Eidos Montreal Talk Thief At EG Expo

By Jim Rossignol on September 30th, 2013 at 9:00 am.


There’s been a lot of interest in the new Thief game – due out in February – but also an equally large measure of scepticism. That makes it interesting to see Eidos Montreal presenting their game at EGX this weekend, with lots of game footage, and an in-depth explanation of some of the decisions they made for their latest iteration of the great sneaking series.

Take a look, below.

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95 Comments »

  1. GallonOfAlan says:

    I liked the look of that. Glad focus mode is optional. Didn’t like ‘find the secret room’ being flagged as an objective – but that’s a minor gripe.

    • GallonOfAlan says:

      Although ‘ghosting – like going through walls?’ – he’s done his research hasn’t he.

      • NarcoSleepy says:

        He knew what the guy was talking about. I think he was either really nervous or trying to be charming, which fell very flat many times during the presentation.

    • HadToLogin says:

      I wonder if as optional as in Hitman Absolution – you could play without it, but if that was your first game you only made yourself restart game more as you had no idea where you can enter or what you can use, so you’ve blindly were trying to use everything.

      • scatterbrainless says:

        This. The problem with making something “optional” is that it still exists in the game’s design scheme, rather than having alternative methods designed to convey the same content such as diegetic clues or indications. This was a real problem with Dishonoured’s objective markers, which were obnoxious and immersion breaking; and while optional, much of the time the game assumed the player was operating with them enabled and thus would not provide alternative methods of discovering where you were meant to be heading. “Follow the marker” is so much less compelling than “familiarize yourself with a locale and make a reasonable inference”

    • tyren says:

      The hidden room was one the character already knew about, where the jewel he was looking for was, so it makes sense for the objective to point it out. If it were an actual secret room with bonus loot then I’d agree with you though.

  2. razgon says:

    Its a tad annoying that video interviews are so prominent these days since some of us are at work and cant very well watch videos! ;-)

    • felisc says:

      Indeed ! :)

    • hypercrisis says:

      does the internet shut off at 6pm where you live?

      • SRTie4k says:

        What else is work good for if not catching up on gaming news? At least RPS could give us a content delivery system that sort of looks like we’re working, rather than blatantly not working.

  3. 3beard says:

    After this: http://i.imgur.com/Yh6TGbT.jpg

    …I’m not sure if there is any way to turn my head on this. They have been really disrespectful with the way they are handling the franchise and responding to criticism by old fans.

    • Sheng-ji says:

      Agreed, I own every thief game at least 3 times over, I won’t be buying this one for the “linear story driven levels”, let alone the rest.

    • DaftPunk says:

      Ouch.

    • ViktorBerg says:

      This reads like “Dishonored but with less supernatural stuff – the game”. Very disappointing. I liked Dishonored, but that’s not Thief.

      • mikmanner says:

        I think Dishonored has more Theif ‘spirit’ than this game. The way Dishonored uses VO, audio (drones & atmospheres) etc, you could feel the developers love of Thief as you played it. I’m not getting any of that with this

        This game doesn’t have the right atmosphere, it’s not surreal, the ambiance isn’t ‘thick’ enough. I can’t quite articulate it.

        • SanguineAngel says:

          I think Dishonored was targeted pretty heavily at thief fans but I think by and large it was more Deus Ex the first.

          Although I agree with you on the audio front etc. Thematically it was quite similar. It was an interesting mix!

        • DiamondDog says:

          Dishonored definitely nailed some of the atmosphere of Thief, and certainly got the most important thing right, which was interesting level design. But in terms of gameplay I think Dishonored ended up being a lot closer to Deus Ex. It was still one of my favourite games of the last few years, but it hasn’t really scratched my Thief itch.

          Personally I think what’s absolutely needed to make Thief work is a sense of fear. Fear of being caught. Because while you could fight, 9 times out of 10 you’d be dead. So you have to run. Obviously that brings up the issue of guards just forgetting about you, but honestly I’d rather suspend my disbelief in that regard, than sit in the shadows knowing that really I could just kill my way through any fuck ups. It comes from this desperation to give players choice, but that isn’t always needed. I want to be forced into playing stealthily, because that’s what these games are about. Working through a level as if it were a puzzle. Not just brute forcing it because I gave up.

          There really isn’t much about this new game that I like the look of. Mostly it’s just packed full of little things that rub me up the wrong way. There’s a great interview with one of the designers on the Sneaky Bastards site that pretty much killed my interest, when it became clear how much they are sacrificing in the level design for the sake of telling a story. Pretty much the opposite of what I want from a Thief game.

    • SanguineAngel says:

      I am not sure I would go as far as disrespectful but they have been painfully clumsy with their spin.

      I think the fact is that this game is at least partly a cash in on the Thief name whilst just doing its own thing.

