Why Thief Russelled Up A Different Voice Actor

By Alec Meer on April 3rd, 2013 at 1:00 pm.

Salute!

As yesterday’s trailer revealed, there’ll be no more Stephen Russell in Thief: and there was much anti-rejoicing. While the Thief/Looking Glass community is predictably and somewhat understandably up in arms about Garrett’s larynx replacement operation (the inevitable petition is here, if you want to fruitlessly sign it), I imagine the game’s sailed too far across the development ocean for Eidos Montreal to want to turn their ship around at this point. They have at least attempted to justify their ditching of the guy who’s stoutly been with us for three Thief games previously, arguing that it’s because they wanted to mo-cap and voice record one actor simultaneously.

While I imagine Russell perhaps isn’t the right age or physique to be the body as well as voice of the lithe Garrett (indeed, Eidos Montreal offer that “the actor playing Garrett needed to be able to perform his own stunts”, though politely and understandably don’t explicitly state why Russell can’t do this) I sincerely doubt this explanation will be enough to sate fans’ disappointment.

“Being able to capture the voice at the same time as the actors’ movements and facial expressions, all while the actors play off each other, delivers a much more convincing experience than traditional techniques of recording each characters’ dialogue separately and then animating everything by hand afterwards,” claimed Thief audio director Jean-Christophe Verbert in a community ‘interview’.

Added narrative director Steven Gallagher, “With the new visual of Garrett we’d created, we found that there was a disconnect that we couldn’t ignore between the concepted character and Stephen’s voice today.” The new visual being Gothy Garrett, another source of community discontent.

Verbert again: “We could have pasted Stephen’s voice on top of the actions and stunts of someone else, but this wouldn’t appear natural. It really wouldn’t make any sense to capture the full performance for our other characters, but not for our star.”

If it’s any slim consolation, they did at least try out Russell before making their decision to go with whoever the (as-yet unnamed) new guy is. “Stephen was considered quite heavily,” claims Gallagher. “We actually had him in for some preliminary vocal recordings in fact… But when it came down to it, we ultimately realized that holding onto Steven as the voice of Garrett just for the sake of our nostalgia would be like wanting to cast Sean Connery again in the new 007 movies… It’s a nice thought, but honestly, it wouldn’t make sense for anything else other than nostalgia.”

Uh. They’re making a sequel to a series which began in 1998, after having already made a sequel to Deus Ex. Their current employment exists purely because of nostalgia. Poor reasoning, I call it. The mo-cap justification, perhaps less so – but we’ll just have to see whether or not Nu-Garrett really is any more convincing because of it.

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214 Comments »

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  1. Premium User Badge

    RedViv says:

    I’m fine with that, as long as the new guy is good.

    The overdose in Skyrim might have something to do with it though.

    • woodsey says:

      I liked it as well. Seems to have a similar edge without fruitlessly trying to replicate Russell exactly. Will be interesting to hear in-game acting versus the dramatic trailer voice-over.

    • Premium User Badge

      VelvetFistIronGlove says:

      I’m as disappointed as anyone that it’s not Stephen Russell, but I can get over that. Stephen Russell will always be The Best Garrett for me, but that doesn’t mean he must be the only one. Doctor Who handles multiple actors fine, with a little handwaving—and if you’re a fan, you’ll have your own idea of The Best Doctor. James Bond has been acted by many too, even without any attempt at plot justification—and again, you probably have your own favourite Bond.

      I’m not sure about the new voice either. But it might be just me: I’m not used enough to Canadian accents, so they still sound a little strange to me, and I find that distracting.

      • Thiefsie says:

        But therein lies the rub, as we are not watching an actor but rather inherently completely relying on the voice actor’s intonation, pronunciation, drawl and emotion, we are completely dependent on that actor to be the same the whole way through any game portraying Garret.

        At this stage I would strongly prefer if Eidos were ditching Garret altogether as a playable character and used someone else… perhaps a student of Garret’s? And then they mocap Stephen Russel being a tutor of sorts and that would actually be a far greater way of bouncing off the original Thief for a reboot rather than shoehorning a new actor in etc (with a completely new flavour) for the sake of it only being Nostalgia?

        Unfortunately more than a couple warning bells are going off for me on this title.

        I love Thief – this game isn’t going to be what I want – At least I can recognise that. I just hope it is still a great game regardless.

        I do think however that with some better thought put into it they could retain what really made Thief great… and to be blunt… Stephen Russel and Garret’s personality was a HUGE part of it…

    • Tyrone Slothrop. says:

      -Ev’rything-‘s for sale my friend! Ev’rything! If I had a sister, I’d sell her in a second!

      Skyrim did make me question my love and desire to hear more of Stephen Russell’s voice but I chalk that up to poor VO direction.

    • cowardly says:

      >as long as the new guy is good.

      Well, as we could hear in the trailer, he’s not particularly good.

      >With the new visual of Garrett we’d created, we found that there
      >was a disconnect that we couldn’t ignore between the concepted
      >character and Stephen’s voice today.

      Yes, Eidos, and I find there is a disconnect between your new number-less Thief game and the old series.

      Who cares about motion capturing anyway?

      But well, I did not expect anything too impressive from Eidos after DX:HR. I expected that Thief would be similar to it: kind of okay, but nothing special. Looks like I will be right.

    • DonDrapersAcidTrip says:

      But I mean, why not just make a new character? Why make your character Garrett then make him look, sound and act nothing like Garrett?

  2. Sheng-ji says:

    I actually thought the new voice actor was OK, but not as great as Stephen Russell. The real question is will they have the voice actor for Benny the Guard back?

  3. Premium User Badge

    AndrewC says:

    ‘His voice sounds too old’ is a perfectly fine reason.

    • Danda says:

      I agree. I was prepared to unleash my nerd rage (they offered the same lame excuse for Hitman before they relented), but after reading their explanation it feels more like “OK, they tried to bring him back and it didn’t work”.

      I’m not OK with the Benjamin-Buttonesque Sam Fisher of SC Blacklist, though.

    • Ansob says:

      His voice being old is kind of the point, though. Garrett is supposed to be a bitter and jaded veteran, not a mewling teenager.

      • lizzardborn says:

        We know nothing of the game yet. Maybe the goth image is the voice of the inexperienced youth. And we can see him move from all flashy and pompous to practical and efficient …

      • Sheng-ji says:

        Bitter and jaded yes, but remember the first game starts with the line “I was a kid” just before Garrett followed the keeper and he dropped out of his training rather early according to the keepers records – Garrett was young!

      • Premium User Badge

        Cinek says:

        Veterans don’t sell. Action teenagers, grenades, bungee, and sliding under the knifes – does.

        Hence the Thief 4 will be another generic action game with non-generic title.

        • mouton says:

          Dumbed-down! Sold-out! Consolized! Not like in the good old days! raaaagh

          • Premium User Badge

            particlese says:

            Raaaagh indeed! You just made me laugh suddenly and rather audibly during an otherwise silent lunch break. -_-‘

    • obvioustroll says:

      It really isn’t, all it does is highlight everything that is going to be wrong with this new Thief game.

      It could be a decent enough game, but it’ll be a Thief game in name only.

      • Premium User Badge

        AndrewC says:

        It’s OK – fans dismissing a new game just because a voice actor has been changed demonstrates everything that is wrong with fandom.

