If you don't know the story of the Deus Ex franchise, it's a good one. The original game wove a cyberpunk conspiracy thriller action game that was as critically acclaimed as it was wildly successful. That wild success spawned a wildly lame sequel that disappointed fans of the franchise. But those fans were pleased to learn that another sequel would be coming out this summer, Deus Ex: Human Revolution. There was some speculation as to whether Eidos Montreal could finally put out a worthy sequel to the original, but anticipation mounted.
You know what happened next, because it happens all the time
. An early build of the game leaked onto torrent sites. The only thing stranger than the company's reaction to all this is the story of how it happened. First, let's get the legal nonsense out of the way.
According to The Escapist, the publisher sued fifteen "John Does"
for accessing the build and leaking it to the public Square Enix was displeased, lamenting (and I swear to you I'm not making this up) the estimated loss of $5,000 whole dollars
! So they're bringing suit against unnamed defendents, paying whatever associated legal costs are required for such an endeavor. I'm struggling with the obvious question: why? For $5,000? What's a UK lawyer cost these days?
Interestingly, there was some question about how this whole thing happened and whether or not Square Enix had something to do with the leak. The official story is that a group of bad guys, real revolutionary types, somehow faked Italian journalist credentials to get the early build from Steam. Then, after much smokey back room discussion, uploaded the leak to torrent sites. There was some initial speculation that Square Enix may have leaked this themselves, due to what appears to be consensus that this leak helped
the title in marketing and pre-sales, since fears of an unworthy sequel were laid to rest. But most are taking the lawsuit brought before the UK court over the lost $5,000 as evidence that they didn't (because such a suit makes so
much more sense?).
As a side note, minus the mucking up of the legal system for all this garbage, how cool would it have been if Square did
manufacture this leak and get creative with the story of how it fictionally happened? What if they got the benefit of this leak (laying fears of a crappy game to rest) while simultaneously building even more hype around the game through fictional conspiratorial intrigue? They could have mocked up interviews with internet cafe owners claiming that MiBs came in and used their property to pull off this "heist". They could have taken their cues from the movie The Fourth Kind
and created fictional accounts all across the web that I can promise you Deus Ex fans would have absolutely eaten up.
Instead, we have a story about a couple of folks downloading it via Steam and a lawsuit from a video game mega-publisher claiming damages of an amount less than it would cost one of their execs to go on a European vacation.
So you tell me which is crazier, the tale of Illuminati dominance and conspiratorial intrigue woven into the Deus Ex mythos, or a company bringing legal action to court over five thousand whole dollars