Thief's Risky Reboot

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Thief's Risky Reboot

The forced evolution of the franchise may do more harm than good.

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You know, I didn't even really think about the ninja mask thing because it seemed so juvenile, but thinking about that and the motion capture, I'm starting to think that the Thi4f team is staffed by blocks of wood.

The whole motion capture thing I had not heard of. This does not fill me with faith now. And I was do looking forward to this game.

Excellent Article. I think Robert Rath and Shamus Young are the two reasons I continue to visit the Escapist.

Are publishers and developers really buying into the whole "Incredible Technology and Polygons and Graphics equals deep characters and emotions?" These tools and devices have LONG since surpassed my expectation of quality. Motion capture, superfluous and over long cut scenes, diamond edge bajillion polygon models.. yes, they are pretty, but still, they are merely tools. If you use just a hammer when trying to carve an intricate relief or delicate statue, you are going to leave a dusty mess of worthless garbage. Far too many games are falling into this trap.

Give me rock solid mechanics, engaging gameplay, a character or two I can actually get invested in, a compelling story, and you have me hook line and sinker.

Game makers seemed to hit panic mode in recent years, where everyone either jumped ship to make smartphone games or decided massive budget games that wanted to be Call of Duty were the sole method of success, and the only thing in between were indie games.

Great piece as usual.

I was floored to hear on the Jimqusition the other day that Resident Evil 6 had a development staff of 600 and somehow expected that to work out. It's demented what's going on in these companies.

I empathize with the Thief fans on this one. I'm not happy about the same decision being made for Splinter Cell: Blacklist. Michael Ironside IS Sam Fisher. such a shame.

JUMBO PALACE:
I empathize with the Thief fans on this one. I'm not happy about the same decision being made for Splinter Cell: Blacklist. Michael Ironside IS Sam Fisher. such a shame.

Same exact reason too...

A lot less backlash than Thief though...

So now we will need like, Hollywood actors, so they can deliver the whole performance act at once... Now that will be cheap (NOT). Really, I think it's really ok to do the game's storytelling via animations and such (important observation bellow), but heck, why no just dub over the dude doing the mo cap?

Obs: I NEVER played any Thief game, but I can totally get the argument of "the drawings gave it a special mood", however, I think they can live TOGETHER, sorta like in The Witcher, you had both animations and stylized drawings. As I said, I never played Thief, and maybe this game wouldn't work that way. All in all, I'm in favor of keep the fucking mood alive. Hitman's latest game was awesome as a game, but crap as a Hitman game, they killed the mood of being a pro assassin, in my opinion, by integrating a bunch of linear levels that only required you to get through point A to point B, or simplistic assassination missions that gave away all the neat possibilities and studying of previous games in order to enhance story (which is nice, but I don't see why they should exclude one another).

Perhaps the need to spend money on things that don't add fun to the game, is an expression of the artistic nature of the artists? I mean we are told constantly that Games are Art. Art is not meant to be fun, but rather a pursuit of the extremes of communication.

I wonder, if perhaps this isn't a mirror in the game industry - an attempt to be cutting edge in order to effectively challenge the consumer. Games as art :)

More likely someone built a chart that showed how every time new tech was added sales increased - especially if it differentiated the game in some way (think being able to jump or aim your gun vs. dune where it mostly auto-targeted). The chart would show that continually pouring money in would lead to ever greater sales.

Just a guess - good artical Shamus.

This is a great article and it makes me reexamine my thoughts on choosing a different voice actor. I was initially okay with it, because hey it's a reboot and they should be allowed to change some stuff, but Wow they are doing it so they can use the guy in stunts? That is really retarded for all the reasons you pointed out. Thief was never about Cut scenes or action it was about sneaking around, stealing stuff and shooting lots of different kinda neat arrows.

I wonder how many sales Thief will need to be successful with all these expensive cut scenes then? I mean there where like 6 cut scenes maybe in the entirety of the first two games and I don't think the games really suffered for it. Also the apparent need for a stunt actor seems to me to suggest that all the acrobatic skills Garrett supposedly now has will be largely confined to the cut scenes rather than the gameplay.

