On August 23, players will once again step into the shoes of augmented superhero Adam Jensen, so here’s a quick rehashing of Deus Ex: Human Revolution to help get you up to speed before diving into the undoubtedly rich, but complicated plot of Mankind Divided.
Meet Adam Jensen
The protagonist of both games, Jensen is an ex-cop-turned-private security chief for Sarif Industries, a company adding technological augmentations to people for a nominal fee. In the opening moments of Human Revolution, Jensen’s company is attacked, his girlfriend is kidnapped, and he’s shot squarely in the face. In a last ditch effort to save Jensen’s life, his boss, a man named Sarif, turns our hero into a Frankensteins monster of cobbled-together tech.
As a result, Jensen becomes something of a figurehead in the ongoing ethical debate about augmentations.
Six months later and back on the job, Jensen’s first case turns into a globe-trotting adventure when a hostage situation perpetrated by a pro-human/anti-aug terrorist group – called Purity First – pulls the curtain back on a shadowy cabal made up of the world’s most powerful and influential people.
The Big, Bad Villain of ‘Human Revolution’
The self-titled Illuminati are bent on controlling the world from behind the scenes. As a result, they’re devoutly opposed to augmentations because of the threat these enhancements pose to their power. While the press, corporations, and the general public debate endlessly, the Illuminati are executing a plan to ensure that augmented people are put down – and kept down by society at large.
In the grand tradition of noir detectives everywhere, Jensen’s quest to thwart this vast conspiracy serves mostly as a means to highlight the depth beyond our hero’s control. The Illuminati have infected literally every level of modern society. Even as he scurries around in search of the real mastermind behind the secretive threat rumbling at the fringes of Jensen’s world, his efforts count for very little in the end.
The Rogue Member of the Group
At the tail end of Human Revolution, Jensen discovers the game’s nefarious acts were all being committed by Hugh Darrow, a member of the Illuminati who went rogue even as he was convincing his bosses that he was towing the company line.
Partway through the story, the World Health Organization announces biochips, the nerve center of every mechanical augmentation, are malfunctioning. As a result, every augmented person in the world is ordered into surgery to have this crucial component replaced. Jensen himself even undergoes the procedure.
Surprise, surprise, it turns out the Illuminati orchestrated the whole thing in an attempt to gain a measure of control over augmented people, essentially turning them into mechanized soldiers. At least, that’s what was supposed to happen. Instead, Hugh Darrow, the disillusioned inventor of augmentations has decided his greatest achievement has been perverted by greedy shitheads who want to turn augmented people into virtual slaves.
So, unbeknownst to the rest of the Illuminati, Darrow has been installing a back door in every biochip that will kick off what becomes known as the “Aug Incident.” Essentially, Darrow flips the angry switch on every augmented person, sending them into a violent worldwide frenzy that gets a lot of people killed. A lot.
No Decision is the Right Decision
In the closing moments, players had the choice to … well, you could do a lot of stuff. The kicker is that none of it was right. According to the game’s developers, Mankind Divided picks up two years after the original game, in 2029. The narrative focus will be on the repercussions of the Aug Incident rather than the culmination of Jensen’s personal journey.
The world of Mankind Divided is a world in which augmented people have been demonized and the Illuminati has essentially won (or at least they made lemonade from lemons). Jensen is working for Interpol officially, while also serving as a double agent for a hacker group called the Juggernaut collective.
Okay, that’s not everything that went on in Human Revolution. This is …
But you should be completely confident that when Jensen gets thrown into the shit once more in Deus Ex: Mankind Divided, you’ll at least know why people are trying to kill you.