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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.

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Nathan Grayson

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