Thief Abandons XP System Due To Fan Outcry

By Nathan Grayson on October 17th, 2013 at 12:00 pm.

Thank goodness I leveled up my staring eyes stat.

Thief hasn’t exactly been well-received by longtime series diehards, but so far Eidos Montreal has opted to brazenly stay the course, claiming that “fan resistance” of its new direction is unwarranted. Until now, anyway. In a maybe too-little-too-late but still heartening turn, the developer’s tossing aside an XP system that would’ve started Garrett off as A Pretty Good Thief – not, you know, the master of his sticky fingered art, that thing he’s known for more so than anything else ever. Little XP pop-ups might’ve put an arrow right between the eyes (and “I’s”) of immersion too, so I’m happy to see them go. Details below.

Eidos Montreal explained the change in a blog post:

“At first, we wanted to outline the progression of the player with XP, but it was reducing our motivation to steal. The main goal of a thief should be to gain loot. Garrett is already the Master Thief, so we saw no need to have XP as a core mechanic.”

“Fans might be surprised how often the devs go to the forum to see how things are perceived in the ‘real world’. This feedback is extremely valuable to us, so as you can imagine, the consistent reaction to the XP system was something that indicated we needed to revisit some design decisions.”

The focus has now shifted over to what you can do with the glittering prizes you pilfer, which means you’ll be able to purchase tools that are either aggressive or stealthy. Your basic abilities, however, will be at the top of their game from the get-go. No maintenance needed.

But will the rest of the not-quite-a-reboot live up to Thief’s legendary legacy? I really, really hope so, but I have good reasons to be less than optimistic. Soon, we shall see – perched just out of peripheral vision in a cloak of shadows, observing, calculating. And then we will strike.

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123 Comments »

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  1. Premium User Badge

    DrScuttles says:

    How will Garrett progress through the game without XP?
    Nic: The goal is to use gold to buy elements to progress, to encourage the player to steal. The player will be able to choose how to spend money, for more stealthy or more aggressive tools.
    Daniel: It was always possible to play without using XP, like it is still possible to play through the game without killing anyone or even spending any coin (though it isn’t going to be easy!)

    That reads to me like they just swapped “XP” for “gold”. No gold for headshots though, obviously.

    • Umbert says:

      Which in-game can be circumventeted by the fact that “if”bodys drop loot (gold, e.g. purses), that enemies that were disposed of by means more stealthily or via “headshots” could somehow drop more gold or better loot.

      • Yosharian says:

        Why would a headshot grant bonus gold? That makes no sense.

        Any gold an NPC might have will surely be pickpocketable.

        This is the best news ever and you found a way to look down upon it, I’m amazed.

        • Syra says:

          More gold from headshots is obvious. You don’t put a great big arrow head through the chap’s wonderful coat which you can now sell!

          • rb2610 says:

            What if the NPC is wearing a particularly fancy and expensive hat?

    • analydilatedcorporatestyle says:

      When you headshot Benny with a broadhead it will be like when Sonic lands on a spike, gold flying everywhere!

  2. Premium User Badge

    distantlurker says:

    Equally happy to see the back of this non-thiefy mechanic but changes this fundamental this late in development? That never bodes well..

    • lordfrikk says:

      Exactly, let’s hope for an exception.

    • InternetBatman says:

      I thought the exact same thing.

    • djbriandamage says:

      Makes you wonder whether the master thief will arbitrarily gain new skills at the beginning of each level rather than earning them through experience he should have already had from prior capers.

      I do respect the devs for making this dramatic change based on customer feedback, but this late in development? A little bit ominous.

    • Sleepymatt says:

      Agreed.

      “Garrett is already the Master Thief, so we saw no need to have XP as a core mechanic.”

      Surely they ought to have realised this was an idiotic idea right at the start? It just seems a bit crazy to strip out a core mechanic they’ve been building the game around at this stage, rather than spend 2 minutes thinking about it before wasting months coding and balancing it to discard it at this point.

      It seems that every announcement they make just reveals how little they have thought about what made the original games fun.

      • KhanIHelpYou says:

        What if we look at this from another (entirely made up) perspective.

        Marketing: “We need progression!”
        Development: “Garrett is the Master Thief.. but he’ll need gold to buy equipment”
        Marketing: “No no no, we need XPs!”
        Development: “Ok, you get xp for stealing things and err I guess that makes you more theify?”
        Marketing: “And headshots! Oh and those cool takedown animations where you stab a guy in the throat. Remember how they were awesome in Deus Ex”

        Audience: “Down with this sort of thing!”

        Marketing: “Hmm, PR is looking bad. You should get rid of XP, I cant believe we let you put that in the game, its a terrible idea.”
        Development: “Garrett is already the Master Thief, so we saw no need to have XP as a core mechanic.”

        That’s obviously an over-dramatisation that just pins the blame on a slightly different head and only the people on the team will know whats really happening. Its probably not all a lack of thought on the developers side and its probably not all a deep despisal of gamers and love of buzzwords and trends on the marketing side or orders on-high from square but rather a gooey mess of all of those factors.

