Clutching At Shadows: Thief 4

By Adam Smith on April 19th, 2012 at 8:00 pm.

If you starve a man he will gladly chew a button in order to create saliva, which he will then swallow in an attempt to fool his body into thinking it is being fed. This brief cry in the dark is my attempt to nourish myself with a lump of plastic or wood, it is the splinter in my tongue and the grumbling in my belly. This is what happens when they don’t tell me anything about Thief 4. I feast hungrily on scraps.

Along with the news from back in January that Thief 4 will almost certainly be an Unreal Engine game with possible multiplayer components, Eidos Montreal general manager Stephane D’Astous has spilled yet more magical hint-beans as to the direction the sequel to The Greatest Trilogy In Gaming will take. Speaking to OXM, D’Astous had the following to say.

“We have more international staff working on Thief, which brings a great flavour to the game. There are a lot of challenges to bringing back a great cult IP, but we consider it like a new IP and we are going to respect the spirit of the franchise like we did with Deus Ex. Deus Ex was the kick-start of this new series of great games, and Thief will be part of that. We don’t want to deliver the same each time. Our mandate is to bring new stuff to the table; games that we’ll be talking about for years.”

More international staff is good. Maybe The City will have French and Latin quarters now. Hmmmm. I can see it working, different styles of architecture leading to different layouts, both interior and exterior. Yes, that’s acceptable, so long as it’s all in keeping with “the spirit of the franchise”.

You’ll notice they also slip in a cryptic reference to the preferred method of funding. “Kick-start”. That word isn’t used idly, far from it, soon enough you’ll be able to pledge $16,000 to receive a lifesize statue of Garrett, or $20,000 to spend the night in a burned down asylum-orphanage. It’d actually be quite nice if I could pledge $5 just to make sure I never have to see this next image again.

NO NO NO NO NO NO

The game will, apparently, “bring more than just stealth”, presumably to the same “table” mentioned earlier. I don’t know much about that table but presumably it’ll be dimly lit at the very least. Maybe it’ll have a goblet on top of it. A goblet that will soon be in my swag bag. So, that’s the thieving part confirmed then, unless the table has an extensive brunch laid atop it. Fe4st?

In truth. there’s very little to take from such a vague quote. I’m sure some people will consider “more than just stealth” to be an admission that we’re going to be sobbing our way through a third person action game with a shoddy cover system. There’s absolutely no reason to be so pessimistic though. There’s also very little reason to try and read anything into any of this, but like I said at the start, I’m starving.

I’ve written a little about some of the reasons I love Thief before. Why do you love it and what do you hope for?

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172 Comments »

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  1. 65 says:

    “I’m sure some people will consider “more than just stealth” to be an admission that we’re going to be sobbing our way through a third person action game with a shoddy cover system.”

    Yep, that’s me.
    Hi.

    • Premium User Badge

      HermitUK says:

      I like to think it means they’re getting the same team who did the DXHR bossfights to put together some more for this game.

      I’m thinking Garrett having a swordfight with a part-clockwork man on the roof of a building, in the rain. You have to jump when lightning hits the roof or you’re instantly fried, unless you bought the rubber soles upgrade for your boots.

    • db1331 says:

      I’m hoping Garret will go by “G” this time out, will be built like Chris Redfield circa RE5, and will fire off bullet-time arrows from behind chest-high walls while shouting dick jokes. Also, every time you steal a piece of loot, he shouts, “BLING BLING!”

      • Syra says:

        bullet time arrows actually got me a little bit wet :s

        I think it could be a great idea… when you make a stealth kill with an arrow show garret stretched out, arrow unfurling, bending in the wind, lashing through the rain, illuminated by a flicker of lightening…

        Following it though like a sniper round in max payne…

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          RaveTurned says:

          Now I have visions of Garret diving sideways in slow motion while firing mini-crossbows and gurning like a constipated hyena.

    • joeroyo says:

      haha, I just love the image of someone sobbing their way through a game

  2. pitak89 says:

    I would prefer the table to have only stealth.

    • Inglourious Badger says:

      It is, you just can’t see it

    • Qazi says:

      If you weren’t playing on Expert, being a bloodthirsty cut-throat was often as viable as roleplaying the master sneak thief.
      In the undead and monster themed missions, murdering everyone(thing) was always viable.
      :)

  3. Freud says:

    As long as they introduce an AI buddy system, I’m happy.

    • Benny says:

      With a clearly marked ‘Follow’ icon so i dont accidently get lost.

      • Premium User Badge

        HermitUK says:

        Hopefully they’ll also add huge “PRESS X TO STEAL” messages onscreen when I’m within ten feet of anything valuable.

        Ideally, they’ll then play out a canned animation of Garrett looking cool while he steals the candelabra off the table.

    • Creeping Death says:

      An AI buddy that constantly whines at you to follow him and needs constant protection because their death will cause an instant game over. Hell yeah!

    • ResonanceCascade says:

      I hope they make a tightly-scripted cinematic, 3rd person action-stealth experience. Also, there had better be a lot of funny banter between Garrett and the rest of his squad of muscular combat thieves.

      • LionsPhil says:

        Needs more love interest.

        • Mirqy says:

          see above comment re: muscular combat thieves.

          • LionsPhil says:

            No no, the gay option has to remain an option to stir up free hype controversy. You still need something with small planets for a rack and a piece of bailer twine for a costume for the player to romance. Remember to make her “sassy”, which is a funny foreign word for “completely unlikable and truly horrible, joyless person”.

          • NathanH says:

            The original series was obviously a metaphor for repressed homosexuality

      • Syra says:

        Sounds like the makings of a ps3 exclusive. Wouldn’t that make us all happier!

