Garrett Expectations: Another Thief Trailer

By Craig Pearson on February 12th, 2014 at 9:00 am.

Braniel Bay-Bewis

In this Thief trailer, someone has stolen Daniel Day-Lewis from the movie There Will Be Blood. Check your DVDS and you’ll see all that’s left is a mess of dangling pixels and a top hat. But in a surprising twist, another thief has stolen his acting ability and also made off with his voice, so what you get in this little slice of life from The City is, well, it’s not well-acted. I’m actually okay with the words and the animation, even if makes it look like someone has stolen the in-game, but the Thief Taker General has all the authority and presence of a fluffed-up kitten.

I am having complicated and mixed emotions about this new Thief. I got the fear with the Thief 101 trailer–I just noticed that RPS didn’t post it, so I’ve included it in this post–and what worried me was the voice-over saying: “The shadows are your only ally”. The trailer later showed you have a thing called the ‘Focus Ability’ which allows you to peek through walls and see where you can split open pipes to burn patrolling guards. So the shadows are hardly your only ally. And Thief’s greatest power was that you didn’t know what was around the corner, so I am annoyed by that existing in principle. I also wish I weren’t so picky about all this.

Buuuuuuuuttt, when you delve deep into some of the game’s community interaction, there are encouraging things. A while ago I read this blog post on the game’s community site, and it thrills me to see that a lot of that helpful frippery can be toggled off, and that you can customise the difficulty. It is a loot glint of hope for me. Of course, I’ll probably switch everything off, whack up the difficulty, and then complain it’s too damn hard. I am a man on the internet and that is my right.

I will still be playing it the minute it unlocks.

Thief is out Feb 25th in the US and on Feb 27th in the UK. I’d tell you why, but I’d have to kill you.

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81 Comments »

Top comments

  1. Saii says:

    *Gangs of New York.

  1. Saii says:

    *Gangs of New York.

  2. Gap Gen says:

    I fence your milkshake! I fence it up!

  3. Smi says:

    Now featuring a gentle, soothing version of the Inception horn.

  4. FleeingNevada says:

    “What’s Yours is Mine”

    Wait, isn’t that Monaco’s tagline?

  5. Jenuall says:

    “And Thief’s greatest power was that you didn’t know what was around the corner, so I am annoyed by that existing in principle”

    NO! No, no, no!

    Thief’s greatest power was that you knew EXACTLY what was around the corner thanks to the peerless sound design!

    • GallonOfAlan says:

      A fucking Haunt, usually …

    • Lim-Dul says:

      Well yes, brilliant and atmospheric sound design, not a lazy Batman-Detective-Vision-like solution.

    • Unclepauly says:

      This Thief is using amd’s new audio system “TruAudio”, which technically is supposed to be superior to the creative labs audio in the old Thief games. I’m really looking forward to see if it actually delivers on that promise.

    • GallonOfAlan says:

      See, this is another thing that the move to console has knackered. On PC, certainly prior to flat monitors, you were likely to be stuck off in a bedroom somewhere playing Thief, in the quiet and dark. Therefore the game could be quiet and dark and rely on sound for clues and atmospherics. But when you have to consider the use-case of a large chunk of the audience being used to console games and playing this on a big telly in a relatively well-lit room, probably with the missus there watching something on the iPad, you are forced down the simple, noisy and flashy route.

  6. Psymon says:

    “I will still be playing it the minute it unlocks.”
    I thought RPS stance was that pre-orders are a bad thing?

    • zain3000 says:

      As much as we joke about the RPS Hivemind, I’m pretty sure that the individual contributors are allowed to hold their own views on a number of contentious topics.

    • Morlock says:

      Garrett would never wait for anything to unlock.

    • Aerothorn says:

      RPS contributors have steam accounts where everything gets dumped for review. They don’t “pre-order” anything, by my understanding, at least not in the Steamverse.

      • VelvetFistIronGlove says:

        Hmmm… Now that you mention it, I’ve noticed two things:

        1. Craig seems to have cleaned out his Steam friends list in the last few days — I used to be on there from when he was still at PC Gamer and I used to play on the PC Gamer TF2 server a lot.

