Deus Ex: Mankind Divided Soundtrack Review

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“Deus Ex: Mankind Divided,” developed by Eidos-Montréal and published by Square Enix, is a game celebrated for its intricate story, deep gameplay mechanics, and rich, immersive environments. One of the critical elements that contribute to its atmospheric depth is its soundtrack. Composed primarily by Michael McCann, with additional music by Sascha Dikiciyan and Ed Harrison, the soundtrack of “Deus Ex: Mankind Divided” plays a pivotal role in shaping the player’s experience, drawing them into its dystopian cyberpunk world. This review explores the soundtrack in detail, examining its composition, themes, and overall impact on the game.

Composition and Contributors

The “Deus Ex: Mankind Divided” soundtrack is a collaborative effort, primarily led by Michael McCann, who previously worked on the critically acclaimed soundtrack for “Deus Ex: Human Revolution.” McCann’s work is complemented by contributions from Sascha Dikiciyan, known for his work on various video game soundtracks, and Ed Harrison, whose music adds a unique touch to the overall auditory experience.

Michael McCann

Michael McCann’s style is characterized by a blend of electronic and orchestral elements, creating a sound that is both futuristic and deeply emotive. His compositions for “Deus Ex: Mankind Divided” continue the thematic and stylistic legacy he established in “Human Revolution,” utilizing a mix of synthetic sounds, traditional instruments, and choral elements to evoke the game’s dark, technologically advanced setting.

Sascha Dikiciyan

Sascha Dikiciyan, also known as Sonic Mayhem, brings a more aggressive and intense electronic sound to the soundtrack. His contributions add a layer of urgency and tension to the music, which is especially effective during action sequences and high-stakes moments within the game.

Ed Harrison

Ed Harrison’s work on the soundtrack introduces a more ambient and atmospheric quality, providing a contrast to the more intense compositions of McCann and Dikiciyan. Harrison’s music helps to underscore the game’s quieter, more introspective moments, enhancing the overall emotional depth of the experience.

Thematic Elements

The soundtrack of “Deus Ex: Mankind Divided” is deeply intertwined with the game’s themes of transhumanism, societal division, and ethical ambiguity. Each track is carefully crafted to reflect these themes, enhancing the narrative and emotional resonance of the game.


Transhumanism, the idea of enhancing human capabilities through technology, is a central theme in “Deus Ex: Mankind Divided.” The soundtrack reflects this through its use of synthetic sounds and electronic instrumentation, symbolizing the fusion of humanity and technology. Tracks such as “The Machine God” and “Icarus – Main Theme” embody this theme, with their futuristic soundscapes and mechanical rhythms.

Societal Division

The game’s setting, a world divided by fear and prejudice against augmented individuals, is also mirrored in the music. The soundtrack features contrasting musical elements that represent the tension and conflict within society. For example, the juxtaposition of serene, melodic passages with harsh, dissonant tones in tracks like “The Lazarus Effect” and “Rifles and Rations” highlight the game’s underlying social commentary.

Ethical Ambiguity

The ethical dilemmas faced by the protagonist, Adam Jensen, and the moral gray areas explored in the game are underscored by the soundtrack’s complex harmonies and evolving musical motifs. The use of minor keys, unresolved chords, and ambiguous harmonic progressions in tracks such as “The Mole” and “21st Century Divider” reflect the uncertain and often morally ambiguous nature of the game’s narrative.

Key Tracks

The soundtrack of “Deus Ex: Mankind Divided” features numerous standout tracks, each contributing to the game’s atmosphere and storytelling in unique ways. Here are some of the key tracks and their significance:

Icarus – Main Theme

The main theme of “Deus Ex: Mankind Divided,” “Icarus,” is a powerful and evocative piece that sets the tone for the entire game. The track features a hauntingly beautiful melody played on a synthetic lead, supported by a rich tapestry of orchestral and electronic sounds. The theme encapsulates the game’s core themes of ambition, tragedy, and the human condition.

The Machine God

“The Machine God” is a track that embodies the fusion of man and machine. It features a blend of synthetic and organic sounds, with a driving rhythm and futuristic soundscapes that evoke the game’s cyberpunk aesthetic. This track is often associated with scenes involving advanced technology and augmentation, highlighting the game’s transhumanist themes.

Prague Streets

“Prague Streets” captures the essence of the game’s primary setting, the city of Prague. The track features a mix of traditional Eastern European instruments and modern electronic elements, creating a unique sound that reflects the city’s blend of old-world charm and futuristic technology. The music is both atmospheric and evocative, immersing players in the vibrant, yet tension-filled streets of Prague.