    • Lemming says:

      You guys are joking, but I’m imagining devs from Eidos Montreal looking down these comments frantically scribbling notes…

      • LionsPhil says:

        I think the real joke here is the notion that the devs give two hoots what people in blog comments say.

        (They’re obviously really checking out what people are saying on Facebook, because that’s more 2.0.)

    • InternetBatman says:

      The important thing is that it needs to be voiced by Chris Tucker.

    • Thants says:

      Just as long as the game decides when to jump for me. I get nervous when a game lets me jump whenever I choose.

  4. Lemming says:

    No boss fights please.

    And lots of clockpunk.

    • GallonOfAlan says:

      No boss fights, for the love of all that’s holy. And huge, huge levels full of alternate routes, and secrets.

      • Prime says:

        ^THIS. For the love of god, THIS. Everything he said. And didn’t say. And thought. Because he’s awesome and thinks EXACTLY like me about Thief.

      • Geen says:

        Follow these words like they were your mother. If you disobey them, she disowns you.

  5. lepercake says:

    “respect the spirit of the franchise like we did with Deus Ex” heh.

    • Doesn'tmeananything says:

      ‘Deus Ex was the kick-start of this new series of great games, and Thief will be part of that.’

      That’s also incredibly funny, since not only everything after DX was pure crap, but also because DXHR was their game.

      • LionsPhil says:

        Hey now, DX:IW had mantling. (Remember that, mantling? When chest-high walls were something you could climb over or cower behind?)

        It was about the only improvement in a sea of huge regressions, but still.

        • Ringwraith says:

          Not enough games have mantling.
          Even the ones that do seem to forget it exists after a while.

        • scatterbrainless says:

          there is a great DX mod that replaced the “environmental” skill with one that adds faster sprinting and mantling. I mantled the s**t out of that game.

      • Reefpirate says:

        I’m pretty sure there were some Thief games after Deus Ex… You’re considering them crap now? I can’t keep up with your sarcastic cynicism. I believe he’s referring to the immersive sim genre, not the DX games…

        • Doesn'tmeananything says:

          Only DX didn’t ‘kick-start’ immersive sims, although it was the zenith of the genre.

    • LionsPhil says:

      “we consider it like a new IP”

      Translation: We’re going to leave the number off the end of the title (when we reimagine this to be a immersive and cinematic experience which streamlines outdated mechanics and offer a broader appeal to a new audience and new generation of AAA gaming).

      I can’t decide if this is worse than “Thi4f” or not.

    • yabonn says:

      They’ll need to go back to Thief 1 and 2, then.

      … And ideally get the zombie-breathing from T3 – scariest game sound ever.

    • woodsey says:

      So… we’re not liking Human Revolution now? Right then.

      Because playing it and the original again pretty much side-by-side, I’d say they’re pretty close. HR exceeds it in a number of aspects – I’d say that now they’ve got the groundwork down, aren’t building a team simultaneously, they could certainly surpass the original in a sequel.

      They’ve got the correct design philosophy in place (and it really shines through in a number of areas), they just need to keep pushing it.

      • copernicus_phoenix says:

        Well said.

        I loved the original Deus Ex, but I think too many people are viewing it through Arsene Wengers spectacles. I played it recently, and lots of little annoyances resurfaced. Things like the animation, which made aiming such a chore. Or, how your low initial XP means you can shoot straight – yep, the highly advanced elite CT agent hasn’t spent any time at the range!

        Much preferred the story of the original, the bosses were rubbish, and the end almost makes the end of ME3 look good, but overall, I think they did very well with HR. The environments and sense of place were particularly good.

        • woodsey says:

          I like the ending. In fact, I REALLY like the ending. The ‘point’ of the game is that it’s a debate, and everyone’s trying to sway you into agreeing with them. (One of the endings is even an ‘abstain’ option.) Choices you make leading up to it don’t affect the final choice as a game mechanic, but they should start reflecting your own philosophy.

          There’s also zero point in showing the aftermath of your decision. First off, because we know what becomes of the world; secondly, because it’s about what you think. Try attaching repercussions right after and you distract people from their actual choice, and run the risk of making a ‘good’, ‘bad’, and ‘medium’ option.

          Presentation-wise it’s a bit poo, but narratively and thematically I’d say it’s actually pretty flawless.

          I also don’t think they get enough credit for actually making everything work properly: it can easily stand up as a stealth game next to some of the best, and it’s a decent shooter too. DX had all those things, but it wasn’t praised because they all functioned exceptionally well in comparison to it’s contemporaries; it was praised because it let you do them.

          • Doesn'tmeananything says:

            Good Lord, Welcome To The Modern Gaming. For not understanding DX you completely deserve like-minded devs who butchered Deus Ex, pissed on the immersive sim genre, drew inspirations from MGS and anime, and regurgitated the pus-drenched substance, calling it a faithful continuation of the series.

          • woodsey says:

            “Oh no! They developed an actual art style and drew the inspiration from something other than DX! Sacrilege!”

            Please: immersive sims have been pretty much dead for a fair while, HR was a pretty big leap towards showing they’re viable. It isn’t as reactionary as the original nor as open, but there’s nothing wrong with wanting all aspects of the gameplay to be scrubbed up to standard first. Like I said, as long as they keep pushing that side of it now they’ve got the gameplay pretty much sorted, all will be well.

          • Ergates_Antius says:

            That’s right, people who liked DX:HR (including Warren Spector it would appear) do so because they don’t “understand” the original, and not because, for instance, they just have different taste to you. Your’s is the only correct opinion, anyone who differs is simply wrong.

            Good. Grief.

