Here’s an interesting question from Eidos themselves: Would you willingly cut off your own arm to get an augmentation that makes you better at your job? Personally, I can’t really say that I’d need a robotic arm just to be able to play Guilty Gear (thought it would help with pulling off FRC shenanigans).
These questions and more are the basis behind the storyline of Deus Ex: Human Revolution, which was discussed in length at their panel during Comic Con today. Set in the year 2027, human augmentation is fast becoming more of a popularity tool than a necessity for those who have lost or heavily damaged parts of their body. Things like robotic arms allow humans to become stronger, augmented legs help people run faster, and there are even special eyes that operate exactly like cameras. It eventually gets to the point where people are looking to get these prosthetics just to be able to perform better at whatever their job is, instead of being reserved for those that need them most, such as military soldiers that lost something in combat.
As described during the panel, this need for enhanced body parts has created a form of “second middle class,” that separates the citizens that have these augmentations, from those that do not. Eventually, it gets to a point where people that are against augmentations (and there are a lot of them) start to take part in riots, or even more violent actions against those that support them, such as Sarif Industries, one of the leadering companies in the field of augmentations.
While it hasn’t reached more controversial levels in the real world, there are actual examples of such a thing occurring. One sample of such a thing is in the field of athletics, where athletes with augmented legs are able to perform just as well, if not better, than those that still have legs made of flesh and bone (an example video of which being shown to the audience). While it’s still hard to discern whether the augmentation really does give that level of a boost in ability, or if it’s merely something that only especially talented athletes can take advantage of, it actually brings up a very interesting point in mankind’s growing reliance on cybernetics, and the possibly of them replacing the parts of us that make us human.
Of course, all of this seriousness was completely dashed after the Mega 64 guys invaded the panel and “forced” the panelists to drag their newest video (appropriately Deus Ex themed) from the Recycle Bin and play it for the audience. Much hilarity was had by all.
Deus Ex: Human Revolution is set to be released this coming August.