The Lay D Denton Project was started to fulfill a major feature cut from the original game; the ability to select the protagonist’s gender. While a model swap and a vocal plugin could create a cheap facsimile, we felt this would be woefully insufficient. Immersion is a core feature of the Deus Ex experience, and a half-implemented female JC Denton would sabotage that. Either we do it right or we shouldn’t bother.
This is our attempt at doing it right.
We have used four different simultaneous approaches in our efforts to achieve this goal:
At the core of the experience, all of JC Denton’s 1,700 lines of dialogue have been re-recorded by voice actress Karen Rohan, under the vocal direction of Chris Rohan. Karen’s reserved performance style is a solid fit for the JC character, further enhanced by Chris Rohan’s extensive knowledge of the Deus Ex dialogue/story/lore/community.
The performance strives to faithfully preserve the character of JC. Every single line was performed directly after listening to the original Male JC’s read. While not blatantly copying every single line, the original performance was used as the primary anchor point for the line reads. Variations were only made after careful consideration.
In addition, we have strived to preserve the more beloved community one-liners as accurately as possible.
Even if JC looks female and sounds female, it doesn’t hold water if the world doesn’t respect it.
All gender pronouns and references have been edited to reflect the female protagonist. He → She. Him → Her. Guy → Girl. Man → Woman. Brother → Sister. You get the idea. Because of the natural cadence of human speech and the ear’s natural sensitivity to abnormalities in speech, this was by far the most challenging effort in the project.
Each pronoun was a unique problem, and many different techniques were used depending on what we could get to work:
Another example is the last dialogue with Manderley and Simons. “I can’t control a man’s mind.” In order to remove that line, Manderley had dialogue brought over from another conversation. “Just shut up and listen for a second.” was edited to “Just listen for a second.” and transposed.
This effort is where you will most likely see some cracks in immersion. While we were thorough, there will inevitably be a pronoun or two missed, and some of the edits may be audible to a discerning ear. If you encounter anything, we would appreciate it being reported on our Discord server.
Sometimes editing pronouns wasn’t enough to fix immersion issues within the world. Some NPC behavior doesn’t make sense in the context of a Female JC. (Shannon, Mercedes, Sandra’s Pimp selling Janey, etc) The Lucky Money club as a whole felt heavily slanted against a Female JC, with Mercedes trying to seduce you, men ignoring you, Mamasan trying to sell you a date, the Russians being rude to you despite wanting more girls to dance.
These situations and scenes required a heavier hand to fix, but we also saw an opportunity to try and give Female JC a few immersion enhancing points:
Last and certainly not least, the female JC model has been restored. In addition to the skin, all player sounds such as jumping, running, getting hit, dying, etc. have been re-recorded. The first-person model has been altered to match JC’s selected skin tone and tweaked in an effort to look more feminine.
The UI has been altered slightly as well, the limb damage screen, health screen, and augmentation screen tweaked for a female body.
Additionally, astute players may notice that Female JC is, in fact, shorter. Female JC stands about half a head’s height lower than the standard male, and this can be seen during conversations and in gameplay. It’s a small touch, but we feel it adds to the immersion a surprising amount.
Hello everyone! To wrap up our count-downs for 2021, we’ve the Top 5 New Mods for Classic Games. To explain why this is our last count-down of the year - As we gear up to Mod and Indie of the Year, we will also be producing videos this year to commemorate the occasion. The countdowns as a result are going on pause until the awards are concluded. Don’t worry, though! There will be plenty to keep you busy until the New Year.
Having touched upon Mortal Night in the last video, I became aware of other quality Resident Evil 2 mods released more recently and revisited one of these for you today - Marvin’s Mod, also known as Desperate Times. The mod wears its name on its sleeve and hopes to fill in some more of the wider details surrounding Resident Evil 2’s story, putting you in the shoes of police officer Marvin Branagh before his demise. As you work through a way to help your fellow PD survivors, you’ll navigate the familiar hallways and streets of Raccoon City alongside a companion. Boss fights are included, as well as additional items, revised balance, and changes to both layout and puzzles that give old locales a fresh sheen. Lastly, graphical tweaks change up some of the visuals overall, and running standalone, there’s not a lot stopping anyone from picking up the mod and giving it a go. Marvin’s Mod doesn’t reinvent the wheel and instead aims to provide players with something familiar but new in its own ways. Seasoned Resident Evil 2 fans will still find a lot to chew on with the mod and new versions still in development will continue to add to the chaos erupting in Raccoon City.
