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access_time September 21, 2015 at 3:17 PM in Features by Charlie Grammer

Gamebusters myth 32: Deus Ex predicted the 9/11 attacks


Welcome back, dear readers, to another entry in our Gamebusters series. I again apologize for the delay between features, as I haven’t quite gotten settled in with my new situation yet, but I promise that once I do get fully settled you’ll be seeing more of these with more regularity as I continue to dig up both obscure and popular gaming myths and attempt to debunk them.

In myth 32, we’ll be taking a look at another rumor of a game predicting the future. Back in myth 12, we examined a rumor that Fallout 3 predicted the future with a hidden numbers station, but were you aware that Deus Ex may also have predicted the future?

The myth

This myth is pretty straightforward. When you’re playing Deus Ex, you’ll be set on several missions. You will be sent into missions in Liberty City, and here, if you check out New York City in the background, you’ll notice something rather conspicuous: The World Trade Center towers are missing.

Did Deus Ex truly predict 9/11?

Did Deus Ex truly predict 9/11?

The official explanation given in the game is that the towers were taken out by a terrorist attack. A mere year later, the Twin Towers were indeed destroyed by terrorists in the infamous 9/11 tragedy. People quickly pointed to Deus Ex thus predicting the future and began wondering how much more it would accurately predict.

Myth or fact?

This one is just a myth. While it is true that in the game, which was released in 2000, you cannot see the World Trade Center towers when viewing the New York City skyline, and it is explained that they were taken out in a terrorist attack, it was merely coincidence.

In fact, Deus Ex wasn’t the only piece of media to predict the attack. Various shows, such as X-Files and Simpsons to name two also mentioned such a thing.

The true reason that you cannot find the Twin Towers in the game is merely due to the engine’s limitation at the time; The developers simply could not fit the towers in, as they were forced to crop the skyline in order to fit within these limitations.

Those still claiming that it had to have simply predicted this attack may also have forgotten that the World Trade Center was a target even before 9/11. Back in 1993, for instance, there was an attack in which terrorists parked a rental van in a garage underneath the towers and lit the fuses on a massive bomb. This attack could have easily inspired the idea that the World Trade Center would eventually be destroyed by a terrorist organization, as the game itself explains.

As for the question of if it will predict anything else, that is still up in the air. Human augmentation is almost certainly something that will occur in the future, but if it will have advanced to such a degree by 2027 is simply something we’d have to wait and discover.

I hope you’ve enjoyed the latest story of Gamebusters! As usual, if you feel that there are any myths or legends that we should look into, please leave a message in the comments section and I will check it out as soon as possible. Happy gaming!


  • Travis September 5, 2016 at 9:20 PM

    it was merely coincidence

  • Verge Le Noir October 3, 2016 at 6:36 PM

    […] This all happened in the year 2000. (Source) […]

  • Anonymous October 26, 2016 at 2:10 AM


  • Catch Up On Our Gamebusters Myths - GotGame March 17, 2019 at 10:11 AM

    […] Gamebusters Myth 32: Deus Ex Predicted 9/11 Attacks. […]

  • […] GotGame […]

  • Billy April 25, 2020 at 5:17 PM

    Not necessarily a coincidence

  • David Martinoli October 4, 2020 at 10:52 AM

    They attacked the twin towers (in real life) because of what the towers symbolized, if not the towers, then it would have been the empire state building, or good old lady liberty, that is all common sense at least for me. Their intentions were not to necassarily do a shat ton of damage, but to attack our souls and our pride right at home, if their intentions were to irreparably damage us they could have simply smashed into the white house, but they didn’t, because it wasn’t about maiming us physically, only mentally & emotionally…

    so even if it was a prediction, it was one that I could have come up with at the age of 9… but its still cool to think about any way you look at it..

  • […] are four Deus Ex games available. This includes Deus Ex, Deus Ex: Invisible War, Deus Ex: Human Revolution, and Deus Ex: Mankind Divided. While all of […]

  • ZuluDFA September 6, 2021 at 12:53 AM

    > The true reason… is merely due to the engine’s limitation… The developers simply could not fit the towers in…

    NO, this is false.


    The Devs did fit the Towers in, then took them out for the sake of a cool plot point, that went ominous within a year. Then they invented the “limitations” explanation to get out of the way of fan propelled shit.

    • David Poole September 6, 2021 at 2:31 AM

      Optimization with geometry and textures was still a thing. Just because the game has the file and they made them doesn’t mean they didn’t remove them for efficiency purposes. Giving it a “cool plot point” just gives them more justification for the sacrifice. A lot of games back then have situations just like that where developers have to prioritize elements for performance reasons. Was it impossible? Probably not. Did they see it being worth keeping in the scene when it didn’t have to be? That’s the most likely reason.

  • ZuluDFA September 6, 2021 at 7:54 AM

    From the video I linked it seems the WTC skyline is not “heavier” in terms memory than the one that made it into the final cut.

    • David Poole September 6, 2021 at 9:57 PM

      Hard to say since we don’t have the file sizes mentioned (just the resolution of the texture maps). The textures also look radically different so it’s possible they had another setup where they ran into performance issues, and made a choice. Having game coding experience myself, a lot of stuff is trial and error until it just suddenly works. It’s much easier now than when there were bigger limitations, but even a texture file size could mess up something.

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