With an emphasis on bridging the fictional future presented in Deus Ex: Mankind Divided with reality, Square Enix has taken a novel approach with the game’s promotion. One of the biggest themes of the game is human cybernetic augmentation—the use of robotic limbs—and the social, economic and political impacts that come with them.

Last month, the publisher released a new video called The Mechanical Apartheid, which dramatically set the stage for events that will take place in Mankind Divided, where a violent global incident sets the augmented and normals at odds with each other.

Building upon that idea, Square Enix announced that it is teaming up with CNN’s Courageous brand studio to create a one-of-a-kind human augmentation conference called Human by Design, set to be held in New York City next month before the game’s release. With it, the companies hope to “explore the intersection of technology and humanity with the objective of bringing together top minds to debate, question and challenge what it means to be human,” according to the company’s announcement.

“The many parallels of the near-futuristic Deus Ex Universe will be explored at the conference, particularly around how technology is rapidly shaping the human condition and the ethics of self-regulation,” Square Enix noted.

“Since the launch of Courageous, we have been committed to pioneering the evolution of branded content to help brands tell more powerful stories,” said Otto Bell, vice president and group creative director of Courageous. “Human by Design greatly embodies this approach, as we’ve assembled a group of thought-leaders across the fields of science, technology, ethics and cyborg activism who, for the first time, will come together to discuss the cutting-edge technologies and innovations that are shaping human augmentation.”

“Human by Design goes beyond bringing to life the key themes of Deus Ex: Mankind Divided. This conference is a special opportunity for a video game to take pause from the limitless world we play in, and to drive the conversation around what is really happening in the space of human augmentation,” said Jon Grant, senior product marketing manager at Square Enix. “Our hope is that the gaming world tunes into the conference and is inspired to get involved as well.”

There will be several panel sessions featuring a number of experts in the field, including E. Christian Brugger, author of various articles that discuss bioethics and natural law theory; and Dr. Natasha Vita-More, a designer and researcher who specializes in the study of biological limited lifespans and selective enhancement.

Those unable to attend the conference in person can watch it all live through Deus Ex’s devoted Twitch channel, along with CNN’s Snapchat Discover channel and Turner’s Launchpad social platform.

To promote the conference, Square Enix has also released a new Human By Design Launch Video, which showcases the “pledge of self-regulation and ethics.”


Deus Ex: Mankind Divided releases on August 23rd for Xbox One, PlayStation 4 and PC.