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"Mantis" agents, also known as chameleon agents, were a concept for a type of augmented agents written during the development of Deus Ex: Mankind Divided. During the course of development, the concept was entirely cut from the game and the lore of the series. In the prerelease concept, "mantis" agents used a special type of augmentation that gave them the ability to be forgotten by others.

Unused lore text[]

Mantis agents are described in unused lore text found in the game files. The unused text, which appears to be lore text in draft form, states that mantis agents used a special chip called the "Zenith focus enhancing chip" that gave the the ability to be "seen by all but remembered by none," making them "the perfect chameleon."

The text also states that the chip utilized genetically engineering mantis pheromones, hence the name "mantis" agent. The pheromones made the user seem insignificant to others, enabling the agent to be useful interrogators and in gathering intelligence. However, the implant resulted in psychological disorders arising from the agents' incapacity to be remembered by others. As such, use of the chip was abandoned.

Transcript of the unused text[]

Amist the pre-Panchaea augmentation hurricane and its vast array of shiny chrome legs and multi-usage mechanical arms, emerged the invisible but no less invasive neural implants. Perception enhancers, visual aids, augmented reality: millions have tried and relied on the then trendy chips. In the military, a state of the art focus enhancing chip named Zenith was tested on a small hand picked squad of Rangers, turning them into high efficient weapon with machine like reflexes and situation awareness. They could also turn off their pain receptors. In 2021 the secret services also started to take an interest in neural implants, but with other applications in mind thatsicsic pure combat abilities :sicsic they wanted to create the perfect agent. One that could be seen by all but remembered by none. The perfect chameleon, “Mr Everybody”. Based on genetically engineered human and deroplatys trigonoderapreormon (a kind of mantis) pheromones, the Ch3Xt-Reverse chip made the implanted agents insignificant to others, their chemical signals almost completely blocked from interacting with any living counterpart’s brain receptors. They were thus, “invisible”. They could talk information out of their targets by using their regular training as expert “smooth” interogatorssicsic mastering elaborate speech techniques, with the advantages offered by the ability to be quickly forgotten; The interrogated target would not remember any detail about the agent as soon as they left their personal sensory radius as perceived by the hypothalamus, avoiding suspicions as well as any attemssicsic at desription.Thesicsic “mantis” agents, though undoubtedly invaluable assets on the field of intelligence gathering, soon had to face severe psychological issues. Their incapacity to be remembered and properly acknowledged by others, even their loved ones, became the root of a deep struggle with their own perception of themselves as individuals with personalities and a place in the world. Anxiety and feelings of insecurity were the primary symptoms. Then, as their willingness to be “seen” again started to increase, they resorted to public displays of themselves resembling those of intoxicated people. Incapacitating schizophrenia and / or a complete withdrawal of certain agents within themselves came last. Several suicides were also reported. In 2029, the use of Ch3Xt-Reverse chips was abandoned and the few agents still wired with them underwent brain surgery in order to remove them. But at this point, lots of Mantis had already taken that step and resorted to clandestine clinics to get rid of their chip in order to become a person again, at last.[1]

(All spelling, grammatical, and punctuation errors are original).

2017 GDC presentation[]

ES11 Zenith (GDC 2017 Slide)

"ES11: Zenith" presentation slides

A presentation slide titled "ES11 Zenith" appeared during Clémence Maurer's presentation "Rewarding exploration in Deus Ex: Mankind Divided’s Prague city hub" at the 2017 Game Developers Conference.[2] The title of the slide matches the name "Zenith" associated with the focus enhancing chip in the unused text.

The presentation slide mentions an "eBook about the use of brain implant in intelligence services and their various applications (chameleon agents with pheromone enhancer or inhibits)", which appears to match the contents of the unused lore text.

The presentation slide also indicates that Aurelius Milkovich, the vendor at Sobchak Security seen in-game, was originally written to be a mantis agent. The slide states that Milkovich used to have a "neuronal implant [that] caused mental alienation" and still suffers from mental illness despite the removal of the implant. In the released game, Milkovich is still portrayed as having undergone surgical removal of some unspecified augmentation. However, all references to the Zenith chip and its functions were cut from the game. The presentation slide also includes other backstory elements for Milkovich that were similarly cut from the final game.

References[]

  1. runtime/Game.layer0.all.archive, line 36443065.
  2. "Rewarding Exploration in Deus Ex: Mankind Divided," presentation recording. The presentation slides are available at Maurer_Clemence_RewardingExploration...pdf (on amazonaws.com).
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