          • TsunamiWombat says:

            I though DEHR was an aces game, game play wise it was just as good as and a refinement of the DE Formula. I was impressed with how good it was,

            in fact, That being said, it wasn’t as -smart- of a game as DE was. DE was about political and philosophical questions – the meaning of humanity, what happens to those left behind by technology and industrialization, not just the political nature of government but the philosophical PURPOSE – this is one of the few elements that Invisible War got right while cocking everything else up. DEHR on the other hand, was largely just a political question about post humanism and human enhancement. There wasn’t any philosophy, any meat – nothing that made you QUESTION your beliefs, only consider. And it left the very obvious issues of government censorship and data control that it rubs in your face at the Picus building completely untouched.

            Also, none of the NPC’s said ‘rhetoric’ at all.

      • QualityJeverage says:

        Yeah, phew, I’m going to have to make a note of that. I thought it was OK to have enjoyed Human Revolution. I must have missed the memo where it started being something I’m supposed to hate.

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          Llewyn says:

          Indeed, I missed that one too. As it happens I did hate DX:HR, but I still don’t understand the mentality of demanding that other people should hate it as well

      • f1x says:

        But.. but.. you must hate everything except your prefered 10 years old masterpiece,
        we must stop time…

        on a more serious note now:
        To be honest I’ve been playing videogames since the x286 processors era / first NES, not that I consider myself a vet or anything (actually I missed the whole atari/cassettes era and more) but I just can’t understand this fear of the new, changes can be good, evolution is necessary
        seriously Deus Ex: HR was a great game
        of course there are harmful practices and bad games, Call of Duty regurgitations for example, but who is gonna say that Modern Warfare 1 is not a step forward from Call of Duty 1?

        • TsunamiWombat says:

          The MW games produced by Infinity Ward get alot less nethatred then those produced by other developers for a reason. MW1 was a rejuvination of the genre, and MW2 was a refinement. Everything else done has been regurgitation retread bullshit, and man does MW3 show it (though I sort of liked Black Ops)

  6. psychoconductor says:

    I hope they expand on what they did with Thief: Deadly Shadows. That game was simply awesome.

    • GallonOfAlan says:

      There were lots of parts of it that were awesome, but it screwed up in lots of ways as well.

      • Kynrael says:

        True ! I played T:DS first, and always used third person. Now that I’ve tried Thief 1 with only first person view… I see how I missed out, first person stealth is much more intense and fraught with danger.

      • popedoo says:

        I blame the Xbox. :) :)

        As it only had 64MB of RAM, the levels had to be really compartmentalised, and it felt really claustrophobic, with lots of loading screens, and everything in the area you were before was ‘frozen’ until you came back. The first two had bigger areas! And sadly the PC version was made to suffer from the same restrictions, I guess to make things ‘fair’. I was bitter for a while. :)

        Didn’t stop the overall experience and story being f***ing awesome though. I was and am very happy with that game.

        Shalebridge Cradle. Ahhhhhh lovely.

  7. Justin Keverne says:

    When working on The Dark Project, the folks at Looking Glass Studios wanted to explore many different ways of fulfilling the fantasy of being a “Thief”. That’s why there are levels like “Down In The Bonehoard” or “The Lost City” that are as much about exploration and tomb robbing as their are about pure stealth.

    Are Eidos Montreal taking a similar approach and considering the concept of “thief” from a broader perspective than simply all stealth all the time? No idea, but when the original developers weren’t starting from such a absolute perspective either, jumping to conclusions regarding what “more than just stealth” may mean is foolish.

    • ResonanceCascade says:

      Well, it isn’t time to bust out the pitchforks yet (though that 4 in the name gets me pretty close) but I’m going to remain concerned about that statement until it gets clarified.

    • LionsPhil says:

      Perhaps they should take a leaf from AssCreed’s best-selling book and do Garret-through-the-ages, committing smash-and-grabs on Tesco Express outlets in an old Volvo, culminating in a final boss fight where you must become a minister and fraudlently claim expenses for housing without getting slimed too hard by the media.

    • Runs With Foxes says:

      You know better than that, Justin. You might hope otherwise, but you know very well this means they’re adding in some action possibilities, taking this more in the Assassin’s Creed or MGS direction, so if you fail at stealth you just go toe to toe with everyone.

      The Modern Gamer cannot be made to feel failure.

  8. Maldomel says:

    thi4f. No matter how I look at it, it is horrible.

    • Drake Sigar says:

      I involuntarily burst out in mocking laughter when I saw the image. It’s f3ar all over again!

      • Vorphalack says:

        No. It’s worse.

        It’s Thiaf. THIAF.

        At least F3ar got the letter > number conversion right.

    • hbarsquared says:

      Yeah, every time I see it, I see the “4” as “Ar”. As in, ThiArf.

    • JackMultiple says:

      Guys, guys, guys… didn’t we learn anything at all from the Gobliiins franchise? The correct answer is…

      Thiiiief

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      Man Raised by Puffins says:

      Eidos Thiaf: Je ne re-Garrett rien

    • lordcooper says:

      I can’t wait for Thieve5

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        RaveTurned says:

        Presumably that’s when they’ll add multiplayer – which “in the spirit of the franchise” will be deathmatch.

    • DClark says:

      The name ‘Thi4f’ is so bad it makes me want to avoid the game just based on my concern that if they can screw up such a simple decision regarding the name of the game, I don’t have high hopes regarding the choices they will make with the content of the game.

      This is where the developers need to throw the PR guys under the bus to save public opinion of the game. “We haven’t named the game yet – the PR guys yelled into the ‘monkeys with typewriters’ room that they needed a logofor the next Thief game in order to drum up interest and this is what they spat out”.

  9. Ridnarhtim says:

    I’m not expecting much. I really didn’t like Thi3f.