JUMBO PALACE:
I empathize with the Thief fans on this one. I'm not happy about the same decision being made for Splinter Cell: Blacklist. Michael Ironside IS Sam Fisher. such a shame.

I feel you too. I haven't played Splinter Cell since Pandora Tomorrow but I can't picture any other voice for Fisher. Damn it devs stop messing with my stealth games.

carpathic:
Perhaps the need to spend money on things that don't add fun to the game, is an expression of the artistic nature of the artists? I mean we are told constantly that Games are Art. Art is not meant to be fun, but rather a pursuit of the extremes of communication.

I wonder, if perhaps this isn't a mirror in the game industry - an attempt to be cutting edge in order to effectively challenge the consumer. Games as art :)

More likely someone built a chart that showed how every time new tech was added sales increased - especially if it differentiated the game in some way (think being able to jump or aim your gun vs. dune where it mostly auto-targeted). The chart would show that continually pouring money in would lead to ever greater sales.

Just a guess - good artical Shamus.

Personally I think its more to do with too many people in development wanting to be movie directors. Peter Jackson does it so I must do it.

is it me or they forgot why thief 3 was a failure?

Thank you. You basically just said what I've been thinking and saying, but it's nice to be vindicated by someone professional.

I never played any of the Thief games. I wasn't around computers when the first 2 came out and my computer back in the day couldn't run the 3rd one. In other words, I'm indifferent to this series (although I like stealth games in general).

That said, I don't understand this way of doing remakes and sequels which barely have anything to do with the original(s). The last Splinter Cell is a bright example. Completely overdoing the main character (Devil May Cry, Max Payne) or the whole feel of the game (again, Max Payne and SC) - what's left of the original there? Why not just name the game something completely different? The publisher might AT LEAST score some positive points for coming out with a new IP.

Again, I didn't play Thiefs, but if the main points of Thief are lost, or at least in jeopardy... Than it's not Thief. I'm tired of those reboots and sequels which don't have anything to do with the originals.

BTW it's funny how nobody was bitching about the Tomb Raider reboot. Well because Lara never had any personality! The games were never any special! That's why when a 'proper' Tomb Raider game finally comes out, it's actually welcome. But to take an already great franchise and gut it to something unrecognizable - that's just fucking evil.

BTW Shamus, nice to have you on Esc again. Believe it or not, I've spent the last few weeks reading everything on your site from its beginning.

Spending piles of money to blow on stuff that doesn't make the game any more fun to play and alienates entrenched fan bases. Couldn't have said it better than myself.

Hubris and piles of wasted money popped the dotcom bubble and if this industry implodes, we'll know the reason why.

JUMBO PALACE:
I empathize with the Thief fans on this one. I'm not happy about the same decision being made for Splinter Cell: Blacklist. Michael Ironside IS Sam Fisher. such a shame.

The Deadpool:

JUMBO PALACE:
I empathize with the Thief fans on this one. I'm not happy about the same decision being made for Splinter Cell: Blacklist. Michael Ironside IS Sam Fisher. such a shame.

Same exact reason too...

A lot less backlash than Thief though...

Most fans gave up on the series when it became a shooter. I certainly did.

Every single announcement about Thief 4 makes me less and less excited.

I'm reminded of the Syndicate reboot; they took a critically-acclaimed RTS Shooter franchise & turned it into a bland FPS, alienating fans of the original & leaving players new to the series unimpressed
Thief was a critically acclaimed stealth game, based around going unseen, & they're turning it into something that involves motion-captured stuntmen...

Once again, I can't help but feel like publishers don't even have a clue what they're doing anymore

Sgt. Sykes:

BTW it's funny how nobody was bitching about the Tomb Raider reboot. Well because Lara never had any personality! The games were never any special! That's why when a 'proper' Tomb Raider game finally comes out, it's actually welcome. But to take an already great franchise and gut it to something unrecognizable - that's just fucking evil.