      Things that really put me off – context sensitive actions, experience points/levelling up, more focus on combat and a general sense that the game will be a proscribed experience. Many of these things are modern deign features that are almost mindlessly applied to every big budget game as a matter of course, regardless of context. They test well with the general public I guess and so are hooks to get people playing. I’m a bit tired of them.

      For me, the old Thief is about player ingenuity and not grinding and not mindless violence and a new big release not focussed on those things would be a welcome relief.

      I am a bit bias though, I am tired of just killing everything that moves as it is. It’d be nice for violence to have some gravitas which I think can only come from moderation. Less is more. But as long as it sells I don’t see it changing in the AAA sphere.

      As for the levelling up RPG elements that have spread like the T-virus – it is admittedly addictive but it’s also pretty boring and lazy a lot of the time. And we frequently end up with a messed up difficulty curve where a game starts challenging and end up a cakewalk once you’ve increased your powers and abilities. I’d frequently like to face an increasing set of challenges and have to use my own intelligence and skill to beat them.

      Still, this game isn’t for me but I am sure it will do its own thing perfectly well and will be a big success.

      • Grey Poupon says:

        The “scheme” by which modern AAA games are made by these days is annoyingly static and casual, which is why I think Kickstarter is the best thing to happen to gaming in a long, long time. Maybe the big publishers will realize that you can still make a “hardcore” or old-school game and profit with it. As long as the few big KS projects don’t end up failing.

        I really hate the third person kill cam. Hopefully you can turn that thing off. There’s so many things wrong, but they probably know that even if the old Thief fans aren’t too happy with this game, most will still end up buying it simply because the genre is so empty. There’s just Dishonored and this and both are quite light on the Thief-aspect.

        • SanguineAngel says:

          Yes, I think static is a really good word for it. It seems like that whole sector of the industry gets fixated on ideas for years and years. They seem driven by fear, too afraid to tinker with something or try something new in case it doesn’t make as much money.

          KS is a real saving grace for me. Without a publisher as middleman, not only are developers now seemingly free to exert creative control on their own projects and financially covered so they can afford to take risks but they are also able to engage directly with the public and I am finding that they are far more human. Which I like.

          There are whole new sets of risks, of course. Projects may fail and we would foot the bill. But I like that people are willing to make that allowance. Publishers generally aren’t but we as a passionate public are far more philanthropic. It speaks well of people

    • basilisk says:

      No jumping? The game has no jumping? Seriously?

      From this description, it’s quite clear this game isn’t anywhere near the Looking Glass lineage. It may very well be a fine product in its own right, but it really sounds absolutely nothing like Thief and what it stood for. Then again, I didn’t really expect that.

      • Emeraude says:

        My understanding is that jumping is contextual – that the game design eschew player freedom and systems-agency in favor of controlled environments and situations.
        Which I guess is why it gets such a bad rep for daring to wrap itself in the Thief mantle.

        • Stellar Duck says:

          That’s more an “execute script” than jumping though, so basilisk is mostly right.

        • Hmm-Hmm. says:

          More like CoD with stealth options than Thief, then.

          Oh, I don’t know how good it’ll turn out to be. But that’s what that made me think of.

    • neems says:

      What a horrific design document. It sounds like they got a PR / Marketing Research guy to come up with the concept, and went from there.

      “We want you to play as a thief, but we don’t want to force you to play as a thief… we want to force you to play as Sam Fisher.”

      Just force us to play as a thief. Honestly. It’s who Garrett is; it’s why the series is called Thief. If you don’t like it, make a different game

    • Henke says:

      Disrespectful? After seeing some of the things that “old fans” are posting about the new game and it’s developers I’m surprised the devs haven’t just told all the old fans to go fuck themselves yet. And then redesigning the whole game to be a Tetris clone and naming the L-shaped block “Garrett”.

      “Done! There’s your damn Thief game. >:|”

      • Sheng-ji says:

        Don’t you think it’s more about showing respect to the creative minds who wrote thief in the first place – Could you imagine if Game of Thrones was given to Lucas for the next series and he decided that what modern audiences wanted was a movie rather than a series, for Daenerys to be played by Miley Cyrus and to skip “that” scene because the latest trends in cinema indicate that the mass audience wouldn’t want to see that. The story can be adapted and edited, no problems. Don’t you think that would be disrespectful to G.R.R Martin and don’t you think it’s important to respect the vision of the original authors?

        • Justin Keverne says:

          I very much expect that the original creative minds behind Thief would be the first to acknowledge that those games have problems, and likely wouldn’t be as vitriolic in their defence as some of its fans are. More likely is that most of the creative minds are too busy working on other games to worry about it.

          The first three Thief games were great; yes I’m including Deadly Shadows. Nothing is ever going to change that. This new game looks really fucking dubious, but acting like it’s existence is disrespectful to either those games or the people who made them is just nonsense.

          • Stardreamer says:

            but acting like it’s existence is disrespectful to either those games or the people who made them is just nonsense.