    I’d gladly be proven wrong, of course. But considering recent games, I’d be surprised if it didn’t end up linear and actioney.

  10. MagpieMcGraw says:

    Does anyone else read D’Astous as D’sastrous?

  11. onodera says:

    I’d pay $20,000 to never ever spend the night in a burned down asylum-orphanage.

    • Prime says:

      I’d pay $20,000 to never ever see the word ‘Thi4f’ again.

  12. Contrafibularity says:

    There’s absolutely no reason to be so pessimistic though.

    Really Adam, REALLY? I know you’re playing nice with the SQEIDOSX so they might be forthcoming, but I think DXHARHAR pretty much proved their intentions for DX and Thief games, and they’re anything but honourable. I’m guessing it won’t be long till their marketing machine will be spinning their tales on us, about how really, when you get down to it, third-person stealth-cover isn’t that different from Thief’s first-person stealth, and how you know, console audiences supposedly need third-person mode because modern television sets prohibit pseudo-depth perception or some bull or other about motion sickness. Then they will re-assure us that it’s entirely optional and that movement mechanics and level design will be in no way influenced by third-person consolitis, when of course any person with half a brain will know there’s always a difference depending on whether you’re designing for first-person (eye-height) or third-person, and doubly so when you’ve decided that Garrett needs some “cool kill-animations” with armblades and ninja-eyes or whatever.

    Meh, what am I complaining about, I’ve still got the original games and The Dark Mod, and us Thief fans aren’t part of their intended audience anyway. If that sounds bitter that’s because I am, about this. Still, the real wait for a real Thief game can’t be more than a decade, no? Especially now that we’re seeing the beginning of the end of game publishers.

  13. Eukatheude says:

    The Thi4f logo actually has sense, i found this on the forums: http://i082.radikal.ru/0911/05/c4491bd6456b.gif

  14. fish99 says:

    There’s only 2 Thief games, and always will be.

  15. Timthos says:

    So all of a sudden everyone apparently hates Human Revolution, and Eidos Montreal is the worst developer ever. Interesting.

    • LionsPhil says:

      Your mistake there is assuming that these are all exactly the same people as previous posts about DXHR.

      And Squeenix ruin all they touch. The only reason Just Cause 2 survives is that surfing a burning jet plane covered in explosives that you grappled to a passing motorcyclist excuses a multitude of sins.

    • Emeraude says:

      Some of us always found DE:HR lacking. As a first game, it’s promising, and put Eidos Montreal on the map. As a product it’s a polished but a relatively average mess of a game that doesn’t really know what it wants to do – nor how to do it. As a DE sequel, it is utterly disappointing (yes, yes, all that is a personal opinion, I’ll decompress it if interested).

      Hell, the trailer was probably the most interesting thing about the game.

      Overall I wish Eidos Montreal well, I think they can grow to be a very good studio, but I have little trust in them with established licenses.

    • TillEulenspiegel says:

      The initial hype always clouds things. When you’ve been waiting for a thing for a long time and just paid $60 for it, there’s the tendency to overlook flaws.

      DX:HR was mediocre, and it’s nice to see that at least some of the RPS readership is acknowledging that.

      • LionsPhil says:

        See also in particular: the release of any Elder Scroll game. The Skyrim honeymoon is dying down already in that Prey 2 thread.

        • Ringwraith says:

          I think it’s more that people are more likely to post negatively about a game than positively, as most of those people are probably more interested in like, enjoying the game.

          • LionsPhil says:

            That doesn’t hold at all; if anything the pattern is the reverse. When the game is new and everyone is still playing it a lot, the Internet buzz is heavily positive. It falls to negative over time. One possible explanation is that it’s as people get bored of it and the grating of the flaws starts to overweigh the spectacle of its highlights.

            If it were that “people busy having fun playing it don’t post”, then the initial reaction would be heavily negative and it’d rise as those busy playing finished it and popped their heads over the Internet parapets to say “that was fun”.

          • Ringwraith says:

            Human beings naturally focus on negatives more than the positives.
            You’re more likely to complain about something than go around praising it, it’s how it works.

            This is why we get loudly vocal minorities in all sorts of groups, most people are simply don’t care enough to make their feelings known to everyone, but the ones who do, tend to be very loud about it, for good or ill.

          • Prime says:

            Human beings naturally focus on negatives more than the positives.
            You’re more likely to complain about something than go around praising it, it’s how it works.

            Could not disagree with this more. Every human being can change the way they think about anything; it’s something they control, despite what science or ‘the world’ might want them to believe. If you’re a negative person expressing negativity then prepare to be called out on it. Don’t expect to be able to hide behind entirely fictitious laws of the Way Things Are.

          • Ringwraith says:

            Sure, it’s not excusable, but people being negative more than positive is the general trend.
            There are exceptions and its all down to personal actions of course but that’s what it averages out to.

      • Ringwraith says:

        I would really argue that Deus Ex: Human Resources is anything but mediocre. It’s a really good game almost all the way through, just with some glaring flaws at specific points, like the boss fights (although apparently The Missing Link really showed what they can do with them when they don’t outsource them) and the ending that goes a bit wobbly at the end.
        Although Deus Ex was the same, it all kind of goes a bit wonky at the end, yet people say how ‘great’ a game that was, so it can’t preclude HR from being called anything similar either.

        • LionsPhil says:

          In what way does DX1 go wonky at the end?

          • Ringwraith says:

            Infinite monster respawners? Really?
            They’re usually a terrible idea in any game unless done well, and especially in a game which is totally not equipped to deal with that sort of thing, like Deus Ex where your resources are often limited at the best of times.