        A more contentful reaction to these replies is:
        – No: Garrett was cynical and experienced, not a bitter old vet.
        – The new voice actor is probably roughly the same age as Russell was back in 98.
        – This game is a prequel, thus the character is younger.

        My conclusion is: if you are having to be counterfactual in order to keep up this position of aggrieved fan, consider changing.

        • obvioustroll says:

          It’s a prequel so they can clone assassin’s creed and have nuggett (nu garrett) parkouring through the streets. The game didn’t need to be a prequel. As a fan of the series, I already know how Garrett came to be, the first video in the first game told everything you needed to know. Didn’t Star Wars teach us anything?

          I already said it could be a decent game (do you get many bad games these days? Too much money involved. Standardised, average and decent games, yes, some gems, yes, but bad ones?) but I’ll say again because you clearly don’t want to listen, this will be a Thief game in name only.

          My only hope was Deus Ex HR was a damn fine game. But it’s not much to cling to.

          • Tyrone Slothrop. says:

            You’d think that after the utterly fever-pitch hysteria over what ultimately amounted to trivial and inconsequential design decisions in Human Revolution, a game whose consensus (as far as it is ever possible for there to ever be agreement on a subjective piece of media) speaks of a game worthy of the Deus Ex title, a feat not even the original developers managed in their follow-up, Eidos-Montreal could at least have accrued modicum of goodwill.

            But do we have to go through this tiresome rigmarole where any shred of ambiguous or even potentially controversial statements will be imbued with the worst possible reading, any change that isn’t couched in the most pandering PR immediately imagined as some attempt to ruin childhoods and early adolescent years by immediately turning a game into Call of Duty? What happened to even-handedness and the often implied pretence of maturity voiced here, typically and obnoxiously voiced in relation to console users (elementary phrenology does indicate they have the slanted brows of conveyor line workers)?

            When the screens of this first leaked, I was just astounded by the visual design and fidelity… in my little, ol’ Thief series! It’s getting another chance to shine to people who missed great games and for reasons that aren’t impossible to understand find the original games too dated. I think Thief 2 is a unmitigated masterpiece but personally I find the first rather less appealing due to the preponderance of less compelling and more barren levels in comparison to the sequel (and I loathe the zombies and more monotonous of the levels, grey mineshafts, tunnels and sewers) and well, the A.I. for both is rather appalling, even though it doesn’t necessarily have to be much better for the games to work.

          • mouton says:

            @Tyrone

            That’s gaming community, even the “mature” part of it.

            People constantly complain at the lack of innovation and new IPs and yet every deviation from the Old Golden Standard is met with furious hostility and screams of betrayal.

        • Premium User Badge

          Snidesworth says:

          It’s a reboot, not a prequel.

          I’m disappointed with the lack of Russell myself and definitely feeling uneasy about what we’ve seen so far, but there’s always the chance that this is just another example of catastrophically bad Square-Enix marketing.

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            Cinek says:

            Reboot? I’m sure that’s exactly what they had in mind while calling it Thief 4… like you know: FOURTH game of the SERIES.

          • Premium User Badge

            Snidesworth says:

            It’s now called Thief. My guess is that whatever plans to make a sequel were scrapped along with the title of Thi4f.

          • Contrafibularity says:

            Actually if DXHR was any indication, it’ll be another remake. For HR they basically took the DX story/script, rewrote it, moved some stuff around and went Ctrl+F > Replace. In case you’ve, like me, wondered why DXHR almost sort of worked, it’s that.

          • Banana_Republic says:

            There was also a chance that XCOM, SimCity, Jagged Alliance: BIA, and Syndicate would be good too. I suppose someone might be able to believe that if that same someone had no first hand experience with the originators of those “reboots”.

            Modern developers love to pay lip service to the original classics, while they gleefully butcher them. I guess that helps with marketing. The gamers who MADE those games classics want so desperately to experience those games again, with modern graphics and a current engine, that they’ll fool themselves into believing anything. Thief is just the latest classic being dragged into the slaughterhouse. I’m just waiting for EA to announce the new “re-imagined” System Shock before I climb the nearest clock tower.

        • fish99 says:

          To be fair there’s more than just the voice acting, like the devs saying it’s not going to be primarily a stealth game, and you’ll be able to use violence to deal with every situation, and now hints of acrobatics, plus there’s virtually no one from LG working on this. I think we all know if you tried to sell a game like Thief these days, the modern console audience have such short attention spans they would die of boredom before the bear pit speech had even finished.

          I see it as quite a cynical trend – to use an old IP to guarantee a certain level of interest from the public, while making a game that doesn’t stay true to the series. It also tells me there’s no creative vision behind the game, because without the license they could make any game they wanted.

          • Premium User Badge

            VelvetFistIronGlove says:

            “like the devs saying it’s not going to be primarily a stealth game, and you’ll be able to use violence to deal with every situation”

            It’s ok to be cynical about what the devs are doing, but that’s no excuse for blatantly misrepresenting what they’ve said.

          • Tyrone Slothrop. says:

            Please, please, I throw myself at the mercy of RPS, can you people actually read up about a game before commenting on it?

            Like the devs saying it’s not going to be primarily a stealth game.

            Produce the quote, because outside of some really vague and ambiguous comments that can be interpreted dozens of ways, they’ve concretely contrasted Thief with Dishonored saying the latter, despite ostensible similarities to Thief is more like Deus Ex in that action is wholly viable.

            You’ll be able to use violence to deal with every situation.

            Every situation really? Even inventory management? They never stated this and you seemingly pulled this from your nether-regions to justify a preconceived narrative you’ve constructed.

            And now hints of acrobatics

            And ‘hints of acrobatics’, what a flatly and inherently horrible thing. They haven’t even mentioned this outside of a grappling hook is an analogue for rope arrows and one can now climb pipes… but how is this remotely negative?

            Plus there’s virtually no one from LG working on this.

            Actually you’re even mistaken about this point, unintentionally missing the opportunity for a potentially greater critique, no one from LG is working on this. Maybe we should see what they accomplish rather than leaping to conclusions and presuming outcomes?

            I don’t mind if you don’t like what you see, but I ask that you should see accurately first.

          • iancarnation says:

            Thank you Slothrop, for your tempering voice of reason!

          • Prime says:

            Voice of reason? Inventory management is in no way a ‘situation’. I’m not sure the game designers ever suggested violence was supposed to apply to the act of organising your items.

          • fish99 says:

            I can’t find that interview with the devs, I’m sure someone has a link to it, but from what I remember they said stealth will be an option rather than the focus and that Garrett can take out multiple guards when needed. They also said the game will auto switch to 3rd person in certain situations like climbing.

            I’ll happily admit I’ve deliberately inferred (in my other post) more than they actually said, but everything I’ve said here will most likely be proven true and you all know it. No big corporation is going to make a game like Thief 1/2 anymore, they’re too slow for todays generation. Same reason the *Shock games get more linear every iteration, with glowing loot, adaptive difficulty and now an NPC to give you health/ammo when you need it.

            Also the comment about inventory management is just being pedantic, I’m clearly talking about in-game threats.

          • Premium User Badge

            VelvetFistIronGlove says:

            fish, you’ve still got that backwards:

            Hey Nic, tell us: is Thief a 1st or 3rd person game?

            1st person!

            Are there any 3rd person elements?

