A question for the lovely Mary DeMarle and the DX:HR Writing Staff: I just want to know more about the "Michael Zelazny" character from the Talion A.D. quest. For a character with such a small role in the game, it looked like a lot of effort was made creating the background for him. For example, his tendency to quote several passages from the Bible that reflects his current situation yet he's hardly a religious person. What are some of the inspirations for creating him?

Eidos-Montreal community manager Kyle Stallock here as always.

I asked Mary to answer this, but here’s what she said: “Actually, Kyle, the person who should answer this is JF Champagne, since he wrote that quest and created that character.”

So, here’s game designer Jean-Francois Champagne responding:

I always liked the Warrior/Priest concept: a man of masterful martial ability driven by a deep intellect and a strong spiritual inspiration. In my opinion, these men are the ultimate leaders and the greatest generals. So the first part of my inspiration for that character was simply to create a cyberpunk version of that concept.

Secondly, I wanted to create a character that played around with classic stereotypes and turned them on their heads. Zelazny is an original take on the Mercenary, the Terrorist and the Religious Man stereotypes.

Instead of the classic gun-for-hire with no notions of morality, we have a man who enjoys military life and chose that life because of a genuine belief in his government. He didn’t sell his services to a private PMC because of greed or lack of principles, he simply rationally came to the conclusion that with the added budget and capabilities, these PMCs offered him a chance to serve his country more efficiently. That’s also why he accepted to take part in the experiment that’s behind this whole quest: dedication.

Also, I wanted to explore the Augmented Terrorist concept from a different angle: instead of the usual “blinded by his convictions” extremist, we have an intelligent man with a very rational approach to what he’s doing. He is perfectly conscious of the damnable nature of his actions, he simply decided that the penalty was worth it. I definitely do not condone terrorism, but at the same time I wanted to showcase that things aren’t always as black and white as they often appear.

Finally, the Bible quotations. I liked the idea of a religious man that was actually cool about it. I mean, it seems that every time we see a religious person pictured in works of fiction, they are always extreme, blinded by faith, obsessed, prejudiced or close-minded. But in real life, I know a lot of religious people who are very rational and poised. They are respectful and don’t bother people with their beliefs, they just have them. In some cases, these people are only conscious of the importance of spirituality and thus enjoy these subjects, the religious scriptures and history. This is how I pictured Zelazny: a man with a strong spiritual presence that is smart enough to take what he likes from the Scriptures and adapt it so it gives purpose to his life on his own terms.

Then again— part of me simply wanted an excuse to create a bad ass dude that could drop an incessant flow of bad ass one liners… and what’s more bad ass than a super-augmented dude with a huge gun quoting the Book ;)

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