Thief's Risky Reboot

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Actually Shamus in Thief 2 you could look at yourself via Garrets mechanical eye device.

OT: The more I hear about this game the more im thinking the devs want to be on the Batman Arkham team and not the Thief team.

Great article guys.

I actually read the developer's argument for dropping Russell as them just being tight-arses. They didn't want to have to pay two people, one for the voice acting and one for the mo-cap. What is ridiculous is why the need for mo-cap? The Thief games work better in first person IMO. Deadly Shadows always seemed a bit jinky when you were in third person mode.

I'd be more than happy to see the hand drawn, Photoshopped cut-scenes than some full rendered 3D affair because the former is more appropriate to Thiefs style and tone. It harkens back to medieval illustrations and such. I don't care if they originally did it to reduce costs, it looks bloody brilliant.

New Horizon:
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.

Ugh, of course there is a petition. In fact I'm sure I've seen more than one for Thief 4. It's not even worth the few seconds of effort it takes to sign - they've already got the new voice actor on contract, working on the game right now. I doubt they are going to fire him and start from the beginning just because of an internet petition.

Great article, IMHO I'm happy to watch Eidos Montreal hang themselves for cold shouldering their fans in while dropping an exuberant amount of cash for needless things into the project

M-D-Emm:

I doubt they are going to fire him and start from the beginning just because of an internet petition.

Nobody is asking for Romano to be fired, he would still be under contract to finish all the mocap, they just wouldn't be using his voice. Sending a strong message to Eidos is important, regardless of the outcome. I've worked as a VO artist on both sides of the mixing board. There is plenty of time at this stage for Mr. Russell to come in and loop his lines to the existing animations.

The day I read "THI4F" I last all interest on this, and this was way back. I don't know anything about the new game, but seeing that attempt to make it all "hip and cool with the kidz" shit just threw me off completely.

I also don't see why they couldn't just go with a voice actor and a motion capture guy, even thou I've never cared about the second part, thye could've done it just fine.

These are the things I want in a thief game.

Blackjack
Water Arrows
Rope Arrows (A grappling hook with believable physics would be an acceptable replacement.)
The ability to throw things to distract guards.
Sprawly levels with lots of dark corners.
Guards talking about bear pits.

I can live without the old actor (Though he was good) as long as the new guy isn't a douche. I can live without the old lore (Though I love the Mechanist/Hammerite conflict) as long as Garrett isn't mutated into a heroic protagonist here to save The City from this new Tyrant and remains a snarky loner out for his own enrichment or to save his own skin.

New Horizon:

M-D-Emm:

I doubt they are going to fire him and start from the beginning just because of an internet petition.

Nobody is asking for Romano to be fired, he would still be under contract to finish all the mocap, they just wouldn't be using his voice. Sending a strong message to Eidos is important, regardless of the outcome. I've worked as a VO artist on both sides of the mixing board. There is plenty of time at this stage for Mr. Russell to come in and loop his lines to the existing animations.

Dude I think I've been misquoted or there's an error or something because I didn't write that I wrote/posted:

M-D-Emm:
Great article, IMHO I'm happy to watch Eidos Montreal hang themselves for cold shouldering their fans in while dropping an exuberant amount of cash for needless things into the project

But I will sign the petition =)

Shamus, in your haste you seem to have missed the full explanation for why they chose Romano Orzari in the end. Here it is, with the second reason (that you didn't mention) emphasised:

"Stephen was considered quite heavily. We actually had him in for some preliminary vocal recordings in fact.

Being able to capture the voice at the same time as the actors' movements and facial expressions, all while the actors play off each other, delivers a much more convincing experience than traditional techniques of recording each characters' dialogue separately and then animating everything by hand afterwards. With the new visual of Garrett we'd created, we found that there was a disconnect that we couldn't ignore between the concepted character and Stephen's voice today.

The actor playing Garrett needed to be able to perform his own stunts. Garrett's a really athletic guy. We could have pasted Stephen's voice on top of the actions and stunts of someone else, but this wouldn't appear natural. It really wouldn't make any sense to capture the full performance for our other characters, but not for our star."

I loved Stephen Russell just as much as the next fan, but I haven't heard him play Garrett for a decade. This is a reboot of Thief from a completely different studio and creative team, so of course it's not going to be exactly like the games from the nineties/early 2000s - I'd be disappointed if it was. Maybe Russell's voice or his acting style have changed - note that they specifically talk about what he sounds like today. Maybe the devs are right and he just isn't a good fit for the rebooted version of the character.

You can grumble about how no one needs full performance capture and how you liked it in the good old days when they just had pictures for the cut scenes, but the studio has decided that they're really invested in the idea of full performance capture, and making an exception for the main character - the guy who appears in the game the most - would just be dumb. Besides, mo-cap with studio dialogue from a different actor does kind of look and sound a bit awkward, and the full performance capture in games like Uncharted does look pretty damn smooth.

The thing is, of the people (not Shamus, just fans in general) complaining about every new decision made by the development, not a single one of them has seen a single second of actual game footage. They don't know what the story is going to be about, or what the gameplay will be like, or what the characters are like, but they still insist that they know what's best for the game, better than the people who are actually making it. You also get people dismissing it over a title that it doesn't actually have any more, or over something as fucking silly as "Oh, Garrett wears a face mask now, the game is ruined!" (because obviously burglars never wear masks) Why don't you wait until the game actually comes out before you start making empirical statements about how terrible it is?

