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Before the release Deus Ex, there were features that were removed from the final product. These changes range from deleted vehicles and player skins to the removal of entire characters and mission strands.
The initial idea of Deus Ex was originated by Warren Spector in 1994 while he was working for Origin Systems. His original conception of what would become Deus Ex was entitled Troubleshooter. After finishing development of System Shock, Spector had tired of straight fantasy and science fiction and he "got obsessed with this sort of millennial weirdness" leading to the conspiracy-focused storyline for the game. He stated in April 2007 to PC Zone magazine:
- I was a huge believer in the 'immersive simulation' game style, exemplified by games like Ultima Underworld, and I wanted to push the limits of that sort of game further. But I could never get the project off the ground at Origin or, later, at Looking Glass. (I think it was lack of interest at Origin/EA and it was mostly a lack of money at LG!) But then John Romero and Ion Storm came along and said, 'Make the game of your dreams. No limits.' It took me about two nanoseconds to say 'Yes!'
The title "Deus Ex" is derived from the Latin expression deus ex machina, literally meaning "god out of the machine". It is used in drama and literature to describe an outside force that suddenly solves the seemingly unsolvable problem(s) the characters face in an extremely unlikely or impossible way. Warren Spector, executive producer for Deus Ex, has stated the name was both meant as a reference to the various factions in the game who aspire to god-like powers, as well as a dig at the typical video game plot, which tends to be laden with "deus ex machina" artifices and other poor script writing techniques. The meaning of the "JC" initials in the protagonist's codename, JC Denton, is unclear and never referenced in the story. Harvey Smith, lead designer for Deus Ex, has stated that originally JC was supposed to be a descendant of Jesus Christ. However, Warren Spector has said the name "JC" was chosen for its unisex qualities when the developers were still planning to let the player choose the gender of the main character. This feature was later implemented into the game's first sequel, Deus Ex: Invisible War, where the player plays as 'Alex D' who can be either male or female. During sections of the game where the New York skyline is visible in the background, the two towers of the World Trade Center are noticeably missing; the real towers were destroyed a year after the game was released. Harvey Smith has explained that due to texture memory limitations, the portion of the skyline with the twin towers exists in the game's data files but had to be left out of the final game, with the other half mirrored in place of it. According to Smith, during the game's development, the developers justified the lack of the towers by stating that terrorists had destroyed the World Trade Center earlier in the game's storyline. Warren Spector however states "I wish we could say that we did it on purpose and we were sort of seeing the future. But it was actually just a mistake. The artist who did the skybox just uh, left them out. And it sort of worked out in an unfortunate way." There was also a forth ending planned in Area 51 which involved JC siding with Bob Page, who offers him a major continent in exchange for letting him merge with the Helios AI, but this was scrapped due to time constraints.
Originally 25 missions were planned in 16 localizations.
- Hong Kong
- Tokio - Disneyland (underwater)
- New York City - Liberty Island, Manhattan, Central Park, Belvedere Castle
- Washington - White House, intended to be the location of the final battle with Walton Simons.
- San Antonio
- New Orleans
- Los Angeles (underwater)
- Vandenberg Air Force Base
- Nuclear Silo
- London - subway station.
- Russia - Siberia
- Taj Mahal
- Space and the Moon
- Area 51 - Final