A substantial new mod for the original Deux Ex gender swaps the main character JC Denton, and even reworks all of the game’s dialogue and NPCs to reflect that choice.
The “Lay D Denton” mod is being made by a group of fans in an effort to restore the biggest feature cut from the original game, choosing the main character’s gender. The official post for the release on ModBD states, “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.”
With that in mind, it’s clear that a ton of effort has been put into the Lay D Denton Mod, re-recording over 1700 lines for JC Denton and re-editing all text in the game to have the proper pronouns. The actress for the female character, Karen Rohan, used the original performance for JC Denton as a base to provide the same deadpan kind of voice. Here are examples of how the mod edits and alters dialogue:
- Combing through character dialogue and transposing syllables. Taking someone’s “sh” and splicing it onto the front of “he” worked often. Using “er” to append to the h in “him”, was less frequently successful but worked in some cases. Changing Mister to Miss by cutting the “ter” was the most reliably successful and is heard frequently throughout the game.
- Transposing words. This was often less successful but did have its place in some areas. As a bonus, we found a few areas where we could naturally add a pronoun. While perhaps not necessary, every bit can help further the goal of immersion.
- Cut the reference. Despite all our best efforts, sometimes we just couldn’t win. These lines were dealt with by removing or editing the line “Sir, you are creating a disturbance!” → “You are creating a disturbance!”
- Get creative. In some cases, the references couldn’t be cut naturally and couldn’t be fixed. One example is the UNATCO agents offering JC tear gas. “Give ‘em the grenades.” Just wouldn’t edit well and was needed because otherwise it’s very unclear what is being talked about. In order to solve this, we added the JC line, “What, gas grenades?” to allow her to identify the topic of the conversation.
In addition to editing and changing dialogue, the mod has even added certain NPCs to situations that simply may not work with a female character. Here’s what the forum post lays out:
- New tertiary NPCs. Several small additional characters have been scattered throughout the game. They’re designed to be unobtrusive, their main function to subtly acknowledge JC’s gender using a pronoun. In the case of the clubs, a couple of more complex NPCs have been added.
- Recast NPCs. A very select few characters were problematic enough that a recast was required. All except for one were done mimicking the original voice as closely as possible.
- Altered NPCs. 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.
Even the character model for Lay D Denton is shorter than the male one, which can be seen during both cutscenes and gameplay. It’s rare to see a mod that alters nearly every aspect of the game to fit what it changes, and the effort put into Lay D Denton is certainly admirable.
You can download the Lay D Denton mod from the forum post if you’d like to try it out yourself.