A new mod for Deus Ex, the classic cyberpunk-themed action RPG, will allow players to act as a female version of the protagonist J.C. Denton.
Mods have previously attempted to change the gender of the protagonist in Deus Ex, which was originally released in 2000. However, “The Lay D Denton Project” goes further than before by attempting to embed the female lead into the world, rather than using a simple graphical re-skin.
To aid this, voice actress Karen Rohan has recorded all 1,700 lines of J.C. Denton’s dialogue. Using the original protagonist’s voice acting as a model, she sought to emulate the same tone and feeling as original actor Jay Anthony Franke’s performance.
The mod goes further by not only changing all the pronouns and gendered language in the original text, but also by editing the voice acting to reflect the changes. This required editing in the ‘sh’ sound from other parts of the game, and on occasion removing certain words.
The developers behind the mod admit that while they have made their best efforts to blend this seamlessly into the game, errors are inevitable.
“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.”
The biggest undertaking was the creation of new NPCs. Some scenes have been edited to reflect the new gender of the protagonist where the NPC’s behaviour no longer feels appropriate.
“Some NPCs had their interactions minimized, or had options either cut or replaced. Female JC can no longer offer to buy Sandra from her pimp. Mamasan no longer offers JC a date. Mercedes no longer hits on the player.”
Finally, a new model was created for the new protagonist. The model is approximately half a head shorter than the original to reflect the new gender. A female protagonist was originally designed as an option for players of the original game, but was cut from development early on in the project.