Thief: Upgradable equipment, Focus and more detailed

Tuesday, 5th March 2013 23:27 GMT By Brenna Hillier

Eidos Montreal’s Thief re-introduces us to Garrett, as well as his hefty bag of tricks.

A next-gen Thief reboot was revealed by GameInformer’s latest cover today, and as usual, NeoGAF has managed to harvest details from the magazine’s coverage.

True to the franchise’s roots, the report notes that Thief protagonist Garrett can’t handle fights with groups of guards. Guards will actively search hiding places if alerted, and different kinds of enemies use different search methods.

The player is guided by navigation beacons, but are free to explore at will, so each area has multiple entrances and exits. Using an ability called Focus allows the player to spot interactive objects like climbable pipes and extinguishable light sources. The ability can be upgraded to increase its area of effect. Focus highlights attack points on enemies, and selecting the right one results in a shove which unbalances them, allowing the player a little longer to escape. Stringing attack points together buys even more time.

Focus can also slow time, allowing Garrett more chances to pickpocket. every drawer in the game can be opened and raided; fingerprints show which ones are most likely to hold loot. Money is spent to upgrade supplies and equipment at mission end. Garrett can also steal artefacts, which have no gameplay value but can decorate his den.

Garrett is equipped with a blackjack for knocking guards out; a bow which has many tactical uses; special arrows like dry-ice to snuff candles and smoke to provide cover; and a grappling hook which can only be used on certain objects.

Game director Nicolas Cantin designed Garrett’s new look; his scar indicates the effects of his past. Eidos Montreal is hoping to stay faithful to the franchise’s history and lore, and spent a long time working in the conceptual phase with a small team. During development, it tried a number of ideas like going third-person or introducing parkour. It has most of the gameplay mechanics in place now, but is still working on combat, trying to make it risky but enjoyable for players who want to pursue that path.

Story wise, Eidos Montreal is toning down the supernatural side of things. Garrett returns to the city after a long time away to find it ruled by a tyrannical Baron. Keeping the plebs in order via military might, the Baron ensures only the elite prosper, while a plague ravages the city. It sounds a bit like Dishonored so far, but notably our hero isn’t out to get revenge or save the day, though; he sees the political climate as a chance to get rich.

The game begins with Garrett finding his way to the Stonemarket district by hiding in the back of a covered wagon, and overhears a conversation about Theodore Eastwick, the city’s foremost architect and a very wealthy man. The gossiping guards say Eastwick is off to an elite brothel called the House of Blossoms.

In the gameplay demo GameInformer saw, the player made Garrett crouch behind crates, which triggers a darkening of the screen to indicate successful stealth. The player threw a bottle to distract the guards, then climbed a pipe to a roof; he traversed rooftops, ran over merchant stalls, slinked under wagon and jumped through a window on his journey to follow Eastwick into the House of Blossoms.

Inside the brothel, Garrett loses sight of Eastwick among the crowds, but overhears a character minding the entrance say that security is tight and valuables must be left in the office strongbox. Garrett can then find out where Eastwick is headed by checking the office logbook, but stops to rob the strongbox. The lock must be picked via a mini-game, but Garrett is interrupted.

Rolling into a dark corner, the player escaped detection, and took the contents of the safe. Unable to leave via the door, the player found a hidden passageway, and escaped into the House of Blossoms to track down Eastwick. After stealing an amulet from the architect, Garrett entered “Focus”, allowing the player to see that Eastwick is examining a wall with a symbol matching the amulet. This triggers a puzzle sequence across four rooms, which when solved, activates the medallion somehow – but soon after, Eastwick notices the amulet is gone and a search is ordered.

Sneaking through back passages, Garrett overhears staff talking about an incident involving opium in the ventilation system. Using this idea, he puts everyone in the building to sleep, and escapes by holding his breath and sprinting through. Confronted by guards outside, the players used a bow to make a statue fall, crushing two guards. When grabbed by a surviving enemy, the player used Focus to slow time, then fought the guard, grappled to a nearby vent, and escaped into the sewers.

As noted previously, NeoGAF also dug up a handful of screenshots which are likely to remain GameInformer exclusives for some time.

Thief is due on PC, PlayStation 4 and another platform which will almost certainly turn out to be Microsoft’s next console in 2014.

Thanks, Gematsu.



  1. Erthazus

    I’m mad. Thief for console and casual players.