            Clearly, you don’t understand where we’re coming from.

          • Sheng-ji says:

            I understand what you are saying and I don’t doubt there is pure vitriol over at the TTLG forums, that’s people on the internet for you, and I totally agree, the existance of a thi4f won’t undo the brilliance of T1,G,2&3 – I’ve never understood the “you’re ruining my childhood” argument, I just don’t feel that way. I do however feel profoundly disappointed in this industry where a name can be traded on so cheaply. If they said “We are making this game, it’s inspired by thief but it’s a new IP called Thi4very (Or whatever)” – the kind of name they couldn’t get away with unless they owned the thief name, I would be all over it, just as I was with Dishonored. And I wouldn’t have any expectations of what it is and isn’t. But using the name thief carries certain expectations and in my opinion, to use that name on a “linear dialogue driven experience” where “You don’t have to act like a thief if you don’t want” and “Every tool has a stealth and a combat application”, “You don’t choose where to jump or use rope arrows” is not, no matter how self critical TTLG were, where they wanted to take the game. Their plans for T3 are freely available, and they continue the progression made from T1 to T2, with the one difference that there were to be more haunted areas than T2 but less than T1.

            It is disrespectful to buy up an IP and use it because of the sales it will bring but ignoring the artistic vision behind that IP – it’s disrespectful to the fans and the people who took a risk on a new IP in the first place. If you want to make this game, fine, but the respectful thing to do would be to make it as a new IP.

            Also, dear ex-TTLG people, kickstarter… please?

          • Emeraude says:

            Or, as I’ve kept saying these past few years: What is the point of a video game franchise if one cannot use it to assess the kind of video game experience one is getting into when buying it ?

            Also: if you claim to be walking in someone’s footsteps, people are going to expect you to follow that someone’s stride.
            Simple as that.

          • Justin Keverne says:

            Eidos didn’t buy the Thief franchise, they have always owned it, they funded the development and marketing of each and every Thief game. They are the company (as much as any company can be assumed to have a fixed identity) who took a risk on that IP, who then took a risk on bringing it back and are doing so again. Might Thief have been published by somebody else? Maybe, but we will never know that so it’s not dishonest to say that without Eidos we might never have played Thief. Square-Enix own Eidos, because they bought them outright that included gaining access to all the IP rights they held and being responsible for all the debts they incurred, another risk.

            All I’m saying is that the people “responsible” for Thief is more than simply the developers. Furthermore a lot of the designs for the Thief 3 that came from Looking Glass Studios were made by the same people who then made something different when they moved to Ion Storm Austin. We cannot know what Looking Glass Studios would make now if they were still around. The closest parallel we have is Irrational Games… Which maybe isn’t an encouraging sign.

          • Muzman says:

            Yes, I have heard some seeming tones of regret from the old team looking back on the design decisions they made. Design decisions which I would tell them are what made the games irreplaceable and more should be trying today.
            But I suspect they’re more likely to agree with what Montreal are doing than disagree, on the whole (except maybe Doug Church).

            (there’s some hope in Arcane perhaps too. More so than Irrational of late)

      • Emeraude says:

        I think that people would be more forgiving of the Tetris clone for the sheer panache and brutal honesty of it to be honest….

      • Stardreamer says:

        Sheng-Ji’s dead right on this one. Thief 1 and 2 were genuine masterpieces, with 3 not that far behind. With this new game it sounds as if they’ve focus-grouped every design decision and come up with the exact wrong answer for each one. They’ve removed so much of what made those games such fun to play in favour of every hated modern game-design crime in the book.

        Dark Shadows annoyed fans with the changes they made, but you could still get largely the same experience from it because that team obviously respected what came before; they simply hoped to make it better. This new lot are showing NO respect to what came before.

        • zarnywoop says:

          Reminds me of that Simpsons episode Itchy, Scratchy and Poochie, where the marketing guys are asking the kids what they want to see in the cartoon when they just say yes to all the contrary suggestions,

          So, you want a realistic, down-to-earth show… that’s
          completely off-the-wall and swarming with magic robots? Yes, Yes!!

          In this game called thief, we don’t want to play as a thief… wtf!!

          The whole point of not lasting very long in a fight when you got caught was to make you stick to the shadows and not go “Rambo” through the mission. There was nothing more satisfying than the Whap of the blackjack on the back of the head of a guard who just walked past you without seeing you lurking in the shadows where you had been stood waiting for five minutes for him to come by.

          I’m afraid of what this will be… very afraid.

      • thedosbox says:

        Indeed. What many of the old fans forget is that the first games were produced WITHOUT their input.

        I have to shake my head when “fans” hope the game fails simply because it doesn’t live up to what they think it should be. Even if it turns out to be a good game.

    • derbefrier says:

      Well that just ruined my day. I didn’t know about a lot of that stuff and now I can say this is a thief game in name only. Fuck this shit.

