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'Deus Ex: Mankind Divided' has something new: female combatants

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Among the upgraded abilities, new weapons and winding metal passageways in Deus Ex: Mankind Divided, there's one important, yet subtle, change to the series: women in combat roles. There were of course women in the previous game, Deus Ex: Human Revolution, but they were largely removed from battles, producer Olivier Proulx tells Engadget at E3.

"They had some social functions in the game world, but actually going into stealth and playing against them in combat, you didn't see that," he says. "It was just guys all the way through."

Mankind Divided changes this. Women in Human Revolution had a strictly "social" role, Proulx explains. When Mankind Divided launches in early 2016, women will be on the front lines.

It was really important to have females in the Deus Ex world.

"Basically, now when you explore the environments it's not only, like, males everywhere," Proulx says. "We have females as well, female characters that you can interact with. In a Deus Ex game, you don't have to kill everyone -- so we call them 'combatants' but we could say they're just NPCs in the environment. We have a much more -- sort of mix of different characters. For us, it was really important to have females in our world, in the Deus Ex world."

Mankind Divided isn't alone in emphasizing the role of women in games: Minecraft recently revealed its first free female character, FIFA 16 will feature women players for the first time and The Museum of Art and Digital Entertainment in California recently highlighted the accomplishments of women in game development. There's a big conversation about diversity bubbling beneath the gaming industry right now and it appears the creators of Deus Ex: Mankind Divided are happy to be a part of it.

Check here for everything happening at E3 2015!

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