    – Focus mode because “I’m idiot and I don’t know what to use and etc.”

    Slow modes… Jesus, what have you done with the Thief series…

    – Compass “i’m idiot and I don’t know where to go”

    They said that there will be also an instant save feature so that “Modern Players” could load the save and continue from that moment.

    Man… Well, yeah. Assassins Creed and dishonored in first person, great. It’s not a Thief game, it’s a freakin Call Of Duty… with a bow…

    #1 2 years ago
  2. Brenna Hillier

    I have to admit it doesn’t sound as faithful as I’d like. Hitman: Absolution didn’t meet my expectations and I’d hate to see a repeat of that.

    On the bright side, Dishonored remains awesome?

    #2 2 years ago
  3. Erthazus

    Man, i’m so mad… I hope this game will never see the light of day. I know it’s a reboot, but that’s so depressing to see.

    #3 2 years ago
  4. Hunam

    The Focus stuff is just stupid super powers rearing their head into things again. Like the stuff in Hitman.

    #4 2 years ago
  5. Soong

    Focus sounds really shit. Shame that the market reality dictates that they need to appeal to Call of Duty and Madden players, dumbing it right down. Thief: Absolution anyone?

    #5 2 years ago
  6. Erthazus

    They are using Focus stuff in all their games. Tomb Raider, Hitman, Deus Ex… Now Thief. Pointless cheat that ruins the experience especially in something like Thief.

    There was Focus in thief 3 but you could use it on silhouettes only and it was meh.

    #6 2 years ago
  7. Night Hunter

    Over reacting much?

    #7 2 years ago
  8. tontsa91

    I’m very sad to hear this. It seems like this is going to be just like Dishonored. Yet another “stealth” game for console audiences. I had trust in Eidos :( This had so much potential. I might still get this because Square Enix makes the best PC ports.

    I did somewhat enjoy Dishonored.

    #8 2 years ago
  9. Ali

    Reboot ≠ Remake

    #9 2 years ago
  10. YoungZer0

    @3: You’re a fucking asshole.

    #10 2 years ago
  11. Fin

    “I like games.

    I hate when they change.

    Apart from established franchises, I hate when they don’t change.”

    Fucking hypocrites.


    Like Call of Duty? So you’ll play it for 500 hours? Man, that sucks.



    #11 2 years ago
  12. apollyonbob

    I think somebody doesn’t remember that important things had different lighting in Thief. Hell, in Thief 3, they had to add a slight glow probably because they couldn’t do the lighting thing. When the glow broke on certain items, you basically had to have a walk through to know where the loot was because while it was literally in plain sight, it looked completely identical to the objects that weren’t lootable. But for the ones that worked? Yeah, they glowed.

    Also, I don’t know if you are aware of this, but the concept of quick save has been around a long time on the PC. A really long time. Like, say, since the original Thief long time.

    You know, if you remove the rose-tinted glasses of nostalgia, you might find it easier to see reality.

    #12 2 years ago
  13. FrayJoker

    Well this sounds fantastic. I was a huge fan of Deus Ex Human Revolution, so I’m looking forward to seeing what Eidos Montreal make of the Victorian setting. I also like what I’m hearing in terms of keeping the lore intact, as well as the return of the cosh and trick arrows. The idea of Garret only interested in turning a profit in bad old times elicited a chuckle from me as well.

    As for focus mode. I understand that stealth is a niche genre that’s difficult for all but the most dedicated of gamers and features like that mean more can enjoy a great game. I also remember games in which I’d get lost, where my next move would be a walkthrough, so I don’t mind mission markers. It sounds like there’s going to be a lot of flexibility in approach anyway. Autosave has been standard for a while now, and I tend to think it’s better than alternatives.

    Not to mention Eidos Montreal put an option in DXHR to remove environmental highlighting at fan request. I’m fairly certain a “push x to see what you’re doing” feature can be avoided by not pressing x.

    I’d be dubious too if it was anyone but Eidos Montreal, but after they proved themselves with DXHR, I have faith in them. They’re true to the franchises we love, and they listen to fan response. They make good damn games.

    And would you look at that? I’m not being a dick about it.

    #13 2 years ago
  14. Erthazus

    @12, If I remember correctly, SAVE thing was limited. At least in first Thief.