            Yes, we do have some 3rd person elements – but they’re really kept to a minimum, we don’t have a lot. 3rd person is used to improve your awareness of your surroundings – for example, during vertical navigation. We’re really taking particular care to make sure that we’re not jarring players back-and-forth between cameras.

            Will fighting/combat ever be the best choice to take?

            If you do choose to take that kind of approach you’ll be challenged

            Would you say Garrett is a Superhero/Ninja/Action hero?

            (laughs) No. Garrett is Garrett. He’s a thief. He’s THE Master Thief.

            Source: http://community.eidosmontreal.com/blogs/Light-Camera-Hey

            Eidos-Montreal’s experimentation with Thief’s DNA helped the studio find what it now believes to be the magic formula for designing a great stealth game: Force players into a series of impossible situations, and then give them the tools to escape.

            [Stephane Roy says,] “Our job is really to make it so that when you are seen you have options to move through or stumble the guards and then jump back in the shadows.”

            Source: Game Informer magazine.

            It’s worth noting that the entire demo mission that the GI article describes involves sneaking past guards, distracting guards, looting, climbing, pickpocketing, lockpicking, looting, sneaking past more guards, and yes, finally, some fighting when Garrett gets cornered by guards.

            And there’s more, but I don’t have time at the moment to go through the videos on the GI site and transcribe quotes. It’s pretty clear to me that their focus in the game is on stealth, falling back to action (fighting or escaping, your choice) if you fail at being stealthy.

          • Upper Class Twit says:

            @VelvetFistIronGlove

            Hmmm, now those “facts” and “actual interview quotes” would seem to be convincing, but only to an audience of uneducated consolite masses! You forget sir, that you are addressing a forum or learned PC gamers, and any “true” PC gamer should clearly see that those “facts” are not but AAA propaganda, and you are not but an easily misled sheep, or, perhaps a more sinister corporate agent.

            You’ve been ousted, charlatan! Now slink away into the shadows like the spineless coward you are! Or else draw steel, and at least die with some semblance of honor.

          • Premium User Badge

            VelvetFistIronGlove says:

            I have no steel! Only iron, and I need it for my glove!

          • fish99 says:

            @VelvetFistIronGlove

            I did not say the game was 3rd person, I said it switches to 3rd person during certain actions like climbing, which seems to match up pretty closely with the UBI quote. Seems clear to me he’s talking about something the game does itself, much like how Deux Ex HR goes into 3rd person when you go into cover.

            Also the quote about forcing you into impossible situations and giving you the tools to escape, I dunno, to me Thief is about situational awareness, especially of your surroundings, and planning, not having special abilities to get you out of trouble. Also combat in Thief was often suicide.

          • Tyrone Slothrop. says:

            Seems clear to me he’s talking about something the game does itself, much like how Deux Ex HR goes into 3rd person when you go into cover.

            Much like? This is exactly the problem, rather than making baseless speculation you were provided a quote with the only time the game switches to 3rd-person and there are ACTUALLY SCREENSHOTS, you could avail yourself of that show a remarkably well done first-person cover system with full-body awareness. It’s not even Ubisoft who are making the game, christ, educate yo’self.

            Also the quote about forcing you into impossible situations and giving you the tools to escape, I dunno, to me Thief is about situational awareness, especially of your surroundings, and planning…

            They’re not mutually exclusive and from reading the Game Informer article, situational awareness and planning are paramount, no less important nor do you even have to utilise methods of escape if you are great with the former two methods.

            Also Prime, that was a joke to demonstrate how ridiculous that invented quote was.

          • fish99 says:

            I said it switches to 3rd person during climbing, you say I’ve got it backwards and then provide a quote that says it switches to 3rd person during climbing. And you will also notice in Adams most recent piece that he confirms it does indeed switch. Honestly you’ve completely lost me, I can’t figure out what you’re on about anymore. If you were agreeing that it does switch, why did you say I’d got it backwards? I never once said anything about the game being “mostly 3rd person”, or “they’ve switched the game to 3rd person” or any crap like that. I said it switches when you’re climbing, which is true, and which I’m entitled to not like since the Thief 1/2 were entirely 1st person.

            So I got the publisher wrong, big deal, I have no interest in the game, and none of the original LG guys are involved, why would I care who it’s by?

        • lordcouty says:

          What? This is NOT a prequel he has the Glass eye that’s after the first game.
          You are terribly wrong with your conclusion. They are changing a hell of a lot of things in this game. Except the main character’s name. Which is Bullshit if they change the voice actor. Might as well name him something else. You know nothing of this series if you’re okay with this than you clearly don’t get the point of the game. go away.

    • Kodaemon says:

      Thing is, it doesn’t. He used his Garrett voice for some Skyrim characters, and it still sounds good.

  4. MOKKA says:

    So you need actors to make a game?

    • gganate says:

      I don’t know why studios need to put so much money in voice actors and motion capture. I want to play a game, not a movie.

      • Trithne says:

        Game studios are led by people who failed to make it big in Hollywood.

        • Arglebargle says:

          As most recently evidenced by Chris Roberts and his return to gaming. Oddly, at just about the same time that his ability to get funding for bad B grade Hollywood movies dried up.

      • Outsider says:

        So the correct way to deal with your concern is actually go backward in technology and fidelity and have poorly voiced and jaggedly animated games? Makes sense.

        • Trithne says:

          As far as I’m concerned, if we wound graphics back to Half-Life 2 for everything and put all the effort and money not going into modelling a better head into improving writing and nonlinearity and general game design, I’d be eminently happy.

          • defunct says:

            Unfortunately, games these days are about looks, not game play. That’s why people are rebooting old games. The game play was fantastic. They’re trying to update the graphics and are running into multimillion dollar games that wouldn’t need it if it was just about game play with decent graphics. And here they are talking about doing motion capture. What a waste. This is also why independent game makers are becoming more popular. They’ve placed the emphasize on game play rather than graphics.

        • Prime says:

          Did they mo-cap Mark of the Ninja, or was that very clever animation?

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            VelvetFistIronGlove says:

            That was animation—Disney style animation, which is quite exaggerated and a long way from what you’d get from mo-cap.

  5. bleeters says:

    Oddly enough, I seem to remember seeing multiple other games use different people for voice acting and motion capture (assuming they used motion capture at all, that is), and none of them caused me to recoil in horror as my immersion shattered and crumbled around me.

    It couldn’t just be that’s it cheaper this way, right? Right guys?

    • Low Life says:

      A recent example being Bioshock Infinite.

    • karthink says:

      I dunno, I’d imagine the voice actor’s fees is a drop in the budget bucket.

    • ulix says:

      Not really. The way their recording things, with a little camera mounted on a stick to the person’s head, probably makes this MORE expensive to do than normally.

      Also, the acting in and of itself should be better if the voice actor actually plays out the scenes while speaking them (and vice versa).

      • GyroMaster says:

        I respectfully disagree. Being an effective thief is more about observation and stealth than over-the-top acrobatics. The greatest thief of all time would have no need to leap over guards as he or she would never be caught in the act to begin with.

        EDIT: Guh, just realized I meant to respond to your comment further down the line.

        • ulix says:

          The greatest Thief of all time also wouldn’t shoot and climb up rope arrows, because those don’t even exist. He wouldn’t use He also wouldn’t need a sword or a blackjack, since he’d stay in the shadows. He wouldn’t use Flashbombs, since you only need them if you got caught. Etc.