        I’d hate to be a cog in that machine.

        • Premium User Badge

          oceanclub says:

          ” You should get rid of XP, I cant believe we let you put that in the game, its a terrible idea.”

          No, Marketing would never say that. Instead: “We can’t believe you out that in the game….”

      • Wulfram says:

        People are prepared to ignore the absurdity of EXP in most games, so they probably thought it would fly in this one.

      • Yglorba says:

        From the sounds of things, I suspect that they’re just turning all the XP upgrades into purchased items. Instead of improving your sneaking ability, you buy sneakier shoes. Instead of improving your melee ability, you buy a sharper sword. Etc.

    • Synesthesia says:

      +1. Seems like too big a change to do this late in development. Bad omen.

    • suibhne says:

      Yeah, there’s no good way to spin this. Either it’s absolutely nutso that they’re changing core gameplay mechanics only a few months before release, or it’s absolutely nutso that they included totally disposable gameplay mechanics in the first place.

      This project continues to look like a total mess, from a project management standpoint if no other.

  3. Cytrom says:

    I’m reading a lot of bad press about this title, yet everything I saw about this game so far looks awesome to me. It looks like a dark medieval-steampunk mixture of dishonored and deus ex with a strong graphical style. I haven’t played the original thief games, and I may be a heretic, but that combo sounds amazing to me.

    I’m usually pretty cynical, but i’m optimistic about what the developers of human revolution can make of this. Not preordering though of course… only stupid people do that, or who haven’t learned their lesson yet.

    • BLACKOUT-MK2 says:

      I completely agree with you. I think the problem is that people are suffering from too much nostalgia, whereby if the game isn’t exactly like the old games but slightly updated, then they think it’ll probably be a bad game. I agree, from what I’ve seen it looks pretty fun. I loved Human Revolution, it really surprised me to the point that I went on to do a second playthrough right after I finished.

      • Wulfram says:

        It’s calling itself “Thief” to take advantage of the nostalgia, so it has to deal with the expectations that come with that nostalgia.

        • Bull0 says:

          In fairness to the devs, it’s a lovely cake they’ve got. It would be a real pity if they couldn’t eat it while simultaneously preserving it for posterity

      • InternetBatman says:

        It’s not that it’ll be a bad game if it doesn’t follow Thief. It’s that a lot of changes were meaningless, stupid, or removed player agency.

        The redesign of Garret was meaningless.

        As for stupid changes, there’s Thi4f.

        Rope arrows are great example of removing agency, they went from something you could use anywhere there was wood to something you can only use a few places in each level. Basically they took the possibility of emergent gameplay out of the game to create a more tightly controlled experience.

        Even worse, they don’t offer good reasons for making the changes. Jake Sullivan took some flak for removing time units from X-com, but he made his case, made it clear he had tried several options, and a lot more people supported him.

        • dicenslice says:

          Oh, and jumping is contextual and there are QTEs. Great…

          • defunct says:

            er, were you just trying to be funny, or are you saying there are now QTEs in Thief? I loathe QTEs. It’s been a deal breaker for me before, actually. So I hope you’re just being funny.

          • Sheng-ji says:

            Sadly, he was not trying to be funny – as far as I can tell, there are linear, scripted “Escape Scenes” which feature QTE’s to, for example not die when garret grabs some loose stones on a ledge he has jumped for.

          • Contrafibularity says:

            Contextual jumping AND contextual rope arrows? So this is a Thief game with no freedom or verticality other than Tomb Raider style climbing “puzzles” at predetermined points. And they’re claiming these things aren’t immersive enough for their game, unlike third-person takedowns and QTEs apparently. Or turning Garrett into a levitating ghost-vampire.

            Seems like there’s very little if anything left of promise now.

        • Runs With Foxes says:

          They’re even dictating where you can jump on the grounds that jumping is not immersive. Just in case anyone needed reminding that former Ass Creed people are making this.

        • Boothie says:

          the total nerfing of rope arrows is one of the reasons i was sceptical in the first place, and after The Darkmod went standalone and got rid of a graphical bug that made the doom mod unplayable for me i pretty much see no reason to get it at all

      • Runs With Foxes says:

        If ‘nostalgia’ means ‘a better understanding of what makes a good Thief game than these developers evidently have’, then yeah.

        • BLACKOUT-MK2 says:

          Has there ever been a remake of a game that fans have been happy with? Seriously, I don’t recall a single time that 80% of conversation about a remake consists of complaints about why the game will be terrible.

          • GamesInquirer says:

            This isn’t a remake. If it was meant to be a remake it would be judged even more harshly I imagine. Still, there are two Thief games people like, not just the very first one. So yes, people like continuations, successors, sequels etc., when they’re done well.

          • InternetBatman says:

            X-com. Fallout New Vegas. Prince of Persia: Sands of Time. GoldenEye. Most Nintendo games. Street Fighter IV. Rayman Origins. Resident Evil 4. Mortal Kombat.

            It is even possible to argue for Bioshock, because the shock is from System Shock.

