Eidos Montreal, developer of Deus Ex: Human Revolution, has admitted that the game's controversial boss fights were poorly implemented, telling us: "We knew that would be a weakness for the game."
Speaking to us at this week's Montreal International Game Summit, Human Revolution producer David Anfossi admitted that the boss fights were at odds with the freedom afforded the player elsewhere in the game. Development of the boss fights was outsourced to crowd AI specialist Grip Entertainment, but Anfossi says the blame lies squarely on Eidos Montreal's shoulders.
"The problem was not the supplier, it was what we did with them," he said. "The boss fights were too much for the team to do internally in the time we had. We totally underestimated the effort to do that correctly. We had to work with an external supplier with that, but the design and everything is from the team at Eidos Montreal.
"We knew that it would be a weakness for the game, that we had to make a compromise to deliver it [on] two levels. First, the boss fights were forced, which is not the Deus Ex experience. Second, there is no mix [of] solutions to tackle the boss fights, which is not Deus Ex either.
"We knew that before the release of the game, but there had to be some compromise. It [was] our decision."
If that gives the impression of a difficult project, what follows rather rams the point home. "It has been a nightmare, to be honest," Anfossi said. "We started from scratch. From recruitment to release date, it's been a nightmare."
Despite that, Anfossi insists he is proud of what his team achieved, especially the inclusion of so many different mechanics in the game. "It took us two years to do it," he said. "At the end I'm very proud of that, the stealth, hacking, social and combat within the game – it's well done, I think. I'm very proud of that because it's difficult to do."
Yet Anfossi maintained that, if he had the chance to do it all over again, he would still include bosses. "There are two options: no boss fights, or do boss fights correctly," he said. "I'm pretty sure that now we have the knowledge to do it correctly."