        2. A few days ago Steam reported him as “In-game: Thief” (and the “Store page” link went to this Thief, so it was definitely the write game ID). I guess he’s seen a review copy already?

        It’s all quite mysterious!

  7. DonJefe says:

    Aren’t we kidding ourselves here? This game seems to have all the makings of a bad game albeit with pretty graphics. It looks like a crappier version of Dishonored.

    I hope I’m wrong of course, but I think all the QTE-riddled signs are there.

    • ran93r says:

      They took out all the QTE.
      They took out the XP h3ads0ts BOOM!
      They added options to turn off all the handholding and super powers.
      They added options for multiple playthrough styles (ala dishonored)

      All it’s comes down to now is whether the story itself cuts the mustard and the mechanics let you play as the Thief we all remember.

      Full disclosure: Pre-ordered months ago, quietly excited, might wee any minute.

      • Unclepauly says:

        ya this info has been out there for a while…

      • phelix says:

        Well, the fact that all those things were present in the first place does bode ill. That and magical Röntgen vision still being in place.

      • DonJefe says:

        Sorry. I don’t want to rain on anybody’s parade. But it says something about the style of game that all those things were in the game to begin with, doesn’t it? Maybe I’m just a bitter old man – In fact I’m pretty sure I am just that. – but I really have a hard time seeing a happy outcome here.

        Again, I hope you’re right. I would love a great Thief game.

        • ran93r says:

          I have to believe it’s going to work out for the best.
          It was good to see them actually listen to the fan outcry and take out the crap we didn’t ask for, maybe it was the kick up the arse they needed to stop looking at things like the Tomb Raider reboot where QTE and XP were added without cause and start looking at, you know, the actual Thief games that came before.

          It won’t be the same of course but it’s certainly looking closer than it did 6 months ago.

          • mentor07825 says:

            Not to mention that if we wanted the same Thief games of old we can easily go on to GoG and get them dirt cheap. I want to play a modern Thief game, and for a franchise to grow it needs to go through iterative or radical development. That means with modern expectations and at least five graphics.

      • Baines says:

        Being able to turn something off doesn’t mean the game is designed or balanced to be played that way.

      • Emeraude says:

        They took out all the QTE.

        But left the pre-scripted escape sequences.

        They took out the XP h3ads0ts BOOM!

        But left the character progression systems in.

        They added options to turn off all the handholding and super powers.

        But from the mouth of one of the level-designers himself, don’t know how well accommodated a play-through is getting all those off.

        They added options for multiple playthrough styles (ala dishonored)

        A la Deus Ex: Human Revolution more (see the predator/ghost/opportunist profiles from completing levels).
        Which is in itself problematic.

        Basically cosmetic, skin deep changes, but the deep, structural ones still seem in place.

        • kament says:

          Character progression was always there. And ghost/predator/opportunist is more of the latest Splinter Cell thing, though I’d like to point out that in truth it’s just more… marketed, shall we say. It was always this way with Thief, except on higher difficulty, when you couldn’t kill civilians/anyone—and if I remember right, that is the case this time, too. All the way down to “no knockouts”.

          As for the scripted events—some would obviously prefer the stage set in CGI and narrated text, but I think something more interactive doesn’t necessarily compromise the experience. Enhances it, really.

          • Emeraude says:

            Character progression was always there.

            Yes, and if your issue with the XP was that a character progression system was added were none was beneficial, then removing the XP pop ups and leaving the character progression systems is just a meaningless cosmetic change.

            And ghost/predator/opportunist is more of the latest Splinter Cell thing, though I’d like to point out that in truth it’s just more… marketed, shall we say. It was always this way with Thief, except on higher difficulty, when you couldn’t kill civilians/anyone—and if I remember right, that is the case this time, too. All the way down to “no knockouts”.

            See my answer to your other post down thread.

            As for the scripted events—some would obviously prefer the stage set in CGI and narrated text, but I think something more interactive doesn’t necessarily compromise the experience. Enhances it, really.

            Nothing that interrupts the gameplay is the best solution as far as I’m concerned.