  4. povu says:

    Thief seems to be on its way to becoming the Hitman: Absolution of the Thief series, instead of the Deus Ex: Human Revolution you’d hope for. Meaning it’s probably a decent enough stealth action game on its own, but not a good sequel to the games the fans love.

    • Uglycat says:

      According to Thiefites, I’d say it’s the Daikatana of Ion Storm, but I’m fairly certain it will sell enough copies to sustain it.

      • tyren says:

        I thought you were exaggerating, then I scrolled down and saw that someone actually said that without a trace of irony.

  5. Justin Keverne says:

    Developers of remakes have a frustrating habit of metaphorically pushing the original games under the bus, so they can justify the changes they make. On the other hand developers of spiritual successors often do the opposite. Consider how Eidos Montreal are talking about Thief now, compared to the way Arkane did prior to the release of Dishonored.

  6. DrScuttles says:

    I want to be positive about this; it’s bad form to write off a remake/reimagining/rewhatever of a loved property before you’ve had a chance to experience it (though the Robocop trailer does look pretty shit), but the whole project has had warning lights flashing for a while and looks like it’s firmly positioned itself for mass appeal. While not necessarily a bad thing of itself, in the modern climate of videogames the Thief series strikes me as much more niche, which obviously doesn’t quite meet sales targets hence a certain homogenisation of design like linear levels, QTEs which just need to go have a cigarette in an oxygen bar and open world! Because that’s popular these days (to be fair, I enjoyed Deadly Shadows and the city hubs, while interesting, could easily have been cut). And obviously I haven’t watched the video in this post yet, though I plan to later.
    Sometimes it’s great when a sequel completely redefines its DNA and you end up with Aliens. Other times you end up with Highlander 2.

    I doubt this will be Aliens, but just please don’t be Highlander 2.

    • SanguineAngel says:

      Highlander 2 was one of the most disappointing experiences of my younger life.

      Also I forgot to mention QTE’s in my post. Another painful design crutch which I wish was not happening

      • Stardreamer says:

        Highlander 2. The film so bad they ignored it completely for the third film and basically remade the first one.

        However, it still stands as a wonderful testament to insane-decision making. Think I’m going to track down a copy and watch it. :)

        • DrScuttles says:

          Just stay away from the Renegade Edition. They tried to fix it and remove all references to Zeist. Considering that Highlander 2 is so beyond fixing, any efforts to tamper with it just make it more of a mess.
          Hell, the theatrical cut’s single-minded commitment to pissing all over everything that made the original a cult classic is almost admirable in itself.

  7. Vegard Pompey says:

    Honestly hoping this bombs.

    • MO73 says:

      ^Come on, it may not be the Thief game you want but I don’t think it should be pre-emptively written off as awful. If it does well the big publishers might start paying attention to the Stealth genre again, which is something we’ll all benefit from.

      Plus remember Thief 1? It was highly experimental and Looking Glass was forced to include unnecessary conventional elements like monsters and zombies, which were easily the weakest part of the original game. But the success of T1 (along with player feedback) gave Looking Glass the courage to be far more radical with Thief 2, stripping out unwanted features and expanding on the strongest.

      QTE’s and pre-baked finishing moves are the modern convention but if Thief 4 does well financially then I suspect Thief 5 will be something to really look forward too. It’s a long road perhaps, but that’s just the nature of Game development.

      • Emeraude says:

        That’s a lose/lose situation here for Thief fans I’d say: the game is decent and sells well enough, they’re not going to get anything resembling the Thief gameplay bearing the Thief name anytime soon. The game fails, they won’t either.

        As such I can understand wanting the game to fail in a schadenfreude kind of way: they don’t get what they wanted, but the people who made it impossible for it to happen don’t either.

      • Mman says:

        “QTE’s and pre-baked finishing moves are the modern convention but if Thief 4 does well financially then I suspect Thief 5 will be something to really look forward too. It’s a long road perhaps, but that’s just the nature of Game development.”

        I’m pretty sure this has never happened in the history of ever. Sure sequels have heavily changed and improved or removed things that didn’t work, but there’s never been some sort of grand master plan with a series “revival” to change the entire design philosophy of the sequel if the original is a success (which is basically what you’re saying will happen with Thief). Not to mention it makes no sense as you’d lose the new audience you’ve created, defeating the entire object.

        The only time something like that happens is if there’s enough negative reception/lacking sales to force the developers to completely change the sequel.

    • Flakfizer says:

      I’d go further. I want this to be such a catastrophe it shuts down Eidos so the IP can be sold to a developer who might give a fuck about it.

      Unfortunately they’ll throw silly money at the marketing and it will sell millions. At least we still have the original games.

    • FriendlyFire says:

      Wishing for someone’s work to bomb? How generous. It’s as though the image of PC gamers as being a bunch of entitled twats wasn’t that far from reality after all.

      If you don’t like it, don’t buy it. Simple as that.

