Definition Of Irony: Deus Ex Leak Spawns Conspiracy Theories

from the the-truth-is-out-there dept

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?

Filed Under: , ,

Rate this comment as insightful
Rate this comment as funny
You have rated this comment as insightful
You have rated this comment as funny
Flag this comment as abusive/trolling/spam
You have flagged this comment
The first word has already been claimed
The last word has already been claimed
Insightful Lightbulb icon Funny Laughing icon Abusive/trolling/spam Flag icon Insightful badge Lightbulb icon Funny badge Laughing icon Comments icon

Comments on “Definition Of Irony: Deus Ex Leak Spawns Conspiracy Theories”

Subscribe: RSS Leave a comment
Rose M. Welch (profile) says:

Reminds me of...

Dr. Evil: “Okay, here’s the plan. We get the warhead and we hold the world ransom for… ONE MILLION DOLLARS!”

Number Two: “Don’t you think we should ask for more than a million dollars? A million dollars isn’t exactly a lot of money these days. Virtucon alone makes over 9 billion dollars a year!

Dr. Evil: “Really? That’s a lot of money.”

Chris Rhodes (profile) says:

This Leak Will Make SE Millions

I (like many other fans of the original, I’m sure), was skeptical that the new game could live up to the memory of the first game, especially after they dumbed-down the sequel so badly, but after a couple of hours with the “demo”, I immediately pre-ordered the collector’s edition; it’s going to be fantastic.

I think this leak is going to make Square millions.

Jay (profile) says:


It absolutely doesn’t…

I’ve been talking about this with a lot of people but they refuse to look at all of the information about Square and what they’re doing, instead saying it’s “haters hating”.

Let’s review the bad info on Square:

1) They will shut down fan based games based on their material, even if the story is original and at best it’s a derivative work (Crimson Echoes and Crono Resurrection)

2)They will sue to maintain a strong position, even theough they are the weakest financially. *Based on their own Q2 Earnings, where the earthquake/tsunami hurt them severely.

3) Even though the true fans *still* want to buy the game, Square is splitting the fanbase into those that want them to sue, and those that do not.

I used to enjoy the Square games because they were the best games out there. The games were decently original and linear, but they were fun. As I grew up, the games became less about having fun, more about filling Square’s profit margin for the quarter.

You can look at how Square has massive layoffs of employees after each major game is made, how their newest Final Fantasy (14?) was dead panned as an MMO, or a number of signs that tell you that Square is a very weak company that cannot sustain itself.

It’s sad to see Eidos get caught up in this, but I’m boycotting Square based on these details.

If the best thing that Square can do is pay for lawyers instead of paying to make a game fun, it’s not worth it for me.

Ryan says:


I’m kind of flabbergasted that people think this doesn’t make sense, or so crazy that we’re making fun of it.

Square Enix/Eidos have been hands off with fans playing the game and even allowing some discussion on their official boards. Instead, they’re only going after the people who actually went in and hacked them(which, I hope, we all still believe is rightly illegal), and they’re starting with a bare minimum number to move the lawsuit along.

Would this somehow be better if they started suing fans all over the place for a million bucks a pop? To me, this seems to be handled about as well as it could possibly be by a company that wants to punish its hackers without hurting the fans.

Dark Helmet (profile) says:


“Would this somehow be better if they started suing fans all over the place for a million bucks a pop? To me, this seems to be handled about as well as it could possibly be by a company that wants to punish its hackers without hurting the fans.”

That’s a fair point if that’s your premise, but I think the premise is wrong. My question is that if, as the consensus seems to be, this leak did nothing but strengthen the game’s selling ability, why punish the hackers at all? Generally, is it wrong to hack your way to a leak? Sure, of course.

But sometimes the stars align and you can benefit from the “wrong” things that others do. This is one of those cases. Why spend the money to go to court?

Ryan says:


To punish the people who hacked them? In terms of financial incentives I agree that this in and of itself is not going to be profitable, and probably not at all – but that’s true of a lot of lawsuits. I watched The Rainmaker on TV the other night and the protagonists get nothing, but it’s considered a success because the big bad insurance company went bankrupt.

