That’s (A Bit) More Like It: QTEs Removed From Thief

Press your PC's power button to not die and also never play sequences like this ever again!

For all the flack we’ve given Eidos Montreal’s reinvention of Thief, I will say that I’m quite happy the developer seems to be listening as of late. The game as a whole still might look rather bland, but at least a trendy-as-tight-pants XP system is out. Better yet, loathsome QTEs failed to press X to avoid the mighty game development guillotine, so they’ll be joining it. Read on for Eidos Montreal’s reasoning.

Eidos Montreal’s Valerie Bourdeau made the decision sound pretty simple:

“We’re not implementing them. To begin with, there were very few instances of QTEs in the game; in fact there was only one in that whole hour-long E3 demo. However, given the strong reactions it evoked in the press and the community, it was an easy decision to do away with them entirely. So we’re not doing it. No quick time.”

Granted, the hyper-linear, “building’s burning down runnnnnnnnn” segment at the end of Thief’s E3 demo was abysmal for reasons far beyond the inclusion of one QTE. Good riddance, I say, but let us not forget, well, all of this:

“This section was essentially on rails, and sneaking wasn’t even a factor. I dashed over burning bridges, stumbled across collapsing rooftops, and watched entire sections of mansion crumble into the tar-black waters below in sloooooow mooootion. Trial-and-error came fast and furious, with various sections nearly requiring death and a subsequent restart before making sense.”

In other words, not fun, and definitely not Thief. That said, as Eidos Montreal continues to strip away its “innovations” to the Thief formula, I think it runs into another problem – one Graham hit on quite nicely yesterday. It lacks a twist, a standout feature, a hook (that’s not used for grappling, anyway). There’s a pervasive blandness about it that clings like soot to The City’s smoky streets. I hope the game has changed a lot since I last played it, but I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t worried – even despite Eidos Montreal’s recent attempts at placating the furiously typing masses.


  1. Ich Will says:

    I’m as hardcore a fan as they get – I still have an active account at the forums, I still play through every game and the usual rota of fan made missions, including the ones I make, annually.

    I don’t care what any other fan thinks of me, I’m planning on buying this game. Obviously I’ll wait for reviews but as long as it’s no Colonial Marines, I’m going to buy it and enjoy it for what it is.

    • Ross Angus says:

      Interesting. What did you think of The Dark Mod 2? I enjoyed it, but found it almost slavishly similar to the first two games (I gave it up due to constant crashing, and very long loading times).

      • jaypettitt says:

        If TDM is slavishly similar, it’s only because you haven’t come along and added exciting new twists.

        To be fair to The Dark Mod, it’s open. So if you want to trial new features, go ahead (some may grumble because its their baby or they want it exactly like Thief, but they can’t actually stop you). If you want to fix bugs, you can do that (or help by testing and reporting them), if you want shorter load times, you can fix that too.

        Or if those aren’t in your skill set, you can contribute to making it better in ways that you’re good at ~ whether it’s helping with PR, making art assets, recording audio or what ever.

        • Ross Angus says:

          Good point. I don’t have the right skills, unfortunately. And I never got anything beyond the tutorial working reliably.

          I should give it another go.

      • Ultra Superior says:

        Hwat a huge disappointment the DM2 was for me. The AI is behaving strangely, sitting and standing in repeated cycles, sometimes hypersensitive, sometimes easily stopped by the corner of a crate. Many of the added features are completely pointless ballast, lockpicking is weird.

        I think I’ll enjoy Thief 4 much more despite all the letdown it cometh with.

      • Ich Will says:

        I have to be honest, I haven’t got involved with it, yet. I support everything they are trying to achieve and I hope I can add something to the project at some point but I know the dark engine, I knew the quake engine very well back in the 90’s so I’m sure I will get to grips with the doom 3 engine easily enough but it’s something I don’t have time for right now.

      • fenriz says:

        how in the hell is being a fanboy “interesting”?

        • Ich Will says:

          Because this Thief fan spent hundreds of hours creating top rated content for other Thief fans to freely enjoy. Which tens of thousands did. Because this fanboy spent hundreds of pounds on getting that content to you and never once asked to to donate, view an advert or any other form of monetisation. If you want to try to make me feel bad for being that sort of fan, you’ll fail, I’m afraid but let me ask you, what makes your opinion interesting? Contextualise your implied criticism of me saying that I would buy a decent game.

    • The Laughing Owl says:

      Well, seems like you won’t be playing OR making fan made mission on this one, thanks to their new management.

      And what fans of the series think of people who will buy this game is utterly irrelevant, it’s the damage that people who endorse these “changes” to core aspects of the series that are the most concerning.

      But I’ll say what I think of fans like you, who have this “I don’t care what core features they strip out of the game as long as they keep the same name” mentality, you are damaging the industry through and through.

      • Dunbine says:

        Fans like him – the ones that wait until seeing a game before judging it, and judge a game for what it is, not what it isn’t?

        Shame on him.

      • Bull0 says:

        Glad you’re keeping it light and respectful.

      • Shooop says:

        And fans like that are exactly why Blizzard is using always-on DRM, Activision has made enough money from Call of Duty to build a moon base, and EA has successfully turned Battlefield into a Call of Duty clone.

        Gamers are more stupidly brand-loyal than Apple customers.