            Unless you are trying to argue that for a reboot to be truly successful it should not be criticized on the internet, which is just silly.

          • fish99 says:

            /InternetBatman Many System Shock fans didn’t like the direction Bioshock took, especially the complete removal of RPG elements, but also the more linear progression through the game, the lack of interaction with the environment, and the general simplification of game mechanics.

          • brassdragon says:

            Hardcore fans are hardcore for a reason. But I think Tomb Raider, XCOM: Enemy Unknown and Deus Ex: Human Revolution had a warm reception overall.

          • Baines says:

            Tomb Raider had a split reception at best. Not necessarily from being a bad reboot, but from simply not being as great as advertised. There are some pretty valid design complaints about the Tomb Raider reboot that were initially drowned out in “Hey, pretty graphics” and “You have to survive” and Square-Enix basing their projected sales on Metacritic. (Tomb Raider reboot had an advantage in that its franchise had long ago lost its way.)

            Tomb Raider Anniversary was fairly well received, but it was more like an HD remake than a “new game” remake. It still drew some complaint for apparently turning the t-rex fight into a QTE or something?

            Deux Ex: Human Revolution’s biggest sticking point was the boss fights, and wouldn’t have happened if they hadn’t outsourced the boss fights to a company that apparently didn’t know anything about Deus Ex games.

            Resident Evil 4 had a split reaction when it came out, with some nostalgic fans still asking for a return to fixed view overhead cameras, enemies that should be in plain sight being “hidden” by the view, and tank controls. RE4 has the extra handicap of taking the blame for “where the franchise went wrong.” Even if you like RE4, there is a decent chance that you don’t like the lessons that Capcom learned from RE4, which led to RE5 and eventually RE6.

            GoldenEye remake was shrugged off by many when the early screens and videos made it look like a Call of Duty reskin. It was shrugged off by some more when the single player demo made it play like a generic modern day FPS, including an on-rails shooting section where (like the infamous COD level 1 video) you won’t die even if you don’t shoot any enemies. The game was by and large quickly forgotten. (People also forget the previous Goldeneye-in-name-only game, GoldenEye: Rogue Agent.)

          • GameCat says:

            Uhm, good remake of game, people mention RE4 & 5 (WTF) but they doesn’t mention Resident Evil: Remake on GameCube which was basically first game with pumped up graphics, rewritten dialogues so they aren’t cheesy as hell + some extra content like defense weapons or “OMG that dead zombie just raised from the floor and he is much more powerful than standard one”.

            Seriously, what the…?

          • Mman says:

            ” It still drew some complaint for apparently turning the t-rex fight into a QTE or something?”

            Turning the T-Rex into a QTE was just the most obvious (such that even people who didn’t have much knowledge of the original noticed it) incarnation of several issues that dragged down Anniversary when judging it purely as a remake. It’s much closer to “new game” with how profound many of it’s changes are and about 50/50 on it’s success rate.

            As far as remakes go, the most accepted seems to be the Resident Evil Remake to me; not only did it faithfully remake and update the base game, but it also added new content that fit in perfectly such that it’s quite possibly the most fondly remembered part of the game. I don’t think I’ve ever seen complaints except from people who never liked the game/series in the first place.

            There are exceptions, but the “you can never make the fanbase happy!” stuff is mostly just making excuses for mediocrity.

          • Baines says:

            GameCat, the problem here is what is actually meant by “remake”.

            HD remakes are generally fairly well received. Better graphics. Maybe some game tweaks or minor changes, but still largely the original game. Resident Evil: Remake fits this group. Wind Waker HD. Okami HD. Disliked HD remakes are probably more likely to be the exception than the rule, and probably involve some major bungling on the developers part. Examples of disliked HD remakes would be the bungled Silent Hill HD Collection for the PS3 and arguably the poorly handled Super Street Fighter 2 Turbo HD Remix.

            Then you have the others. Reboots that try to reinvent a franchise, like DmC. Reinventing reboots that use the same name, like the 2013 Tomb Raider. Games called “remakes” that are as much or more new game than they are the original. And the attempts to shake up a franchise with a new direction, but at least calling it a new game in a series, like Resident Evil 4.

            These are the things that are as likely to go bad and they are good, though the odds probably vary by the type of remake/reboot/reinvigoration that it is attempting.

          • Yglorba says:

            System Shock 2, although I don’t know if you’d consider it a remake.

            Civilization 2, Civilization 4. (Civ 3 got flack for not changing much beyond graphics; Civ 5 got flack for changing too much. But Civ 2 and Civ 4 hit the sweet spot.)

            XCom: Enemy Unknown (It did sacrifice some things, but overall just about everyone who likes the original feels it’s a good game in its own right.)

            Grand Theft Auto 3. Also, GTA: SA and GTA: VC. Technically they’re all reimaginings of the original series.

      • qrter says:

        Before we start throwing around allegations of nostalgia, it is a good idea to investigate why these games make people go all gooey and nostalgic – what is good about them, what makes them unique.