          • ResonanceCascade says:

            I’m curious too. I’ve seen people say that before, and even read claims that the developers hated the ending. I thought Area 51 was a great way to make your choices matter while still having a finite-number of endings. I’d have been fine with the Human Revolution ending if it had been incorporated into the final levels instead of being push-button.

          • Ringwraith says:

            Well, their hands were tied being a prequel and all, but they could’ve done something better with them, even just by having slightly different optional objectives for example.
            Also, something no-one seems to mention is that the ending narration of even the same option will differ somewhat depending on how you played the game.

          • LionsPhil says:

            It’s actually been a while (uh-oh…that’ll have kicked off the itch), but can’t you shut those off with hacking, and possibly password-snooping? And for the other legs of the Deus Ex skill table, you can get past them with violence, sneaking (don’t think I’ve tried this one), or just legging it. They’re some pressure to up the urgency a bit for the endgame, and nothing makes you grind them—quite the opposite.

          • Ringwraith says:

            I honestly can’t remember much of it either, other than it’s really out of character for the game and unnecessarily annoying.

          • ResonanceCascade says:

            I forgot about the infinite transgenics. I hated that part, but it lasts all of 20 min.

            I love the end section of Deus Ex as a whole.

          • KenTWOu says:

            @LionsPhil

            sneaking (don’t think I’ve tried this one)

            Sneaking without invisibility is impossible in Area 51 because it has a lot of bottlenecks in level design and monster respawners. While sneaking is possible during the final sequence of DXHR. Even without invisibility aug.

          • LionsPhil says:

            But that’s like saying you can’t sneak if you don’t put any points in sneak. This is the endgame: if you’re building a sneaky character, I’m assuming you have the sneaky augs.

          • KenTWOu says:

            But that’s like saying you can’t sneak if you don’t put any points in sneak. This is the endgame: if you’re building a sneaky character, I’m assuming you have the sneaky augs.

            You know, stealth isn’t challenging at all if it depends on your invisibility. Stealth level design isn’t smart enough either. Though DXHR has invisibility aug, its main plot (except bosses and sidequests) is possible for ghosting. I can’t say the same thing about Deus Ex.

        • Emeraude says:

          Amusingly enough, I’m one of those people who resent the Boss fights, but take it as a lesser complaint against the game. I remember that not only DE had one unskippable boss fight, it had one you HAD to lose.

          But the complete unbalanced mess that were the augmentations ? The sometimes down-right insulting level-design (people always attack IW for that, but really some of HR’s was no better – and, as noted by someone else in the thread, even those that were decent enough felt more gamey than simulationist – which can be a strength in some design map, but not in a game supposed to enforce emergent gameplay) ? The last level and i complete disregard of the convention the game had built up to there ? The slavish imitation of DE’s narrative road-map was also a let down in many ways.

          Not to say the game did everything wrong (I personally really enjoyed the conversational boss fights – even when I found them lacking or not properly set-up, that’s one great idea that needs some iterative working). But overall it suffered from too much problems – while offering too little paybacks in return – to be called a great game.

          • KenTWOu says:

            Deus Ex suffered from too much problems too. And sometimes it also was more gamey than simulationist (for example, try to hack any terminal and you will notice that enemies don’t attack you while you’re hacking it). You just don’t remember its flaws, it was a long time ago, that’s why you treat Deus Ex as a holy cow.

          • LionsPhil says:

            The “rose-tinted glasses” argument would work better if most people who hail it as one of the greatest PC games of all time etc. etc. didn’t tend to also replay it every couple of years or so.

          • KenTWOu says:

            Every time you mention it, someone will reinstall it, but it doesn’t mean that this person beats this game to the end. That’s why ResonanceCascade forgot about respawners! : )

          • Emeraude says:

            You just don’t remember its flaws, it was a long time ago, that’s why you treat Deus Ex as a holy cow.

            Which is why I criticized in the first paragraph of that post ?
            I guess the operative sentence in there was But overall [HR] suffered from too much problems – while offering too little paybacks in return – to be called a great game.

            DE had many flaws and defects, but what it managed to accomplish made it – again in my opinion – worthwhile in spite of them. Twelve years later we still don’t have a game that manages to produce that so difficult to define and emulate mix of emergent gameplay and pre-scripted events.

            Cautiously optimistic about Dishonored on that front. Thief4… well as I said, I hope it’s a good game, I wish Eidos Montreal to do well, I believe they have the potential to become a great studio, but I don’t trust them with making it a good *Thief* game.

            May they prove me wrong.

      • NathanH says:

        What really happens is that all the grumpyfaces hide away during the initial buzz, because they know they’ll lose, and then they come out of the woodwork once the people who like something have moved on to liking something else. Then the grumpyfaces can have their fun, and make it cool to dislike whatever they’re being grumpy about.

        • LionsPhil says:

          Wow, you got to call anyone who finds issue with the game not only a grumpyface miseryguts but also a hipster. Good job! You’re ready for /v/.

          • NathanH says:

            Not at all. For every $x$, there are people who dislike $x$ for good reasons. That’s fine. The grumpyfaces in question, however, take joy in being grumpyfaces about things. You know, the “I played Skyrim for 200 hours and I concluded it is the worst game in the universe” people.

          • games are defined by their gameplay says:

            Nobody is saying that or has said that or will ever say that.

      • Tyrone Slothrop. says:

        You say it’s ‘mediocre’ as if it were an objective fact. I personally thought it to be a masterpiece.

    • St3v30 says:

      I was thinking the same thing Timthos. I started reading the comments after this article and all I saw were pessimistic complainers. DX:HR was a damn good game (me being a decently big critic towards games). Yes the boss battles were, well, bad but the rest of the game was superb.