          The Thief series always gave you the tools to get out of situations, IF you got cought. Why not expand the possibilities?

  6. RobinOttens says:

    So, it’s because they wanted shinier cutscenes? Because during gameplay I don’t imagine there’s much performance capture going on and actors playing off each other. I could be mistaken though. And I’m not saying their decision is unjustified or wrong or anything. I’ll hold off on forming an opinion until I see some gameplay.

    • Alan Alda says:

      That was my reading too, and I’d say it’s a crying shame. One of the beautiful things about Thief was how much character Garrett was invested with simply through writing and tone of voice. I don’t *want* to stare at his face while he emotes, I really don’t. Garrett is supposed to be shadowy and enigmatic.

    • Premium User Badge

      DrScuttles says:

      The implication is that this move serves the cutscenes. Which surely implies that there’s going to be plenty of cutscenes. I’m in two minds about this; tradition for tradition’s sake is just silly, but excluding mission briefings, there was only handful of cutscenes in the old games. And even then, Garrett was usually silhouetted or being all shadowy and mysterious.
      While it’s too early to judge without coming across as an over protective fanboy, I generally want to play games, not watch failed ambitions of film direction.

  7. Jams O'Donnell says:

    I wonder if we can map RPS writers/contributors to Sleeping Beauty dwarves.

    “the inevitable petition is here, if you want to fruitlessly sign it” clearly casts Alec as Grumpy. :)

  8. MrThingy says:

    Well, if they’re going with a different voice, they could at least ditch Garrett and make it a different person then? Perhaps some hideous pagan offspring of Garrett and Victoria recruited to the Keepers. Who can turn himself into a wall ivy and creep up walls at the rate of 1 meter a year. Sorry, I’m shit-chatting… chit-chatting!

  9. Premium User Badge

    harvb says:

    Would have just made way more sense to have a different character, mayhaps a descendent of Garrett?

  10. Michael Fogg says:

    Goddamit. Garret was a guy good at *not being seen*. And not being heard (unless the player accidentally picked up a metal pan and had no choice but to drop it on the stone floor tiles). He was’n much of an acrobat, even the first person movement in the three games felt somewhat ponderous. For the reboot they are clearly trying to tart Garret up with all the sexy jumping and sommersaults, in a clear attempt to appeal to the AssCreed kids. They are missing the point of the charachter, sadly.

    • Danda says:

      Games are power fantasies. But of course you’re right.

      • Vorphalack says:

        Generalising about any subject is not a smart thing to say or do.

      • karthink says:

        Power fantasies come in different shapes. The Thief version was more subtle and understated. It looks like it’s gone now.

      • Michael Fogg says:

        I really liked the ‘fantasy’ of outsmarting Benny and his bunch of taffers by moving past them secretly. I think it’s a more appealing fantasy than ‘press X to counter/disarm/stun/be awesum [canned animation plays]’.

    • ulix says:

      To be quite honest though, Garett SHOULD have been more nimble and SHOULD have been able to do acrobatics in the first three games, just by the fact of him being the best thief in The City (and probably beyond).

      • Corrupt_Tiki says:

        Why would a good thief need to though? What if he was so skilled, he had no need for elaborate egress plans, what if he was just really really good at not being seen, and blending in?

        • ulix says:

          Then he also wouldn’t need gas arrows, flashbombs, a sword or freakin mines, but I guess the implementation of these items was wrong in the first place, right? Why even give him a blackjack?

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        Simplisto says:

        Should an aikido master be able to flamboyantly slam-dunk a basketball?

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        Cinek says:

        Yes, I’m sure every thief in the world knows how to run on the walls and regularly jumps out of the window on a bungee.

        • ulix says:

          Yeah, cause Garett is just a regular thief, like every other thief in his world. Good argument, really.

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      Lacero says:

      He could mantle like a beast. Straight up too.

    • meatshit says:

      Call me a heretic if you like, but I’d love for the new Thief to have a dynamic, more immersive movement system more on par with Dark Messiah than the original Thief.

  11. MuscleHorse says:

    I have a slight sinking feeling about all of this though I remain hopeful. I wasn’t so much bothered by a change in voice-actor as the implication we’ll be somersaulting and cartwheeling about.

    • captain nemo says:

      Same here. The more i hear about this, the more dodgy it sounds

      Am prudently not pre-ordering this one. Let’s wait for the reviews

  12. ran93r says:

    I think with the wave of changes going on to the character, they may as well have made him the offspring of Garrett and avoided the majority of the backlash.

    I’m not offended by the new voice actor but it’s not what I would have liked to have seen happen and I think I’m more insulted by their reasons than the change itself.

  13. Drake Sigar says:

    Ignoring the main voiceactor of a popular series? Lot of that going around lately.

  14. HadToLogin says:

    So, does this means Thief will be, just like Absolution, killed by focusing on story?

    • woodsey says:

      Absolution was murdered by its focus on story because it dictated the entire premise of the series be ignored. Thief seems pretty focused on thievery to me.

  15. kupocake says:

    The thing that perplexes me isn’t “Why isn’t Stephen Russell playing Garrett”, but “Why are we playing Garrett if Stephen Russell isn’t”.

    The first three Thief games have a clearly defined arc, are in the collective experience of a fraction of the potential audience and feature a protagonist that is already visually non-identical to the character they’re so painstakingly mo-capping for this comeback. Why don’t they just create a new character instead of systematically disappointing long-term fans?

    We’re happy eating Findus Lasagne Thief, but only if you’re upfront about the fact that the protagonist is horsemeat.

    • InternetBatman says:

      Exactly this. They even introduce a new Thief at the end of the third one. I wish they had chosen the girl as the main character for the game, with Garret as the mentor. Good luck getting a game with a female lead approved though, so they could have made it about her apprentice or son and brought in grandfather Garret. This industry is terrible.

      • Michael Fogg says:

        I’d go as far as to say that the original now-canceled reboot (‘Thi4f’) which took place in a modern/sci-fi setting appeared to be more promising. The steam-thief is a complete trilogy and might as well be left alone.

      • belgand says:

        Better luck for them putting in a female thief where sex appeal isn’t one of her primary characteristics (a la Catwoman) and sticking her into a revealing, skintight outfit.

        I’d rather have a cynical, snarky female thief with an actual personality for a change. Yeah, the eye candy is nice, but at this point even if you want to be a total sexist asshole you at least have to admit that it’s a tired cliche.

  16. SkittleDiddler says:

    Gamers get upset over the dumbest things.

    • Kyrius says:

      Soo much this ^ ! I logged in just to say that… The community fanboyism can be a pain sometimes. We’ll see where it goes.

    • HadToLogin says:

      Yeah, like Bond fans weren’t making petitions against Brosnan (before Goldeneye) or against Craig. It’s only gamers that goes against decisions that breaks what they like…

      • SkittleDiddler says:

        Last time I checked, this wasn’t a site about movies.

        • Vorphalack says:

          Last time I checked, this wasn’t a site for bitching about other gamers. If people want to complain, so what? Let them do their thing and keep your gob shut if you can’t say anything productive.

    • dogsolitude_uk says:

      I agree. I loved Russell’s voice acting in the first three, but I’m not going to get into a nerdrage about it. We’ve had different Bonds, different Doctors Who and such.