        And one of those unique aspects was that it was an extremely pure stealth game. Garrett didn’t just skulk around in the shadows because he wanted to be some leatherclad semi-goth badass, he needed to – he was physically weak, and would die if he didn’t hide. It’s the crucial difference between a thief and an assassin – Garrett never was designed to be a killer. (Reading that you have the option to buy more “agressive tools” makes me grumble..)

        The original Thief games had their own peculiar rhythm. Here was a game were you could regularly expect to have to do nothing for minutes at a time, just observing patrolling patterns a couple of guards were making. And that was fun – it was exciting! It meant that you as a player had to accept that this game asked something different from you – not the twitch-based stuff that first person shooters had taught us, these games wanted you to think like a thief, make a plan (and revising your plan on the fly), strategise and execute it.

        And as InternetBatman mentions, this concept of letting the player plan and strategise fed back into how the levels were built and the tools Garrett would get to use. Deus Ex Human Revolution and Dishonoured were fun games, but they basically presented you with a couple of designated entry points into levels. Granted, this is more than in most games, but in the end it’s just adding a couple more choices were there used to be one or two. The Thief games would say, “look, there’s a window open there, see if you can climb up there – maybe you can, maybe you can’t”.

        The new Thief looks like it’s ignoring most of this, in favour of yet another action game. We have lots of those. We have just a few Thief games.

        • Hallowsend says:

          Totally agree with this. I suspect one problem lies with trying to create a game to sell by virtue of people getting on with the main character as much as possible. It’s like when protagonists in other media come across as painfully neutral or dull because the writers don’t want to put off a demographic by giving strong personality orientations. In original Thief, there’s a physical dimension that he was more extreme on. I also got the impression Garrett was physically weak in the original games and yes, this added to the need to stealth and not engage in face to face combat. It was sort of unique too but importantly drove the playing dynamic. So it unfortunately sort of makes sense that they redesign Garret and make him seem at the top of his game because this makes him more appealing to more people. But this physical redesign then suggests he’s capable of combat, etc. It would take a brave studio to put forward a “damaged” or strongly orientated main character, but probably one that would be at least more memorable.

        • Michael Fogg says:

          Thief I & II arguably allowed the player to adopt an ‘assasin’ style, with fire & gas ‘arrows’ (missiles more like), friggin’ landmines, backstabs with the sword (required at one point in the campaign in the Cathedral mission). That shit just didn’t fly on expert difficulty. So I’d say that the Thief series allowed the player a choice between more agressive and more stealthy approach since the beginning.

          • defunct says:

            You were actually punished for knocking out too many opponents on the highest difficulty. Forget about killing. It wasn’t allowed. A perfect run was no one seeing you and you not touching anyone. Thief II was my favorite, and I still replay it. The first one had too much undead to ‘kill’. The break in at the police station was awesome. You had to avoid patrols, cameras and mechs. Although I quite enjoyed the bank job, too. And the one where you had to jump around on the roofs to break into a party was classic! It’s not nostalgia if you’re still playing it.

        • jonahcutter says:

          Yep. The Thief games dared to have you play as someone who is -not- the strongest and deadliest man in the room. Garrett is -not- the baddest man on the planet. You’re not Batman. You’re not Altair/Ezio/whoever. You’re not JC Denton/Adam Jensen. You’re not FPS-protagonist #987,654,321.

          You’re not a superhero. You’re weaker than the soldiers and guards around you. Maybe even sickly (I always imagined Garrett as perhaps having some incurable, wasting illness). But you’re a sneaky, crafty, cynical fuck with a sap and a dagger. And you’re a good shot with a bow.

          And the games are stronger, and beloved, for it.

          • Tuor says:

            I don’t know why you guys say that Garrett is physically weaker than those around him. Considering his means of getting around the City require a lot of strength, that doesn’t make sense to me. What *does* make sense is that Garrett is not and does not want to be a trained killer. He’s trained to observe, to sneak around, and to blend into the scenery. He’s trained to lay low, to not draw attention to himself, and to steal stuff.

            As the Expert mission text says: Garrett is a Thief, not a murderer… nor an assassin. And his place in the City is that of a Thief, which likely means that the City Watch (and others) aren’t as keen on capturing him as they would be if he was running around killing folks (to say nothing of what the Keepers would think).

            So, I think it’s mainly that Garrett has no training or interest in killing others that seperates his combat skills from those around him, not some sort of physical weakness.

          • fish99 says:

            I wouldn’t exactly call him sickly, but the point here is that he’s no better in combat than a single guard, and unless you’re very skilled and prepared to reload a lot, you’re not going to succeed fighting hand to hand.

            As for whether he’s a Thief or Assassin, that’s largely up to the player. There’s only the expert difficulty which enforces a kill-no-humans rule. On hard you can just shoot all the guards dead, which is why for me the true game is playing it on expert. Then it’s a real stealth game.

          • Premium User Badge

            jezcentral says:

            I think the main reason he’s no good in combat is that he’s only armed with a small rock in a large sock. Not too effective against a man in armour.

      • fish99 says:

        Thief isn’t supposed to be ‘fun’ exactly, it’s supposed to be tense, atmospheric, often scary and always challenging, especially on expert.

