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Backlash Over Deus Ex: Mankind Divided’s “Mechanical Apartheid” Was No Surprise: Eidos Montreal
In Deus Ex: Mankind Divided, humans and the augmented are fighting a war. Humans shun the augmented so they are fighting a battle for freedom. The themes of the game are relevant to the current state of society but Eidos Montreal went as far as describing the war as the “mechanical apartheid.”
The term “apartheid” has a long and violent history of racial discrimination behind it so naturally, there are a backlash from the community over the use of said term. According to Eidos Montreal, the term perfectly fits the themes of what they are trying to achieve with Mankind Divided and even though some of the studio’s own employees were against it, they went ahead with it anyway.
I don’t think [the backlash] was necessarily a surprise,” says Mary DeMarle, lead writer on Deus Ex: Mankind Divided. I know that, even within the team itself, there were people who were very against using that term. But other people were like, ‘That is exactly the right term for what we’re doing’.
We hope that we don’t offend people ‒ we know that we don’t live their experiences ‒ but we need to be able to look at our own world and allow [ourselves] to see where we’re going as human beings. We can’t shy away from it
One thing we’ve always felt is that Deus Ex is supposed to be throwing up a mirror to today, says DeMarle. “We talk about the license being the near future, so we always want to look at themes that are relevant and that people are experiencing today. We want to show them to you from all different sides, and give you the opportunity to decide how you feel about it.
Deus Ex: Mankind Divided releases in August for PlayStation 4, Xbox One and PC.