Thief Story Trailer Waxes Gutter-Poetic About The City

By Nathan Grayson on November 2nd, 2013 at 3:00 pm.

Here is another trailer for Thief, a game whose series-legendary City we still haven’t seen much of despite an impending February release date. Oh hey, it says here that this clip is called “Stories from the City.” Well then clearly, that must mean…!

[Watches trailer]

Nope, no gameplay footage of The City. Or gameplay, for that matter.

I guess the 2D cut-scene art is kind of neat, but yeesh, that voice acting. So very forced and stilted, like a simile involving a man on stilts to conclude this sentence. And the worst part? He’s one of the game’s most important characters.

“Basso, a former boxman (safe-cracker) turned fence, uses his vast connections to The City’s underworld to organize thieving jobs for Garrett. He owns an intelligent, but bad tempered magpie called Jenivere who delivers messages for him. Garrett might consider himself a loner, but Basso is the nearest thing he has to a friend – and whether he readily admits it or not; he rather likes the fellow.”

So expect to hear and see plenty of the man – up to and including his urine.

I really hope this trailer isn’t indicative of the tone Thief is trying to strike, though I’m not really sure what else is could be attempting to convey. It all just screams, “trying too hard” in a really uncomfortable, unappealing way. Again, the art looks magnificent – I hope that style sneaks into gameplay’s grimy gutters – but the rest rings painfully hollow, like a man on stilts kicking a gong to conclude this post.

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68 Comments »

  1. Premium User Badge

    Anthile says:

    Might be a decent Thief game after all. I already feel robbed.

    • analydilatedcorporatestyle says:

      It’s on offer at £26.99 on Steam, mmmmmmm. Aliens Colonial Marines was on a Steam sale just the other day for £7ish. I passed on that opportunity, think I’ll be waiting for a similar price before the faux Garratt graces my PC!

      • JKLauderdale says:

        Yeah, the more I see of this the more it becomes a Day1 purchase and slides to a “wait and see if it hits AMD’s Never Settle bundle”.

        Eidos did a beautiful job with DE:HR and they’re listening to their fans (IE: they yanked the experience based talenting). The above examples and the fact that I’m STILL replaying Thief 1-2 since I first bought them in late 90s are the only reason I’m still holding out ANY hope for this game at all :/

        • Werthead says:

          It’s a different team to the DE:HR team though (they’re making the DEUS EX UNIVERSE games, whatever they turn out to be). You’d hope with the same bosses and oversight the game would turn out to be good, and still may be, but I’m not hopeful.

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    • Repton says:

      What worries me here is the new york accent the character’s been given. This is meant to be thief, not GTA. non the less, I’m still excited by the thought of a new addition to the thief series.

  2. Eight Rooks says:

    Not an encouraging trailer – and the 2D art isn’t anywhere near as striking as the original cutscenes – but the voice acting, seriously? Am I just a freak? Do I have no ear for American accents (or possibly non-American actors attempting them) at all? Or do the majority of videogame journos just have no conception of what good writing/acting is? This wasn’t great, but it was… average at worst – I’ve been forced to put up with far more grating things for far longer in the name of exposition or mission briefings or whatever. I’m not jumping up and down for the chance to hear more of the guy, but I’m not particularly bothered at the prospect either.

    • Porkolt says:

      As far as American accents go, he’s just a small step away from being an Italian stereotype.

      • Eight Rooks says:

        Oh, no argument there – I’m aware of that much about American accents, obviously – and I would much prefer to have the old voices back. But the commenters weighing in with OH MY GOD, VERILY THIS IS AN ABOMINATION IN THE SIGHT OF THE LORD are simply being ridiculous, end of story. “Bad” writing and voice acting would be pretty much every single one of Zero’s voiceovers in Borderlands 2, for example (and Marcus isn’t far off, come to think of it). This isn’t anywhere near that level of juvenile idiocy.

    • Blackcompany says:

      Seems they were going for a happy medium between dark-and-gritty, and Marcus from Borderlands.

      They failed. Whatever it was this trailer was trying for, they failed.

      This – and pretty much everything else I have heard about this game to date – makes me want to play it LESS.

    • Shazbut says:

      Yeah, I say Nathan is wrong on this.