      • Lemming says:

        It’s not nostalgia, so much as it is seeing a unique title that’s being forced into a pigeon hole that isn’t exactly uncommon in the FPS world. It looks like it is being main-streamed to the point where calling it Thief no longer applies, except as a cynical way to guarantee sales from Thief fans who are going to be disappointed.

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      Javier says:

      I’d trust the Human Revolution developers to make a pretty decent game. Problem is, and someone correct me, it is being developed by the same studio, yes, but by a different team of devs.

      • Loopy says:

        Same studio, different team yes.

        • KhanIHelpYou says:

          If you look at the photos of the two teams you can spot some of the same faces so there’s obviously been some amount of go between over the years.

    • Runs With Foxes says:

      Warren Spector: “Deus Ex is a swiss army knife, Thief is a scalpel.”

      Eidos doesn’t get that at all. Even if it turns out to be a decent Dishonored clone (it won’t be) it won’t be a Thief game.

    • Shooop says:

      I highly recommend you try out the older games then because they all have that setting but they actually bother to be about the game’s namesake – you’re a thief instead of an assassin who steals things too.

    • ViktorBerg says:

      Well, you should play Thief. I started playing Thief Gold this week. After getting over the initial hurdle of dated graphics, I found an amazingly well-crafted game. Did you know that in that game, sound travels realistically, i.e. sound waves spread around corners properly, and are blocked by thick walls and doors? Did you know that guards can discover dead or knocked out bodies, and depending on illumination in the area, they will see the body from a further distance away? You can, of course, hide the bodies. Did you know that you can lean FORWARD, over a ledge, to see what’s below you?

      I am not affected by nostalgia, having never played a Thief game until a week ago. And now, halfway through the game, I can see the big concerns with Thifourf that the old-time fans have.

    • Loopy says:

      This isn’t the same development team as DX:HR though, it”s the same company yes, but not the same team. I really want to like this myself, the graphic style looks lovely and I do like some of the little touches like the seeing the hands on the edge of walls etc when peeking around corners (although they looked kind of dumb when you’re just walking around freely in the last video).

      However there are just too many uncertainties for me at the moment to leap in wholeheartedly with a pre-order, I want to know what the nature of any possible QTE’s are (please not like BF3, that was annoying as hell!), how the scripted sequences interact with the game experience as a whole and what the stealth experience is actually like (is it really possible to ghost every mission?). Until I have a better idea of these things I’ll hold onto my money I think.

    • dogsolitude_uk says:

      I completely agree. It was Thief: The Dark Project that got me in to gaming about twelve years ago, and I’ve been a stealthy-type ever since.

      It was the XP that really would have been a problem for me because Thief was always about personal skill with mouse and keyboard, rather than the ‘skill levels’ of the character. Now they’ve removed that I’m really looking forward to the game. :)

      • Emeraude says:

        As far as I can tell, they haven’t though.

        The XP system was, unintuitively enough, a *scoring* system for leader-boards.

        The character progression mechanics are still in game, and tired to gold (see the gameplay trailer).

        • dogsolitude_uk says:

          In the original games, Gold was used to purchase water arrows, fire arrows, moss arrows, slowfall postions, invisibility potions, bombs, flash bombs, speed potions, frogbeast eggs etc. before each mission. These items were temporary in effect, or finite in usage.

          Typically XP is spent on permanent boosts to abilities and other player metrics in other games.

          We still don’t know enough really to judge for sure I suppose: we don’t know what purchasable items there are, or whether effects are temporary/permanent etc. These are the points that will ultimately make the difference to the gameplay rather than the names of the units of transaction.

          • Emeraude says:

            But we do know, I don’t remember if it’s in the gameplay trailer, of the Bank Heist DLC one, but you can see a screen untitled “Buy Upgrades” with options such as “Damage Increase 1: Arrows deal an additional 10% damage to all targets” or “Lock Pick Sweet Spot 1″.

            So there is – or has been – a character progression system not tied to XP at all – and we know from previous interviews XP was never tied to it, as it *was* meant as a scoring system for the leader-boards.

            So I don’t really understand what is it they’re doing with that change, apart from a cosmetic one that doesn’t really address the issue.

  4. Premium User Badge

    FhnuZoag says:

    Not sure how I feel about this. Game design should be based on a cohesive vision, and changes to the design should be based on information from playtesting, not comments from various forums people who haven’t touched the game. Designing games by democracy seems to me to be probably about as bad as designing games by committee.

    I can see problems with a gold based system – it seems to encourage a snowball effect. If it’s difficult to pick up gold, a player with somewhat shaky skills would miss out on gold in early missions, which would make the game harder later, and cause him to miss out on even more gold… until the game becomes unplayable.

    • analydilatedcorporatestyle says:

      Now this would be excellent but absolutely no chance not even on the highest difficulty. We are talking about a Console game here not a game where to complete a level on the hardest difficulty you had to find a tiny secret compartment on a font/fountain(IIRC) that meant you got the jewels to complete and move on! Can you see an average console gamer scouring a level for 20mins, LOL etc!

