Who is Adam Jensen? 10 Things You Need To Know
The Deus Ex series is the harbinger of some of cyberpunk’s most archetypical heroes.
A multi-faceted protagonist who faithfully adheres to the pillars of cyberpunk has graced the Deus Ex games since 2000. From JC to Alex Denton, from Ben Saxon to Adam Jensen, Eidos-Montréal’s characters mirror the controversial ethics of transhumanism, occultism and the estrangement of the natural flesh.
The franchise’s current titular character, Adam Jensen, is the integral product of Eidos-Montréal’s creative talent, who made his debut in 2011’s Deus Ex: Human Revolution, and has been a beloved torch bearer of the Deus Ex brand ever since.
Here are the 10 things you need to know about one of cyberpunk’s contemporary leading heroes:
10. Adam Jensen is voiced and performance captured by Elias Toufexis
Elias Toufexis is a half-Greek theater, television, and film actor, as well as a voice artist.
Canadian-raised, half-Greek voice actor Elias Toufexis took up the reigns as leading hero Adam Jensen in 2011’s Deus Ex Human Revolution and subsequently, this year’s Deus Ex: Mankind Divided. Apart from Adam Jensen, Elias’s other most flagship character is Andriy Kobin, one of the villains in Tom Clancy's Splinter Cell: Conviction.
Elias is an ardent fan of the Deus Ex series, having played all of its titles and being well-acquainted with the Orwellian world and its rebellious heroes.
9. Jensen's character design resembles the three Denton brothers
A close-up of Adam’s facial appearance.
Adam Jensen’s appearance is a mix of the physical characteristics of the Denton siblings from the first two Deus Ex games; the iconic knee-length chic longcoat and the retractable lenses in addition to the smoky, stoic and obscure emotional tone akin to JC Denton. His stylish, trimmed beard resembles the goatee of the elder sibling Paul Denton and the spiky hair is reminiscent of that of Alex Denton.
8. Adam Jensen’s outward design underwent several variations
Adam Jensen swamped in the series’ distinctive sepia-tinted color palette.
In the recently released The Art of Deus Ex Universe, the renowned art team from Eidos-Montréal gave a comprehensive commentary on the creative evolution of Jensen’s external design. The character underwent several consequent alterations, ranging from ‘Douchebag Adam’ to a more Renaissance-inclined countenance until the team settled with the present appearance that is most reflective of the cyberpunk philosophy and themes.
7. Adam Jensen is a “genetic marvel”
Adam Jensen shields himself with the indomitable Titian shield.
From infancy, Adam Jensen was subjected to extensive experimental genetic therapy treatments by VersaLife Corporation, a company that specializes in pharmaceuticals, bioengineering and nanotechnology. This distressing trial permanently altered Jensen's biochemistry and as a result, Adam’s tissue would never reject augmentations, the process of bonding metal to flesh would only strengthen, not diminish his body. Until the age of 34, Adam would unknowingly carry the universal secret to human revolution.
6. The character of Jensen is composed of biblical and mythological elements
“The Creation of Adam”
Adam Jensen's first name may be an allusion to the biblical figure of Adam, the harbinger of mankind and God’s creation. Adam’s story has also been likened to the mythological character of Icarus, who was disintegrated by the sun in his struggle to rise above his station pre-destined by God.
Jensen's first name may also parallel Frankenstein’s monster. As the characters Hugh Darrow, the father of human augmentation, and Adam Jensen are frequently compared with the mythological Daedalus and Icarus, this comparison can also be extended toward the characters of Mary Shelley’s novel, the scientist Viktor Frankenstein and his unorthodox sapient creation, Frankenstein.
5. Adam was likely inspired by the character Alex Murphy
Adam preparing for combat.
Adam’s beginning in Deus Ex: Human Revolution parallels that of Alex Murphy, better known as RoboCop. Both were members of the Detroit police, both fatally injured and near death, only to be saved via extensive cybernetic surgery.
4. The initial character prototype for Adam Jensen was Blake Denton
A world devoid of utopian futures.
In the proposal document for the game Deus Ex: Human Revolution, Adam Jensen was initially Blake Denton, the father of the original Deus Ex protagonists JC and Paul Denton. Blake Denton was a Delta Force commando and the sole survivor of “The Roswell Event”, a mysterious catastrophe in Columbia which bequeathed on Blake an array of supernatural powers as a result of an implanted nanotech germ that replicated in his body.
In many ways, the core elements of Blake Denton’s story parallel those of Adam Jensen.
3. 50% of Adam's body has been mechanically augmented
Adam Jensen is arguably the most powerful augmented character in the games.
Following the incident with the Tyrant attack on Sarif Industries where Jensen was chief of security, Adam underwent ample augmentation surgery where 50% of his body was replaced by prosthetics, both internally and externally embedded into his organic frame and skin.
All of Adam Jensen's limbs have been replaced by prosthetic counterparts, with a nanoceramic blade attached from the wrist to the elbow for hand-to-hand combat, the ability to dislocate his fingers, firing stability, lifting heavy weights, and accelerated running speed.
Jensen’s torso is covered in dermal armor which enwraps numerous cardiovascular and muscular augmentations, such as an internal rebreather, a health system, an internal battery, and the Typhoon Explosive System in addition to a reflex booster and the Icarus Landing System attached to his spinal column.
Other additions to his caliber of augmentations include an infolink and cochlear implant within his ear cavity, a retinal prosthesis in Jensen’s eyes as well as a plethora of hacking tools.
2. He is a working class hero
A working class hero – dependable, resourceful and curious with a streak of hardcore cynicism.
After the destruction of White Helix Labs, the subsidiary of VersaLife which experimented on a group of infants, Adam was put up for adoption and at the age of five was adopted by blue collar couple Arthur and Margie Jensen from Detroit.
Adam Jensen spent his youth and adolescence unbeknownst of his problematic and calamitous origins, growing up in a racially mixed neighborhood in Detroit. Hailing from a working class family, money was always tight and his mother’s reliance on anti-depressants and emotional instability rendered her incapable of finding a job. Adam is not without happy memories from his childhood, but all of them are tinged with uncertainty and guilt.
Adam’s tempestuous childhood was an impetus for his unwavering resolve to center the rest of his life on securing the happiness and prosperity of others, even if it meant putting his own life on the line.
1. He never asked for this
The two juxtapositions of Adam Jensen’s character – the Aug and the Natural.
“I never asked for this. They say they saved me, but I’m not sure saved is the right word.”
One of Adam Jensen’s most noteworthy quotes which subtly displays his dual character. The loss of power over one’s body is a recurring theme in the games; the struggle of Jensen to embrace his humane side are the parts of his character which are both sentimental and chilling to watch.
Over the years, the visceral character of Adam Jensen has slowly permeated not only video games but comic books and novelizations as well, his character attaining widespread repute outside the video game world. Despite the newly released Deus Ex: Mankind Divided’s shortcomings, Adam Jensen’s character remained both multi-layered and convincing and we eagerly anticipate what his creators have in store for him in the following years.
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