      • AmirBan says:

        But Cutscenes are still there, by cutscenes i mean cutting your gameplay every 5 or so minutes to show you some characters talking to each other. i want this game to be good but i’m not really sure if it can deliver what i want.

        that chase sequances,explosives, all of those set pieces make it more Assassin’s Creed with First Person view than a proper stealthy thief game and you don’t have any options to turn them off.

    • derbefrier says:

      I think at best it will be on par with dishonored which was an okay game but still felt like a step backwards from the games that inspired it. I expect the same from this new thief game. It will be okay but still will be a step backwards compared to the games that inspired it. In other words, you average AAA experience..

    • GallonOfAlan says:

      Don’t forget that the original Thief began as “Dark Camelot,” a sword-combat action game with role-playing and adventure elements.

      So it does not follow that just because stuff was in Thief 4 and was taken out, the original inclusion will have any bearing.

  8. Eight Rooks says:

    I’ve heard worse. It’s not great, but certainly far better than, say, Zero from Borderlands 2, or everyone in Dark Messiah of Might & Magic. I even thought it was going to get good around the half-way mark, but then he descended into pantomime for the last bit. >_>

    All the same. Game could well be a disappointment, very cautious about the chances of anything else turning out to be the case… and still feeling quietly excited despite my best efforts.

  9. N'Al says:

    DVDS!?! I own There Will Be Blood on Blu-ray, thank you very much.

    • The Random One says:

      Keeping media on bits of plastic? What a quant concept!

      • TechnicalBen says:

        Yes, plastic SSD drives… but the future is putting it all on disk again… I mean the cloud. And even more futuristic is the cloud running off tape backup! :D

        Soon we will run full circle and have our steampunk future and our iPods will be clockwork. Come to think of it, is Theif 4 set in such a future?

  10. clumsyandshy says:

    Anything and everything confirmed!

  11. Cytrom says:

    There seems to be a conspiracy going on amongst game journalists to downplay this game, but everything I have seen about it so far looked fucking amazing. And i don’t inherently hate every form of streamlining. Sometimes it does make a better gameplay experience without feeling dumbed down.

    I hope it delivers.

    • Emeraude says:

      And i don’t inherently hate every form of streamlining. Sometimes it does make a better gameplay experience without feeling dumbed down.

      It can be an acceptable compromise when you streamline elements that should be secondary to the central gameplay (let’s say, contextual jump in Ocarina of Time), but when you start to streamline from core elements to up to the entire gameplay, I’d say there’s a problem.

  12. elysrum says:

    *sigh* I hate it when voice-overs don’t match the visuals, it pushes my OCD button:

    “It’s the chain around your neck….”
    Nope – that is clearly a noose made from rope.

    Whats worse tho is that this trailer has really got me worried about this game now. Some of the other stuff (mainly the mechanics) I could forgive if the *game* was good, but this, this just makes it feel like a straight to video rip off of a blockbuster film, something like Inseminoid

  13. BobbleHat says:

    Is that first video what the cutscenes in the game will look like? If so I’m…slightly intrigued. Granted it’s nowhere near as pretty as the stylised, painterly cutscenes from the first two games, but it’s a hell of a lot more interesting than in-engine stuff.

  14. Shazbut says:

    This reinvention seems to be trying to fit Thief into a DE:HR shaped mold. It’ll probably be a good game, but it’ll be off brand far more than DE:HR was.

    Looking Glass were about silence, ambiance, foreboding and that kind of thing. Thief was the quintessential expression of their aesthetic. You can’t take the lore and characters and ram them into the latest AAA teal/orange machine and act like the important thing isn’t lost.

    • kament says:

      And what exactly gave you that DX:HR vibe?

      Oh, and Looking Glass was also about crouching and counting and navigating the shadows. Occasional violence certainly was there, too. There were silent foreboding and all that, especially absolutely brilliant Shalebridge Cradle… oh, wait.

      • hurrakan says:

        Probably because Thief is being developed by the same people who made DX:HR (Eidos Montreal).

        • Low Life says:

          Same studio, different team/people.