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        AlwaysRight says:

        Dark Souls was a console game.

      • Premium User Badge

        phlebas says:

        Absolutely. The average console gamer seems to be quite keen on spending hours searching for the last collectible.

      • Panda Powered says:

        There are “casual” and “hardcore” players on consoles just like every platform. The nature of the consoles makes the casual a much larger part of the spectrum but complex games with lots of secrets and replay value are popular there too, just look at the Metal Gear Solid series.
        It’s just a matter of publisher/developer wanting to streamline everything into oblivion because they want ALL the money and design by focus testing on frat boys instead of building a strong cult following of hardcore fans.

    • dicenslice says:

      Play testing of DXHR said that the boss fights were fine…

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      VelvetFistIronGlove says:

      Buying equipment with the money you found in missions was how Thief I and II worked (and to some extend, III). The first two avoided the snowball effect by:

      • money did not carry over from one mission to the next (with a few notable exceptions); whatever you didn’t spend in the shop was wasted.

      • the items available in the shop (and possibly their prices, I can’t remember) varied between the difficulty levels.

      So even though you had more money overall in harder difficulty levels, you still couldn’t buy everything you ever wanted.

      • Yglorba says:

        I always felt that the fact that money and items didn’t carry over between missions in Thief was one of the most important elements of its game design, since it meant that you didn’t feel an obsessive pressure to find every last piece of gold in every level, or to save your expensive special arrows and never use them.

  5. Deathmaster says:

    I took me at least 10 seconds to figure out this didn’t involve Windows XP.

  6. Pich says:

    Now scrap everything else an make The Dark Mod an official game.

    • karthink says:

      This. The Dark Mod is already mechanically superior to Thief 2, let alone whatever this game will turn out to be.

      It’s a fine example of technology enabling new mechanics, and it definitively moves the first person stealth genre forward. And it’s on a ten year old engine, no less.

      I wish the Thief brand could be extended to it so it could get better exposure.

  7. thebluemonkey81 says:

    I get the appeal of making a reboot\sequel but if it’s coming out more than 10 years after the last iteration, please, don’t.

    My aging heart can’t take the disappointment :(

    • skyturnedred says:

      I’d say the exact opposite. If the last game in series is less than a decade old, there is absolutely no need for a reboot.

      • ViktorBerg says:

        Problem with this logic, TDS turns 10 years old next may. Do you think we would have gotten a reboot that was any better than this from eidos if it released a few months later?

  8. dgbonomo says:

    I’m happy with this change. Garret starting out as a “meh” thief never really did make much sense, nor did the buying of upgrades to skills with experience, which is basically a carbon copy of the DX:HR system (where it at least made some amount of sense in the game world).

    Buying tools with gold is what worked very well in the previous Thief games. For those unfamiliar, you basically looted as much as you could, but a lot of loot was very well-hidden. Then in between missions, you had the opportunity to spend what you looted on tools that best fit your play style. All these items were optional, and none were /required/ to progress, so getting stuck wasn’t a problem.

    I do hope they keep the purchasing of tools limited to specific moments (for example, in between missions) as that requires that you more carefully adapt to the tools you have available at any given time, and play conservatively – rather than being able to just think “oh well, I’ll steal something and buy more tools”, which I personally feel would be detrimental to the game experience.

    (For those worrying about the design change, it isn’t nearly as major as one might think. Something like the XP system is easily deactivated and hidden without being completely removed from the game in terms of code or resources, and the introduction of the gold system isn’t very complicated either as is mostly a question of adapting an already existing UI.)

  9. Premium User Badge

    drewski says:

    I’m glad they listened to the criticisms on this one. A win for angry internet peoples everywhere.

    Still pretty ambivalent about the game, though. I’m not exactly a Thief fanboy but I struggle to see that they’re improving the formula.

    • Horg says:

      I wouldn’t call it a win as such. This is more like watching the people destroying part of your childhood agree to stop kicking it while they set it on fire.

  10. remoteDefecator says:

    Once upon a time, if asked what my favorite all time game was, I would answer “Thief 2 … and Return to the Cathedral in Thief 1″ without hesitation.

    This looks like just another overproduced, 20-hour, on-the-rails action-adventure game. Design by committee at its absolute blandest. I stopped caring when they announced Stephen Russell wasn’t Garrett.

    And to those that say “get over the nostalgia,” if I’m not supposed to feel nostalgic and compare it to the originals, why are they calling it “Thief?” Tired of watching things I cherished as a kid being turned into shovelware.

  11. cunningmunki says:

    This gives me a glimmer of hope and makes me wonder what other tweaks they might have made. As long as I can switch off all the HUD shit like objective markers, glowing objects and button prompts, as well as the corny voiceover, then I’m willing to give it a try.

    • Premium User Badge

      VelvetFistIronGlove says:

      In the E3 demos they did, some of them had all the HUD stuff, and some had it all turned off. It remains to be seen what they’ll let you toggle in the final game, but they did say it was their intent to allow it to be toggled.