        • Ich Will says:

          What makes you think this is about brand loyalty? Surely if I had brand loyalty, I’d not be buying the game because it’s no longer a TTLG game, and I would have also skipped T3 for the same reason. Maybe we interpret brand loyalty differently?

          Anyway, my brother is a loyal COD buyer, he loves them. This latest one had him grinning from ear to ear as bland action happened and doors were opened on his behalf. He won’t shut up about how amazing it is. Point is, he enjoyed it. Just because you don’t like that people enjoy it doesn’t mean that he should forego his fun, does it?

          This new thief may be awful, in which case, as I pointed out, I won’t buy it. It may be average, in which case I will likely buy it because I like the stealth genre. It may be good, great or amazing, too. It’s a personal thing. Do you know what pissed me off about Thief 2 the most? Losing the undead sections, I enjoyed them and that moment where you first meet a haunt in the bonehoard is a moment in gaming I will never forget. The vast majority of thief fans disagree with me but that’s OK, we’re all allowed to like different stuff even if we identify as fans of the same game!

          So, if thief 4 is good, I’ll buy it. If it’s average, I’ll almost certainly buy it because I would much rather play an average stealth game than an amazing foot to ball management sim (Insert other genres I don’t like much here), that’s just me! If it’s rubbish, I’ll not play it. As I said earlier, if you don’t like that I will enjoy something you may not merely because of the name on the box, is it really me who has the problem? I certainly don’t think so.

          • ResonanceCascade says:

            Because this is the internet, where people can’t just let someone else have different expectations from a game than them; instead they have to insist that those people are Literally Ruining Gaming®.

          • Emeraude says:

            I think s/he meant the brand was “Thief”.

      • Ich Will says:

        I’m unable to make missions or mods for thief 3 either, plenty was stripped out and changed in that too but it is accepted as a good game in it’s own right because, hey, it was a good game in it’s own right.

        The existence of Thief 3 and your continued love of Thief is surely proof that a game changing the way the series has worked does not ruin the old games for you, does not ruin the industry – there have never been so many amazing games as there are now. Yes you have to cut through the marketing, but trust me, you did in 1975 too, as you did in 85, 95 and 2005. And all the years in between.

    • Lemming says:

      I appreciate this stance. Sometimes, you just want to play a well-polished game as a thief. Nothing wrong with that.

  2. BobbyDylan says:

    Well, that’s something at least….

  3. c-Row says:

    This section was essentially on rails, and sneaking wasn’t even a factor.

    While I understand that concern regarding a Thief game in general, I don’t really see the overall problem. Sometimes shit just goes down, and even a master thief shouldn’t be able to just avoid that by sneaking his way out of things, or else we end up with the convenient but eventually unrealistic plethora of ventilation shafts in Deus Ex just to offer every choice at every time.

    • Myrdinn says:

      How did Garrett manage to survive three Thief games without ventilation shafts? I think a proper stealth game should always have options to avoid combat. Same goes for a FPS; nothing more frustrating than some required ‘stealth-part’, especially when you’ve spend the bulk of the game demolishing everything in sight.

      It’s kinda cool they try to fix their Thief game now, would’ve been super duper cool if they cancel the game thought about stuff like this from the start of their development process.

    • Lobster9 says:

      Does it have to represent reality? Cant a game called Thief just continue to serve as a stealth fantasy? For me the whole point in Thief was solving problems without being seen.. that’s the entire premise of the game.

      Mandatory action sequences make it so that you can’t really complete the entire game as a ghost, which may seem obsessive, but that has always been the draw of the stealth genre for me. It even bothered me a little that Dishonored started out with a mission that involves detonating a bomb to escape the prison. (only a little bothered mind you)

      Obviously not every game can design convenient stealth paths in every level, that would be ridiculous. But for a genre of games based entirely around the concept of either sneaking (in the case of Thief and Splinter Cell) or multiple approaches (Deus Ex and Dishonored) I don’t think it’s unreasonable to expect those options to exist.

      I also don’t think that all games need to tell their stories with cinematic action sequences. I love those sequences in other games as much as anybody, but I just don’t think it suits Thief. It feels as odd and jarring to me as a it would be for Peggle to have the same thing.

      • LionsPhil says:

        It’s possible to ghost that part of Dishonored in the sense that although the guards obviously know a bomb went off, in all the confusion they didn’t actually see you. (There’s an beep-boop Steam Cheevo for it and everything, to tell you exactly how satisfied you should feel for pulling it off.)

        Which kind of fits with Dishonored’s leanings for fast, squash-buckely stealth, with blinks and such.

        • VelvetFistIronGlove says:

          It’s possible, but it’s not easy. I was hiding in a dog crate when the bomb went off, and yet somehow the newly spawned guards knew exactly which crate and ran up to start shooting me.

          It’s also hard if you knock out the guards in that room for them not to be killed when the door explodes.

          • LionsPhil says:

            I think I moved the sleepy guards that had been tenderly cuddled into a relaxing snooze, and when stuff exploded went “right, LEG IT” and dived into the river in a cloud of dust. Worked for me.

            Dishonored really doesn’t seem to want to be a slowly-slowly watch-the-patrol-route hide-behind-a-crate stealth game, which is fine bit of variety by me.