The Lazarus Effect

This track underscores some of the game’s more dramatic and intense moments. It features a dynamic range of sounds, from soft, ambient passages to powerful, driving rhythms. The use of dissonance and tension in the music mirrors the game’s themes of conflict and upheaval.

Rifles and Rations

“Rifles and Rations” is a more aggressive and intense track, reflecting the game’s action-oriented sequences. The driving beat and harsh electronic sounds create a sense of urgency and danger, heightening the player’s adrenaline during combat scenes.

21st Century Divider

This track is one of the more introspective pieces on the soundtrack. It features a melancholic melody and a slower tempo, creating a contemplative atmosphere. The music reflects the game’s exploration of personal and societal conflicts, adding emotional depth to the narrative.

Impact on Gameplay

The soundtrack of “Deus Ex: Mankind Divided” is not merely a background element; it plays an integral role in shaping the player’s experience. The music enhances the atmosphere, reinforces the narrative, and provides emotional cues that guide the player’s feelings and reactions throughout the game.


The soundtrack’s blend of electronic and orchestral elements creates a rich, immersive atmosphere that draws players into the game’s world. The music helps to establish the tone of each environment, from the bustling streets of Prague to the sterile, high-tech laboratories. The atmospheric quality of the music makes the game world feel more alive and believable.

Narrative Reinforcement

The soundtrack reinforces the game’s narrative by reflecting its themes and emotional arcs. The music changes dynamically in response to the player’s actions and the unfolding story, enhancing the overall storytelling experience. For example, during moments of tension or conflict, the music becomes more intense and dissonant, while during quieter, more reflective scenes, the music becomes softer and more melodic.

Emotional Cues

The soundtrack provides important emotional cues that guide the player’s reactions and feelings. The use of specific musical motifs and themes helps to underscore key moments in the story, amplifying their emotional impact. For example, the use of a haunting melody during a tragic scene can evoke feelings of sadness and empathy, while a triumphant, uplifting track can inspire a sense of accomplishment and hope.

Technical Aspects

Audio Quality

The audio quality of the “Deus Ex: Mankind Divided” soundtrack is exceptional. The music is expertly produced, with a clear and balanced mix that allows each element to shine. The use of high-quality samples and synthesizers, combined with live instrumentation, creates a rich and detailed soundscape. The soundtrack is available in high-fidelity formats, ensuring that players can experience the music in all its glory.

Integration with Gameplay

The integration of the soundtrack with gameplay is seamless. The music transitions smoothly between different tracks and dynamically responds to the player’s actions. This dynamic music system enhances immersion and ensures that the soundtrack always feels relevant and impactful. The use of adaptive music techniques, where the music changes in response to in-game events, adds an extra layer of interactivity and engagement.

Reception and Legacy

The “Deus Ex: Mankind Divided” soundtrack has been widely praised by both critics and players. It has been recognized for its innovative use of electronic and orchestral elements, its thematic depth, and its emotional impact. The soundtrack has received several awards and nominations, cementing its place as one of the standout video game soundtracks of its generation.

Critical Acclaim

Critics have lauded the soundtrack for its ability to enhance the game’s atmosphere and narrative. Reviews often highlight the music’s blend of futuristic and traditional elements, its dynamic range, and its emotional resonance. The soundtrack is frequently cited as one of the game’s strongest aspects, contributing significantly to its overall success.

Player Reception

Players have also responded positively to the soundtrack, with many praising its immersive quality and emotional depth. The music has become a beloved part of the “Deus Ex” franchise, with tracks like “Icarus – Main Theme” and “The Machine God” becoming iconic pieces associated with the series. Fans often cite the soundtrack as one of their favorite aspects of the game, and it has gained a dedicated following.

Awards and Nominations

The soundtrack has received several awards and nominations, including recognition from industry bodies such as the Game Audio Network Guild (G.A.N.G.) and the BAFTA Games Awards. These accolades are a testament to the quality and impact of the music, further solidifying its status as a standout video game soundtrack.


The soundtrack of “Deus Ex: Mankind Divided” is a masterful composition that significantly enhances the game’s atmosphere, narrative, and emotional impact. Through its blend of electronic and orchestral elements, the music creates a rich and immersive soundscape that draws players into the game’s dystopian world.

The thematic depth and emotional resonance of the soundtrack, combined with the exceptional technical execution, make it one of the standout video game soundtracks of its generation. The contributions of Michael McCann, Sascha Dikiciyan, and Ed Harrison have resulted in a musical experience that is both innovative and deeply affecting.

Whether enhancing the tension of a high-stakes combat encounter, underscoring the melancholy of a divided society, or providing moments of introspection and reflection, the soundtrack of “Deus Ex: Mankind Divided” plays a crucial role in shaping the player’s experience. It stands as a testament to the power of music in video games and its ability to elevate the medium to new artistic heights.

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