  12. db1331 says:

    Great. Now if they just add back jumping, remove third-person takedown cams and thief-o-vision, scrap the contextual rope arrows, get rid of the hands on the screen, nix the shadows on the screen border when hidden, axe the parkour bits and QTEs, add back a bit of the magical and undead elements, and get Stephen Russell to read through all of Garrett’s lines really quick, I think they could really be onto something here.

    • kud13 says:

      no, for the love of god, keep the zombies scrapped.

      I`m playing through the original for the first time, and it took me 4 tries to get into it, because of the goddamn zombies in the mine.

      good to see that EM “occasionally/” listens to their fans… like the Highlight-Gate of HR. That being said, if HR is any precedent, removing XP means they will now get even more entrenched in the no jumping, and all that other stuff.

      Just like removing highlighting allowed them to shut up most people about the ridiculous radar and 3rd person stealth.

      • SRTie4k says:

        So pagan magic, ghosts, burricks, craymen, bug beasts, tree beasts, ape men, eyeball plants and a woman who can change into a tree are all great…but you draw the line at zombies?

        • Premium User Badge

          phlebas says:

          It’s not about objecting to the fantastical, the zombies were mechanically really annoying. Cliff racers weren’t less realistic than other creatures in Morrowind, but many of us would lose them given the choice.

          • SRTie4k says:

            I’ve played all the Thief games several times over and don’t recall the zombies being more annoying than any other enemy. Plus I’ve always felt that the zombies contributed to the game’s gothic setting.

        • kud13 says:

          you’ve obviously missed the part where I said I just started the game… finished 3rd mission in fact.

          but yes, Burricks were far less annoying than the undead.

      • ViktorBerg says:

        Please don’t tell me you kill every zombie you see. Because I just run past them. The first Cathedral mission was one of the easiest so far (that’s how far I’ve got), because most of the time, I just ran past whatever threats there were.

        • Premium User Badge

          DrScuttles says:

          It’s been a year or two since I last played Thief 1, but I seem to recall that on expert difficulty you need a crazy amount of loot to meet the victory conditions, which ought to lead to more exploration and more likely encounters with nasties and danger. Then again, playing any undead-heavy level on expert is an exercise in masochism or the reluctant use of the level skip cheat.

          • ViktorBerg says:

            I dunno, man, I completed The Haunted Cathedral on expert, without that many problems. Expert bumps the amount of zombies on the level by 4, IIRC, which is not that much. Again, they are very easy to trick, avoid or outrun. They may be slightly annoying, but they certainly are not an off-putting challenge.

          • Premium User Badge

            DrScuttles says:

            Ah. This tells me that the time is coming around for me to boot up the old friend for another go. After I’m done replaying Deadly Shadows.

      • Horg says:

        I’d just like to add to this discussion that not everyone hated the zombie levels. Those were my first real experiences of ”horror” in gaming that weren’t really topped until the Half Life series.

    • onodera says:

      What’s wrong with the hands? Thief: DS had your whole body visible if you looked down, and that was the best thing about it after the terrifying Cradle.

  13. edwardoka says:

    Nothing says “Don’t buy this game, we clearly don’t know what we’re doing” quite like making substantial changes to a game design at the tail end of the creation process.

    • eclipse mattaru says:

      Exactly. None of the articles I found on the subject seem to acknowledge the rather worrying fact that these people are scrapping core functionalities of the game when they’re 4 f’ing months away from release date. Seriously, they might as well put the whole thing to sleep right now and avoid a clusterfuck of Colonial Marines proportions.

  14. almostDead says:

    I wonder if the RPS angry internet is big enough to troll-in another design change.

    Shall we swarm-change for something?

  15. Shooop says:

    The only good news I’ve heard about this game.

  16. Premium User Badge

    c-Row says:

    Though I welcome this change in general I’m glad I somehow skipped the Thief games when they were around (too many other great games out at that time) so I can experience the new game as it is without always comparing it to the sequel it isn’t.

  17. Utsunomiya says:

    Eh, it’s still can’t be worse than Deadly Shadows.

  18. Danda says:

    Now they only have to get rid of the generic “I’m so cool” voice actor and general lack of freedom (QTE, etc.).

  19. fish99 says:

    Honestly they may as well stop listening to die hard Thief fans like me, because I ain’t gonna buy it. Mostly because it doesn’t have the original writers or any of that wit and intelligence that Thief had, rather than for game mechanic reasons (although some of those are deal breakers), and it’s much too late for a new script now, or to redo the VA.

    Just make a good game and let it sell off the back of Dishonored, rather than trying to sell it to Thief fans.

    • Horg says:

      I suspect that the only reason this game is getting made is that they have the Dishonoured assets, the idle Thief licence, and probably figured it’s a bit too soon for more Dishonoured. I’ve seen nothing to indicate they ever just wanted to make a good Thief game.

      • fish99 says:

        I dunno, I seem to remember this has been in development for ages. The success of Dishonored may well have given them the impetus to go back and finish it though.

  20. hideinlight says:

    I never liked XP systems, my number 1 issue with games of today, everything has RPG elements except for the actual role playing part.

