The cyberpunk future is always bleak. But if in Cyberpunk 2077 we observe the situation from the very bottom, and all our efforts allow us to see only part of the truth, then in Deus Ex (2000 release on F95Zone), we play at a completely different level. We uncover conspiracies, participate in them and even meet with puppeteers who pull strings.
The future has come, 2052. But little has changed. Poverty continues to flourish. The situation has deteriorated so much that beggars have begun to organize entire societies in subway tunnels, and on the streets, there are as many of them as rats. The few breakthroughs that science has made be it walking robots or cybernetic implants, are available to only a small percentage of the population.
A person has less and less freedom. Every year corporations stifle small businesses more and more. At the time of the game, only two percent of the self-employed remained, and corporations began to pay five percent of the federal tax. This is very little, considering that in 1945 they paid all fifty. This is direct evidence that the government’s grip is weakening, giving more strength to late capitalism.
With fewer restrictions, and in some cases, complete freedom of action, corporations began to devour each other until the most powerful remained. With fewer competitors, they no longer need to worry about competition. Now it is possible to sell goods at a price unaffordable for most of the population, enriching itself at the expense of the still solvent population and plunging more and more people into debt.
But what to do with popular opinion? It is not a problem at all! During the power struggle, news channels also fell under corporate control. If you want to stay afloat, then you have to say what the new owner wants. Otherwise, you will either not receive funding, or you will be destroyed. As a result, corporations decide what they will talk about on TV.
The most recent method of population control is an outbreak of a virus called “Gray Death” that has spread across the planet. And the only way to stop the virus is with the Ambrosia vaccine. Only the “useful” members of society receive the vaccine, be they scientists, the military, or politicians. And they’ll have to submit to the supplier if they don’t want to die.
With no future, no opportunity to work, or to speak out, desperate people form criminal organizations, which is the ideal precondition for behind-the-scenes masters. There is a terrorist attack. The people are in a panic. The news channel is sucking all the juice out of the situation. The owner of a news channel gets money, power, and the ability to make political decisions. Taxpayers’ money goes to create anti-terrorist organizations that are more interested in doing the will of their master, which leads to the emergence of new terrorists. It’s a cursed circle where the rich get richer, and the poor get poorer.
One such terrorist organization, the NSF, successfully captures several containers of Ambrosia and then occupies the remains of the Statue of Liberty (which was destroyed by another terrorist organization, which led to the creation of UNATCO). Considering that the UNATCO base and Best grenade spots dust 2is located on Liberty Island, which specializes in the fight against terrorists, this was either an unusually brave act or outright idiocy. It’s like going to the police station to steal donuts!
On the other side of the barricades, some want to gain complete control without revealing themselves. The most interesting of these are the Illuminati. They want to guide humanity out of the shadows, to shape it. There is Majestic 12, the secret government. For them, people are just cattle. They are the ones behind the Gray Death epidemic. Some Triads are trying to destroy the Internet, rolling back science several hundred years ago. Then humanity will certainly follow a different path! At least they think so.
To fight the opposition, brute force is also needed! Loyal dogs of true rulers receive upgrades in cyber implants, prostheses and high-tech equipment that elevate them above ordinary people. And fanatical loyalty to the cause and fear of destruction gives them meaning in life. After all, the more improvements they have, the fewer remains of a person.
Gunther Hermann and Anna Navarre can be considered striking examples. HuniePop 2, whose implants become obsolete with each passing year. They will go to great lengths to satisfy the bosses and get an upgrade. Otherwise, they will be thrown into the trash or left to perform the most insignificant tasks. But this does not deprive them of their humanity.
Gunther, for example, although he killed a huge number of people for the glory of his masters, retained a peculiar concept of honor and dignity, remaining a warrior to the very end. He will be very surprised if the battle with him drags on. And when using the deactivating phrase “Laputin machine” (a reference to the Laput people who know the theory very well, but in practice, they cannot put together anything worthwhile – the masters of Herman are thinking about their servant), he will say: “I am not a machine like [pii_email_aef67573025b785e8ee2]…”.
Cyberpunk 2077 and Deus Ex, although they are cyberpunk, are hopelessly far from each other. In Cyberpunk 2077, we play as Vee. It is nobody, one in millions. V’s most important achievement can be considered the theft of a flash drive with a punk rocker inside. After that, Johnny Silverhand becomes the most important person. But he is only a pawn against the background of global events and does not change anything.
In Deus Ex, we play JC Denton, aka “millions of taxpayer dollars poured down the toilet.” Compared to ordinary people and even outdated agents, he is a superior being. Condescending to the common people, helping them in troubles, stealing modest belongings, all paths are available to him because he is the arbiter of destinies. He can change something globally!
It must always be remembered that ordinary people are a resource for fulfilling ambitions. As a soldier spends cartridges in battle, the powerful of this world cynically dispose of human destinies in the power struggle.
Deus Ex is a game with many layers. On the one hand, it is addictive gameplay that gives incredible freedom of action for 2000. On the other hand, we travel worldwide, talking with people whose dialogues are perfectly written. It seems that we are communicating with a living person who has his dreams and problems. And finally, the third layer. The conspiracies of government and corporations that lead uncomfortably close to real-life problems make Deus Ex stand out from other games.