Freelancer was the product of Chris Roberts, famous for his Wing Commander franchise. Bringing the player into a large universe where events take place without the player’s interaction, the game was ambitious and very hyped prior to release. Although it didn’t quite hit the mark, it remained a cult classic with solid dog-fighting and enough content to keep most players entertained throughout the run of the campaign. Never making the jump to a digital storefront, the original game didn’t receive the kind of modernisation generally hoped for from older games these days, and thus modders decided to take matters into their own hands. Marrying quality of life improvements with HD textures and models, Freelancer HD Edition provides ample reason to revisit the game in 2021. Graphical improvements range from aesthetic to technical, with enhanced draw distances in particular being a great addition to this large-scale open space-simulator, and many improvements accounting for newer resolutions and aspect ratios have been made. A range of bug fixes to singleplayer content and quality of life changes that make engaging with the game a lot easier help cement this mod as a “definitive edition” patch. Compatibility with the base game has been considered carefully, meaning using this mod doesn't even prevent you from accessing the vanilla multiplayer experience! If you’ve still got a copy of Freelancer on hand, this mod is a must-play, and a great way to revisit the story with all its cliched galactic struggles.
Half-Life 2 mods are synonymous with modding itself, that particular franchise of games being well-regarded for their support of user generated content. There’s no shortage of active engagement from the Half-Life modding scene, but one of the finer sleeper-hits to emerge over the last year is What Remains - a mod that, on the surface, appears to stick closely to the formula provided by Episode 2, and whilst the locales and scenery are generally reminiscent of Valve’s own work (a compliment in of itself, given all the levels look excellent), there’s a lot more going on under the hood. Having Alyx alongside you for almost the entire mod, What Remains leverages the community made Mapbase overhaul for the Source Engine, bringing many new technical features that allow Alyx to navigate and keep up with the player like never before. More tools are provided by this overhaul that the mod creator utilises admirably, including enhanced lighting and map logic which both enhance the technical scope of individual levels and puzzles. This mod doesn’t simply rehash Episode 2’s design - it intelligently mirrors the best parts, and then brings even more to the table. Vanilla-like Half-Life 2 mods are beginning to lose prevalence these days, but What Remains is a great example of how much can be done with the foundation laid all those years ago.
It almost feels like sacrilege to not mention a DOOM mod on each of these lists, and this time I couldn’t resist either. DOOM 64 was its own little phenomenon of a game, a very unique outing for the franchise on the N64 that, for a long time, was not easily accessible on PC. When DOOM Eternal shipped last year, Bethesda outsourced porting DOOM 64 over to Nightdive Studios, whose efforts in making old games like new again are well-known. It was a great little bonus, but its compatibility with much of the same systems and tools used by the community for years was even better, and it wasn’t long before mods with a focus on DOOM 64’s content began to appear. DOOM CE not only tackles DOOM 64 but also the PSX editions of DOOM with the intention of bringing up all of them. New graphical features, like PBR materials and AI-upscaled textures, are joined by many other extras like more levels and more difficulties to put yourself through for an added challenge. Customizability is the word of the day for DOOM CE, which makes many of its additions, extras, and features optional and changeable with a few presets to help you quickly get started. Crack open a drink and get ready for some ass-kicking - DOOM CE’ll keep you plenty busy.
For these lists you’ll generally just be taking my word for how good a mod is, but this time I’m going to keep it short and sweet and really suggest you check out the YouTube video and mod page to let the mod do the talking. Deus Ex was originally planned to have female options for the protagonist, but this option later had to be cut. With its emphasis on player choice, this mod team decided to add one substantial extra choice to the mix and make a female JC Denton a reality again. Featuring thousands of lines of re-recorded dialogue as well as lots of competent sentence mixing and a few extra scenarios to smooth the transition, this mod is a great way to revisit Deus Ex like new again. It’s so comprehensive and impressive in scope we’ve got to give it a special mention - so go check out the video above and on the mod page, and hear some classic JC Denton like you’ve never heard it before.
That’s all the mods we have for you today! As we stated before, this is our last formal countdown video/article combo of 2021, but don’t worry - lots of videos will still be coming out around Mod and Indie of the year! We’ll see you for the annual award events! Stay tuned!
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