      I think the problem is all these people (not all of them on here) just CAN NOT let go of the boss battles for whatever reason. Yes if you do run and gun GoW style play through then DX:HR WAS a mediocre game. But if you took the time and played stealthy then the game was a whole different experience altogether. I speak from experience. My first time was run and gun with mild stealth. It was still a good game with a good story but the stealth run through was infinitely better.

      I’m sure Square Enix was super sorry they tried to cater to more than one type of player. In which I think they did in excellent fashion. Too bad many others don’t feel this way. And this coming from a Hyperactive Manic Bipolar person who gets frustrated/hates things very easily.

      • Timthos says:

        Judging by the “boss” in Missing Link, Eidos seems to have learned from the mistake of outsourcing content. The end of Missing Link had exactly the kind of boss encounter you’d have expected from the main game.

      • Runs With Foxes says:

        I’m sure Square Enix was super sorry they tried to cater to more than one type of player.

        First of all, Deus Ex is all about catering to different types of players. The goal of that series is to let people play how they want. Which means Eidos made a lot of mistakes with HR.

        But second, it sounds like they’re still very keen to cater to different types of players. Thi4f will bring ‘more than just stealth’, apparently. Thief’s entire identity is stealth. You start adding more shit to that and you end up with something that is no longer Thief.

        Remember Warren Spector’s phrasing. Deus Ex is a Swiss army knife. Thief is a scalpel. If Eidos tries to turn Thief into something else, it’ll end up looking like a rusted butter knife.

        • KenTWOu says:

          I’ve read these series of ‘stealth’ interviews and I’m pretty sure that Eidos will try to turn Thief into Swiss army knife. Almost every respondent said that this is the goal for modern stealth games. Even Harvey Smith said that:

          One could argue that the game is stronger with a pure focus on stealth, but like Raf said we find it more interesting when a range of options present themselves…

        • St3v30 says:

          That was me being sarcastic. I don’t see how they didn’t make a “Swiss Army Knife” of a game. In my experience playing it you could play it however you wanted (excluding the boss battles).

          I do understand the view point about the Thief series needs to be stealth only. However we’ll just have to see what the final results look like. And this is my beef with a lot of the comments on here. It seems most people are just being pessimistic just to be pessimistic about it. They act like DX:HR wasn’t a good game at all and Square Enix is just going to ruin it guaranteed.

          I guess people are like this with most games. It baffles me that people complain so much before even getting a taste of it themselves.

    • Johnny Lizard says:

      When did RPS comments become so full of negativity and spite?

    • Runs With Foxes says:

      EM isn’t the worst developer ever, but they didn’t understand Deus Ex nearly as well as they claimed. Anyone who thinks HR was a great Deus Ex game didn’t understand the original either.

      • TillEulenspiegel says:

        I think that’s exactly the problem. HR captured approximately nothing of what made the original special. It mimicked the form and some of the function, but never really understood how those elements combined to make Deus Ex a great game.

        It reminds me of the Star Wars prequels, and how people always say “well the old trilogy was for kids too”. Yes, but the originals are classics for a reason, while the prequels will never be.

        • KenTWOu says:

          HR captured approximately nothing of what made the original special.

          The funny thing even Warren Spector said that Eidos Montreal did a very good job:

          And I’m not just saying that. It really captured the spirit of Deus Ex; I mean the moment I booted the game up it sounded like Deus Ex, and they understood the importance of how the game sounded. It had a lot of the sort of gray of the original game where nothing is right and wrong – I really like that a lot. It made me feel like I was making decisions that revealed more about me than it did about my character, which I loved. The interesting thing was – and we don’t have time to get into this right now, even if even if I were ready to get into it – my wife will tell you, I screamed at the television as I played this game. I loved the game, at the end of the day, but I screamed constantly because there were two, three, four things they did where I just said “Nooooo, why did you this? Noooo!” and, and it wasn’t that it was right or wrong, it was different than what I [expected].

          When I got the end of the game and realized that, overall, the experience had been a Deus Ex experience, I sort of sat back and reflected and said, “Ok, they made different design decisions to achieve the same end goals that I had.”

          Of course, you could say that he didn’t understand the original either. He made ‘Invisible War’ after all

          • Tyrone Slothrop. says:

            Do you realise how stupidly abstract this is getting? Not only can you not clearly define why Deus Ex was “special”, neither can the principle figure behind it be knowledgeable about this nor a large development studio working on the prequel… but two people on the internet are privy to the vague but highly specialised reason why it was. Anyone thinking to the contrary is definitely wrong.

  16. Kynrael says:

    Expand the approach on the City gameplay : each mission would be a a specific location in the City, it’s up to the player to gather info about how he can enter, info on the location, and so on. Patience would be rewarded in the stealth moment-to-moment gameplay and in the mission preparation, getting the right equipement, etc…

    Oh. AND ROPE ARROWS

  17. Waltorious says:

    When I first heard about Thief 4 I assumed it would be bad. After Deus Ex: Human Revolution, however, I am now cautiously optimistic. DX:HR wasn’t quite as good as the original Deus Ex in my opinion but it was still excellent.

    My main concern for Thief 4, then, is the level design. In DX:HR the levels still felt like game levels, even though they were shaped like real places and had the requisite multiple routes depending on your strategy. But in the original Deus Ex and Thief games (and indeed all of the Looking Glass games I’ve played), the locations actually feel like real places. I don’t feel like I’m in a game level when I’m playing them, and that’s one of their biggest strengths. I’m not even sure exactly what it is about the level design that creates this feel… perhaps the large size (in Thief 1 and 2, anyway) is a critical aspect? Regardless, I don’t think I’ve played any non-Looking Glass game that managed to capture this feeling in the same way. I really hope Thief 4 manages to nail it, but I doubt it.

