In rebooting Thief, Eidos Montreal wanted to move away from steampunk and more towards a modern-feeling metropolis which still feels grounded in a believable fantasy time period.
Director Nicolas Cantin told GameInformer the shift in Thief’s palette from warmer tones to cooler one was quite deliberate.
“The art style of steampunk is golden and wood – see Wild Wild West with Will Smith. It’s something we really want to get rid of. We’re really more about rusty stuff where you see the welding,” he said.
The architecture of the City is a blend of medieval and Victorian.
“The first goal was to avoid feeling [like you're] in a village, a small town. My goal was to do a metropolis,” Cantina dded.
“Something really modern even though it fits in an old time.”
The City, which is quite likely to bring about that old cliche about being as much a character as the protagonist, is a dark place, but instead of piling on shadows as in earlier games, Eidos Montreal both obscures and illuminates its streets with an ever-present fog.
“Fog helps us to light the whole game. If you have a dark scene in a back alley, you just put fog in it and then you see the silhouette. You’re never in the pitch dark,” Cantin said.
“The fog is there for the mood but also for helping the player to see.”
Thief is expected on PC and next-generation consoles in 2014.