|"Icarus is MJ12's newest AI, their answer to the Daedalus problem. Although its processing power is formidable, the designers were deliberately restrained in implementing routines for traits like creativity and moral discretion. They didn't want this one to get away.
In theory, Icarus is completely in tune with MJ12 principles and objectives, and completely subservient to its leadership. Of course, like any other eager, gifted young employee, it's impossible to predict exactly how it'll shape up under the pressure of a real-world work environment. Sometimes they get funny ideas. Icarus is displaying a curiosity about human motivations that its programmers find troubling, as well as a rather finely-drawn sense of right and wrong."
|— description of Icarus to the player, Deus Ex|
Icarus was a creation of Bob Page and Majestic 12. His purpose was the same as Daedalus: to control and sift through huge amounts of digital information, allowing him to inform and advise his handlers, and to predict and control real-world events. Icarus' creation was necessary to Page as his predecessor, Daedalus, had revolted from MJ12 control, instead assisting JC Denton along with others MJ12 wanted to destroy.
Icarus is an antagonist in the game and is generally antipodal to Daedalus. Following its Majestic 12 protocols, it tracks the movements and activities of JC from the point he escapes from his imprisonment in the secret MJ12 facility on Liberty Island. Icarus first makes contact with JC in Paris; brief communications and messages involving taunts, warnings, questions, and misinformation are received through infolinks, computer terminals, and, in one instance, a telephone call.
Throughout the game, Icarus not only harasses JC, but leads him and his allies to believe he was attempting to "kill" Daedalus. Daedalus informs them that he was being attacked by Icarus, being weakened to the point that he believes that soon he will be destroyed, and as such pleads for aid to fight Icarus. These attacks, unbeknownst to them, are actually attempts by Icarus to combine the two AIs into one entity. Icarus's communications continue throughout the game up to the point where JC and the X-51 scientists, in an attempt to help Daedalus fend off his rival, accidentally cause the two AIs to merge into a new program: Helios. Bob Page then reveals that he knew the two AI would combine and that they had just played right into his hands by creating an AI with Icarus's loyalty to MJ12 and Daedalus's worldwide cyber integration.
Behind the scenesEdit
- The name "Icarus" is one of many symbolic names taken from the Greek mythology. In the myth, Icarus and his father Daedalus were imprisoned on an island. Icarus spent his whole life there, whereas Daedalus lived most of his life in civilization. They were trapped until Daedalus had created wings of feather and wax for both to escape with. Icarus died when he disobeyed his father and flew too close to the sun, melting the wax that held his wings together and causing him to plummet into the sea and drown.
- According to Sam Carter, Icarus is of the same design as Daedalus, but with modifications to better suit MJ12's uses.
- Icarus' avatar icon is an eyeball with a protruding iris, and emanating thin spikes all around. Surrounding the eyeball is a series of curved plates that gives the impression the eye is within a sphere. The eye probably represents Icarus' ability to see everything thanks to its connection with Aquinas (ECHELON).
- Human Revolution makes reference to the mythical Icarus in its second trailer; Adam Jensen dreams he has angel wings, then flies too close to the sun, which causes them to burn away, casting him to earth. Also, the main theme is called "Icarus Theme." The reference conjoins the transhumanism theme of the game's plot, where Sarif's drive to enabling augmentation is similar to Icarus' drive to reach the sun.
- In the science fiction novel Neuromancer, the AI construct Wintermute is one of the AIs created by Tessier-Ashpool. Wintermute is much like Icarus in the facts that: Wintermute has an opposite, Neuromancer, that Wintermute wants to merge with his sibling, and that Wintermute often teases and pesters the protagonist.