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New Thief Trailer, Same Old Worry

It’s hard to know what to think about Thief. Previews haven’t been impressive, and it’s clear the project’s been through all kinds of hell. As we nudge closer to next February’s release, the trailers aren’t exactly inspiring us. This latest, described as a “gameplay trailer”, shows very little of that, and just makes me worry even more.

Well, have a watch first:

Did you spot much of the promised “gameplay”? I’m presuming that awful non-word usually refers to the bits where you’re actually playing. This is a trailer of cutscenes and fly-throughs. At least, I hope they’re fly-throughs. Because if that’s how Garret moves – like a floating camera in an engine’s tech-demo – this is going to be one weird game. Okay, so there definitely are a few bits of hands-in-the-screen first-person moments at around a minute thirty, but what I see here is a game that’s going to incessantly interrupt the action with in-game cutscenes where I’m not in control. That’s fairly typical of most big budget FPS games these days, because EVERYTHING IS AWFUL ALL THE TIME, but not Thief. Please, not Thief. It doesn’t look like he can open a door without it snatching away controls. And running through scripted destruction – that’s not the rooftop sneakery that anyone who wants to play Thief wants to play.

But then, it could be Trailer Syndrome. That dreadful disease that takes hold of games that rely on quiet, sneaky movement, where they feel the only way to portray things is the few loud, explodey scenes, or how will it catch anyone’s eye? Right now, showing quiet, sneaky movement would be the ideal way to catch people’s eye.

I’m certainly not deciding what the game’s going to be like based on these trailers. But it’s worth noting that’s in complete defiance of the entire purpose of a trailer. I’m clinging on to my hope that the genuine talent at Eidos Montreal can do this one proud.

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John Walker

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Once one of the original co-founders of Rock Paper Shotgun, they killed me out of jealousy. I now run buried-treasure.org

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