Thief development stymied by departures, setbacks, changes – rumour

Monday, 29th April 2013 00:23 GMT By Brenna Hillier

The industry is abuzz with rumours that Eidos Montreal has had a pretty rough time of it during development of the new Thief.

Polygon cites multiple anonymous sources for a report on the studio’s troubled recent history. According to the whisperers’ vague account, the development team was divided into cliques, and struggled with favouritism issues.

High turnover saw the lead and senior design roles changing rapidly, sometimes in less than two years. This allegedly meant the design changed substantially with each new appointment, and various factions within the studio battled for creative control. For example, the sources said the team was experiencing friction as recently as last year, when preparing the demo shown at GDC and for the Game Informer reveal; a series of sex scenes in the brothel section are said to have made animators quite uncomfortable, and were later cut.

The current version of the game is said to be very different from the original concept developed five years ago, which is not that unusual, but the sources also said the demo build isn’t representative of the actual game, in that it is missing features like AI. The demo has still not been shown to the public in either live or video form, allegedly because Eidos Montreal is unhappy with its quality.

The creative confusion and divided team, in combination with Square Enix’s apparent hands-off approach, are said to have blown out the game’s budget considerably and resulted in many staff leaving in disgust. Eidos Montreal has apparently been seeking additional funds from an international investment firm, although this is said to be common and unremarkable.

It’s all a bit vague and light on detail, probably due to the need for anonymity, so it’s difficult to judge how much concern the report should raise. Many big-budget games go through wild iteration in the long trudge to release, and a difficult property like Thief, with its mass-market unfriendly core tenets, seems a perfect candidate for a little bit of development hell.

Thief is expected on PC and next-generation consoles in 2014, and is expected to go on show at E3 2013.



  1. Francis O

    Next Gen baby!

    #1 2 years ago
  2. Erthazus

    It’s because of bad sales from previous Eidos games with SE as a publisher, Console development and stupid Thief changes for mainstream audience.

    I remember Deus Ex 1 for consoles. Console version was gimped and Deus Ex:human Revolution was a step down compared to the original game. Thief is going to be another Stealth-ACTION game for kids with a lot of cutscenes where Garret kicks ass with his bow and knife like a ninja… there was a reason why Thief 1,2 were never on consoles.

    #2 2 years ago
  3. Phoenixblight


    Read the actual article it has nothing to do with Square. THe studio is having issues, a lot of people butting heads on key decisions of the game. THey have no actual game but a prototype that was hammered out for a demo. I will be surprised if this game will launch. Its in development hell.

    “The creative confusion and divided team, in combination with Square Enix’s apparent hands-off approach, are said to have blown out the game’s budget considerably and resulted in many staff leaving in disgust”

    #3 2 years ago
  4. ps3fanboy

    developers butting heads and the budget blown away… there is two thing that can happen now. this game will not be released or if it get released, it will end up as another bad game like alien marines…

    #4 2 years ago
  5. Superfrog

    @3: “Read the actual article it has nothing to do with Square.”

    Well, Square Enix runs and pays for the studio. It has everything to do with them. The article also mentions “lack of publisher oversight” which sums it up perfectly. Seems like the hands-off approach failed badly.

    #5 2 years ago
  6. Phoenixblight


    Some studios it works, some studios it doesn’t. Eidos Montreal is just not a good studio just look at the fact that they outsourced one of the main component of HR to another studio.

    Then you see Sleeping Dogs and the hands off approach worked perfectly the same for Tomb Raider. Granted it does allow for too much bloat in development and why those two games can’t make a profit. THis development with Thief will show Square complete hands off doesn’t work. I will be surprised if it will ever actually launch. Its barely in development from all the sources that are coming out.

    #6 2 years ago
  7. The_Red

    Going over budget while the game is still ways off means only one thing: Even 5 million sales will be probably labeled as a failure by SE execs.

    #7 2 years ago
  8. fearmonkey

    I don’t care how long it takes, just make it good! I think it’s a better choice for next gen than current gen anyway, though I havent seen anything in the screens that a current gen console couldnt play without some dumbing down.

    #8 2 years ago
  9. Phoenixblight


    The only reason why its going on next gen is because its not in development. The “demo” they showed a month or so ago was rushed to put together using a heavily modified Unreal 3. THe people that played the game couldn’t tell if it was actual gameplay or it was heavily scripted and that it had to be ran on a super PC because of it being inefficient. Square would be wise to close shop on this project. Its been 4 years and it has nothing to show for the time it has been in development.

    #9 2 years ago
  10. Edo

    Oh dear….

    #10 2 years ago

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