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Thief dev wants getting spotted to have real consequences

Tuesday, 18th June 2013 05:38 GMT By Brenna Hillier

If you get caught by guards in Thief, you won’t just be able to hole up in a nearby bin and wait out the alert; if you don’t know the level layouts you could be in a lot of trouble.

“We are limiting your escape options and you really have to think about consequences of the enemy,” lead level designer Daniel Windfeld Schmidt told Shack News in a Q&A.

“There are hiding spots where you can go where guards are less likely to search. We have a lot of these mechanics where you can get away, but it takes a while to teach. In the demos we have shown, there are a lot of things going on at the same time. You don’t have to be perfect. Guards will give up after a while if they can’t find you. You can also use focus combat to take out a guard or two as needed.”

As you’d expect from Thief, stealth isn’t a matter of standing in a shadow and turning invisible, but an analog state with no real “safe” setting.

“There is this middle state as well where you are kind of exposed. There are several states and the analog value comes from how the eye works. Are you moving, are you standing up, are you crouching. A lot of this matters in how we detect you,”

“And peripheral vision is involved. If a guard sees something move out there, he is going to look in that direction. It is a much more slow reaction if they aren’t sure, but if you are right in front of them, they will react much faster.”

Garrett has access to a short burst of speed to get out of danger if a guard has partially spotted him, but this will only be available in small amounts; it won’t allow you to run around in the open or zoom away if you’ve caused an alert.

Of course, old school fans know the best tactic is not to get spotted in the first place, and Schmidt confirmed the game can be fully ghosted, which will reward skilled players with achievements.

“You can complete the game without killing anybody, or without knocking anybody out, or without causing an alert. In the demo we are showing, at the end there is a tally screen that show you completed the mission without knocking anyone out or killing anyone – and a second one: completed without causing any alerts,” he said.

The full Q&A has plenty more juicy info, and is just the latest info dump the stealth-’em-up has produced; here’s another from the Eidos community.

Thief is due on PC, PlayStation 4 and Xbox One in 2014.

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3 Comments

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  1. The_Red

    Ok, let’s see how well that bodes with the execs and most importantly, the “focus testing” groups.

    #1 10 months ago
  2. SplatteredHouse

    What are you talking about? They said those features, those characteristics will be in there. Indeed, they’re hard-wired into the game. Strip them out, and you end up with something very different.

    #2 10 months ago
  3. TheWulf

    @2

    Except that you’re completely wrong. When this hits focus testing groups, it’ll result in the AI being dumbed down and workarounds shoddily slapped into place for people who don’t like the ‘crushing levels of difficulty.’ This is why I’ve often railed against how difficulty settings aren’t granular enough. I’d prefer to have the AI as it’s meant to be.

    Take Deus Ex: Human Revolution as an example. You didn’t need to be detected because you could knock someone out — then someone else would come over to investigate, and you’d knock them out, too. Soon enough you’d have a twenty-high body pile. Another would come over to inspect this pile, and you’d knock them out, too. Hooray.

    See, not one of those guards in DX:HR thought that that giant pile of bodies was somewhat suspicious, and that maybe they should investigate with gun raised, rather than setting aside their gun and leaning down to try and wake up the pile. It was an intentional flaw in the AI to make the game easier. Dishonored had the same ‘flaw,’ Thief will have it, too.

    And don’t you dare tell me that it’s a limitation of the system, because the AI in the original two Thief games was smarter than that. Even the AI in the DarkMod is smarter than that. And that’s a mod, developed by amateurs.

    Now don’t get me wrong, I actually thought DX:HR was okay. It wasn’t brilliant, and it wasn’t as good as DX or even DX:IW, but it was okay. I enjoyed it for what it was, and I loved that it tackled with transhuman issues. That’s cool. But the fact of the matter is is that the AI clearly had elements to it which were developed to make the game easier. Such as the body-pile scenario mentioned above.

    I’ve seen too many instances of the body pile scenario to actually believe that this game’s AI will operate any differently. The AI is likely going to be very easy to get around with similar tricks, and that will be entirely intentional. Until I’ve seen with my own eyes that this isn’t the case, I won’t believe otherwise.

    But again, you didn’t even need to get detected in DX:HR, because not getting detected in the first place was so damned easy. In fact, the only thing that was hard about DX:HR is that the camera alarms were quiet, and there it felt like they were creating artificial difficulty which is based around taking advantage of disabled people as opposed to actually creating difficulty.

    But yes, DX versus DX:HR? DX has by far the better AI. Thief versus Dishonored? The original Thief has the better AI. The original Thief versus this game? I’d be willing to bet that the original Thief will have better AI than this game. It’s not worth talking about consequences for getting caught when getting caught will likely be almost impossible in the first place. So I take this with a grain of salt.

    Maybe I can’t take them seriously because Garrett still looks like he was designed by a child who still thinks ‘ninjas are kewl.’ Maybe that’s what it is. I just don’t have a lot of faith in them.

    We’ll see who’s right come release.

    #3 10 months ago