  21. Premium User Badge

    puppybeard says:

    If they want to use XP so badly they should make a game covering Garret’s period of training, in which case it would be fine to have him being a so-so sneaker abouter at the outset. They could call it something cheesy like Thief: Way of the Keepers, they love that shit.

    Personally, I’d call it Keeper Quiet.

    • Baines says:

      They should have made a game about a new thief. Make Garett the now older trainer, or some story NPC. That simple story change would have stopped some of the complaint without even touching any of the mechanics.

  22. brassdragon says:

    What game developers don’t seem to get, even after the Kickstarter hype, is that I’m not nostalgic for franchises or IP or any of that crap.

    I’m nostalgic for a certain -style- of gameplay, mostly involving the freedom to explore, to set my own goals, to discover neat and weird stuff, or experiment with breaking the game systems. I’m nostalgic for emergent gameplay, depth and breadth of content and player freedom.

    Taking a logo, some characters and a piece of music I might recognize and squeezing it into a corridor of gameplay sequences with QTEs and unlockables is not feeding my nostalgia; it’s feeding my resistance to modern gaming.

    • Mman says:

      I agree with the base point, but I think labelling it as “nostalgia” is wrong. Nostalgia is a longing for something from the past even if that thing is still around in a different form. Whereas wanting a proper successor/revival of Thief is wanting something that legitimately doesn’t really exist any more (with the arguable exception of Dishonoured).

  23. Jason Moyer says:

    With so many great immersive sim-like titles coming out, it feels like the Looking Glass influence has never been stronger. And at the same time, we have the company who owns Thief, one of the pillars of the genre, rebooting the series (and I have no problem with a reboot, although I find it uneccessary) and making a game that essentially abandons as many immersive sim concepts as possible. Weird.

    • Baines says:

      That’s because they aren’t making a Thief game. They are making a Dishonored or Assassin’s Creed inspired game. Different inspiration than other games have.

  24. Vast_Girth says:

    I normally love an XP system, but Thief is one game that really doesn’t need it so I’m glad its been taken out.

    I have the game on pre-order cos it was cheap on GMG, but i am concerned i will be wasting my money. The nerfed rope arrows, gothed-up garrett and QTE’s bother me, but by far the most worrying thing so far is the atrocious script and horrible lead voice actor.

  25. Yosharian says:

    Can I just go against the grain here and tell any devs/execs reading this: THANK YOU! This is a wonderful change that pushes the game one step closer to its roots, and I for one think it is amazing that you are willing to change the game this much in order to please Thief fans.

    To the haters: no this doesn’t mean the new game will be perfect, but for crying out loud lose some of that negativity, they are trying at least.

    • dogsolitude_uk says:

      +1 Yosharian :)

      I’m really pleased they did this too.

    • fish99 says:

      They’re not going to go the other nine tenths of the way though, there isn’t time left even if they were willing.

    • kud13 says:

      EM do this. with HR, there was the Highlight-gate. They made highlighting optional, were praised as “kings among devs who listen to fan feedback”, and then gave us a game with the obnoxious radar, and terrible bossfights (2 of the most glaring problems with HR–i’ll skip stylistic stuff like health regen/3rd person stealth + takedowns and no melee).

      Thiourf gets rid of XP, but will use that fan cred to push no jumping, 3rd person takedowns and QTEs

      sigh why couldn’t someone nice like CDP or Zenimax buy Eidos? Squeenix drives all of Eidos’ franchises down–every single Eidos game they’ve released starting with HR has had the bloody “instinct” highlighting crap–and none of them needed it. And Eidos itself was quite PC focused–and no one at Squeeenix understands PC.

  26. one2fwee says:

    Seems like a token gesture to me really.

    They way they talk just gives the impression that they don’t even really like the original games as they keep referring to them as old, awkward and tedious, with comments like “hey, it’s not 1999 anymore”.

    To be honest I thought some of their design decisions made Human Revolution worse in certain aspects than even Invisible War. The stealth for example was much worse. In fact with the stealth, Invisible War is actually improved on the original Deus Ex.

    With the Ion Storm Austin sequels I got the impression that they wanted to do the right things in terms of design decisions but faced engine problems and bad pressure from Eidos suits. Mind you even with Thief 3, I felt the focus was more on killing actually. But still those two games seemed truer to the original visions that what this studio has produced.

    However, with these developers, I distinctly get the impression that they don’t particularly like either series and consider a lot of the methods of mechanics and interaction as ‘boring’ and ‘tedious’. You could tell with Human Revolution that they were trying to make the stealth aspect into Metal Gear Solid, which isn’t really a stealth game so much as an “Action Stealth” or “Arcade Stealth”. It’s a good game but it’s completely not the same kind of thing and feels very “gamey” in comparison.

    They don’t really seem to understand the “immersive sim” – or they just dismiss it.

    A lot of what they do lacks subtlety, which is sad really.

  27. The Random One says:

    Old Thief fans would be pleased a lot more and a lot more easily if they’d just change their game’s name to something else.