To some, the Thief series is the holy grail of tense, first person experiences. Where every movement and action is vital to survival and one single hiccup can turn a simple heist into sudden death.
This is why there has been so much controversy surrounding the upcoming reboot and fans have been up in arms at the apparent simplicity of a certain gameplay demo shown at E3 and a lot of announcements that have scarred the community deeply. Thief has always carried a ‘hardcore’ experience tag and turning that into something resembling Bioshock/Dishonored to garner the younger gaming crowd, was a huge no-no.
So far, everything from the aesthetics of Garrett to the technical aspects of the game have been picked at. Long time Thief players hated the way Garrett now looks a little too goth, although on comparison from earlier titles, there’s not too much of a difference. The original voice actor was changed from the long serving, Stephen Russell, to Assassin’s Creed 2 mo-cap actor, Romano Orzari in which a petition was started to rectify. Eidos Montreal wanted to hold onto Russell, but unfortunately, it was for nostalgic reasons and they had to let him fade into the shadows.
The developers had the typical modern gaming staple of an XP system in place too, but that was tossed to the dogs after more complaints that Garrett was a master thief and should be skillful enough in the first instance. That is a good point to be honest and the mechanic was removed in place of a tool based skill-set instead.
Now, the issues surrounding QTEs have been resolved, being pushed out of a high window and dying a messy, yet motiveless death on the cobbles below. Thiefophiles should be a little happier to accept the game next year, although I’m not sure how all these changes have affected the base game. It seems as though, by changing so much, that the February 2014 deadline for Thief is still on track. But with so many tweaks, will it be fully working on launch?
It’s nice that developers have learned from the past generation, that fans are almost venomous when it comes to messing up their favourite IP’s (see Mass Effect 3) and they’ve generously changed their vision to try and match the one that the public wants. I’m sure that there will still be dummies spat and crossbows thrown out the pram, but maybe it’s time to let Eidos get on with it or we’ll all end up having to replay the originals until the end of time because you just wouldn’t settle down.
With a Hardcore mode to be implemented that allows sneak thieves to customise the experience, you can ramp up the tension by turning on ‘Ironman’ mode. This allows you to tiptoe through the
tulips dingy streets of the City with one life only, throwing you back to the very start if you happen to be caught on the pointy end of the law. Add to that the spectacularly named ‘If the enemy detects you, you die’ option, you can play through the entire game at the mercy of your own footsteps and choices, blaming only yourself for your miserable failures… I like it, it sounds like 80’s gaming all over again.
With nothing more to moan at (hopefully), Thief is shaping up to be a pretty tight game and will appear behind you, holding a nasty dagger to your throat in February 2014.