      • Emeraude says:

        To be fair, just because you’ve put a lot of work and money into something doesn’t mean it deserves to succeed, nor that one shouldn’t wish it to fail.

        I mean, I’m quite certain there are hard-working people at Monsanto, but I really wish their endeavors to fail.

        • Grygus says:

          Wishing these people failure at their jobs is most probably ridiculous. They’re not baking puppies. They’re trying to make something that you can have fun with. While they may very well fail to do so, hoping that they fail to make something that you can have fun with is counterproductive. The ideal is always that every game is fun, even – perhaps even especially – the games you didn’t expect to be fun; don’t let some kind of political agenda ruin your own hobby. Unless, I suppose, grousing about politics is your hobby, and gaming is, for you, merely an aspect of that. In which case, please carry on and I apologize.

          • Emeraude says:

            hoping that they fail to make something that you can have fun with is counterproductive.

            That only holds sway if you happen to believe that the allocations of resources toward the making of games happens to not be a zero-sum game.
            As I believe the contrary, I would rather things I do not wish to come to pass fail, so that more things I would love to see be done can have a chance to, and because it would be an indicator that things are going the way I’m wishing (If the game fails, then chances are it means the market is more aligned with what I want from publishers than what those developers want to offer, which is in itself reassuring).

      • Vegard Pompey says:

        It’s got nothing to do with being entitled. It’s simply a personal wish. This project embodies a design philosophy I would like to see die in a fire. The financial success of this reboot would lead to further proliferation of its tenets.

  8. MrThingy says:

    I am immensely excited at the prospect of not playing this.

  9. karthink says:

    I suppose the focus mode is their solution to “designing a stealth game that avoids frustration and fail states”. I like that goal, but I wonder if there’s a better way to do it than empowering the player with eagle vision/bullet time/wall hacks.

    I’m going to forget for a second that this is supposed to be a “reimagining of Thief”, which means I’ll take the XP, focus systems and one-button takedowns in stride.

    There are still a couple of things that rub me the wrong way:

    1. Garrett’s voiceover is basically instructions for the player now. “Looks like I’ll have to do this, then this and this. Or I could do this.” Leaving aside what it does to the character of Garrett, it also makes me feel like the devs either don’t trust the player or are being lazy.

    2. “The developers have placed much emphasis on the narrative, which means the main missions are more linear in design. Between these missions, the player can explore the city hub and accept side-quests, which allow for more experimentation and freedom.”

    The problem with forcing your tightly scripted narrative on the player is that it has to be really good for the player to enjoy it. I don’t know if Thief’s story will be any good, but I wouldn’t be surprised if, say, this “Orion” chap pulls a fast one on Garrett, the player sees it coming several missions before but Garrett doesn’t, and there is much teeth gnashing while Garrett does incredibly stupid things (probably in expensive, carefully choreographed cutscenes).

    And this is a conservative prediction, because even Dishonored and Deus Ex: HR, games that offered considerably more player freedom than this game aspires to, suffered from this problem.

    More realistically, I’m expecting Thief’s story and main missions to be as frustrating as Far Cry 3′s terrible little rail road wrecks. It does not make me want to play it.

    • Blackcompany says:

      You nailed it.

      The minute I read the quote in that image about “Avoiding fail states” I just sighed with regret. Based on quotes from the developers, this yet another mainstream movie-as-game production, replete with hand-holding and plenty of failsafes in place to make sure the player cannot possibly stray from the all-important narrative – the quality of which will likely not be anywhere close to on par with a fairly good book.

      Yuck. No thanks.

      If I wanted a tightly scripted narrative, I would watch a movie. Or read aforementioned book. Why developers are still making games to try and mirror the movie-watching experience I simply don’t understand.

      Give me a big, open city, a character, some stealth tools, and a series of open-ended missions at which I can either succeed or fail. Let my reputation with potential clients change based on whether I succeed or fail; change my notoriety and make things harder if I kill too often, or get caught. Let my story of Garret be MY story, cause frankly, I got tired of playing through everyone’s common narrative years ago.

      • neems says:

        Absolutely spot on, the both of you. That ‘Everything you need to know about Thief’ image that was posted earlier basically says that they had to introduce the focus mode as a way to avoid fail states, rather than actually redesign their game (or simply accept that people fail sometimes).

        I assume that with this being an Eidos game, the level of success enjoyed by Dishonored would not be enough, and that it will need to sell at least 6 billion copies, hence the incredibly generic design blueprint.

    • Horg says:

      The sad thing is that there weren’t many fail states in the original Thief games. Apart from a few levels like Shoalsgate Station in Thief 2 that failed you for scoring a knockout, the only other major fail state was death. If you alerted a guard, you could run and hide. If you set off an alarm, you made the level harder, not impossible. You couldn’t get yourself past a point of no return without gathering enough loot to finish the level. You couldn’t miss a plot point despite the big open levels. Looking Glass managed to pull all that off just by having a robust stealth system and good level design, no immersion shattering gimmicks required.

