Last week, Tomb Raider came back to the big screen with a full reboot of the film franchise. In collaboration with Square Enix and based on the 2013 video game, Tomb Raider stars Alicia Vikander in what will solidify a new age of Lara Croft. Both the film and game franchises will have been fully rebooted with a new reinvigorated energy that Square Enix will only continue to improve and deliver on. On top of the film release, the rebooted game franchise has just announced its latest Lara Croft adventure with Shadow of the Tomb Raider.
Square Enix has received critical acclaim for their new Tomb Raider franchise. But this isn’t the only franchise that they have rebooted for the modern age. In honor of the new film reboot, USC Games takes a look at the hit reboot franchises of Square Enix and the success each has received.
In 2011, Square Enix published a reboot for the Deus Ex series titled Human Revolution, developed by their Canadian development team, Eidos Montréal. In Deus Ex: Human Revolution, players are no longer in the role of JC Denton, but instead in the shoes of a recently augmented, ex-SWAT officer named Adam Jensen. The game takes place in the years before the original 2000 game as a prequel and explores transhumanism in a cyberpunk world where megacorporations are growing in strength in classic fashion. Deus Ex: Human Revolution revitalized the franchise by placing you in the heat of a cultural revolution where augmentations are becoming more common and society is dealing with the ramifications.
The motif of conspiracy and subject matter of social class in the face of rich global conglomerates are central cyberpunk staples that are exuded by the narrative. In this story, Jensen is forced to confront the ethics and motivations behind transhumanism. However, thanks to the incredible freedom of play in the game, the player themselves has to face these issues as well, which are based on real-world possibilities. The script for Deus Ex: Human Revolution was written by narrative designer Mary DeMarle, and a small team of writers who heavily researched modern conspiracy theory, biotechnology, and transhumanistic research. Even the powerful CEO figures of the game were developed based on understandings of current powerful figures such as Howard Hughes, Richard Branson, and Bill Gates.
The narrative wasn’t the only part of the game inspired by outside influences either. Gameplay and visual references were heavily influenced by both novels, films, and contemporary games such as Dune, X-Men, and Grand Theft Auto. The reboot’s art design introduced elements of Renaissance style and color, such as the now-trademark gold and black color scheme. It combined these new inspirations with the dystopian style of the original game to create a new style that is notably and distinctly Deus Ex.
The game received widespread critical acclaim with common scores of 9/10 or higher. The game was lauded for not only its gameplay, but its fusion of narrative into the design, with dialogue, character interactions, and story all highly praised. The game would go on to sell nearly 1 million units over the course of its first week at retail. According to the developer, this was around 26,000 units from surpassing the lifetime sales of the previous game, Invisible War. In addition, the sequel, Deus Ex: Mankind Divided, expanded on the world-building and side mission design of the first game to critical acclaim.
As said yesterday in our piece on Thief, according to Square Enix’s CEO Yosuke Matsuda, they would love to continue all the properties they currently have hold of, but with limited resources, certain IPs take the backseat for a while. Since the team at Crystal Dynamics is currently working on a Marvel-sponsored Avengers project, the Montréal team behind the Deus Ex reboot has been shifted onto the Tomb Raider sequel, Shadow of the Tomb Raider. USC Games is certain that Deus Ex will return and can’t wait to jump into the cybernetic world once again.
That’s it for our coverage of Square Enix and their rebooted titles. In case you missed it, we covered:
- Tomb Raider, and the return of Lara Croft
- Hitman, and its experimental episodic model
- Tokyo RPG Factory, and the revival of classic JRPG
- Thief, and the antihero Garrett
We hope you have enjoyed our coverage of these great titles. And look forward to our coverage of Square Enix’s next great titles, Octopath Traveler and Kingdom Hearts 3 later this year!