I’m just going to second the desire for the return of the chemical storerooms from SS2. Just blatantly recycle the execution from the manifests to the non-instantaneous research times. It’s such a simple system yet is disproportionately immersive and provided a compelling reason to return to prior areas.
Also more generally on the topic:
[li]A.I.: The team seems to be going in the absolute right direction with Ascendant in this regard with a sense of ecology and interactions between non-player entities. But A.I. tactics should also be developed, so enemies don’t simply become single-minded damage dealers upon noticing the player; some enemies should play dead hearing you approach or run-away in terror because you have a grenade launcher readied or try to lure you around a corner where they have a melee weapon ready or find allies etc. The potential that will come from losing a enemy sprinting away and wondering, alone just who or what will come back with them…[/li]
[li]Survival-Horror: Where ammo isn’t limited, it should be expensive. Damage should be severe and be non-trivial to heal. One of the insights of the developers on the last Deus Ex was that when testers were not availing themselves of other possibilities in the environment and defaulting to combat, they simply raised the cost of engaging in combat.[/li]
[li]Level Design: More opportunities for stealth and avoidance generally as well as environmental distractions and modifiers for enemy behaviour.[/li]
[li]World Reactivity: Just as a representative example of what I mean; if you set fire to a couch, a sprinkler system reacts to that fire, a small maintenance robot enters to photograph and assess the damage, you place a proximity mine set to sense threats rather than just movement on the maintenance robot which travels back through a difficult checkpoint, one enemy is killed and another is wounded and tries to seek a med-bay. Coming up with novel, interrelating and exploitable ‘moving-parts’ to the world should be a prime concern. We’re almost certain to be discussing an incredibly technologically advanced location that is also highly ordered around maximising safety and convenience, so make the most out of it.[/li]
I think trying to generalise chemical acquisition, from found items, just makes the system too analogous to yet another crafting system but I really like your idea of combinations and applications. I can definitely see for instance applying a caustic solution to a melee weapon or doping bullets in a specific chemical that you’ve found, via research, to be reactive to the flesh of one of Shodan’s creations so that it does damage-over-time.