    I don’t remember if you could Save all the time. I need to check that out again, but Glowing thing on most of the items was unnecessary really. I didn’t said that it was horrible, it’s just meh. Thief reboot will have Focus on enemies and stuff. That is just bad design choice for a Thief game. Opinion obviously.

    #14 2 years ago
  15. apollyonbob

    @14 You don’t remember correctly. But that’s not surprising considering Thief 1 came out in 1998. You realize that’s fifteen goddamn years ago right?

    Things have changed. And not for the worse, to be honest. If you actually remember Thief, you’ll remember standing in a corner of a room, obviously in plain sight, but you happen to be in the tiny patch of “shadow” that was formed from poor geometry as much as planning, while a guard stood next to you, running into you going “Where’s that taffer at!?!”

    I submit to you that maybe it would be worth giving the devs a chance instead of literally wishing that their project, the thing into which they pouring so much effort, work and talent, dies before you have even seen the thing.

    #15 2 years ago
  16. Erthazus

    @15, Maybe you are right, I just want a thief game and not something like Dishonored or Assassins Creed game. Cheers.
    I’m tired of all the compass, focus thing in games.

    #16 2 years ago
  17. Blandock

    As long as this Focus doesn’t show enemies behind walls, I’m good.

    #17 2 years ago
  18. DeyDoDoughDontDeyDough

    Guys, guys, guys. In Hitman, you could turn off ‘focus’ by cranking up the difficulty. Not turning it off then complaining about it is retarded. The option is there to make the game how YOU want it; that you didn’t use it is your problem. I’m sure Thief will be no different, and like Hitman, there will be additional rewards for going the harder route.

    Really, I don’t see your problem.

    #18 2 years ago
  19. Max Payne

    @18 This

    #19 2 years ago
  20. Dave Cook

    @16 just don’t use them surely? or am I missing a bigger picture here.

    As someone who couldn’t afford a decent pc back in the day I missed the Thief series but I love stealth games. as a fan of Tenchu I know all about tough stealth games and the joy they bring. Focus mode and compasses don’t phase me at all. I just won’t use them, just like I chose not to take Tenchu’s magic items on missions.

    Just be thankful we haven’t seen Garrett wielding a gun yet.

    I cannot wait to play this. I’m genuinely excited. Bring it on.

    #20 2 years ago
  21. hives

    I don’t care about Focus. I just won’t use it. And maybe – like in Human Revolution – we’ll be able to turn some “easy mode elements” off.

    I just want to sneak, steal and use water arrows :P I like how the story is about just Garret seeing opportunity to get rich, heh.

    #21 2 years ago
  22. Dave Cook

    @21 it’s cool isn’t it? I love anti-heroes :D

    #22 2 years ago
  23. roadkill

    Erthazus is right, this is kind of sad. It’s OK if they want to introduce that feature (focus) to help the retards a little bit but it would be nice if there would also be a normal mode for people with a decent level of intelligence.

    #23 2 years ago
  24. Edo

    I wont steal from NeoGAF anymore,I promise…………

    #24 2 years ago
  25. viralshag

    Sounds fine to me. Nostalgia ruining the day as usual.

    #25 2 years ago
  26. Gheritt White

    @25: +1. Goddamn whiny fucking fanboys..

    #26 2 years ago
  27. The_Red

    That is not the case. Some these changes go against everything that Thief stands for. Tenchu, Hitman and Thief were all stealth games but they all had unique ingredients. Changing those ingredients in favor of studio mandates has nothing to do with nostalgia.

    #27 2 years ago
  28. UuBuU

    This sounds disappointingly shit ~ I hate all that handholding crap so much that this has changed my mind about even purchasing the game.

    It looks like the first two Thief games will remain untouchable as the pinnacle of the stealth genre.

    #28 2 years ago
  29. Erthazus

    @Dave, Tenchu had amazing music, but it’s stealth was nothing compared to Thief.

    Thief is about stealth and not STEALTH ACTION like most games these days. You are playing a guy who can’t do shit in close battles and that’;s what I want from a Thief game.

    I don’t want ACTION Stealth game, I want STEALTH only and that’s why I loved Thief 1-2 and even third one. Third game had issues.

    Look, we have a lot of Stealth-action games. In fact 99% of them thse days are only Stealth game with action. I want one game that don’t have “Action” in it. Thief should be that. IMO

    #29 2 years ago

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