|"J.C. Denton's destruction of Area 51 plunged the world into a period of depression and war known as the Collapse. The Collapse shattered the global powers. It would be two decades before those with visions of a new world order would again vie for dominance."|
|— Deus Ex: Invisible War|
When JC Denton destroys Area 51 at the end of Deus Ex, the center of multimedia communication and the Aquinas communication grid, the Internet is disabled and humanity descends into a period of war and economic recession known as The Collapse. It takes place over several months (indicated by JC) after the events of Deus Ex, and indirectly impacts almost every event in Deus Ex: Invisible War. Following The Collapse, transport between regions is slow and commercial air transportation is non-existent - only remote travel is facilitated through private pilots.
|"Twenty years ago, J.C. Denton shut down the Aquinas Router, which paralyzed global communication and returned civilization to a simpler, decentralized existence."|
|— Deus Ex: Invisible War|
In practical terms, Deus Ex ended with three possible endings. JC Denton could either choose to merge with an AI known as Helios, allow the Illuminati to regain control of the world by killing Bob Page and leaving Area 51 intact, or destroy Area 51 and the Aquinas system, removing the means by which any person or group could rule the world (with the side effect of destroying the world economy and creating a new "Dark Age").
The designers tried to incorporate all 3 endings into Deus Ex: Invisible War's plot. One of the simplest solutions of the end of Deus Ex is that JC killed Bob Page, merged with Helios, and then triggered the blast that destroyed Area 51. The order of the two first events would not have been of significant importance, and it is possible that the first resulted from the last.
While the specifics of the world collapse are not told (everyone in the game world has dealt with the events for more than two decades), it is implied that the sudden decentralization of communications and control caused long-dormant rivalries between nations to erupt into all-out war.
Among the mentioned singular events are the destruction of the Statue of Liberty and UNATCO HQ, the event of nanite swells with subsequent use of nuclear weapons to put them down, an unknown incident which reduced Cairo international airport into a "landfill", and what seems to be the complete collapse of parts of Siberian Russia which prompted the creation of the Omar as a survival measure.
The Dentons go into hidingEdit
For a while after the events of Deus Ex, JC Denton/Helios accomplishes much at his home base on Liberty Island. With the Statue of Liberty destroyed, JC's newfound knowledge of nanotechnology allows him to rebuild it as a brightly glowing spectre of its former self.
Regardless of what had been done, the strain on JC's body would eventually be too much for him, forcing him to go into suspended animation. A company known as ApostleCorp was started by Paul Denton in order to research an improved nanotechnology that would better allow JC to work with Helios.
This work would eventually lead to the creation of the Tarsus Academy, whose primary goal would be to test new generations of nanotechnology on "trainees". One of these would be Alex Denton, the main character of Deus Ex: Invisible War.
Fragmentation of Nations and MJ12 ResistanceEdit
The United States fragmented into various city-states during the Collapse. Germany appears to have survived as either a sovereign nation or geographical territory, but it has lost its international power. Newly independent Cairo was hit with a weapon of mass destruction during the Collapse; its residents still need to use filtration masks to survive the parasitic nanoscale particles outside the Cairo Arcology. India and Pakistan obliterated each other with nuclear warheads. All other countries have either lost their international power, were destroyed, or were fragmented.
Fourteen nanite swells plague the Earth, though there was a brief disruption of Swell 9 in 2067. Swell 11 plagues Cairo.
Due to the decisive defeat of MJ12, the resistance groups fighting MJ12 no longer had a common goal. Therefore, they either joined ApostleCorp or the rebuilding Illuminati.
- The Illuminati consists of Silhouette, MJ12 remnants, surviving VersaLife members, the original Illuminati remnants, and the NSF.
- ApostleCorp consists of the surviving Denton family, X-51, the Triads, and the newly uplifted Grays.
Due to disagreements about the benevolence and nature of Helios, the tensions between the two factions are high.
Rebuilding of the World After the CollapseEdit
The World Trade Organization (WTO), with Chad Dumier as its Chairman, was founded to rebuild societal infrastructure, economy, and standard of living. The Order Church was formed to counteract the WTO and unify the world religions. The Order is led by Nicolette DuClare, publicly known as Her Holiness. Secretly, both organizations are controlled by the Illuminati, with the heads of the WTO and Order being its co-leaders. The Illuminati chose this form of control due to the belief that the world population will not accept a public world government.
The WTO created a federated state in order to end the chaos caused by the fall of the United States. City-state members of this North American WTO federated state include Tacoma, Newark, Leander, New York City, Austin, Reno, Dallas, Seattle, and until its destruction, Chicago. The WTO also set up another federated state administrating Europe, the Middle East, and Eastern Africa. This state consists of Thebes, Istanbul, Jedda, Jordan, Madrid, Nairobi, London, Cairo, and Trier. The Order, conversely, created a decentralized theocratic system of government to aid the poor kept out of the WTO enclaves.
During the rebuilding, the Knights Templar was recreated by Saman as a subject group within the Order. Discovering the long hidden riches of the original Knights Templar, Saman built an army capable of challenging both the Illuminati and ApostleCorp. When Saman prepares to split off from the Illuminati during Deus Ex: Invisible War, the Illuminati brokers official peace between the WTO and the Order so they can focus on Saman.
Behind the ScenesEdit
In an interview, Warren Spector said that he wanted to choose one of the three endings in Deus Ex to build Deus Ex: Invisible War upon, but later included elements of the other two. So while the Helios ending is present as the true canonical ending, elements from the New Dark Age ending are used (the merger eventually leads to the Collapse) as well as the Illuminati ending (following the Collapse, the Illuminati move in and take over). So while the player can choose not to merge with Helios at the end of the first game, the sequel is based upon that choice being made, and the repercussions of the other two endings as well.