        • kament says:

          And how exactly does it support the assertion of Thief being fitted into DX:HR mold? I think the two are obviously very different. There were XP for headshots and whatnot, but it’s kinda not exclusively HR thing.

          • Shazbut says:

            I got the vibe from the second of those two trailers. If you don’t see it, we’ll agree to disagree as I can’t be too specific. They can take out and add stuff, and change it about (no XP, focus, no talking to the monsters, faster) but I think you’ll feel the ghost of DE:HR in there

            The Cradle was great, yeah. I’m not implying only Looking Glass can do those things

          • kament says:

            I guess we indeed are going to agree to disagree, as I can’t see anything deusexy in that trailer. If anything, it reminded me of usually somewhat underrated (which is the reason I mentioned the Cradle) Deadly shadows. Fog in UI, architecture (even the Clocktower is there in some new form), cold colors.

            So, yeah. We see things differently, it seems.

      • Emeraude says:

        And what exactly gave you that DX:HR vibe?

        The funneling of players into profiles that each focusing on a different gameplay approach (ghost/opportunist/predator), the pre-scripted level-design in service of that.
        Yeah, there is a certain HR vibe to this game so far. More than a Thief one really.

        • kament says:

          I’m not sure I get your meaning, but I think what you’re talking about is more of a high-concept thing, not exactly capable of creating some vibe. I mean, the same funneling and scripting applies to, say, any Splinter Cell game, and yet they have very little in common with HR, and vice versa.

          And if it does make for a verstile environment that can be traversed in varying ways… well, I’d say it’s a Thief game at its best.

          • Emeraude says:

            The difference being that Thief had a simulationist approach: it would give you verbs, levels – with of course some paths/solutions designed to be *solved* by the players, but also others that would be *found* that the designers wouldn’t have conceived.
            Instead of the complexity of interacting systems leading to knew solutions what we have here is content: more solutions tailored to fit the boxes to be ticked of some preordained profiles (which is very much a complaint I have against HR as a Deus Ex game).

            The difference being that Thief was laser focused on a certain experience – the one it gave you on the highest levels of difficulty, for and around which the game was designed. The use of violence for example was not so much an alternative as a crutch for people that hadn’t yet reached the level of mastery needed to play the game proper.
            Multiple approach was never really its thing, or only within the narrow cone of its specialization.

          • kament says:

            I don’t think the points you brought up have any connection with my initial question, but maybe it’s just as well. There seem to be nothing else to say on that front.

            As for the interacting systems, DX:HR is absolutely built on the same principle as the old Thief of yore. Some of its systems are actually more complex. And I don’t believe in player’s discovery: some exploits may not be exactly planned, like, say, bunny-hopping, but that’s where it ends. All systems and their interactions should be tested, otherwise a player mostly *finds* glitches and crashes.

            And Thief, be that Dark Project ot Metal Age or Deadly shadows, is a game that’s built around solving things, not finding them. And those solutions were always those same “ghost/predator/opportunist”. I think it’s just the feeling of discovery, perhaps magnified by the rose-tinted glasses of nostalgia. The tools were there, the routes were there for each, erm, role. All set for the player to *find* them. And violence certainly had its advantages, since it made things considerably easier and quicker. Full frontal assault was more or less suicidal, but that really was just the matter of balancing hitpoints to discourage gung-ho players and funnel them towards more careful approach. Or mad skills in swordplay. ))

            To answer you reply in the thread above: those tools in the old Thief unlock as the story progresses. That’s the character progression I was talking about. The way I see it, XP system is just more obvious and maybe more flexible way to achieve the same goal. As the scripted events, which are still more interactive than CGI and briefing/debriefing screen, and which serve the same goal of progressing the story.

            But I guess you would argue otherwise. ))

          • Emeraude says:

            I don’t think the points you brought up have any connection with my initial question, but maybe it’s just as well. There seem to be nothing else to say on that front.

            Don’t sell yourself short, if by initial question you mean “And what exactly gave you that DX:HR vibe?”, I take from your following answer that you understood well enough.

            As for the interacting systems, DX:HR is absolutely built on the same principle as the old Thief of yore.