      Providing the game’s difficult, atmospheric, Thievy and rather terrifying in places, I’m cool with the new guy. I mean, it’s not as if they’ve cast Chris Barrie or Bernard Cribbins or something weird like that.

  17. Premium User Badge

    SMGreer says:

    So…despite being a long time fan of the series and sad to see Russell won’t be returning, am I the only person actually excited for this then?

    Because I am. It’s a chance for something a bit different. After all, the original games will always be there for me.

    • ulix says:

      Nah, I’m excited and very hopeful as well. And I don’t object to Garett doing some acrobatics at all. Would it have been technically feasible in the other games, Looking Glass would have made him an acrobat as well.

    • Prime says:

      My feelings are complicated.

      This is very definitely a Reboot. ‘My’ thief – voiced by Stephen Russell – is to be considered a thing of the past, consigned to history, gone, kaput. This new Thief is going to be qualitatively different from what we’ve seen before. A new storyline. A new take on a thief called Garrett. This makes me sad. I wanted a continuation of the old, very much.

      However, I won’t condemn the new take out of hand. It might be great. It might make more sense. It might be more fun, or AS fun, to play. If it’s been put together with clear love of what came before and avoids the most cynical aspects of modern gaming, QTE’s etc, then it may yet find a fan in me. I love sneaking. I love being inside locations and around people where no-one else knows I’m there. Any game where your skill at remaining unseen is more important than your combat skills is one I want to play. so I’m….okay with this, for now.

      • N'Al says:

        You sound far too sensible. Are you sure you don’t want to rethink your membership on these boards?

      • derbefrier says:

        Well after 10 plus years between games its completely illogical not to expect some things to change. But fanboys are not known for being logical and this is all this amounts too, angry fanboys overreacting like they typically do. In my opinion the voice actor isn’t important its the gameplay that made thief what it is and it will ultimately be what makes or breaks the new game. I understand why people are dissapointed but to completeletely write it off because of this seems pretty silly.

    • dogsolitude_uk says:

      Yeah, I’m pretty confident about it all. The trailer was fine, and oddly less explosiony than the trailers for the first three. The devs have confirmed it’s going to be first person, with third person at a minimum. I was cool with the way they handled it in DE:HR, so that aspect seems pretty safe too.

      My only real concerns are things like level size (thanks for that worry, T:DS), and whether or not the ‘focus’ ability breaks the gameplay (the way ‘blink’ pretty much ruined Dishonored for me). I’m hoping for a game that will really challenge my stealth skills, observation and patience. Stuff like levelling, QTEs and suchlike would worry me.

      There’s still time for something really awful to show up though: always-on DRM or GFWL would be a deal-breaker for me, likewise a poor console port, so I’m holding off until I’ve read reviews and the hype’s settled down.

      I *won’t* be pre-ordering… :)

  18. Premium User Badge

    theodacourt says:

    I really don’t think Stephen Russell’s voice matches the new image, so I think it’s the right decision. I really hope they give him some other role or a cameo though! He deserves that much because his voice work in the earlier games is a key reason why they’re loved so much, so much of the tone came from him.

    • Danda says:

      Russell should still be Garrett, and the main character could now be Garrett Jr.

      Problem solved!

      • Premium User Badge

        RedViv says:

        Who’s the dark good-bad thief
        Getting all that stuff you won’t believe?
        GARRETT!
        Yer bloody right!

  19. werix says:

    Having never played the original thief games when they released, and in the past ten months going through thief one and thief 2, and currently working through Thief 3, it saddens me that we won’t be having the same gravely voiced cynic. As a relative newcommer to the series I don’t feel all nerd rage entitled, it just sucks that devs have been doing this all over the place. First it was Hitman, then they dumped Ironsides for someone completely different in Splinter Cell, and now this? It just feels fishy all this happening in series with Iconic voiced characters. This isn’t Mario or tomb raider where the voice actor doesnt really matter. Oh well, I just hope the game is as good as the predcesors, (even if I’m kinda bad at them, its fun to think I’m stealthy.)

  20. dE says:

    Predicting next headline in sarcasm universe:
    “We found out that motion capturing facial expressions is a rather moot point for a main character hidden under a hood. So we had him remove the hood everytime he talked. But at that point the haircut of our then actor didn’t get along well with motion capture and the image we had in mind. Thus we switched to someone with dreadlocks.”

    • Soldancer says:

      And of course, I immediately liken “dreadlocks” to “dude with a mechanical arm made out of his dead wife.”

      So now I have this image of Thief blurred with Bionic Commando. Thanks!

  21. Guvornator says:

    I have a thing about eye-loss. That picture isn’t helping…

  22. noom says:

    They need to record the voicework during stunts? This seems appropriate.

  23. Tusque D'Ivoire says:

    That looks like an acute case of a Staring Eyes Tag!

  24. jaypettitt says:

    Russell’s amazing VO work is the heart on soul of Garrett and Thief. To ditch him in favour of a particular MoCap work-flow is putting the cart before the horse I reckon.

    Anyhow – some bright spark fixed the trailer with vintage audio.

    • InternetBatman says:

      Wow. I was really, really surprised by how much better that made the trailer. It turned it into a game I want to play.

    • Corrupt_Tiki says:

      That is actually rather good

    • Prime says:

      That just made me very happy and very sad at the same time. Brilliant.

      • DXN says:

        Augh! Yeah.. my first reaction to watching that was almost to wish I hadn’t, because it makes it harder for me to really give this game the chance it deserves. I mean, I don’t think this trailer is as bad as some people here are making out, but… well. I’m willing to believe this game could be good. It might even capture some of what made the original games great. But really, the beating heart of the originals was a confident weirdness, a real commitment to an occult, mysterious sensibility, that soaked and saturated both the world of the game and the design approach. I’m not sure the atmosphere of the market can really sustain that anymore. Not to mention, the self-consciousness that must come of working on an established and respected title like this — sequelitis can affect even those with the best of intentions.

  25. Premium User Badge

    The Sombrero Kid says:

    I wonder if you’re going to be able to jump off a 50 foot building and detonate a bunch of cluster bombs at the bottom, then stab anyone left through the heart with your retractable spike arms?

    • karry says:

      You forgot the cape-glider and controllable throwing steam-dagger.

  26. Bolegium says:

    Forgive my ignorance, but is mo-cap really that important for a first-person-perspective character (even when including body-awareness)? Unless most of the game is spent in third-person perspective, or walking around with a mirror stuck to your face, it seems like a huge waste of resources to fully mo-cap a character whose hands are the only things visible.

    • InternetBatman says:

      I imagine it’ll probably be third person with occasional switches to first.

      http://www.strategyinformer.com/news/11177/eidos-post-image-of-thief-4-playtest-shot-shows-third-person

      • Premium User Badge

        VelvetFistIronGlove says:

        Nope. If you’ve been following the info on the game informer reveal, they clearly say they did a lot of experimenting with first and third person. They concluded that third person didn’t give people the sense of vulnerability they were after—but also that testers got much more disoriented while climbing in first person.

        So it seems that it’ll be first person, except for climbing ropes and perhaps a few other things (and obviously cutscenes)? Kinda DXHR like, I guess.

        I’d much rather a total first-person perspective, but it’s not a deal-breaker for me.

        • Premium User Badge

          Cinek says:

          Last time I checked a 3rd person view was the one erasing any sense of vulnerability in the games.
          But heck, what do I know?