          • Stardreamer says:

            [comment moved]

      • c-Row says:

        Does it have to represent reality?

        No, but it should definitely aim at plausibility.

        • Contrafibularity says:

          There are myriad ways to make a coherent game and player interactions plausible without setting segments of the game on rails. Designing a game without QTEs doesn’t reduce the possibility space, and it makes for better games.

          Narrative isn’t automatically a crucial component in games, as it often is in film or literature. Interactivity is the defining feature of games – and indeed, games that excel in their gameplay are most often great games. However, a large number of games appear to have serious narrative ambitions, yet they try to tell their stories by jamming together the mismatching puzzle pieces of cinematic control and interactivity.

          It doesn’t matter how good your story is. What matters first is how good your storytelling is, and that’s defined by what medium you’re telling that story in, whether it’s a book, movie, or game. The aforementioned games with big narrative ambitions have great stories but bad storytelling.
          The next kind of dissonance is a dissonance of identity. To explain this, let’s first back up a bit to the analogy of literature, cinema, and games as dimensions. Another way to look at this triplet is in their increasingly intimate point of view. Think about books: a lot of literature could be described as third-person storytelling: the events are verbally recounted to you by a third party – the author – and you interpret the words on your own. Movies, on the other hand, are second-person storytelling: you watch the events unfold before your eyes, seeing things directly as they are. Lastly, video games are first-person storytelling: you are the actor living out the story. Instead of simply being told what’s going on, or watching it happen, you’re experiencing it firsthand!
          However, in poor game storytelling, we often have a big dissonance regarding your identity. In one moment, you are the protagonist, exploring the world and fighting enemies. In the next moment, you jump out of your body and watch your character interact with others without your control, walking and talking on their own. You’ve switched from first-person to second-person. Who are you? Are you the actor or the viewer? Games should be consistent with their point of view. It severely diminishes the importance of your actions if it constantly feels like the game distrusts you with making the important ones.

    • lordfrikk says:

      You’re presenting a false dilemma of two extremes, it’s entirely possible to fall somewhere in between as evidenced by the first two/three games. I’m perfectly fine with the game falling a bit short on the side of unrealistic architecture to serve gameplay purposes.

      Taking away control and railroading the player without offering a way to do things differently is just bad design in a game like this, or rather in a true Thief game. If they wanted to change the formula they should’ve gone with a new IP entriely, it worked for Dishonored – no one bitches how bad and unrealistic Dishonored is because it’s not Thief 4. But of course they wanted that sweet, sweet free advertisement (it’s not so free if you consider you are most likely going to go against thousands of dedicated fans…)

    • jellydonut says:

      No, it’s ridiculous. Thief games are supposed to be based in open sandbox maps where you sneak around and try to figure out how to do your thing. They are not supposed to be glorified real-time rendered movies where we are sent on rails to watch the developer’s theatre. That’s the job of Call of Duty. Thief should not be COD.

      • klmx says:

        Does every game have to be compared to COD? Linear game =! Coddercoaster ride, who are you to tell a developer what their game is supposed to be? Were you really expecting a high-profile Thief reboot in this day & age to be “authentic to the series”? It’s not like the first one, and the memories you have for them, don’t exist anymore.

        I don’t I think I’m gonna like this game, but that just leaves me with three options:

        A, aka, what everyone in this comment thread is going to do) Play the game regardless of what the negativity, hoping to find a little bit of good B) Not play the game C) Come-up with a better alternative

        • alw says:

          It isn’t just their game though. They have the legal rights to produce the current game, but games are part of a wider culture, so in that sense they belong to everyone. The only real difference is that society as a whole has no legal right to force developers to make games a particular way. That doesn’t mean that if a developer is seen to be shitting on something that some people treasure, that those people have no right to say they should do things differently.

          • Kaeoschassis says:

            No. Art belongs to its creators, not to its fans. Being a fan means you appreciate something, that is its literal definition. It does not mean you have any say in how it gets made – UNLESS you put money into it yourself, and even then, that’s your choice.

            I can sympathise with people hating on this new Thief, I’m not hugely happy with it myself. But this mentality of fans ‘owning’ a particular series is wrong, and it needs to stop. Don’t like it? Don’t buy it. That’s all.

          • alw says:

            Kaeoschassis says:

            No. Art belongs to its creators, not to its fans. Being a fan means you appreciate something, that is its literal definition. It does not mean you have any say in how it gets made – UNLESS you put money into it yourself, and even then, that’s your choice.

            It might belong to it’s creators in a legal sense, but that doesn’t mean in every sense. It’s mainly because of that legal sense that fans don’t get a direct say in how developers make games (though even if they did, the logistics would be a nightmare because there’d be a billion and one different opinions..)

          • Kaeoschassis says:

            Sorry. guess I didnt make myself clear enough there.

            I MEANT in every sense.

          • alw says:

            Ah right, silly me. Forgot this was the internet for a second..

    • Shooop says:

      If realism is the problem then why are there water and moss arrows? Or zombies and ghosts? The Thief games aren’t supposed to be simulators, they’re supposed to fantasy first-person stealth games.

      But all that’s even beside the point. The point is if they want to make a movie instead, they should instead of trying to tack on gameplay to a movie.

      • Emeraude says:

        Not realism. Verisimilitude.

        That being said: yeah stealth in a burning building could be excellent actually. If well designed.