      The voice acting is good. He has a natural command of language, which is basically “the gift” that you can’t teach very easily. If there’s a problem with it, it’s not really his fault. It’s the fact that we don’t associate strong Italian American accents with that world or that we have a problem with the writing, neither of which are really attributable to him, they are attributable to the writer, director, or casting director.

      • skittles says:

        When he is speaking he is okay. The problem is moreso the script than the voice-actor, which I think is where Nathan’s main problem lies. Whoever wrote the fellows lines has no command for creating a performance what-so-ever, the lines are horribly stilted with little to no flow or connection.

        I think once the man is ingame he will sound perfectly fine, when he is (hopefully!) not speaking in these horrible one-liner soundbites and actually having a conversation.

    • Stevostin says:

      100% agree. It’s visually completely missing the point of what stills can bring to narration, the writing is terribly bland and the acting placeholder at best. The whole think lacks balls. I expect a reasonably respectful to the original complete failure, just like DX:HR was.

    • edwardoka says:

      It’s Basso the BOXMAN, not Basso the BRONXMAN. Clearly something was lost in translation.

  3. Navagon says:

    Well hey, at least it will have nice cutscenes. And that’s what really matters, right?

  4. Ridnarhtim says:

    Every trailer or piece of news about this game makes me lose a little more hope.

  5. DatonKallandor says:

    You know what would elevate this piece of garbage above “bad Dishonored” clone level? Some trailers showing some Woodsie Lord dialogue. Instead of highlighting what makes Thief unique – a possibly-the-only-one-on-the-planet City caught squarely between steam-punk industry and widely used magic, with a crazy Nature-Cult thrown in to mix things up – they just go boring generic.

    The reason for that is that most likely that none of the interesting Thief stuff actually exists in this pointless and point-missing nobody-asked-for-it remake-but-we-don’t-have-the-guts-to-do-even-that abomination.

    • Focksbot says:

      Also: maybe returning to the original concept of an entire dialect for the City. That was where the word ‘taffer’ came from. They dropped the idea from the original games because they worried it would be too confusing, but Planescape: Torment managed fine.

      Without putting serious work into characterising this ‘city’, it’s just a semi-medieval Gotham, isn’t it?

      • Dave Tosser says:

        Planescape’s dialect is one of its most memorable features. Use of dialect is something most fantasy writers completely forget about, let alone the reams of shite that come out of video games. I was somewhat impressed with Shadowrun Returns’ attempt at doing that, even if I didn’t much like the game. It reminds me of things like King of Dragon Pass and Darklands which use archaic words and historical terminology to bring the world alive.

        Thief is also good at this, too. It’s particularly funny that Eidos have no grasp on it.

      • Werthead says:

        To be fair, PLANESCAPE: TORMENT’s slang terms all came from the D&D campaign setting itself, released in 1994. The set has a large chunk of info on the slang, and it was further developed over the next five years of game products before TORMENT was released, so the game devs had a lot of external resources to call upon.

        For THIEF, of course, they had the previous three games to draw upon, so it’s a bit odd that they’ve simply decided to ignore it (apart from ‘taffer’, which apparently has returned due to popular demand or something).

    • MykulJaxin says:

      I despise the current trend of bringing everything back as sequel/prequels when it’s not needed and seemingly only happening in a horrible attempt to shift copies. If you want to sell a zillion copies to an existing fanbase, shouldn’t you innovate while doing things that made the game popular with said fans in the first place? Why is there so little Thief present here? Who do they want to buy this?

      • DatonKallandor says:

        It’s especially bad because the last Thief game set up a sequel perfectly. The Keepers have to relearn magic, Garret becomes Keeper #1 and finds a (female!) apprentice and the big power triangle is reset back to equilibrium.
        Could have had a game set in the real City, not this badly made knockoff they are using, with a female main character with Garret doing the grumpy mentor shtick, who gets all badass when shit goes down a few standard non-primary-plot missions into the game. Hell, have another City invade or send their own secret society agents so it doesn’t disturb the nice Pagan-Builder-Keeper trilogy of the original 3 games.

    • Marik Bentusi says:

      To be fair, Dishonored is about The City being torn apart between Abbey of the Everyman monk soldiers, Brigmore Witches pagans and a small number of people mostly in the backgrounds using secretive magic.

