Where Flesh Meets Steel
Technology serves as extensions of humanity: from tools that enhance and empower, to systems offering us an edge over nature. But what if we were to be discontent, and that in pursuing advancement, we forfeit our bodies in favour of artificial counterparts? Instead of being mere extension, technology begins to replace and consume organic mankind.
So we might ask — can the old coexist with the new? This is the question that haunts the world of Deus Ex. By wandering the streets of Prague, one could appreciate the juxtaposition of century-old architecture and futuristic elements of the cybernetic age. The resulting aesthetic encapsulates an idealistic harmony between regular humans and their augmented brothers.
Upon closer examination, however, any semblance of peace is overshadowed by biopolitics and social segregation. And the city itself has become a place where the augmented are seen as outcasts, and treated — by citizens and authorities alike — with suspicion and contempt.
OFFICER: Licence, permit, voucher, document of authority, temporary pass, travel coupon, and/or certificate of authenticity.
ADAM: In the good old days, we can just ask for ID.
OFFICER: Good old days are gone.
Dreams of unity are easier conceived than realised. We, as a species, have divided in matters both past and future. Some look into the mirror and witness creatures made to reflect the image of God, keeping their bodies pure in knowing that only the Creator offers life and transformation. By contrast, others would see themselves as products of change and urge mankind to continue evolving: the idea that if we weren’t humans before, we mustn’t then limit ourselves from becoming something else altogether.
DARIA: You can’t escape yourself. You can’t just come into a big city and expect all your problems to seem smaller… It doesn’t work that way.
As of now, two distinct pathways are set before us; two opposing forces with fundamental differences that position humanity at a fork of progress. For when our ideas of mankind’s origin differ, so too shall our projected destinies diverge. And it remains to be seen: are we to reach for the skies with arms of flesh, or embrace the unknown through wings of steel?
Written and Edited by Ayk Iano
Narrated by Kevin J. Powe
Captured on the PlayStation 4
♫ “TF29” / “Main Menu Theme” — Deus Ex: Mankind Divided OST