‘Mechanical apartheid’ was one of the terms that cropped up in the E3 2015 promotion of Deus Ex: Mankind Divided, causing corners of the internet to erupt in anger.
Some were clearly unhappy that a specific period of brutal human suffering could be used in a manner perceivably similar to marketing.
Deus Ex’s narrative director Mary DeMerle, however, has argued to Destructoid that sci-fi has always been a powerful tool in allowing society to reflect upon its own ills.
When we make a decision like embracing that term, ‘mechanical Apartheid,’ we do it with a lot of thought and a lot of specific concern about how we’re doing it,” she said.
What we are also trying to do with Deus Ex is look at the world, and trying not to judge the world but to present it in a very – we like to talk about shades of grey. So we like to present the issues to the best of our abilities without judging you or your actions, so that you can make up your own mind about it.
You have to present them in as neutral of a way as possible to enable players to feel that and interpret it in their own way. Obviously, there will be people who are super sensitive to those sorts of things, and we recognise that, and we feel bad when we offend someone but we are trying to be as truthful and as honest as we possibly can.
"We’re not trying to be preachy here, just holding up the mirror. And that’s one of the things about science fiction: it embraces concepts that are hard for society to see."