Revolution. I found it to be a more polish game in terms of game-play and story pacing. The addition of new augmentations and diving deeper into the conspiracies while in a whole new part of the world. Would that be enough going forward? To keep players invested and engaged it seems like something needs to change to rattle the series. One of the first potential routes that came to mind, a new protagonist.
This is nothing against Adam Jensen. He is a great character. The internal and physical conflict of his distaste of augmentations, then having his life saved by them and forced to live with them. His sense of justice despite committing multiple felonies. I enjoy his character a lot. But there are limits to what can be done with him.
First, he cannot reasonably obtain any more augmentations. Knocking him out another time to hot-wire new augs into his system would seem repetitive of the series and all around stupid. There is also no way I see Jensen willingly and seeking out the addition of more augmentations. He never originally wanted the ones that he has. Sure he’ll do the maintenance on those, but adding more would go against his character. That means no more new toys for players to work with. The current base of Jensen’s augments is solid and varied for different play-styles. But staying the same could become stale compared to the expanding technology of the rest of the world.
To add a symbolic reasoning to Jensen’s fall from our leading protagonist, Icarus. The Icarus I am referring to is the Greek Mythology character. Icarus was given wings made by his father. He was given the warning to not flying to high for the wax that held the wing’s feathers together would melt. Or too low as the feathers would get wet with sea-water. Icarus forgot the warnings and eventually flew too high, the wax melted, his wings destroyed and he fell into the sea. There are plenty of connections and visual imagery for Jensen’s being connected to this figure. Images and cut-scenes give the depiction of Jensen having wings. Him falling into the water, with the sun’s light making wings through the glare and reflection. Including that one of Jensen’s augments is dubbed, Icarus Landing. The augment that allows the negation of fall damage. This added imagery suggests that Jensen will eventually fall, possibly before being able to take down the organization he’s been hunting.
As for a new character being introduced. It would not have to happen right away. To cut off Jensen’s story at Mankind Divided would be an unfitting and unsatisfying end to his character and progress. There are two ways I see a new potential protagonist being integrated. The first option would be including them in the next title. Jensen would still be the lead for players, but providing the introduction for another. They could be working with Jaggurant Collective having been on separate missions from Jensen and maybe needing Jensen’s help for a mission.
The more jarring route for fans would be having the new character as the immediate lead of a title. Adam Jensen would still be going around in the world, but to mix things up players have another character to play as- with. This potentially giving a new view of the world. Jensen’s cop background and current standing with TF29 gives him more legal permissions. Even with the world wary of Augmented he gets by with his connections that keep him out of police custody. What about another character who is just a good hacker? Or the reverse of Jensen? Someone connected to gangs and illegal groups, even covertly inside under the Illuminati control to see how they work.
Not to say adding in a new character would be a simple task. A large part of Jensen’s speciality comes him not needing the drug neuropozyne to keep his body from rejecting the Augments he has obtained. Jensen is a rare case, as in there are no other known individuals that have been spoken of. Should Jensen’s next mission dive into his past and the origins of the added augmentations then maybe that would lead him to learning about others. It might not involve tracking them down, but would be the catalyst for the introducing other characters that could stand against the Illuminati.
Ultimately the case is the Deus Ex games need something to shake things up for future game titles. A new lead character would give that to the series. Setting them within the same world and goal as Jensen, but with a different past and path of completing that goal. Their world so far is strong and the continued focus to a larger enemy would keep a central focus to the series. Adding in another lead character could go work in expanding the world and adding more diversity to the small number of significant cast.
What else could be changed? Share your ideas on what could to be done to expand the series.