          • Premium User Badge

            VelvetFistIronGlove says:

            Yes, exactly. You might have misread what I wrote?

          • Premium User Badge

            Cinek says:

            Nope. I totally agree with what you said.

          • Premium User Badge

            VelvetFistIronGlove says:

            Then you’ll approve of the dev’s decision to keep the game primarily first person, in order to preserve that sense of vulnerability.

        • Snargelfargen says:

          While the latest news is that the game will be first-person, that wasn’t always the case. Apparently the game used to switch between first and third person views whenever Garrett performed a scripted animation, but the constant switches were making their playtesters dizzy.

          There’s been some ominous details released (like the difficulties with 3rd person) that indicate a troubled development. Hopefully we get a polished game, but Eidos are probably under a lot of pressure to ship after all this time.

      • Tomac says:

        The other way around. It’s going to be mostly first person with some third person.

  27. InternetBatman says:

    At least they had the sense to make a completely new character for Deus Ex HR.

    • serioussgtstu says:

      I don’t understand why people are fine with having a different voice actor for the Tomb Raider reboot, yet now it’s a big deal.

      • InternetBatman says:

        Because Lara Croft only has two consistent points of characterization across games.

        • serioussgtstu says:

          Oh, so it’s just a case of Garrett being better. That’s fair enough, but from my perspective it seems as if fans of the series are doing themselves a disservice by disregarding the reboot so quickly. Chances are if you liked the last ones, you’ll likely be okay with this.

          • Soldancer says:

            While that’s true in part, I think that this is just adding fuel to the fire in a long string of perceived and actual differences from the original trilogy based on what we know about the reboot so far.

            For me at least, it’s just been one disappointment after another, though I’m still trying to remain open and optimistic until there’s a final product to examine.

            But from my and many others’ perspectives as long time fans of the franchise, here is a list of material we know so far that makes us wary:

            – More acrobatic, younger, “gothier” Garret
            – Focus on allowing combat as a reasonable approach
            – Features that are perceived as “hand-holding” like Focus, map/objectives and the fingerprints thing
            – Toning down/removal of supernatural elements*
            – Casting a new actor for Garret and the change in cutscene style/storytelling approach that implies

            So there is a short list of potential issues a lot of people seem to have with where the new game is going. Again, until we have a final product, this is still speculative and we shouldn’t be making any outright conclusions, but I think it’s still fair to voice dissent for where a developer is taking a much-loved franchise.

            *this item is all but a straight-up dealbreaker for me, as it removes 90% of what made the universe of the trilogy an intriguing and compelling place.

        • Thiefsie says:

          Ha! I see what you did there.

      • karry says:

        Because nobody cared about Lara Croft’s personality. And i, for one, loathe Keely Hawes in everything, not just TR.

    • woodsey says:

      That was an obvious choice, IW had already had a new protagonist.

      Let’s not pretend that this comments section wouldn’t be full of people bitching about no Garrett if they’d have gone with a new character instead.

  28. Yosharian says:

    Let’s face it guys, this isn’t going to be a modern version of Thief. It’s a different game, a Thief game in name only as someone else put it. We need to just let go and accept that developers and publishers are just not interested in old school gaming.

    • Mordsung says:

      Changing a voice actor tells us nothing about gameplay mechanics.

      Come on dude, tone down the rhetoric just a touch and wait for some info on gameplay.

      Who voices a character is, in the end, not overly important compared to gameplay mechanics.

      • InternetBatman says:

        What they’ve said about mechanics isn’t encouraging either. It’s something like “Garret will be in trouble if he runs into three to four guards.”

        • Mordsung says:

          It doesn’t matter to me if someone can destroy guards and go balls out as long as I also have the option not to.

          I’ve never understood people’s needs to be forced into a certain gameplay style.

          I love stealth. I could go balls out and just murder people in Hitman:Absolution, but I CHOOSE to use stealth. I choose to use stealth in Deus Ex: HR even though I could just play it as a cover shooter.

          As long as the options are there for me to play stealthy, I do not care if the options also exist for someone else to play loud and proud. I will handicap myself just as I do in any stealth game.

          In Hitman, I just restart if I get caught. I added my own failure state into the game.

          • Tomac says:

            My thoughts exactly. I made a similar point on a recent Splinter Cell article. People actually complaining about having multiple playstyle options is confusing.

          • InternetBatman says:

            There’s a difference between forcing a playstyle and balancing a playstyle. I’ve done murderous combat runs of Thief, and it’s balls hard but perfectly acceptable. Hell, you can even knock guards out and throw them in a body of water (they drown) if you want to be malevolent. The important thing is that combat is hard to reinforce the integrity of the sneaking portion. The game doesn’t end when you’re caught (like it does in some stealth games), but it does have consequences. Lighter consequences and less vulnerability means a very different game, even if stealth is still in.

          • Mordsung says:

            That’s the thing though, you can reinforce the game’s stealth mechanics your self by adding self handicaps.

            Hitman doesn’t reset when I get caught, I lose points. I choose to reset it as a hard failure state. I added that into the game myself.

            Just handicap yourself. Choose not to use some of the tools available to you.

          • Premium User Badge

            Snidesworth says:

            You can make those choices, yes, but you’re not going to have that sense of vulnerability that you had in the previous Thief games. Knowing that even a single guard detecting you was trouble is quite different from knowing that if you get spotted you’ll have to mash the quickload button. That and the knowledge that you could just murder everyone with little effort will rob the game of much of its tension.

          • Mordsung says:

            I quickloaded in the old thief games too when I got caught

            *shrugs*

            I didn’t need to take the extra 20 to 30 seconds to get murdered, it just saved me time.

            Stealth games are effectively puzzle games to me, it’s about trial and error.

          • Premium User Badge

            Snidesworth says:

            You are a cold, unfeeling robot but I respect your opinion. That said the Thief games are renowned for their atmosphere and how they excel at contrasting your vulnerability when exposed with how powerful you are when undetected. “Just impose your own rules and quickload” doesn’t do much for the people who enjoyed the games for those reasons.

          • Emeraude says:

            That’s the thing though, you can reinforce the game’s stealth mechanics your self by adding self handicaps.

            If I have to do the job of the game-designer myself to make a game interesting, then I’d say the released product is bad and not worth my time.

            I want to buy a game. Not a (virtual) toy.

          • Mordsung says:

            Thank you.

            I put an exceptional amount of effort into suppressing my inner ape so the fact I come across as a machine means I am succeeding.

            The way I see it, the inner ape should be controlled. Not completely eliminated, but heavily sedated. Emotions should be felt at levels of 1, 2, or 3, maybe as high as a 5, not 9s and 10s.

          • Tomac says:

            They’ve already said that going for a head on combat approach will be very difficult and stealth will be the best tactic. Fighting more than 2 guards will likely get you killed.

          • gwathdring says:

            Which sounds about right to me. For all some folks have been saying “A real Thief never gets caught It’s probably kind of important to be able to run, jump, climb and fight. No one’s perfect and relying on perfection to get you out alive doesn’t make you a good Theif. It makes you a very skilled idiot.