            Not really though. Had it been so, for example, the wall breaking verb would had have been usable on any wall of a certain kind. Not on choice pre-scripted punctual ones (making it more a Zelda bomb equivalent than a rope arrow one).

            I think it’s just the feeling of discovery, perhaps magnified by the rose-tinted glasses of nostalgia.

            That or you do not play that way, so it means nothing to you and you do not care.

            The tools were there, the routes were there for each, erm, role. All set for the player to *find* them.

            Yet some routes were still discovered.

            And violence certainly had its advantages, since it made things considerably easier and quicker.

            I did not deny that though. In said violence was acting as a crutch for low level players, but was ultimately to be necessarily overcome for high level play. Which it was.
            Designing the game for violence *also* in high level play is designing a quite different game altogether.

            To answer your reply in the thread above: those tools in the old Thief unlock as the story progresses. That’s the character progression I was talking about.

            And you don’t see the intrinsic difference between progression as new verbs opening possibilities and progression as modifications of existing verbs diminishing/dulling the potential of action ?

            As the scripted events, which are still more interactive than CGI and briefing/debriefing screen, and which serve the same goal of progressing the story.

            The scripted events take control from you while you’re supposed to be playing. The briefing/debriefing happens in their own specified time that does not intersect/interrupt playing time.
            Exposition doesn’t need to be interactive – especially with poor, shallow meaningless interaction that does not compliment the rest of the gameplay. What it need to be is efficient and not a hindrance to the playing.

            But I guess you would argue otherwise.

            See ? I told you were selling yourself short.

          • kament says:

            It seems there are some points we just can’t get across to each other, but I appreciate the discussion nonetheless. Thank you.

            Not really though. Had it been so, for example, the wall breaking verb would had have been usable on any wall of a certain kind. Not on choice pre-scripted punctual ones (making it more a Zelda bomb equivalent than a rope arrow one).

            To be honest, I’ve always thought that there’s little difference, if any. I mean, wood patches in Thief are placed specifically for the player to shoot rope arrow at them and climb somewhere. And after more than ten years I still remember vividly my frustration with Metal Age at the time when I’ve *discovered* sometimes you had to shoot at exactly right angle or you wouldn’t get the rope. So it’s not any more “pre-scripted” with DX:HR fragile walls (which you can throw explosives at from any angle and they still detonate) or new Thief rope arrows, not in my books. It’s just better, how do you say it, articulated or more obvious—which is exactly what makes them more gamey and reveals the man behind the curtains, I guess.

            That or you do not play that way, so it means nothing to you and you do not care.
            What I meant to say is that any way you play is built and tested. And testing is exactly what you’re talking about (or at least as I understand it): experimenting with game.

            I did not deny that though. In said violence was acting as a crutch for low level players, but was ultimately to be necessarily overcome for high level play. Which it was.

            OK, let me put it this way: in DXHR or Blacklist (or, since you haven’t tried that last one, Chaos Theory) ghost-play is also high level play, if I get your meaning right. In this respect there’s little to no difference with the old Thief. And those Thief games had sword and lethal arrows, not to mention quite a few means of dispatching disabling your opponents non-lethally but permanently all the same. And when it comes to pure stealth (as in avoiding confrontation of any kind) you’re left with only water arrows and lockpicks. I mean, if that’s not the evidence of designing the game around violence, what is?

            And you don’t see the intrinsic difference between progression as new verbs opening possibilities and progression as modifications of existing verbs diminishing/dulling the potential of action ?
            Well, no, I don’t. Since we’re bringing up DXHR anyway, there are number of examples of progression that opens new possibilities, such as Icarus and Glass shield and Typhoon, rather than mods the old ones. Would you say that diminishes the potential of action?

            The scripted events take control from you while you’re supposed to be playing. The briefing/debriefing happens in their own specified time that does not intersect/interrupt playing time.
            But it does. You achieve some goal and suddenly you’re not playing and reading what happened next. I’d rather make my own way out of crumbling Clocktower and to the Keeper library, even if it was all heavily scripted and quick-time events. Still better than reading. Or more interactive, at any rate.