    But it could still be a great game, much like Thief 3 was great but not quite as amazing as the first two. We shall see.

    • LionsPhil says:

      DX1’s levels were pretty huge too, even allowing for the load/save transitions. It’s something they utterly cocked up for DX2 trying to cram it onto Xboxen.

    • Johnny Lizard says:

      Deus Ex wasn’t a Looking Glass game.

    • Runs With Foxes says:

      The level design is actually one of the biggest problems with HR. Deus Ex had many levels that were genuinely open and nonlinear. HR’s levels, with one lone exception (the docks), all funnel the player through a linear progression of small areas. Because there are no loading screens people tend to think the levels are big, but the actual gameplay spaces are quite small, and are connected together like a string that players need to progress through one by one. That’s why HR feels more enclosed and gives the player fewer options. And because the play spaces are small, it’s all the more obvious when they stick a bright orange vent shaft behind a crate, with all but a neon sign saying ‘Go Here To Be Stealthy.’

      • yougurt87 says:

        I have to disagree with you, although there were levels that were “linear” (I only say this due to there being a Start point and an end point) there are plenty of levels that are open. First you have Detroit (where Sarif HQ is). This city is huge with a ton of quests, jobs, what have you, and nooks and crannies to explore. Same goes for Shanghai. There is soo much to do and explore here, but you have to take the time to actually explore. Not just run to the next mission without looking around. In no part but the very last level of the game is there just one hallway to walk down, one sewer to trench through, or one alley to make your way along. The entire game while still having “linearity” gave you a choice of how to get there.

  18. dogsolitude_uk says:

    For me, Thief was about pure player skill, no behind the scenes dice-rolling, power ups or so forth.

    The equipment in Thief couldn’t be upgraded to improve accuracy, so when you fired an arrow it was *your* accuracy that was being tested, not your character’s, not Garrett’s. Likewise it was your reactions, patience and ability to hide in a corner that led to success in the game, not the equipment you bought, or the Cloak of Concealment+1.

    Whereas I love RPGs to bits, I’d hate to see character stats, levelling and upgrades come into the equation in a Thief game. Can’t remember who it was that said this, but they said that if Deus Ex was a Swiss Army Knife, Thief was a scalpel. I’d rather it maintained it’s focus on delivering a pure Stealth experience than diluted itself with a myriad of weapons and stuff.

    I really liked the cover system in Deus Ex though, thought it worked well. Not too sure about third-person still though, but it wasn’t as bad as I thought it would be. i thoroughly enjoyed DE:HR, but I don’t want a Steampunk version passed off as a Thief game, thanks.

    Thief 2’s my favourite, although I loved The Cradle in Thief 3 (the rest of the game was far too easy I felt). Like others above have said: it was the size and scope of levels like ‘Life of the Party’, and the design of levels like the Cradle/Cathedral that really made the game.

    Providing it’s *difficult*, not dumbed-down, atmospheric, stealth-focussed and scares the sh1t out of me I’ll probably be happy. Not fussed about the story or any overarching plot, I just want to nick stuff, so I’ll be happy if they just keep Garrett+Stephen Russell without any explanation or reference to previous games whatsoever.

  19. Unaco says:

    If I can’t play as Fem-Garrett, I don’t want to know.

    • Premium User Badge

      Harlander says:

      Garrette?

      Actually, doesn’t Garrett recruit a girl at the end of Deadly Shadows, in a way echoing the opening of The Dark Project?

  20. cheeseman says:

    *gling*

  21. Tim Ward says:

    Let’s be honest with ourselves here: it’s going to be awful. And it was always going to be awful from the moment we found it was called Thi4f.

    • Premium User Badge

      Hidden_7 says:

      I’ll bet you an entire pie, your choice, the finished game (or even near-finished) is not called Thi4f.

  22. Muzman says:

    They want kickstarter money maybe eh? Sure, just promise there will be no third person.
    Then disavow it publicly as a blight and cancre.
    and wear a funny hat while doing it.

  23. captain nemo says:

    Considering Ubisoft’s track record, I’m not getting excited about this. I *loved* the first two games ; the dynamic of Garrett co-existing with the law, the keepers, the pagans. and his landlord. An experience never to be forgotten.

    But knowing Ubisoft, they will probably have Justin Beiber perform the voice acting for Garrett

    • ResonanceCascade says:

      Ubisoft isn’t making it.

      Location aside, someone at Square Enix should have known better than to call the studio Eidos Montreal. I’ve seen this mix-up dozens of times. Maybe Eidos Quebec would have made more sense?

  24. lordfrikk says:

    The fuck are you doing to Thief?!

  25. Emeraude says:

    My first time was run and gun with mild stealth. It was still a good game with a good story but the stealth run through was infinitely better.

    That’s part of the problem with people saying it was a poor DE sequel: the game was supposed to be about player freedom of choice, bout letting players deal with the game however they wanted, but it clearly was tailored to favor one profile of players over others (luckily it was mine, so the game was decent to me). I mentioned unbalance up-thread – given their respective costs, dermal armor is nowhere worth the investment when compared with the stealth cloaking for example.

    When did RPS comments become so full of negativity and spite?

    I’ll never get why for so many remaining critical necessarily entails being negative and full of spite.

    • St3v30 says:

      the game was supposed to be about player freedom of choice, bout letting players deal with the game however they wanted, but it clearly was tailored to favor one profile of players over others

      Ok I definitely get your point there. I didn’t really stop to think of it that way.

    • LionsPhil says:

      I’ll never get why for so many remaining critical necessarily entails being negative and full of spite.

      Because on the Internet it’s easier to dismiss anyone who disagrees with you as just being a complainer/fanboy (delete as appropriate).

