While Thief 4 has never had anything approaching a release date, following the ripe success of Deus Ex 3, and its having been in development for over four years, it was tempting to think it might be coming nearer. Well, forget that, because a rumour in the latest Official Xbox Magazine – and further validated by CVG – suggests that they’re now aiming for it to be a next-next-gen console release. And that means it’d be Christmas 2013 at the very, very earliest.
Rumours have flown every whichway about the project, mostly because Square Enix and Eidos Montreal have been so damned silent about it. That tends to indicate a project that’s in trouble, as a rule – one that keeps receiving do-overs, reaching certain milestones and not being considered good enough. Of course, there’s no evidence at all that that’s the case here. But things have been odd, with a completed trailer from December last year never getting released, and any footage that’s appeared from it having since vanished from the internet, entire blogs deleted. Kotaku also lists the many developers who have left the project in the last year or so, but bear in mind it’s not unusual for people to move on to a new project after three or four years. And they also spot that level designer, Fabien Morisson, pointed out on his LinkedIn that he’d designed the last level of the game.
Deciding to make the game for the next generation of consoles could mean only small or absolutely massive changes. If their engine is scalable, and just needed better tech to be better realised, then it’ll just be a case of getting to grips with the debug prototype consoles they’ll have by now, and porting it across. If they’re after new tech because the version they’ve made just can’t reach far enough, then it could mean a massive overhaul. Either way, it means a PC version of the game will inevitably get stuck waiting for Microsoft and Sony to release their next boxes, both rumoured to be for Christmas next year. Then you have to wonder if Square are going to be willing to risk being launch titles, going out to the most limited audience possible, or wait a few months for the consoles to be in enough homes. That would put the game somewhere into 2014.
Which is all to say, don’t hold your breath (while crouching in a dark corner) for the game.
We approached Square Enix for comment, but they had none.