    • impish says:

      A real master thief would just hide from the flames.

      Trolling aside, you could totally have your player agency AND eat your exciting escape sequence too. Have the house burn down. Geralt has to find his way out quickly or perish. Leave multiple routes open to the player. Do you go for the main door, up to the roof, dive dramatically through a stained glass window, etc. There could be interesting/emergent stuff along the way. Maybe guards/the guy you’re robbing can be trapped: do you help them?

      • Faxmachinen says:

        I for one approve of a burning house escape simulator. Use your eyesight to estimate structural integrity and fire spread. Use your legs and rope arrows to extract yourself from smoke- and fire-prone locations.

      • c-Row says:

        I never opposed the idea of multiple plausible (!) routes in such a scenario, and your suggestions sound good to me. But Nathan criticizing the lack of a stealth option when it doesn’t make sense to include one? I mean, how do you sneak out of a burning building that’s collapsing around you?

  4. RCoon says:

    Breaking News: Eidos Montreal has removed the Thief game from Thief, as feedback from testers revealed it is not what they wanted in the game.

    • The Random One says:

      Their brand new IP Robberperson: Punchstealer is released to wild acclaim amongst critics and public alike, despite many calling it a Dishonored clone.

  5. Squirly says:

    It’s entirely possible for a Thief game’s “thing” or “hook” to be a well realized stealth experience based on low magic and tools. Sneaking through a mansion by being smart and using the limited resources at your disposal instead of teleporting across bright spots and murdering everyone that sees you before they make a scene. There doesn’t have to be ONE thing that stands out, when all of the little things work beautifully together. Of course, time will tell if that’s even going to happen but the removal of QTEs is already a start.

    • tyren says:

      Yeah, not that I’m really in a position to judge this game but this sudden assertion that they need something to stand out is confusing me. Sure, “first-person stealth game” is a genre now, but it’s not like that genre is so saturated with games that everyone’s bored with that kind of experience without a gimmick.

    • Trespasser in the Stereo Field says:

      Is this RPS’s new thing, to call for a new thing in every game now? It was confusing when Graham wrote it yesterday, but now it’s just becoming annoying.

    • knox140 says:

      I think a game’s “thing” should be something the game does well, rather that something it does differently. If Thief does the stealth well, then the stealth will be its thing. A game can do something differently to other games but mess the whole thing up as a result, ending up in a mediocre or bad title. Likewise, a game can use inspiration and mechanics from other games, and as long as it has its own unique combination, and pulls them off, I think it can still stand out and be a good game.

  6. Snargelfargen says:

    This bit is interesting too: “Knox140: Some of the upgrades in the preview screenshots seemed very combat-focused. I know it is difficult to have upgrades for stealth that fit in with Garrett already being a master thief, but what stealth upgrades CAN we hope to see?

    Daniel: Stealth is vital, and thus we have upgrades (to both gear and Focus) that will help stealthy players. There are things to smooth lockpicking, reduce detectability, minimize footstep and arrow impact sounds, etc. As for Focus abilities, they are mostly stealth-related and can for example improve the player’s hearing (hearing footsteps through walls), allow them to see loot further away, and speed up pickpocketing and lockpicking.”

    Making the game’s core stealth mechanic upgradeable is going to create a downwards trend in difficulty. Games like Prototype and Dishonoured have a weird sort of power creep to them, where the game gets progressively easier as the player becomes godlike. Lots of fun as a power fantasy, although it seems out of place in a more grounded game about vulnerability like Thief. the game is really going to struggle with setting a consistent tone and gameplay style. I wnder what it might have become if the devs had made a new IP instead of recycling the Thief name.

    • Correa says:

      If they had went with a new IP it would have saved them a lot of red faces and had a lot more focus on making the game. All these changes can’t be doing any good to how they thought it should have been played like from conception.

      • alw says:

        Seeing as how stealth seems to be kind’ve optional now, they should’ve called it Mugger instead.

    • Matt_W says:

      On the one hand, we hate games with enemies that scale with our experience. On the other, we want games to provide a consistent challenge. I’m actually OK with my character having an easier time of it as she/he gains more skill.

      • Volcanu says:

        I prefer the approach where different areas of a game world (ones with a non-linear structure obviously) are populated with enemies of varying toughness, with you naturally encouraged but not obliged to do the areas that you find easiest first (ala BGII, Demon’s Souls). This allows you to push into areas that are above your ‘level’ with the possibility of some kind of tasty payoff, with the attendant risk of being mercilessly pummeled and having your face devoured.

        Enemy scaling in a linear game is broadly ok with me, providing it make sense by having some form of internal consistency. For instance I’m ok with progressing from fighting zombie marines to the ‘gibbering-demon-spawn of-Hell’ (TM) in Doom, as although the enemies are tougher it makes sense, what with them being monstrous satanic creatures.

        Enemy scaling is egregious when it seems arbitrary and occurs with no logical explanation. Take Oblivion, you’re a mighty hero and saviour of all of Cyrodil and yet suddenly you begin to struggle against common bandits, who live in the woods. All of whom are equipped with magical weapons and rare armour, the likes of which even the supposedly mighty NPCs yuo have met on your quest, dont seem to possess.

        Or the area just outside the capitol of a mighty Empire becomes plagued with hundreds of huge and vicious bears.