  10. CelticPixel says:

    To everyone having a heart attack about focus mode as if it’s some appeasement to casual console players, I remember playing the first mission of thief 1 back in the day and backtracking around the level for an hour before discovering by accident that I had to cut down one of the wall banners to reveal the secret entrance. That was bullshit design and a good example of some of the stuff from this beloved series that needs to be left in the past.

    • Secundus says:

      Cutting the banner to get in isn’t required. And even if it was adding useless gimmicky features to a game shouldn’t act as a replacement for good level design.

    • Horg says:

      They say hindsight is always 20-20. but this just proves how wrong that statement is. You could complete Lord Baffords Manor simply by opening doors using keys you found or pick pocketed. There was no required super secret hidden entrance. The secret passages were totally optional bonus routes for people who wanted to explore.

      • CelticPixel says:

        That doesn’t change the fact that I completely missed those opportunities and ended up faffing about for an hour, although fair point to Secundus that better level design was another way to solve it . I do understand the legitimate concern that gimmicky features could be added and detract from the true Thief experience, but I don’t see why this sense power has been immediately written off as such. I’ve seen similar abilities work very effectively in other games, including Dishonored, and nobody complained about it there. It seems like a legitimate modern solution to an old problem.

        • bill says:

          It’s a simple introductory mission that prompts you to use all the skills you learned in the tutorial and gives you 2-3 optional ways to complete it. Personally I think it’s a rather well designed level, with no illogical parts or cheap tricks.
          I know anyone can get stumped at times, but in this case I don’t think you can blame bad level design or bad design decisions.

          • VelvetFistIronGlove says:

            with no illogical parts

            The architecture of Lord Bafford’s manor is actually very bizarre. I can understand how CelticPixel got confused by it. It’s almost as confusing as Constantine’s place.

          • Horg says:

            Baffords Manor has two almost symmetrical main floors with a basement attached. Constantines Manor is a mind fuck of Alice in Wonderland proportions. They are not even remotely comparable.

          • VelvetFistIronGlove says:

            Yes, like Alice in Wonderland, the “mind fuck” of Constantine’s manor is only skin deep, an excuse to have some nonsensical fun. Whereas Bafford’s was designed by a drunk architect desperately trying to appear sober. (If they have architect cops who do architect breath tests, he was trying to convince them).

          • Muzman says:

            Eh, people just forget what real old buildings are like.
            Baffords is interesting because its laid out like an old castle to some extent. The front entrance in particular has these large defenses and observation systems as if it was built in a time people used to come charging down your front door en masse. All the guards barracks and watch stations are right there ready to defend the portcullis or rain arrows on the front hall. It’s pretty cool.
            Tough for a first mission (a bit too tough), but not especially weird. Particularly when you consider than back in the day people used to just add stuff to buildings, including digging out cellars and what not. There weren’t any regulations.
            People have just become thick at navigating unfamiliar structures and current game design isn’t helping at all by either making it really easy or giving you endless aids (or both).

          • VelvetFistIronGlove says:

            All the guards barracks and watch stations are right there ready to defend the portcullis or rain arrows on the front hall. It’s pretty cool.

            That’s just one of the weirdnesses. The watch stations for archers look onto the front hall, not out onto the street! By the time would-be attackers are in the front hall, the castle would probably be lost, as there are no doors or gates preventing ingress to the next rooms.

    • mihor_fego says:

      So what’s wrong about spending an hour to find a level’s solution? Kids these days… In all seriousness, some of us who grew up on unforgiving arcade games on coin-ops and frustratingly illogical adventure game puzzles from the late 80′s and early 90′s got a nice lesson in patience.

      I’m not saying these were “good” design decisions, but now we’ve reached a point people need a damn map and location indicators in any game out there, glowing interactive items and hand holding. Thief had you explore the place like if you had the minimal information Garrett had in-game: a hand drawn map that very simplistically outlined the location. Did you want him to have a medieval GPS and blueprints?

      • Leb says:

        Anybody who enjoys losing at a game and being forced to dish out more money to try again is probably the same kind of person who enjoys getting punched in the nutsack.

        I’m fine with difficult, but frustrating is a whole other thing.

        • Drakale says:

          So, you want a game where you cannot possibly lose? Imo, the very best games are the ones where when you ‘lose’, you still gain valuable experience that will help you the next time over. Dark souls, Monster Hunter,Thief, those are all good examples of that. There is joy in improving yourself, not just putting points in your character stats.

        • Emeraude says:

          The problem being that one person’s “frustrating” happens to be another’s “challenging” (sometime even “casual”)…

          As long as the difficulty is fair (understandable, knowable, with tasks fit for the tools the player is being given) then it’s just a matter of finding the games more suited to one’s preferences.