That's not quite true. I have no idea how many (if any) Tomb Raider games you've played before this reboot came along, but Lara now has three distinct incarnations with different personalities: the old Core Design one, the Legend/anniversary/underworld Lara (who arguably had waaaaaay too much personality) and the new one. The "personality" of video game characters is generally established through cutscenes, and Lara definitely had a bunch of cutscenes throughout the years. The fact that press coverage decided to ignore most of that to prop up the sexy angle is an entirely different thing. Most people are not bitching about the reboot because it was done well and the changes made to the gameplay were done in favor of going back to the original personality while trying to offer a "modern" affair. If anything, it shows that when the game design is planned in order to provide a specific experience rather than to cram as many focus-group gimmicks good things come out. Thief is being driven away from its template, not towards, and I agree with the outcry. It doesn't seem like anything is being added to benefit the series, but to add bullet points to the description, which soaring budgets as a side-effect. That's not the recipe for success.

If this game even once takes away control from me to show me Garret doing flips and kicks off walls. It gets a 0. A flat fucking failure.

If you want Dishonored with cutscenes, make Dishonored with cutscenes, don't sully the Thief franchise in an attempt to get the soft heads to play it. It should be a testament to how far up their own asses these devs/publishers have stuck their heads when even Dishonored did not resort to animated cutscenes. As far as I remember every action you took as Corvo was one you made in game. When the game you are ripping off (do a frame by frame comparison of their trailers you'll see) does a better Thief than the game bearing the Thief name then things have gone FUBAR.

I hope I am wrong. I hope I am SO wrong. However HR doesn't fill me with to many confidence, as much as that was a good game it wasn't Deus Ex. I just hope the Thief reboot won't be like Shitman: Abomination.

The more I know about the game, the more it makes me want to scream.

Dishonored was fine, it even was a great game, I also love Thief, now they're turning Thief into a Dishonored spin-off. I know it's not, but the way they're describing this whole affair, including scrapping the perfectly fine lore that was already established (for 3 games I might add), pretty much reeks of "Dishonored wannabe" bullshit.

I loved the shit out of Dishonoured and was very much looking forward to this game, having missed the previous installments in my youth... this news does not bode well.

I remember when Thief: Deadly Shadows came out. While I enjoyed the game, I missed the simple drawings used in Thief 1 and 2.

Captcha: fuddy - duddy

I guess I am. :(

I hate it that they (new Splinter Cell etc.) are trying to sell this idea that emotions and stunts are the reason for changing actors. Even though, as mentioned, in SC and in Thief we don't actually see the faces that much (or at all) during the action scenes or gameplay (thus most of the game) anyway.

Also they mostly record and dub voices later anyway, since it doesn't matter what the quality of graphics is there's always some problems (they do it even for movies for heaven's sake). Most of it is done by separate face and body capturing anyway.
And EVEN when you motion capture everything, there's a lot of post-processing that has to be done, it's not like you're doing a 2d cartoon and rotoscoping over film, you have take the data then have to fix it up and polish it so it looks right.

On another note, the usual complaint about voices is either that the voice sounds wrong (wrong actor), bad acting in general or that the syncing was messed up and all those can happen with motion capture as well. So it basically doesn't matter in that area.

I'd really like to see who the hell oversees the budget for these projects and says this is less expensive and that this (cutscense and animation motion capture) needs more money than actual gameplay because it's so noticeable (wasn't noticeable or as important for the last 30 years, but now it's crucial for some reason).
Also the equipment rental, studios, props, more actors, more time etc. is cheaper than animating? Really?

This new Thief game sounds like its going to be Assassins Creed (only in first person) with acted and mocapped cut scenes that don't need to be there.

I really hate to be that guy, but I feel this "console market" has ruined so many games and will continue to do so as long as the publishers continue to see it as a gold mine. It is not a gold mine, in fact its more like an oil well that is about 2/3 empty and is shrinking down to nothing, and fast.

The Deadpool:

JUMBO PALACE:
I empathize with the Thief fans on this one. I'm not happy about the same decision being made for Splinter Cell: Blacklist. Michael Ironside IS Sam Fisher. such a shame.

Same exact reason too...

A lot less backlash than Thief though...

Well Splinter Cell has always been an action oriented spy game where the array of moves and gadgets available is a selling point and while it is bizarre they cant continue producing SC games by the obviously massively obsolete technique of hiring competent animators the motion capture stuff could theoretically look better. In Thief however there really is no excuse, Thief games are based on tense and slow creeping about not feats of adrenaline gushing acrobatic magnificence. Having played both Splinter Cell and Thief I(though not being a devout fan of either) I can totally see why fans are getting cynical.