        • Snargelfargen says:

          I agree for the most part, although MMOs are an example of area-based level scaling taken to it’s most frustrating extreme. Really it depends on how the game is structured. It’s entirely possible that Thief’s campaign is structured in such a way that it still presents a challenge despite the upgrades, but then one wonders why they were even included in the first place.
          The first two Thief games also introduced Garret’s various tools at a slow pace, letting the player learn new mechanics one mission at a time. That worked pretty well in any case. A bit worried about how quieter arrows and better hiding could significantly change gameplay, but hopefully (optimistically) the level designers have planned something cool that will take advantage of that.

    • knox140 says:

      I was kinda disappointed with the reply, I will be honest. I was hoping for a more Far Cry 3 style stealth upgrade system, where you get abilities rather than arbitrary increases (or decreases) in visibility and sound reduction. But I don’t think it’ll break the game, if they implement a difficulty curve that keeps the game balanced.

  7. Serenegoose says:

    Kinda sounds like RPS is clamouring for a gimmick, if I’m honest. Would rather just have impeccable level design and the ability to navigate it (both actually important things that appear lacking) than the ability to play as a dog or speak to owls or do that V thing from star trek with my hands. I don’t actually think that’s what you want, but it is how it’s sort of coming across.

    • Stardreamer says:

      Not a gimmick, more something distinct that belongs only to this game. What we’ve got so far looks so generic it could be anything. there are ghostly remnants of Thief-ery in them but I suspect only die-hard fans would make those connections. The previous Thief games had such a strong design aesthetic that every screenshot marked it as a Thief game.

      • Runs With Foxes says:

        Yeah it lacks cohesion. Which is not surprising given the long development and lead design staff turnover.

    • analydilatedcorporatestyle says:

      I agree, a good game can be very good and not ground breaking!

    • Shooop says:

      RPS’s article comes off to me more as “We want a game not another movie with some interaction before you get to the next scene”.

      But those are my thoughts exactly so I could be conformation biased.

    • dogsolitude_uk says:

      On the old Eidos Thief forums I suggested a monkey. My idea was that it would be a cheeky monkey that could get through gaps and nick things that Garrett couldn’t reach. It would have a little fez too.
      Sadly nobody listened. :(

  8. DrScuttles says:

    If there weren’t too many QTE’s to begin with, then fair enough. Now the concern is whether it does that whole thing where control is wrested away from the player for exciting sequences leaving you to remember, all eyes a-misting, about that time when you were playing a game earlier.

  9. Ham Solo says:

    It’s nice of them to listen to the community insuch a small matter, but I don’t think it will save the game from the CoD/Railshooter thing, that would be its undoing.

    • Jason Moyer says:

      I think there are legitimate concerns about the potential quality of the game, but I have yet to see anything that would indicate that they’re making a CoD clone or a railshooter. Oh, and while CoD is almost entirely mindless and linear, it’s not a railshooter.

      • drvoke says:

        It’s one held-down ‘w’ key away from being a rail shooter. When the next round of “streamlining” gets through for the next COD game, expect pressing “go forward” to be a toggleable option for hardcore players.

  10. DasBlob says:

    I’m not making any promises it at this point, but removing QTEs means I now *consider* buying it for the first time.

    • frightlever says:

      Does anyone like QTE? I mean they must focus group these things, so there has to be a demand for QTE in games. Who from?

      Witcher 2 (which I pre-ordered off GoG and still haven’t played) had them but a balance mod removed them, right?

      • Malleus says:

        In Witcher 2, you could just turn them off in the options menu.

      • Shooop says:

        Visit the RPS forums. We have two die-hard crusaders for them who will insult you if you dare to not agree with them.

      • Volcanu says:

        I often wonder this. I mostly loathe them now, but I got to thinking when it was that I first came across them in a game and I’m pretty sure it was in Resident Evil 4. Where actually I think they worked pretty well. They were certainly applied quite sparingly and with a modicum of thought – there was a knife fight or some such.

        But perhaps that was because they had novelty value back then. I’ve certainly never enjoyed them since.

    • cunningmunki says:

      Me too. Along with the XP removal, it gives me more confidence in the devs delivering something that’s worth the wait. I bet they never wanted to include them in the first place and were just looking for a reason to take them out. It makes me wonder what other minor tweaks they’ve made in response to feedback.

      • Emeraude says:

        Just to make things clear: the XP system that was removed was a scoring system for leader-boards. The character progression system is still i, and gold related.

        The naming convention they used makes things very confusing.

  11. f69 says:

    Just how much time and money they wasted on all these things they are now changing.

  12. Bull0 says:

    I don’t think spending X years and $Xmillion and then fucking around with things at the 11th hour because people on the internet are making grumpy noises about it is particularly smart or laudable, actually. Doesn’t give me much hope for the game.

    • Buffer117 says:

      The whining of the internet turned the XCOM game that I wanted to play into some Brother in Arms with Aliens clone that no one wanted. I wish they had just stuck to their guns told everyone Firaxis was working on the sequel they were clamouring for and just made their original concept.

      I’m not saying the same will happen here, its different as its not a genre change, but the assumption that listening to the community is always good is actually wrong, especially because often you’re not listening to the community, just the section of it that is the most critical and vocal.