      There’s a reason why people saw Dishonored as Thief’s spiritual sequel, so it’s possible that in an attempt to separate themselves from the title, they threw out the supernatural entirely. With a lot of other stuff that gave the setting charm, character, humor or any sort of weirdness.

      After knocking down that pillar they forgot to bring a substitute, and it seems to be contributing to the game’s downfall as a result. Not that I can predict the future or anything.

  6. karthink says:

    Ugh.

    Compare this to the excellent worldbuilding in the similarly titled “Tales from Dunwall”.

    • Premium User Badge

      VelvetFistIronGlove says:

      Dishonored oozes artistry from every plague-ridden pore. Maybe that’s the real problem with Thief 4: not its many differences from previous games, but that it seems to lack soul.

  7. buzzmong says:

    Garrett’s back? I thought they’d replaced him with some emo looking chap, Raven or something?

  8. Michael Fogg says:

    Will the next one be called “Stories from the Sea”?

    • analydilatedcorporatestyle says:

      They Black Flagged the headshot XP bonus…………

  9. TheBarringGaffner says:

    They really drained all the soul and character out of this series. That whole monologue was just one cliche after the other.

  10. Premium User Badge

    cpt_freakout says:

    PERSON BY PERSON

  11. Dave Tosser says:

    Of all the greats to which we put that dreaded mark of reboothood, why are so few of them the sort that might stand a chance in the commercial market? Why Thief? Why, also, is Basso returning when Garrett, the Undead and taffer aren’t? Inexplicably, the game has less ties to the series than The Dark Mod, and it’s even got “Thief” in the title.

    I’m not even that wound up, honest. Thief may be my favourite thing in all the world, but the pearls of wisdom that have come from the mouths of Eidos’ scatterbrained PR and games journalists themselves are some of the most achingly funny in years:
    ———————————————–
    “Jumping, bouncing up and down, kind of broke the immersion,” says Schmidt. “We didn’t want you to be the master thief and you just tend to fall off stuff all the time.”
    -Schmidt justifying contextual jumping
    —————————————————
    “…By ‘ghosting’ do you mean, like, going through walls and stuff?”
    -An Eidos spokesman at the Eurogamer Expo responding to a question as to whether the game will support Lytha-style ghosting
    —————————————————
    “Thief will no longer make use of an XP system because it was reducing the incentive to actually steal things.”
    [http://www.escapistmagazine.com/news/view/128774-Thief-Cuts-Experience-System]
    —————————————————
    ” Infiltration is just fun, playing with them [the AI], driving them crazy, it’s just cool. But if I give you ice cream every day… you know. We want to change the rhythm.”
    -Stephane Roy justifying the exploding building QTE escape sequence
    —————————————————
    “If I give you the possibility to shoot the rope arrow everywhere…. I will have to reduce our intention for the narrative”
    -Roy justifying the contextual rope arrows
    ————————————————–
    “With the next-gen, with the smartphone, with the tablet, with the indie developer, it’s really, really cool because now we have a lot of different types of players. There is a type of people that like to have that kind of indicator, because… they don’t want to fight with all these mechanics. They enjoy the story, they want to progress, they want to feel that they are good.”
    -Roy explaining the need for magical slow motion highlight powers
    —————————————————
    Those aren’t even the best ones. First “You’ll have to protect her”, then “The feel of 60fps”, and now this! What shining bullshit awaits us in the next generation of PR, and the journalists that sit there and take it?

    EDIT: Forgive me, I didn’t hear the “some call him taffer” line. Do they? Do they really?

    • Shadow says:

      Those are frightening. This game’s already a failure, another victim of graverobbing “casualization”. Like many barely average games, if that, it seeks to please every gamer type out there. Making games for everyone is making them for no-one. Why can’t they understand that?

      But it’s all about the money and selling copies. As long as they fool enough people to buy their product, it doesn’t matter if it’s a turd or a gem. And turds are much cheaper to make.

      • Premium User Badge

        Don Reba says:

        If you want to make a high-budget game, you have to make it for the wider audience. It would probably be better if it was not high-budget, though.

