The Illuminati has been a force in the Deus Ex universe since the series began. It’s also the group that introduced a glitch into augmentation software that created the Aug Incident. While they share the same name, Eidos Montreal’s interpretation of the group is different from the first Deus Ex. Most notably, it’s shifted away from the ‘90s-era X-Files-style paranoia toward something more grounded.
- "They’re very powerful one-percenters who have always controlled and manipulated society in ways that serve a vision that they have,” DeMarle says. “For some of them, that vision may be very personal, and it may be, ‘I just want to maintain peace and prosperity so that I stay on top.’ For others, because nothing is ever black and white and it’s about the individual, some of them may very much believe, 'I’ve been given this power and this money and this wealth, and I come from this upper class because kings are born. Our job is to protect society, and we need to preserve mankind. When we look forward and see the war and we see the terrorism, we have to stop it – but how we stop it might not be to the benefit of everyone.'"
In short, the Illuminati is a blanket term to describe these powerful people overall, even if they don’t necessarily have an official structure or hold meetings. "It’s more along the lines of the one percent of the one-percenters," DeMarle says.