            Being able to take on one opponent comfortably makes sense. Being able to take on two opponents uncomfortably makes sense. Being unlikely to beat more than two opponents makes sense. If those numbers hold for the average player at the average difficulty, and there are a variety of difficulty options I’m happy. More than being “realistic,” though that’s not exactly the word for what I meant, it makes sense from a mechanical perspective. If you have a more intelligent and dynamic AI, rigorous path-finding solutions of old become less viable and the player is more likely to get caught in a bad spot. Even with clear AI routines, players have access to a wider variety of routes through the level if they can deal with being caught by a lone guard effectively; the result of both points is that having more combat flexibility is a good thing and allows for more complicated AI and level design without frustrating the player unnecessarily.

      • Premium User Badge

        Cinek says:

        “wait for some info on gameplay.” – from all of the info we got so far: This game won’t be Thief 4.

      • Yosharian says:

        My comment wasn’t solely concerned with the voice acting of the game, that’s your assumption.

  29. Johnny Lizard says:

    One growly-voiced American man is much the same as another.

    • Michael Fogg says:

      That’s the whole thing, Russel’s Garret was soft-spoken and deadpan with a lot of personality. Not your typical Nolan North hero-voice.

  30. ShowMeTheMonkey says:

    I still think the whole “We could have pasted Stephen’s voice on top of the actions and stunts of someone else, but this wouldn’t appear natural.” is complete balls.

    Irrational used three women for Elizabeth. One for the voice, one for movement and one for her face! Amd I’ve never felt a genuine connection between a videogame character and myself since Dogmeat in Fallout.

    • Tomac says:

      Bioshock is also quite stylized. Thief is going to be focused more on realistic art style.

      • ShowMeTheMonkey says:

        I fail to see how that changes anything.

        • Tomac says:

          It’s easier to match an unrealistic face with a voice than a realistic one.

    • Arglebargle says:

      The Mo Cap Excuse sounds like BS to me. Hollywood regularly records their final dialogue in nice quiet studios, not live. Even the parts when stunt men were doing all the action!

  31. fish99 says:

    Zero interest.

  32. Premium User Badge

    Simplisto says:

    I have the second and third game, but haven’t played either. Should I just skip to the third, or should I try and get hold of the first game and go in order?

    • gganate says:

      Deadly Shadows is the easiest to get in to, but the first two are better games.

    • Tomac says:

      The third game is a bit different and many say it’s the worst of the 3. I’d say start with the first game. If you play with the control options a bit then the game won’t feel so dated. It’s still a fun game to play even today.

      If you’ve played Dishonored then you should pick up on a few of the elements that Thief influenced in it.

    • fish99 says:

      Don’t skip Thief Gold or Thief 2. Make sure you get the latest patches from the forums at TTLG though.

  33. gganate says:

    Why are they calling this game Thief? Of course, we haven’t seen any gameplay, but all the media released to date suggests that Thief 4 is going to be very similar to Dishonored, which, while being an excellent game, had none of the vulnerability of a Thief game. I imagine most fans of the series are not pleased by the changes, which are obviously being made to attract new gamers. Well, if most of your base (the very people a game in a series should appeal to) are disgruntled, why call it Thief?

    • woodsey says:

      The Dishonored CG trailer shows Corvo killing 4 people in a heartbeat. The Thief one shows Garrett, umm, thieving, before being forced to escape from a single guard.

      But yeah, they’re totally the same and all of the media definitely suggests Garrett will be tearing people limb from limb.

    • Tomac says:

      Because it’s still going to be a Thief game? What else would you call a game that stars Garrett, takes place in The City and, most importantly, is about stealing?

      Take away the magic in exchange for light and shadow gameplay, change the focus from killing to stealing and suddenly Dishonored seems very similar to the old Thief games. It’s only natural that a new Thief game will be similar to a game that was heavily influenced by the original Thief games.

      The thing that will set Thief apart from stealth games nowadays will be the focus on stealing and the light and shadow based gameplay. And those are the core elements of a Thief game.

  34. Jamesworkshop says:

    I would have made the 007 analogy if it hadn’t been already made

    Thief: Deadly Shadows
    May 25, 2004

    old games stay the same age, voice actors don’t

    • Prime says:

      The 007 analogy is a poor one because it’s a completely different medium, and a hard, physically demanding role for any actor to be involved with. There’s no reason for Thief to place anywhere near that level of physical commitment on a voice actor, despite the spurious claims about the need to have the mocap actor do the vocal work as well.

      Stephen Russell’s voice-acting in Skyrim sounded great, reprising both Garrett and the Benny voices at various points. Even if some ageing had occurred (which Skyrim arguably contradicts) are you saying it was impossible to move Garrett’s own story forwards a few years from the end of Thief 3? That an older Garrett couldn’t reasonably be a successful Thief? No-one ever complained that the highly-agile Sam Fisher was being voiced by a fifty-two year old man. The voice just fit, as I’d argue it would with Russell as well, no matter his age.

  35. Matfink says:

    A bit too Noo Yoykie for my tastes :-/

  36. Dominus says:

    The reason they gave is not convincing, it is a poor decision made by Eidos. Would you change the singer of a famous band just because he can’t dance? I doubt so.

    • woodsey says:

      Why not try a not-entirely-pointless comparison, like, “Would you recast a regular actor if they got too old?”.

  37. TheMick says:

    Look on the bright side guys, the sound team was clearly able to resist casting Nolan north who, after hearing about the role, no doubt began yelling in a gruff voice and attempting to scale light poles and low walls in the parking lot beneath Eidos Montreal’s office building.

  38. BreadBitten says:

    What the fuck is up with developers suddenly seeing it fit to recast iconic characters for sequels? It might be the whole Hayter thing pissed me off to the extremes (unless the whole thing turns out to be a ruse, which it better be) but seriously, first Fisher, then Snake and now Garrett! Wait…hrrm…is it weird that all the characters I mentioned are from franchises known for their stealth based gameplay?

    • Tomac says:

      This isn’t a sequel it’s a reboot.

      What else do all of those series have in common? They’re all 10+ years old. Sometimes you just need to move on instead of living in the past.

      • Prime says:

        Totally. No need to get Peter Cullen back to voice Optimus Prime in the live action Transformers movies based on his iconic vocal performances from the 20+ year old cartoon – just get some other guy to do it because it totally doesn’t matter to anyone. Quit living in the past!

        • TheMick says:

          I find myself agreeing with your point, but I think it depends on how eidos chooses to present the game. if they were true to the original style and kept a lot of Garrett’s exposition in his head while in 1st person, there’d be no excuse for not getting Russell in my mind. I would bet cash money however that they’re going to go with a modern 3rd person cut scene-heavy approach where it becomes harder to get in Garrett’s head and have him presented more as a character on a movie screen. Thinking of his particular voice, and obv this is just IMO, it works best when we have a ton of room for filing in the gaps with our own imagination and less so when the character is less personal to us, a la assassins creed, Sam Fisher, etc.

          That felt hard to describe accurately, does anyone else know what I’m talking about? Lol

        • mondomau says:

          Your point is somewhat undermined by the fact that the inclusion of Cullen was a sop to the fans that were otherwise in for a right royal arse-fisting of their beloved franchise.

          • Prime says:

            I’d agree with your interpretation there, Mondomau! It does undermine the point slightly, but I hope the main point still carries; that voice actors ARE important. that Bay and Co used Cullen at all (for whatever cynical reason) shows how much weight his original portrayal still carried after all that time. Stephen Russell as Garret is very much the same – it’s HIS role. Much as no-one else but Steve Blum could do Spike Spiegel and be accepted by fans,

        • Tomac says:

          And yet, even with the true voice of Optimus Prime, those movies were bad.