I agree that they might as well leave well enough alone, but this is as intelligently as you’ll see it done – a company that was genuinely wronged, making the best of it with its fans and surgically targeting(to the degree it can) the individuals who committed the crime.

HothMonster says:


I just want to point out that no one hacked Square. They hacked(gained access, hacked sure is a watered down word these days) the account of an Italian games journalist, and being a journalist he has access to stuff like this demo from steam.

But more on point, this is the kind of reaction I expect when games leak and turn out to be shitty, so everyone knows not to buy it. Then the pub/dev has to sue because it won’t be making that money by selling a shitty game to an unsuspecting public. But this game is good, and the leak was good and I am sure the couple weeks after it went into the wild they got a ton of preorders. Why not just ask Steam to send out a stern reminders to journalists to keep their shit under wraps, maybe force them to sign up for the IP monitoring service (Steam will log your IP and if you try to sign in from a different IP it will send you an email you have to confirm before you can log in).

MrWilson says:


Think of it this way:

As a fan of their games, I’m annoyed that they would waste thousands of dollars to go after hackers who really just released a demo (that the company should have released in the first place) and made their product potentially more profitable.

It makes me wonder what other bone-headed business practices they have that involve wasting the money they get from the sale of their products. It makes me less inclined to give them money. Forgot “being wrong.” How they handle this reflects on how they handle other things, like how they treat fans.

Ninja (profile) says:


That. I lost faith and will to play any Square game after those lawsuits against fan made material/sites. Along with the annoyingly bad sequels and even new releases.

I already miss their good games as if they were dead for a long time already so I couldn’t care less if they die. Still, from the tone of the article it seems they did it right this time. In any case, even if I do decide to check on the game I”ll simply download for free. I have no intention of giving my money for them. Not anymore.

Another company that is walking the same path is Sony. I even avoid their tech gadgets and stuff now. Despite the fact they are better sometimes.

Danny says:


My question is that if, as the consensus seems to be, this leak did nothing but strengthen the game’s selling ability, why punish the hackers at all? Generally, is it wrong to hack your way to a leak? Sure, of course.
For the same reason vigilante justice is not legal. Sure people benefit from someone outside the law being judge jury and executioner. But at the same time there’s still a question did the person they killed actually do the crime they were killed for? I’m betting for the most part that would be true but this isn’t Batman where the person he’s after is always guilty.

As for the hacking there’s the chance that someone will say, “well they hacked that developer’s servers and weren’t punished why can’t we?”.

I guess its a matter of doing the wrong thing for the right reason?

Ryan says:


How they treat fans is reflected in how they treat fans – i.e. they have allowed fans to play the build and comment on it in their official forums. I’m not really sure what standing we have to criticize them for wasting money going after people that – seriously – hacked into their system.

I find absolutely nothing wrong at all with pirating to your heart’s content on The Pirate Bay, because you’re copying content from somebody else willingly giving it you; intellectual property is a sham. Security intrusions, on the other hand, are legitimate crimes regardless of how much more sales they’d have gotten by just releasing a demo on their own terms.

MrWilson says:


This is the beauty of the free market. Consumers can decide not to buy your product because they don’t like the shirt you’re wearing.

Regardless of how rational it is to pursue people who hacked you, the consumers can still react how they want to. If the hackers crashed the Steam servers so people couldn’t play their games, they’d certainly be against the hackers. If the hackers released content that the company should have released (like a playable demo), the consumers have the freedom to be pissed off at the company and let that anger drive their dollars elsewhere.

Add Your Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Have a Techdirt Account? Sign in now. Want one? Register here

Comment Options:

Make this the or (get credits or sign in to see balance) what's this?

What's this?

Techdirt community members with Techdirt Credits can spotlight a comment as either the "First Word" or "Last Word" on a particular comment thread. Credits can be purchased at the Techdirt Insider Shop »

Follow Techdirt

Techdirt Daily Newsletter

Techdirt Deals
Techdirt Insider Discord
The latest chatter on the Techdirt Insider Discord channel...