        • KenTWOu says:

          The funneling of players into profiles that each focusing on a different gameplay approach (ghost/opportunist/predator)…

          DXHR didn’t have those profiles, Splinter Cell Blacklist has.

          • Emeraude says:

            It didn’t have those profiles. It had profiles. And the same apparent construction relating to their existence.

            Now maybe Blacklist would be a more fitting example, but I haven’t played, so I can’t use it.

  15. strangeloup says:

    Wait a minute. Series of animated-art ‘Stories from the City’ videos? Didn’t Dishonored do the exact same thing?

    Only better, obviously. Which I have a suspicion is going to apply to Thifourf in general.

  16. Zeliard says:

    Allowing all of the frippery to be toggled off isn’t going to mean a whole lot if the game is designed around the assumption that they will be used by almost every player. It wouldn’t be the first example of a game where turning these things off becomes a masochistic exercise in frustration as a result.

  17. Screamer says:

    Seeing as this game has been on special from pretty much day one, it seems the publishers know they have a stinker on their hands.

  18. almightybooka says:

    I’m not sure if I’m impressed or disappointed that “thief-taker” is an actual thing.

  19. Dominic White says:

    Let us not forget that the Thief series gave us Karras as a central antagonist, who looked like an awkward cosplayer and sounded like Droopy Dog.

    Aside from that whole run-in with a trickster god, Garrett’s villains have never been the most imposing and dramatic of people. Often fun, though.

    • DatonKallandor says:

      But I think the NPCs in Thief 2 were aware Karras sounded like a tool. Didn’t they have jokes about his voice coming from the Guard-bots, Cameras and phonographs?

  20. Shigawire says:

    I agree with the RPS article on Teaser trailers. I usually don’t approve of Teaser trailers, as they are usually meaningless and doesn’t tell you anything about the game. But in this case, I make an exception. They have already shown the in-game part of Thief, so a teaser trailer that gives the “mood” of the game is very much acceptable.

    This teaser was very exciting, because it shows that they used a similar presentation style as the original Thief from 1998.. and I VERY much like it this way. When the threads formed the noose .. I got flashbacks from the Trickster videos from the original Thief.

  21. Zekiel says:

    That really is dreadful voice acting. I’m not sure what they were going for there at all.

    Did anyone else feel like the writer of this trailer had been watching The Matrix – the lines sound like Morpheus “It’s in the air you breathe…” etc.

    I do love the visual style however.

    None of this really tells me anything useful about whether the game’s going to be any good or not. Still decidedly grumpy about them taking away the wonderful factions and cant from the previous games…

  22. Opiniomania says:

    I am looking forward to this thing, but I sure would be looking forward to it more if the writing wouldn’t suck childhood memories out of a 15 year-old corpse(+!!!)

  23. fish99 says:

    This may sound like an odd thing to say coming from a huge Thief fan, but I don’t need a new Thief game. I replayed Thief Gold and Thief 2 last year (in stereo 3D no less), loved them as much as ever, and I’m quite content with that. I especially don’t need a new Thief game that’s not by any of the original LG people. I got over the fact that there wouldn’t be any more real Thief games when LG shut down 14 years ago.

    It’s like if your favourite author died half way through writing a series of books, and someone else continued that series trying to imitate his style, it’s just never the same.

    (and yes I’ve made these same points before, in the other 300 stories about this game)

  24. Vesuvius says:

    I learned from the newest Hitman that promises of “you can toggle off the super-sense stuff if it breaks immersion for you” mean nothing, because they design these games to require it. If you turn that stuff off the game might just be unplayable. It’s lose-lose.

    • KenTWOu says:

      I learned from the newest Tomb Raider that promises of “you can toggle off the super-sense stuff if it breaks immersion for you” mean everything.

  25. SMGreer says:

    Please be good. I don’t know what video gamed themed deity I have to pray to but please, Thief, be good. It’s been too long since Deadly Shadows and even that wasn’t quite on par with it’s priors. Even Dishonored failed to fill the Thief shaped hole in my heart.

    I could really do with a proper stealth fix so please Thief, be good.

  26. Emeraude says:

    Edit.

    I guess I identified the issue at least.

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