  13. sharks.don't.sleep says:

    What about the inability to jump, was that a part of the QTE removal? Any news on that?

    • Runs With Foxes says:

      You can jump. When they let you. Probably to escape a burning building that’s about to explode.

    • cunningmunki says:

      Wait, you can’t jump? You can’t JUMP?

  14. mikmanner says:

    It sounds like they’re really pissed off, I bet the discussion for this was like, “These fucking geeks! In that HOUR LONG E3 demo there was only a TINNNY bit of QTE and those nerds can’t shut up about it. Fuck them Thief is 15 years old, it’s not fucking 1998 anymore. FINE we’ll get rid of QTEs whatever, fuck em.” – this is what I assume they’re like. I think they have good intentions and that they think they’re moving the series along and bringing it up to date, but from what I’ve seen it looks like they just don’t ‘get it’.

  15. dolgion1 says:

    I’m as pleased as the next guy that the dreaded QTEs are being cut, but it still doesn’t fill me with any more confidence in Eidos Montreal than before. If anything it makes them look even worse. They were making an XP system, and QTEs (to make Thief cinematic and make the game seem deep, when Thief was always about minimalistic elegance gamedesign-wise).

    Then the fans showed them that they didn’t like the additions. So they were cut. Does Eidos Montreal have no confidence in their own vision? It would’ve filled me with more confidence if they had at least come up with a strong vision that they believed in. Now they just look like a studio that doesn’t have much of a focus, trying to please everyone. That kind of situation doesn’t usually end well.

  16. Revisor says:

    In other news, perhaps lost in celebration of the QTE removal: Gorrott can neither jump nor swim.

  17. Sami H says:


  18. max pain says:

    It would be nice if the article explained at least in one sentence what the QTE is.

    • LionsPhil says:

      Quantum Tangled Element. It was the sci-fi glowy thing which powered Garret’s wise-cracking artificially intelligent quad-rotor kill drone, but fans complained that it didn’t fit the setting.

      • analydilatedcorporatestyle says:

        Those drones can be game breaking wot with being able to put your killcart atop it and fly round killing all and sundry with its turret mounted arbalest!

      • Atrocious says:

        Wrong, it means Quick To Escape. It’s the part where you have to escape from a dangerous situation like a burning house (and be quick about it). This is also known as “Get to the choppa”.

  19. Stardreamer says:

    Seems like a small change they could make that would feasibly appease a large majority of critics, or at least the most vocal. These small steps in the right direction do not equate to a new approach to the game’s development, not at this late stage. What this tells us is simply that gamer expectations are being ‘managed’, wherein the age-old maxim applies: If something needs to be actively sold to you (or in this case tweaked to look more attractive), you don’t need it and will probably regret purchasing it.

    • Horg says:

      If I had the energy to post anything cerebral tonight, this is what I would have said.

  20. karthink says:

    The QTEs are the least of this game’s problems. Here’s one thing about what they’ve shown that puts me off:

    “There was a really well managed sense to the old Garrett that that could be you–which also adds to the feeling of vulnerability. The key emotional thing to Thief was things you can easily relate to: being scared and hiding, rueing that it takes you this long to crawl to get somewhere. I can see why there’s a darting mechanic, but the feeling that “I’m not going fast enough, I’m going to be caught” was really important to how you felt. Garrett was never a superhero; but now they’ve created one out of the guy. It makes it less relatable if he’s a superhero Ninja removed from the player. Corvo allowed you to feel that. Corvo didn’t have a secret clocktower lair. It’s just such a superhero thing to have. You get it after a half hour, and impressive bits of loot you’ve nicked will show up there.

    He’s a medieval raggedy Batman, almost. ”

    I don’t remember the source; it was probably Graham.

  21. derbefrier says:

    Its nice they are listening but still if this game is anything other than another boring hand holding AAA game I will be pleasantly surprised and buy it.

  22. fish99 says:

    Next, get rid of scripted sequences, let the player stick rope arrows into anything made of wood, let the player jump anywhere, remove all takedowns, make melee combat bloody hard, get rid of ‘focus’, remove any forced 3rd person elements, get Steven Russell back to do the voice, bring the old Garrett design back, add magic back into the world, and bring back the original writers.

    I’m making the above comment to illustrate why they’re wasting their time making these changes. They can never make enough that I’ll consider this a real Thief game, so why even bother trying to appease me? The game would never have sold much off the Thief license anyway. Just make a good Dishonored clone and let it sell to the vast majority of gamers who aren’t Thief fans. This last minute feature cutting just makes the game look bad.

    Honestly the smartest thing these guys could have done would have been to drop the Thief IP about a year ago.

    • analydilatedcorporatestyle says:

      To be fair I think focus can be disabled in the menu.

      • Emeraude says:

        Apparently you can, but what we’ve seen from the gameplay vid really makes me fear this is going to be a case of “You can turn it off, but the game really was thought out with it in mind”. Especially the way you can see a trap mechanisms through walls and have to follow them to the turn off switch.

        As for the turning off QTE: it *is* nice gesture, and I’m sorry I’ll sound like a wet blanket, but really, as with the XP (scoring, as we can see the character progression is still in) removal, it really looks like going after a symptom rather than a cause to feel (and make others feel) like you’re doing something about an issue.

