Deus Ex: Human Revolution has apparently defined four 'gameplay pillars', things without which gameplay cannot stand. According to art director Jonathan Jacques-Belletete these are: combat, steal, hacking and social."
Jacques-Belletete demonstrated a significant portion of the prequel's gameplay elements this weekend, running through a slow-paced stealth section followed by an action-packed warehouse infiltration segment.
"It was important for us to remain true to the origins of the series, so we got those old games and replayed the hell out of them to understand those foundations," Jacques-Belletete said.
"We brought it down to four gameplay pillars - combat, steal, hacking and social. Our goal is never to force the player towards one pillar or the other. Just like the original, you have the freedom to oscillate between one or the other."
In the former demo, protagonist Adam Jensen explored a small island on the coast of Shanghai called Heng Sha to find the whereabouts of his enemy, Van Bruugen. To do that, he had to enter a nearby club and work his way in. This was done by paying money to the bouncer for a membership card, but Jacques-Belletete explained that the player could have used a number of alternative methods for entry, from using a back passage to sneak in, climb in from the underground sewers or by simply killing the guard.
The second demo showed off Jensen's augmentations, that can be used to overcome obstacles and puzzles. One such power was in the Strength augmentation, used to lift heavy crates to sneak into a construction site. After breaking through the glass roof of the warehouse, a mech walker boss storms in and shoots rockets at you. It's a bit mental.
We've had a nice long chat with Jonathan Jacques-Belletete already - you can see what he has to say about living up to the Deus Ex name in our interview later this week.