          Just goes to show that holding onto the past doesn’t make the new stuff any better.

          • Prime says:

            Those movies held on to very little of the past (very little of anything worthwhile, in fact). It’s still great to hear Cullen speaking as Prime, though. And just because The Doctor regenerates every few years (our time) doesn’t mean you abandon 50 years of history to enjoy the new one.

  39. Hoaxfish says:

    neat little article about this sort of thing over at Polygon: http://www.polygon.com/features/2013/4/2/4104160/why-arent-video-game-actors-treated-like-stars

  40. Kestilla says:

    Their excuse is crap because Capcom did in Resident Evil 5 exactly what Square Enix says they couldn’t do in Thief.

    DC Douglas voiced Albert Wesker in RE5, and they captured his facial animations for the part. He attempted to “do Wesker’s badass walk” during the boss fight scene but he’d recently hurt his back, so they got someone else to do it, which he said was just as well.

    It’s DC’s face on Wesker, and someone else’s body. In the world of computer generated imagery, nothing is out of the realm of possibility. Lots of bigwigs saying ‘it can’t be done’ when in fact it can be done and has been countless times.

    I want to hear more often someone stand in front of a crowd and go, ‘it’s not what we wanted to do which is why we didn’t do it,’ like Maxis did with Simcity. Obviously though, the niche appeal of a series like Thief is not something they’re overtly worried about, since it didn’t sell all that well in the first place.

    Therefore, the game has to go mainstream. Dishonored can do it by focusing on blood curdling bloodbaths with a side element of _you can sneak if you want to_, which deeply disappointed the developers when they saw how the game was played (as discussed in a previous article on this site). So I guess that’s what this game will be too. Expect backstabbing, neck snapping action along with the impaling/hanging of people with the grappling hook just for kicks!

    /cynicism

  41. sinister agent says:

    That’s actually a pretty solid reason – motion capping with one and voice acting with the other would look and feel weird. You only need to watch a badly dubbed film or half-arsed animated job to see that.

    But I don’t think it’s a strong enough reason, to be honest, just because the trade-off sounds unlikely to be worth it. The original voice actor was terrific, and sound was so fundamental to Thief’s atmosphere that I’m not convinced fancy motion capped action cut scenes are going to be half as good a substitute. Why do you even need motion captured stunts in a game that’s mostly about lurking in a corner?

    • Kestilla says:

      It doesn’t look or feel weird. It’s commonplace in modern game development.

      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EgF-naopS_c#t=44s

      Also at this point we all know Mark Meer voiced and motion captured Cmdr. Shepard in the Mass Effect games.

      Oh wait no we don’t because it didn’t happen (I’m talking about the full motion cutscenes, not the canned awkward as hell dialogue scenes that use the same animations as Dragon Age so long ago).

      There’s a video on youtube by Square Enix about motion capture for Hitman: Absolution, how they used real actors to do the voice acting and mocap all in one. It’s a convenience thing, but interestingly they kept David Bateson voicing Agent 47 rather than replacing him, and he’s over 50. Obviously too old, he needs to go. Obviously. At least that’s what Eidos thought in this case about Stephen.

      It’s also clear DC Douglas was a shoe-in for Wesker, I mean look at him. Perfect.

      http://images.wikia.com/castletv/images/7/77/Dc-douglas.png
      http://th02.deviantart.net/fs70/PRE/f/2011/267/3/5/albert_wesker_by_lena14081990-d4arlv9.jpg

      We call it movie magic for a reason. Companies which suggest this magic can’t be done are being dishonest about the real reasons they made decisions in a big PR kerfuffle to try and soothe people’s feelings.

    • captain nemo says:

      “sound was so fundamental to Thief’s atmosphere that I’m not convinced fancy motion capped action cut scenes are going to be half as good a substitute”

      Excellent point. Sound was a huge part of the original games charm. To say the voice of the mo-cap actor is critical seems just plain wrong.

  42. Lobosolitario says:

    There’s a good reason films separate actors and stuntmen. Using the same person for mo-capping stunts and voice acting is pretty much a guarantee of 100% wooden acting. Why don’t they just mo-cap and record Stephen Russell for the non-action scenes and get a stuntman to do the action scenes? Or if Russell is out, then find a decent replacement.

    • sinister agent says:

      Because live action actors already have a face. Game actors don’t. You’d need to motion cap one person’s face with another’s voice, or one person’s head and another’s body movements, and both just look fundamentally wrong.

      Filmmakers use stuntmen because they don’t want their actors to get hurt (or more often, they can’t afford the insurance costs). Directing an action scene in a film and in a game aren’t the same thing.

  43. Reinou says:

    People sure do care about their voice actors. Seems like such a minor issue to me, but then again I never really cared about the Thief games anyway. I’m looking forward to it, but I can understand why fans of the previous games are disappointed. It was the same for me with the new Devil May Cry game.

  44. Premium User Badge

    Ham Solo says:

    If the new actor is any good, I am okay with it.
    And about that supposedly “gothy” look of new garret… the Thief games never were very bright and colorful in the first place.

  45. Premium User Badge

    slerbal says:

    No.

    I had pretty much decided that I would avoid this. It would not be the Thief games that I knew and loved and this is the final nail in the coffin.

    I wouldn’t mind so much if they just made them new characters, but Garret’s voice is Garret’s voice and that is all there is to that.

    Edit: In my rage I confused Eidos for Ubisoft. Still going to avoid this though.

  46. Muzman says:

    Money on it that when we see it we’re not going to be calling it revolutionary acting or mo-cap and the face stuff really won’t scratch LA Noire.
    My case being it’ll look like they could have cut him in if the reeeally wanted to. Real movies are full of body doubles and stunt doubles. As soon as mo-cap gets involved they’re stuck? Come on.

    Hey, I wasn’t expecting Russel to be in there at all really. But I feel a bit sorry for the guy actually. He’s a terrific voice actor and you don’t hear him all that much. Kicked off Bioshock infinite and now this.

  47. edam says:

    What I’m worried about is, if they need the Mo-Cap to sync up with the voice correctly, does that mean the end to these lovely, wonderful artistic cutscenes?

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oS4QSK6EEBc

    If so, not only have we lost an amazing voice actor, but one of the other defining qualities that contributed significantly to the character of the series. Oh…dear :(

    • Prime says:

      Those were absolute masterpieces. I’ve not seen any cutscene in the last ten years even come close to those little glistening shards of genius.

      • Thiefsie says:

        Try Homeworld – not quite there but close. Their new RTS vehicular based game does a similar thing. What Thief did well was mixing styling live filming (or excellent rotoscoping) with simple photoshoppery for their amazingly styled and original whilst utterly fantastic (and ageless – apart from resolution) FMVs.

  48. Tuor says:

    What Gallagher meant to say:

    We couldn’t use Stephen Russell because our new Garret looks like a giant wussy, and Russell definitely doesn’t sound like a wuss. We were worried that the dissonance created between the two would keep people away from the game.

  49. shahar2k says:

    Thief 4 seems to suffer from the same issue that the new starwars prequels had… where a main character becomes the center of the entire UNIVERSE and the one small aspect of that character suddenly becomes that character’s entire reason for living… Garret and his universe are being simplified for the sake of easy digestion and possibly bad / lazy writers… in order to basically milk the franchise.