        • analydilatedcorporatestyle says:

          Maybe a careful player and see the ‘wires’ and trace them back anyway after spotting something suspicious. Time will tell.

  23. analydilatedcorporatestyle says:

    Thief, fans are everywhere, ingame that is!

    I think we may be pleasantly surprised, it seems they are doing as they did with Deus Ex and listening!

    Time will tell but I’ve gone from I’m not buying this shit to mmmmm, interesting maybe!

  24. hemmingjay says:

    I am almost certain this game is going to be stuck in revision hell for some time. Getting rid of QTE is a HUGE improvement and it has ruined many otherwise great games for me, such as the Witcher series(yes, I know) and the otherwise impressive Xbox1 game, Ryse.

    The fact that the game is not freeform is troubling but not necessarily a deal breaker. If they organize it into free roam outside of missions, I can live with that. It doesn’t need to be the greatest game ever made, it simply has to be a good enough game to allow them to make a better one next time.

    • dogsolitude_uk says:

      If it’s any help, the first two games weren’t freeform, they were just one large level after another (wonderfully large and varied as well).

      This worked really well because the levels were wonderfully designed. The first Thief level had these gloomy atmospheric medieavel-style streets, with the odd gasmeter here and there, followed by some bits in a sewer, the cellar of a castle and the castle itself.

      Thief 3: Deadly Shadows had much smaller levels and a city hub, so it was kind of as you describe. That worked too as you could roam a bit and explore, but sadly the levels were rather small. Morrowind it wasn’t!

  25. impish says:

    I’m strongly in support of excising QTEs from all games. Bravo.

  26. Muzman says:

    This will mark me as a pessimist but on one hand it’s really nice they seem to be paying attention like this. On the other I’m slightly worried this means the game really needs that small preexisting audience to bite because it’s not very good.

    Hey, I said it was pessimistic.
    Alternately there’s the angle that all this contemporary “cinematic” QTE frippery that games have these days, that is routinely drubbed and scorned by just about everyone it seems, is actually pretty expensive in terms of time and effort. It must be.
    Nobody wants it except developers trying to keep up with the Joneses. Cut it out and save yourself a bunch of pain! Why has no one thought of this sooner?

    • analydilatedcorporatestyle says:

      Or it’s an existing fanbase that found different things they liked about a game and are all nostalgic and want to moan because their ‘perceived’ Thief hasn’t been remade.

      I’m stepping out of the ‘this is shite’ camp and into ‘I’ll judge it on its merits’

      • Muzman says:

        Well their perception is broadly pretty consistent in that it didn’t include quick-time events. and takedowns

  27. GeorgeB says:

    Finally a post that doesn’t seek to bury Thief.

    Thief is a tough property for RPS. It is a beloved PC franchise, and clearly you guys at RPS:HQ are hoping for the best, and have no compunction about letting us know your dismay towards most of what you have seen.

    I can’t think of a game that has received so much negative attention on RPS. The game itself sits in a snug overlapped corner of a RPS-writer Venn diagram that makes it almost impossible for this not to be the case, but I wonder if you folks could have approached writing about the game differently.

    Each article that comes out is somehow making me less inclined to trust your opinions. I’m not sure why, maybe it feels like bullying. Maybe because even with a gillion dollar budget, in the frame of RPS reviews, this game was always going to be an underdog.

    • dogsolitude_uk says:

      “Each article that comes out is somehow making me less inclined to trust your opinions. I’m not sure why, maybe it feels like bullying.”
      +1. My feelings exactly.

    • Stellar Duck says:

      Actually, the game was announced just about the time Deus Ex: Human Revolution was released and most people were cautiously optimistic at the time, given the success of HR of “getting it”.

      The real negative stuff started when they started to actually show what they were making. And rightly so! It looks absolutely terrible.

      • Grape Flavor says:

        What a bunch of revisionist nonsense. RPS, both the writers and the community, have had it in for this game from Day 1. There was no point at which anybody but a small minority was willing to give this game the slightest chance. It was called Thief, and because of that it had a uphill, near vertical battle for acceptance from the get go.

        It’s quite similar to Deus Ex: Human Revolution, actually, in that. I seem to be the only one here who clearly remembers all the whinging and moaning and nit-picking and nay-saying that dogged every little piece of coverage of that game all the way to release, upon which most people were forced to grudgingly accept that the game, while imperfect, wasn’t nearly as bad as they said it would be.

        I don’t know how Thief will turn out but I am hoping that this game follows a similar trajectory. When it comes out I will read a variety of reviews and evaluate the game on it’s own merits, not based on how strictly it adheres to the old games. The rest of you can do whatever you want.

        If history is any guide, if RPS gives a bad review the comments will explode with delighted glee that the game was confirmed to be just as bad as everybody was hoping it would be. If the game actually gets a neutral or positive review the comments will explode with bitter rage and disappointment and RPS will be called a bunch of dirty liars and sellouts and people will promise never to come back here again. (Well, that’s what happened with Splinter Cell: Blacklist, anyway, when RPS, to everyone’s horror, concluded that the game was far from the franchise-raping monstrosity the community was so looking forward to despising.)

        • fish99 says:

          Let me ask you this, if the game doesn’t stay true to the formula, what’s the point of calling it Thief, apart from to exploit people who fondly remember the original games?