        • Pockets says:

          That’s nonsense though. Sure, it can’t be Dwarf Fortress, but saying it has to be like this is like saying that all Hollywood movies have to be Transformers to be a success.
          The design aspect of Thief is remarkably clear. The things that it would need to be more accessible are small things like telegraphing the readables/conversations to eavesdrop that are relevant to the objectives a bit more, more accurate maps in the early missions, the loot glint of Thief 3, etc. rather than abandoning everything about the design to make it fit the mold of AAA convention of the last decade.

          • Mman says:

            “That’s nonsense though.”

            Pretty much. With a few exceptions, recent attempts to “revive” or increase the audience of franchises by dumbing down and/or homogenising everything that made them stand out the first place have flopped badly.

          • Shadow says:

            Yep. I can even predict the developer’s thought processes when coming up with this game:

            “Hey, Dishonored was successful: let’s make a Dishonored-like game.”
            “Uhhh, but it’ll be called a Dishonored clone… How can we make it stand apart?”
            “Er, any old games whose name we can cash in on? Make sure it’s not taken.”
            “Hmm. Lemme check… what about this Thief thing…?”
            “Eureka! Get a team together!”

        • Horg says:

          ”It would probably be better if it was not high-budget, though.”

          Well, yeah. If someone was still turning out Thief games in the Dark Engine, i’d still be buying them if they were actually faithful to the original series.

    • FurryLippedSquid says:

      Just to point out, Garrett IS returning, he’s the main character.

      • Ridnarhtim says:

        That’s not Garrett. He may have the same name, but he’s not even nearly the same guy.

      • Premium User Badge

        Klatu says:

        Just logged in at an ungodly time to concur with Rid… This cannot be a Thief game without Garret’s original voice. I played the demo of Thief 1 a hundred times and ‘Yes, I’m sure it was Garrett in the window. He’s dead. Let’s head back now” is tattooed on my brain. Oh how I miss those halcyon days.

        • Premium User Badge

          Klatu says:

          And now having read my comment it look like I meant that was Garret speaking, of course not, I knew it was Patrick Stewart all along.

    • Furiant says:

      Yeah, we know that the only reason we’re working on this franchise is because people found the original mechanics and gameplay so engaging, immersive, and rewarding. Obviously they were all idiots, so it’s up to us to fix all that and produce a correct variant which implements our current design models. You seem to be stuck in the archaic mindset that the point of a game is to be a source of fun for you, rather than a source of revenue for us.

  12. Wedge says:

    Whenever there is news about this mess, I think we should just find something to post about TDM, and use that in it’s stead.

  13. jonahcutter says:

    They should just rename this game and the characters to something else. Create a new IP, instead of trying to capitalize on Thief. Dishonored did it and succeeded.

    The game itself might even turn out semi-decent. But like Hitman Absolution and the latest Tomb Raider, it’ll likely be utter shit as a game in the series.

    • JKLauderdale says:

      Dishonored isn’t Thief. Corvo could easily take guardsmen head on, Garrett doesn’t have that option.

      That aside, I’m not going to argue with you on the new IP issue. Everytime I see something new about the Thief reboot it makes me cringe just a bit more as I remember the originals :(

      • jonahcutter says:

        Yeah, it even looks like Garrett is far more melee-capable in this new game.

        Dishonored had Thief as a source, but successfully created its own identity under a new IP. There’s no need to put a Thief skin over what looks like a fundamentally different game, just to capitalize on the fan base.

        We’ll, unless the suits are totally in control and intent on “market-researching” it to death.

  14. jaypettitt says:

    Lookout – obligatory Eidos pisses on Looking Glass Studio’s good name joke…

    http://i70.photobucket.com/albums/i106/jtr7/BassoPissesOnLGS.jpg

    • analydilatedcorporatestyle says:

      Badabing badaboom!, make it a QTE to fit with the programme, otherwise you sleep with the fishes, kapish!!

      *In my best west country accent* “When are they gonna bring me my dinner, that’s what I wanna know, when are they gonna bring me my dinner?” (Benny)

  15. JKLauderdale says:

    Let me preface this by saying that I bought the original Thief out of sheer luck, the box design caught my eye and I already knew I hated shooters. As such, the playstyle description seemed to be a great break from my older games.

    That being said, this game looks to be the New Coke of video game reboots. I really REALLY hope I’m wrong, I fkn LOVE Thief 1-2 but every new trailer seems to reinforce my suspicion that no one on that team is/was a true fan of the series.

