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.