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Thief development team had hurdles to overcome when designing its combat

Tuesday, 25th June 2013 16:50 GMT By Stephany Nunneley

Thief’s senior producer Stephane Roy has told OPM that combat in the game was a challenge for the team at Eidos Montréal.

Speaking with the site, Roy said that early in development, the studio play tested the series’ original style of fighting original style of direct fighting, and found it didn’t work.

“A lot of people, a menagerie of people, told us okay, ‘it doesn’t work. Ten years later, that type of gameplay doesn’t work’, said Roy. “I don’t know if you remember with the previous game? Let’s say I’ve been detected; it was really, really tough to survive. You know? It was unforgiving. Game over.”

The team then tried to do something different, but the hurdle to jump was the fact that Garret is a thief, not a soldier, nor is he a killer. Therefore, the team had to come up with a combat mechanic that let you fight back, without detracting from Garret’s character.

“How do we design something [so] that you will feel you can protect yourself, but at the same time I don’t want to see you going into the middle of the garden, into the light, and [unsheathing sword sound] ‘come on, man!’.

“Don’t try to kill them, just try to push them or make sure they are disabled. Don’t finish the job, just get the fuck out. How we used to play games ten years ago and how we play games today is different. So that’s why we are supporting this new way to play”.

Thief will release on PC, current and next-gen consoles simultaneously in 2014.

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9 Comments

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  1. UuBuU

    I dont want to know that I can always protect myself if I get spotted. That sort of undermines the whole point of a stealth game. I should feel vulnerable. There should be times where if youre spotted, youre completely screwed

    #1 10 months ago
  2. Stardog

    The more I hear about this the worse it sounds. Hopefully they learn from Hitman/Tomb Raider that pandering to the lowest common denominator doesn’t work.

    #2 10 months ago
  3. SplatteredHouse

    I’d sooner see them sort out the AI, before anything else! :o This Thief has more to scope out, than combat. Although, that also now is beginning to sound bad…Have a look at this:
    “Despite Thief being in development for next generation hardware, the E3 demo suffered from distinctly last generation artificial intelligence.

    It was possible to stand immediately next to an extinguished torch while a guard walked over to relight it – and remain completely undetected until the fire was burning again.

    Even standing eye-to-eye, so long as the stealth indicator said you were in the shadows then guards would remain oblivious.”

    also
    “had I not been holding a PlayStation 4 controller while playing, the game could have easily been mistaken for something releasing on the current generation of hardware.”

    source: http://www.digitalspy.co.uk/gaming/news/a492521/thief-hands-on-preview-franchise-reboot-left-in-the-shadows-e3-2013.html

    #3 10 months ago
  4. TheWulf

    Yep. I pretty much agree with all of the above.

    Plus, they left all of the aesthetics of prior games out of this one, too, in order to be a Dishonored wannabe. And, whilst this might catch me some flack, Dishonored wasn’t exactly great. It was okay, yes, but it was no Human Revolution. It was average at best in a lot of ways, and some of the abilities (especially the teleporting) just felt cheesy.

    I don’t want an average game which I’ll lose interest in about half way through, I want a good Thief game, damn it! I want a good Thief game like the ones I played to completion. I want a Thief game which has brilliant AI, which isn’t afraid to screw you over if you make a stupid move, and a Thief game which has at least better than substandard AI.

    And no, being able to detect a person through walls is just another way of AIs being stupid. That’s not an acceptable way to make a game harder. It’s sad that Thief was so much better, all those years ago. I’ve even replayed it recently and it’s just… stunning, really. It’s stunning how bad the AI of Dishonored was compared to it.

    The DarkMod is, in all honesty, far, far better.

    I just want a good Thief game, with good Thief aesthetics. I’d pay good money for that. Why is that so much to ask? I don’t want a game about cold, grey steel. If I wanted that, I’d play Dishonored, or I’d find a boring looking Sci-Fi game and play it on a greyscale telly. I want Thief. And this has nothing about Thief in it…

    This is what bugs me about IP rape. IP rape is taking an IP that promises ingenuity, cleverness, and brilliant aesthetics, and then creating a game with the same name that has none of those things.

    Sigh.

    I just wish someone like Frictional would do a spiritual successor to Thief. I know I keep saying it, but they have the perfect engine. All they need is decent AI and a suitably unique setting.

    I don’t hate on games intentionally, but really… this is about a character that kids who never grew out of ninjas would think is “kewl,” in a completely unchallenging setting devoid of culture. And it’ll likely be even more devoid than Dishonored, if I have it pinned down right. And no, lots of text/dialogue doesn’t make something interesting or creative. Being interesting and creative does.

    Rassum frassum.

    Howzabout a Thief in a teslapunk/atompunk setting? Thieves with rayguns! I mean, why not? It’d be fun to have clunky, gaudily coloured robo-golem policemen that stomped around making ‘nee naw’ sounds, wouldn’t it? Or is that just me? Sometimes I think my own leanings towards novelty are a curse.

    #4 10 months ago
  5. karma

    These guys are still saying all the wrong things.

    You cannot remake Thief into a modern accessible game, where every player can choose to play the game how he/she wants, because all of the mechanics that made the original Thief games good are not newb friendly game mechanics. With the originals, you played the game how the designers intended it to be played or you rage quit like I did my first time playing. Only to come back several days later and have it all click into place, when I realised the enemy A.I wasn’t there to be slaughtered by the dozens.

    #5 10 months ago
  6. The_Red

    “A lot of people, a menagerie of people, told us okay, ‘it doesn’t work. ”

    WRONG. It does work and this is not from a distant memory. I bought the Thief collection on Steam 6 months ago, tried them and they were as mindblowingly awesome as ever (If anything, they made the modern stealth games feel more boring than they already did).

    #6 10 months ago
  7. Max Payne

    @3 That reminds of Deus Ex human revolution development.
    At first it was suppose to be PC only with huge world that couldn’t be done on consoles. Then it was reveal that it will be on consoles but not for PC. Then PC version was outsourced.

    Thief was also supposed to be next gen only but all of a sudden its on current gen also…

    #7 10 months ago
  8. fearmonkey

    “Let’s say I’ve been detected; it was really, really tough to survive. You know? It was unforgiving. Game over.”

    Yes. that’s kind of the point of a Stealth game. The game isn’t called Assassin, it’s called Thief. Garret isn’t supposed to be able to handle a freaking guard, he has to use his wits and abilities to survive. He could Kill, but he didn’t need to, and if I died after screwing up, I got to try again and do it right, and that gave me a satisfaction that killing wouldnt do.

    Playing though The Deus ex games not killing anyone is a favorite of mine, I hope I can do it in this new game. I am very concerned they have changed what I loved about the series, please be good. This isnt Dishonored.

    #8 10 months ago
  9. xxJPRACERxx

    “A lot of people, a menagerie of people, told us okay, ‘it doesn’t work. ”

    Yeah… Probably young kids that never played a Thief game before but probably are really good at COD.

    #9 10 months ago