          For example, I really disliked Portal – which I felt played like the overextended tutorial to a game that was never made, but thoroughly enjoyed Antichamber, which I felt was a nice, perfectly calibrated, little puzzle games that did not over-extend its stay.
          But I’ve seen people love the first, and dislike the second for being too frustrating.
          Which I’d argue has far less to do with the intrinsic qualities of both games – both are well crafted and well designed – as with personal preferences and expectations.

  11. Ross Angus says:

    Rarely has a video made me feel more like Garrett: I shall cynically watch this game from the shadows. If it’s good, I’ll buy (not steal) it. If not, you’ve never even seen me. I was never here.

  12. Yosharian says:

    I’m glad that you can turn some elements off, but I’m worried that the game won’t ‘work’ with them turned off. For example, in Tomb Raider, when you turned off nag prompts, you ended up not knowing what to do in a given situation, because the QTEs had no internal consistency, almost a random button every time.

    Also the thing about getting XP for headshots is fucking awful; the most logical thing would be that ghosting a level or not killing anyone grants you similar XP.

    BTW it’s a GOOD thing that silent takedowns don’t grant XP, not sure why you guys don’t see that. If they granted XP for silent takedowns then you’d want to take down every enemy on the map for the XP. The XP given for ghosting or being non-lethal should be given at the end of the level.

    • DrScuttles says:

      Agreed; while I really enjoyed Human Revolution, the way it encouraged you to find every little vent shaft, hack every keypad and just go over everything 3 times for the XP did get a little tedious. But then again I had more upgrades than I really knew what to do with by the end so maybe the design was sound and I was just being obsessive.

  13. Duke of Chutney says:

    i’m not soo bothered by the violence. When DXHR was approaching release i was very sceptical of the Splinter Cell esc features the game had gained, but when actually playing it i was less bothered. I don’t like it, but i accept that the need to make X billions from a game means that devs will aim for the violent centre of the beer drinking console market, and so the game must allow players choice, even if a choice is run and gun. The question is will the game reward me for never getting spotted, or only doing non lethal takedowns?

    imo the bigger issues are;
    A: is Garrett now robinhood? I really hope we don’t get driven around by some moralistic savior of the people tale. Garrett is a self centred egotist that steals stuff. Any plot should revolve around his grey moral nature.

    B: the original thief and deus ex games had lots of levels that started you outside a complex or a manor, or whatever and allowed you to plan very different routes in and then around. The buildings were structured like real buildings rather than levels to an extent. I worry you will simply be presented by route A, and B for each mission and that buildings will be structured around artificial bottlenecks and set piece encounters. Its not that these were absent in the original game, but they didn’t dominate.

    I don’t have a problem with the focus. My guess is the game will be significantly harder with it turned off though. It appears to have been designed around the player using it.

  14. Utsunomiya says:

    I’m actually still cautiously optimistic for this one. It -looks- good.
    Level design will make or break this one, so we’ll have to wait and see.

  15. 0mongoose says:

    Honestly, I’m intrigued by the focus mechanic. In many ways, thief is a thematic game and, if implemented properly, it could fit right in or perhaps even enhance the theme behind the games. It could make garret seem more “thieflike”, representing his experience or skills as professional thief, in addition to his arsenal and tools. Of course, this is entirely dependent on implementation. Make it too available and it will ruin gameplay, make it too much of a “gimmick’ and it will feel out of place. Judging from the other design choices, I doubt the implementation will succeed, but who knows. It might be the one good thing to come out of this.

  16. Myrdinn says:

    I watched the video until the part where Garrett takes out 3 guards in half a second and proceeds to pick a lock all sneaky wise. Why not just headbutt through the door, slaughter everyone on your way to the stables, mount a pig and do fire arrow driveby’s on it’s back? Heck, can we get a Shadowwarrior / Thi4f crossover?

  17. Turkey says:

    Most gamers hate stealth games, so it’s kinda stupid to design a stealth game for most gamers.

  18. jonahcutter says:

    Doesn’t look like it plays like Thief. Doesn’t look visually like Thief. Doesn’t sound like Thief.

    And there’s the crass “bonus” mission locked out at release unless you pre-order manipulation.

    This is a bargain bin buy. And only when it’s super cheap and is the complete game. There’s plenty of other great games to play in the meantime. Games I’ve yet to find time for.

  19. DuneTiger says:

    “Dear Thief fans,

    This game is not for you. There might be some things you will enjoy here, and we kindly ask that you be open minded about the direction we’ve taken this title to, but to be perfectly honest, you are simply not the target audience. Indeed, you really need to let go of the past and understand that we are in the business of money.

    True, we could also have just started our own IP as a spiritual successor to the series that would probably have pleased the lot of you, but the truth is that there is a type of gamer out there that is well-versed in game lore and will plunk money down as a “Thief fan”, despite having never played any of the previous ones. It’s a bankable name.