          You’re wrong anyway, people became negative once they saw the game, and read the horrible things the devs were saying about how they were modernizing it. And you know what – that complaining has lead to many (although nowhere near enough) improvements to the game.

          I can’t wait until it’s your favourite franchise that’s getting raped.

      • drvoke says:

        I was cautiously excited about the new Deus Ex from its announcement and followed the forums regularly from back when it was nothing but some concept art. The devs kept an open line of communication to the forums because they knew how precious the property was to many people. There was grumbling, there were naysayers and negative Nellies, long before anything came out but it was clear to most people that those working on it had a fundamental understanding of what made the first game compelling, and addictive, really. To the point that a decade later people are still dropping 60hours every year to recapture the experience. My cautious excitement turned into relief, first when the press review copies inspired the press to almost universally make fully favorable comparisons to the first game. I was entirely mollified by the leaked review copy that wound up on the intertubes later, and it turned into a day one purchase. I have some huge complaints about it still, but I never felt shit upon. I’ve replayed it several times plus the DLC. GOTY 2012, as far as I’m concerned, even with its incredible faults (boss battles, the ending).

        Now, I did not have a PC capable of playing any of the Thief games when they were contemporary, and never revisited them, but this seems like a totally different situation. These people seem to be fully aware of how much this property means to fans, and it’s like they’re actively seeking to do injury to the fans memories and everything they loved about the game. Pretending like people shouldn’t judge a property in comparison to those properties it’s aping is just degenerate boot licking. So fans of the series, including our own RPS writers are urging people to be cautious but they should stop because a pc game news opinion site should only have one kind of opinion about games? Is that what I’m meant to be getting from all these spineless and gormless apologists here?

    • Revisor says:

      Pretty much everything the developers say or show about the game points to it not being true to the spirit of the first (two) games: Immersive simulation, patient gameplay with a lot of options, great subdued writing, in-world storytelling.

      Yes, there is much criticism against Thi4f. That’s because many things about it are shit. This QTE backtracking won’t improve the writing, won’t improve their love of expensive fancy mocapped cutscenes, won’t improve hand holding, focus mode, third person takedowns, whitelisted jumping and rope arrow hotspots etc.

      Stop calling this criticism “bullying”.

    • Emeraude says:

      Maybe because even with a gillion dollar budget, in the frame of RPS reviews, this game was always going to be an underdog.

      Not “even” but *because* of the gillion dollar, if anything. This game is taking what was, by modern standards, a relatively niche game and trying to pass it though the thus necessary AAA grinder to results that, so far, unsurprisingly, make it look at most like a bland experience that have little to do with the original games from a design standpoint.

      The issue is magnified by the very fact that the game being rebooted is a game that is critically *revered*.
      If that Casablanca sequel that has been rumored for quite a while had ended being directed by, say, Michael Bay, starring Samuel L. Jackson in the role of Sam and Jessica Alba as Ilsa Lund, people would be asking for blood.

      I’ve been repeating this question a lot these past few years, but what is the *point* of a gaming franchise if you cannot use it to evaluate what kind of game it is you are getting into ?

  28. dogsolitude_uk says:

    OK, so just to summarise:
    XP system is gone,
    QTEs have gone
    Focus is optional
    These are all good things, right?

    Is everyone here just having a dig at the new Thief game just because it’s cool? Did RPS all just get together and decide to run down Thief at every opportunity as a kind of ‘party line’? The relentless negativity towards this game is starting to grate, and sound rather desperate.

    Graham’s piece yesterday about it not having a ‘thing’ was a great example of snark for the sake of snark. And now everyone here seems to be complaining that Eidos is listening to fan feedback by removing a couple of unwanted quick-time elements.

    Personally, I’m going to wait for the reviews (PC Gamer, RPS, Edge, the usual suspects), if it looks OK, has plenty of thievery, darkness and sneaking, a few scares and generally looks to be what I’d expect a modern-day Thief game to be, I’ll buy it. So far it actually looks like it’s going in that direction after a bunch of crappy, badly handled design decisions. If it gets crappy reviews, I’ll wait for a sale and buy it out of curiosity to see what they did to it.

    I’m not a shill, I don’t work for Eidos or any other software/gaming company, I’m just someone who got into gaming through Thief: The Dark Project about 12 years ago, played all three games to death, and is willing to keep a bit of an open mind. you know, I hope it’s going to be good. I want it to be good. I’m also really pleased that Eidos are listening (even though I’m still cross with them about not having Steven Russell as Garrett).

    • The Random One says:

      I plan to wait for reviews as well, but RPS’ stance is: just because you’re eating a lot of fiber it doesn’t mean I should be glad that you’re shitting on me.

  29. Evilbrennan says:

    I registered to make this comment all the way from Canada, so you all had better love it.
    My theory for thus:
    In Thief 3, you find some poor lout impersonating you down to clumsy methods and using your good and spooky name. What you do with him is up to you, but knocking him out and leaving him in a rain barrel seems to be the usual outcome.
    This is the protagonist from the new series. You’ve taken on Garretts name and identity between the events of thief 2 and 3 and are a new and not terribly good burglar. This explains the new voice actor, different tone of the game, and way to approach missions. Of course, at the end of the game, a much better thief may upend you into a bucket of slop, but that’s half the fun.