      • Prime says:

        Yes, let’s over-generalise about our fellow commenters. That always helps.

  26. sbs says:

    thief 3 style of city hub gameplay with arkham city or larger sized map which opens up piece by piece?
    they wanted that for thief 3 but wasnt possible technically.
    oh how i long for climbing the highest tower in this wonderful steampunk city (ROPE ARRWOS)

  27. FRIENDLYUNIT says:

    Many of these comments (even though they were joking) and indeed this article have made me feel very sad inside.

    • Prime says:

      Have a hug. :)

      ((((((((((((((FRIENDLYUNIT))))))))))))))))))))))

  28. Roxton says:

    I think that I (and a lot of people here) basically want T2 but with modern graphics. I liked the idea of properly exploring the City, though, and if well implemented that could add greatly to the sense of immersion.

    No third person. No RPG elements. No bloody context sensitive action keys. As has been noted above, Thief is a scalpel: it does one thing, and does it extremely well. I want to be able to climb things not by holding down the ‘climb’ button, but by carefully planning each jump, mantle and rope arrow. And I want doing so to be perpetually nerve-racking because a guard might hear my ridiculously loud footsteps. I want it to feel as though I’m in a world, not a carefully designed game. I want finding a good route into a building to feel like I found it, not as though I’d been led there by the designers (DX:HR, I’m looking at you here).

    I want challenge. I want to be excited. I want to be scared. I want to see the yellow moon rise above a black outline of rooftops and think this is mine. I want to be in love again.

  29. Stevostin says:

    I hope for a better writing than DE:HR. This… is… strongly… needed.

  30. kud13 says:

    HR was an okay game. It had moments of amazing, and occasional level design was superb (Youzhaou…. a.k.a. “the rooftop district”), and it did bring some great improvements to the DX formula (conversation battles, improved hacking).

    I also found first person stealth to be fully plausible, as I didn’t use thord person cover once. Though the lack of lean keys hurt…..

    nevertheless in a number of ways, the game was a letdown. The Exp system was a wonderful mess, clearly encouraging everyone to be a sneaky player, who hacks everyhting in sight, and takes out all enemies with double-takedowns, to farm precious XP…. which turns out to be not so precious, since the only thing EXP is good for are praxis, which also happen to be the only thing worth spending money on, as well as being found randomly. The physic engine was a huge step back from DX
    +IW–i’ve once had to spend 40 minutes trying to throw boxes onto an overhanging catwalk and then stack them just right against a ladder so that I could throw a small box up theladder and then use it to reach a particular vent.–The NPCs were generally bland and repetative, and nearly no one had anyhting interesting to say–some overheard convos were pretty ok, but Jensen couldn’t engage anyone in a deep conversation the way JC Denton could. And, to be frank, I found the story rather lacklustre, which is never a good thing in a single-player game. And if the story;s not there to catch you, and the world’s not immersive enough to invite messing around, then what does that leave the game with, in terms of replayability? Then there were the boss fights, ofc. and no melee.

    So yeah, there you have my opinion. EM did a few things well–they looked at what they thought were “the pillars” of gameplay (in their interpretation, which I don’t entirely agree with , but w/e), and they’ve designed some solid systems to provide for that. I can’t blame their ability to make what they talk about happen. However, when it came to putting them together, they’ve faltered. Whether this was done in order to increase mass market appeal, or whether is was done as a nod to what they think the hardcore audience wanted, but the multi-skilled sneaker/hacker became the archetype of the game, driven my the exp system, with level designs taking their cues from that. Which isn’t bad per se, but it’s a significant step back from the “do it any way you want, and they are alll equally viable” approaches of the original DX.

    with that in mind, the media silence worries me. Not because I doubt EM’s ability to produce a good game, but rather because i’m afraid of them misinterpreting the source material.

  31. popedoo says:

    Wow. Ok. Lovely stuff.

    This is exciting and interesting.

    Yesterday morning I was here on RPS and I thought to myself ‘I wonder if I could send these guys a message and enquire as to whether they have any news on Thief 4′. I didn’t actually enquire, just thought about it.

    I then went home and went to bed (eventually), and had a dream about being asked to create the ‘main theme’ music for Thief 4. The guy literally said to me ‘You have one hour – GO!’ and I had to scrabble off trying to make the music for the game under intense pressure and an unrealistic time frame.

    Then what happens? I turn up at work today, get to my desk, look at my RSS feeds and what do I see timestamped 20:01 last night? Information about Thief 4.

    My heart is glowing. Thanks guys. You rule.

    One other thing:

    “the sequel to The Greatest Trilogy In Gaming”

    I could not agree with this statement any more. Absolutely my favourite series of games ever. In fact, I may have to play them all this weekend.

    Love Jake

  32. JToTheDog says:

    I remember going in to the store and buying The Dark Project years ago. I was flabbergasted.

  33. Premium User Badge

    sonofsanta says:

    Surely it would be “f4ast” going by the strange rules of number/letter conversion they are invoking for Thi4f?

  34. Rangoon says:

    There is a great synergy in the comments on this article. I hope the devs do stop by here and take them to heart (and that their sarcasm detectors are properly calibrated).

    The thief series seemed to remain a bastion of stealth in a genre that was by-and-large hybrid at best. I hope Thief 4 does everything it can for the nuances of stealth play, and doesn’t attempt to bring much else to the table unless it further emphasizes the stealth persona. A stealthing blunder ought to by salvageable through violence or evasion, but shouldn’t turn into a Princess Bride-style hack-and-slash to the center of the castle.

    Sure, some assassin and ninja-style elements are befitting of a master thief, but I think a ninja game should be separate from Thief 4.