    The only reason I’m holding out ANY hope at all is the terrific job Eidos did with Deus Ex… it’s waning though :/

  16. Frank says:

    “So very forced and stilted, like a simile involving a man on stilts to conclude this sentence.”

    FYI, this made my day.

  17. Ein0r says:

    I am still curious about this game and will wait for the final trailers, teaser and gameplay videos.
    Sometimes i feel that Squenix is just too big to succeed… or something along thos lines.
    I was neither disappointed by Sleeping Dogs, nor form Human Revolution. The FF games after X are another story though.

    I just hope for it to not be terrible.

  18. zarnywoop says:

    Jenivere was basso’s girlfriend in thief 2; now she’s a magpie.

    • Antistar says:

      There’s probably a joke in there somewhere about the accent of the voice actor in that trailer and referring to women as ‘birds’ – or ‘boids’, as it were.

    • edwardoka says:

      Yes, but you had to use a birdcall to tell Basso that the way was clear. Obviously someone once described the first mission of Thief 2 to someone who told someone something else and said “WELL OBVIOUSLY SHE’S A MAGPIE”

  19. MeestaNob says:

    Each trailer they release seems to indicate that they think they’ve come too far to just give up on a new Thief. Shareholders, and all that, I suppose.

    Visually attractive, in a Dishonoured sort of way, yet nothing about this looks or feels like THIEF. As a gamer who isn’t a massive fan of the old titles (however I appreciate the place they have in peoples hearts), I’m not particularly interested in this modern interpretation either. I cant help but wonder who this version is meant to appeal to.

  20. bill says:

    I had to watch it with no sound as I’m at work – which I admit isn’t the best way to watch a trailer.

    I guess I’m happy that they’re going with a 2d cutscene style like the original thief, but I remember the original thief cutscenes being a lot more artistic and stylish… although that might just be in my memory.

  21. Igor Hardy says:

    Way to ruin a cutscene’s atmosphere by adding much too few flashy transitions. Without the narration the whole would be almost non-ridiculous.

  22. Turkey says:

    This is kind of like when the producers of the Doom movie tried to reassure the fans that it was still Doom by showing off a scene filmed in first-person.

  23. Furiant says:

    The only thing left to completely destroy the soul of this franchise is to implement an in-game cash shop and auction house.

  24. kud13 says:

    Steal the city back… ugh.

    Basso was that unconscious guy you had to carry out of cragscleft on expert difficulty (so that you could “get with his sister”, apparently).

    But yes, this does not encourage me at all.

  25. DarlingDildo says:

    The more trailers I watch, the worse impression I’m getting. I’m just gonna say it, fuck this game. Maybe if I lower my expectations enough, it won’t hurts as much when I play it.

  26. Freud says:

    I hope you can level up Jenivere the magpie.

  27. aishaswright says:

    my friend makes $83/hour on the laptop. She has been fired for nine months but last month her income was $21331 just working on the laptop for a few hours check it quickly>>>>>> http://goo.gl/XjXcH1

  28. fish99 says:

    I just don’t care about the game. LG don’t exist anymore and there won’t be any more real Thief games, and I don’t get why any real Thief fan would have any optimism for it. Nothing I hear about it convinces me the team understand the series or game mechanics.

    Funnily enough if this didn’t (ab)use the Thief IP I’d be more likely to play it.

    I will replay Thief 1+2 next year though, as I did last year (in stereo 3D no less). It’s amazing they still have such great atmosphere with such dated visuals, the sound design is that good.

  29. DuneTiger says:

    I sometimes feel like I’m the only one who was not impressed with Dishonored. It’s a technically sound game and by no means bad, but every time this Thief reboot comes up, someone brings up Dishonored as an example of how it might turn out. For me, if that’s how it’s going to turn out, I’m just not on board (despite the fact that I haven’t been on board since it was called Thi-fourf).

    I’m sure whatever this new iteration on Thief becomes will be a competent title, but generally speaking, I’m not sure where AAA is going. I’m not discounting this game just because it’s not going to be like the originals – reboots are never the same. It’s just that these days, I find AAA so incredibly boring and I’m wondering if it’s just jaded gameritis or if it’s really just things going in the wrong direction.