After ages and ages of (oddly fitting) silence, Eidos Montreal's Thief reboot finally saw fit to break cover last month, shadows still coiled tight about it like a snake ready to strike. And yet, something seemed ever so slightly off. Adam remarked, among other things, that the demo he saw seemed a bit too scripted, and as it turns out, there may well have been a very problematic reason for that. According to a large, rather troubling report from Polygon, development troubles have left Square Enix with a half-finished game and some tough decisions to make going forward.
Apparently, the project's had difficulty holding onto leads and senior-level talent, resulting in multiple, conflicting visions and many do-overs of entire sections and gameplay mechanics. Last year, however, Square finally put its foot down on the promotional pedal, so - if sources are to be believed - the entire studio spent 10 months working on the recent press demo. Meanwhile, the game itself languished, leaving it in a rather unenviable position.
"The current version of Thief barely resembles the initial concept, says a source. The vertical slice doesn't load inside Thief's current heavily modified version of Unreal Engine 3. Many programming tricks were necessary to run the current demonstration, like turning off non-playable character AI — the engine has trouble when too many characters are on screen."
And with Thief's development process coming up on its fifth birthday, Square's itching to have something in the wild - especially in light of recent financial troubles due to hilarious overestimations of what even its brightest stars would sell. Naturally, the publisher has declined to comment on this alleged turn of events.
If, however, Polygon's report holds water, the prognosis certainly sounds grim - and not in the just-goth-enough, "edgy" way Square is hoping for. As of now, Thief's scheduled to release sometime next year. I wish Eidos Montreal the best, as it sounds like they have a lot of work ahead of them.