You know, I shouldn't be surprised about every other fan screaming and shouting "betrayal!" like it's a mantra. But I really want this game and i'm still looking forward to it because it's still important enough. It is also looking like i'll be forcing myself to do a media blackout on this title before it arrives. Modernized games not selling isn't new, reboots aren't new. This game been in development for a long time and i'll be taking the benefit of the doubt.

Hi everyone.

I just wanted to post and let you know that there is a community petition in support of getting Stephen Russell back in Thief 4 going around. We would appreciate your support. If you would like to send a message to Eidos Montreal, letting them know that we completely disagree with their decision to replace Stephen Russell, then please sign the petition. They may not listen, but at least we will expressed how we feel.

https://www.change.org/petitions/eidos-montreal-square-enix-bring-back-stephen-russell-for-thief-4#

There are currently 2900+ signatures, with nearly 1000 of those signatures gathered in the last 24 hours.

JUMBO PALACE:
I empathize with the Thief fans on this one. I'm not happy about the same decision being made for Splinter Cell: Blacklist. Michael Ironside IS Sam Fisher. such a shame.

WAT. I did not know they changed voice actors?
The fuck? It just seems pointless, the originals aren't dead, you're not getting new fans (who picks out a new game SOLELY based on the voice actor?) you're only alienating old fans and fucking with the reputation that the most vocal people will brand it with.

All of this makes me very annoyed ):< developers, y u so dumb.

you knowwhats bad about this? I have never played a thief game, and hearing that there are prerendered cut scenes, expensive face capturing technology and motion capture animation for stunts does not make me want to buy the new one. So already they are losing out on a sale, one they will need if they act like Squinix or THQ did.

too bad

wetfart:
I remember when Thief: Deadly Shadows came out. While I enjoyed the game, I missed the simple drawings used in Thief 1 and 2.

Captcha: fuddy - duddy

I guess I am. :(

Wait... 3 wasn't drawings? It sure looked like that when I played it.

Korten12:

wetfart:
I remember when Thief: Deadly Shadows came out. While I enjoyed the game, I missed the simple drawings used in Thief 1 and 2.

Captcha: fuddy - duddy

I guess I am. :(

Wait... 3 wasn't drawings? It sure looked like that when I played it.

The first two games used drawings for the Mission Briefings, but Thief 3 did away with those and only had voice over and text. The Cut Scenes were a combination of hand drawn art manipulated in Photoshop and After Effects. In Thief 3 they ran out of time and money, so half of the cutscenes were rendered ingame with half finished 3d models.

New Horizon:

Korten12:

wetfart:
I remember when Thief: Deadly Shadows came out. While I enjoyed the game, I missed the simple drawings used in Thief 1 and 2.

Captcha: fuddy - duddy

I guess I am. :(

Wait... 3 wasn't drawings? It sure looked like that when I played it.

The first two games used drawings for the Mission Briefings, but Thief 3 did away with those and only had voice over and text. The Cut Scenes were a combination of hand drawn art manipulated in Photoshop and After Effects. In Thief 3 they ran out of time and money, so half of the cutscenes were rendered ingame with half finished 3d models.

Oh. I still thought the cutscenes in 3 were good...

Korten12:

Oh. I still thought the cutscenes in 3 were good...

The cutscenes produced in the same manner as those in Thief 1 and 2 were awesome.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4tpVMejolGA

The ones they had to rush together with unfished ingame models were less so. :(
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GxloIg0ByLI

You know, I had nothing against changing actors. I love Stephen's work but I've seen films changing actors in the middle of a trilogy, looks weird at first but when you get used it's all normal again. BUT, as Shamus said, that is the most stupid excuse for a change of actor. My god, Darth Vader has a different actor and a different voice actor. It works fine! We don't even need to go that far, action films use voice overs all the time because it's difficult/impossible/impractical to record them on-set in specific circumstances.

This, and all that came before, just doesn't reassure me that these people know what they're doing and that they understand Thief.

Thief is going to be one of those classics that will fail to come back over and over again.

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