    Now, now, I know you are attached to the property as people were attached to Star Wars, but let’s be honest – Lucas made a buttload of money because he targeted the young, modern-age moviegoer and not you. We are simply doing the same. What’s wrong with that? Capitalism, ho!

    Sincerely,
    The Management”

    • Shazbut says:

      Dear The Management,

      You say…

      “True, we could also have just started our own IP as a spiritual successor to the series that would probably have pleased the lot of you, but the truth is that there is a type of gamer out there that is well-versed in game lore and will plunk money down as a “Thief fan”, despite having never played any of the previous ones. It’s a bankable name.”

      …but I can’t see how this could be a large enough demographic to appeal to. Surely a better idea would be to make a game that appealed to the core audience by simply designing under the principles that made those games so well loved – which are not hard to understand if you play the original games or read the copious articles about Looking Glass. That way you wouldn’t be trying to pull the wool over our eyes (by saying “Hey, who loves Garrett?” for example) and would instead be confident enough to branch out in whatever direction you like, confident that there are millions of people who are hungry for games that were made under those principles.

      Best wishes,

      -Somebody who is not an idiot

      • DuneTiger says:

        “Dear, Shazbut,

        We would be inclined to agree with you if we felt that the core audience was larger than the audience that we have presented with wool blindfolds. The truth of the matter is that we are a successful business that exists today. Looking Glass is no more. Had they proven to be successful with their endeavors, they would still be here today and the Thief property would remain with them. However, our research has shown that the elements that made the original games popular with the previous generation of gamers does not work in today’s market. Extensive focus group testing has validated our theories on this.

        We have actually found that what today’s gamer wants are amateur films wrapped around shallow gameplay and hand-holding. While we would love to present a challenging game, the fact of the matter is that we are in the business of charging $60 to be a part of an interactive film! Doesn’t that sound exciting? YOU can be the STAR in our play. I mean, really, we’re providing you with a new Thief title. Shouldn’t that be enough?

        Sincerely,
        The Management’s Management”

        (I feel awful for writing this)

        • Revisor says:

          DuneTiger, I metaphorically love you.

          “Amateur films wrapped around shallow gameplay and hand-holding” is exactly what I feel playing the latest Tomb Raider now. Is “badly written” included in “amateur”? Ms. Croft has just left her friend and admirer to die in an expensive cutscene even though there was no reason to, to shed a tear and then immediately forget him because there was a WWII journal lying conveniently next to her.

  20. Deadly Habit says:

    Just the story introduction was enough to put me off and tell me this isn’t a Thief game.
    Corrupt government? Apprentice is gone? Increased military presence, rich are getting richer, poor getting poorer?
    Sounds worse and more cliche than most game writing.
    The new character design is horrid as well, all the XP for killing, focus mode bullshit.
    It’s like if Romero and the team behind Daikatana were behind the design of this, and even then it probably would be better than what this looks like.

  21. soopytwist says:

    That FOV is way too narrow and I still don’t like the back outlines when hidden. And I don’t like the swearing either. Ordinarily I couldn’t care less but in a Thief game it’s just not right – they should have used “taffer” instead. And I still don’t like the new voice. If they had to go with a new voice artist they should have got someone older.

  22. Shazbut says:

    I didn’t think I’d find myself saying this, but there is a remarkable level of politeness in your reservations.

    Nobody in the world wants or has ever wanted contextual controls, hand-holding, and the dumbing down of an established character.

    There are thousands if not millions of people in the world who appear to understand the Thief series better than the man who is presenting this latest game.

    There is so much more that could be said, but what’s the point?

    I don’t feel angry. It’s just baffling to me.

  23. Emeraude says:

    My apologies, misfire.

  24. Contrafibularity says:

    Please tell me I did not just see Garrett crouch-run like a cheetah over a tiled floor right behind guards without being heard. It looks like they’ve done away with Thief’s stealth almost completely and turned it into the nth stealth cover action game. Also, loot glint, a pointless post-processing haze around the picture, third-person takedowns (oh Eidos Montreal you so funny) x-ray vision, Hitman Absolution’s Instinct, pointlessly doing away with the light-gem (and even the blackjack as far as I can tell) none of these things bode very well for this game, it just gets worse the more we see of it. Even the guards and dialogue sound entirely unconvincing.

    I did not see a single environmental stealth “puzzle” in that entire sequence, either. What.

  25. hamburger_cheesedoodle says:

    I guess we’ll see how the game is when it comes out, but I rather hope it doesn’t bomb. It may not be the game Theif fans want or deserve, but at least they’re trying to bring back the franchise. I mean, without Eidos we don’t have any Deux Ex or Hitman games either. While both games have their problems (especially Edios’ take of Hitman) it’d rather have someone at least trying to pick up the promised mantle of PC gaming that never came true than having my options be limited to low-budget indies on one side and cash bloated games like GTA and CoD on the other.