I'll be disappointed if the studio do decide to go back on the decision that they made. Not that I think they will, a few thousand signatures is a drop in the ocean of their potential market, especially since most of those people are blatantly going to buy the game anyway. But the developers have made an artistic decision based on their own vision for the game, and it can't have been an easy decision to make. They must have known that they were going to get flamed for recasting Garrett, and they did it anyway, so I'm interested to see why they chose Romano Orzari. It would be absolute bullshit if the creators of the game were to have their vision compromised by a bunch of whiny fans who aren't actually involved in the development of the game at all and don't know if what they want is what's best for the game.

Eidos Montreal actually managed to make a good, if not perfect, sequel to Deus Ex. I'm interested to see what they come up with for Thief. And I'm willing to wait until they come up with it before deciding whether or not I like it.

I don't think people should be pointing the finger at motion capture tech being one of the prohibitive costs of game development. Other than that I tend to agree with Shamus.

boots:
Snip.

I've never liked this kind of argument.
As an aspiring developer myself, and definitely a involved gamer, I'd like to say I could argue this from both perspectives.
The issue of it is that every detail we've heard of the game - that Garret will do more action moves, that we got rid of the old voice actor because he couldn't do full mocap scenes with other actors, most of the lore has been shuttered for the game, etc, etc - is much as you've said: a lot of stuff fans would be upset about, but we haven't seen any gameplay.

So my question to that is: why not? The entire point of this stage of marketing of the development coming from the devs is to get interest in the game built up due to bringing interesting facets of development or the game into light. But(and as you point out, they had to have known) everything they've said till now has basically been indicating it'd be nothing like a Thief game. This could be assuaged by getting some solid gameplay footage/demos out there, and show 'No, see guys? It's still a Thief game!' and that would very quickly calm the furor.

But they don't.

I'd err on the non-cynical side and think that it's because they don't feel it's ready yet, which is fine, but then why do they keep dropping all these details they almost certainly know will piss off the fans, who this game is almost entirely currently marketed towards(as non-thief fans won't likely care much about the game until more has come out about it).
They're putting themselves into their own little corner of pain because they aren't giving us any reason to NOT be upset with the changes, other than 'it's cool guys, don't be upset, it's still totally a Thief game!'

Also, you missed out the other concern with the article, namely how they're not just dropping old aspects of the prior games we liked, but also dumping huge amounts of money into the project for reasons of debatable merit.
This huge push to have full mocap performances with everyone gets very expensive very fast, and that's not the first thing I've read about them inexplicably dumping cash into for almost no benefit.
I've also read how to make sure the design for Garret's collapsible bow works, they drew the designs up, and sent them to a blacksmith to produce a working copy. Those blacksmiths had to spend hundreds of man hours working out the kinks, but eventually they made it work. Another is much the same situation, they worked with clothing makers to make a realistic take on garret's outfit to ensure it'd be a sensible sneak suit in real life.

So the question is, in paying for hundreds of additional man hours of work(thus inflating the game's development budget, making a success on return harder) how did this improve the game?
The bow never had to work in game, it just had to look plausible, and the same with his clothes. They're not going to sell them as merch, so there's never going to be a return on those investments other than it makes the developers feel neat that it'd work in real life. And they wasted development budget to do it, in a time when development budgets are becoming a huge concern.
His point was, it's been a confirmed problem in the past, and they're now getting to the point where they're so content with tossing this sort of stuff in that it's beginning to override stuff people liked from the old games. Not inherently a problem, but it doesn't exactly ooze confidence in their management skills.

I do not see how making it a shooter will help it...

Areloch:

boots:
Snip.

I've never liked this kind of argument.
As an aspiring developer myself, and definitely a involved gamer, I'd like to say I could argue this from both perspectives.
The issue of it is that every detail we've heard of the game - that Garret will do more action moves, that we got rid of the old voice actor because he couldn't do full mocap scenes with other actors, most of the lore has been shuttered for the game, etc, etc - is much as you've said: a lot of stuff fans would be upset about, but we haven't seen any gameplay.

So my question to that is: why not? The entire point of this stage of marketing of the development coming from the devs is to get interest in the game built up due to bringing interesting facets of development or the game into light. But(and as you point out, they had to have known) everything they've said till now has basically been indicating it'd be nothing like a Thief game. This could be assuaged by getting some solid gameplay footage/demos out there, and show 'No, see guys? It's still a Thief game!' and that would very quickly calm the furor.

But they don't.

I'd err on the non-cynical side and think that it's because they don't feel it's ready yet, which is fine, but then why do they keep dropping all these details they almost certainly know will piss off the fans, who this game is almost entirely currently marketed towards(as non-thief fans won't likely care much about the game until more has come out about it).
They're putting themselves into their own little corner of pain because they aren't giving us any reason to NOT be upset with the changes, other than 'it's cool guys, don't be upset, it's still totally a Thief game!'

Also, you missed out the other concern with the article, namely how they're not just dropping old aspects of the prior games we liked, but also dumping huge amounts of money into the project for reasons of debatable merit.
This huge push to have full mocap performances with everyone gets very expensive very fast, and that's not the first thing I've read about them inexplicably dumping cash into for almost no benefit.
I've also read how to make sure the design for Garret's collapsible bow works, they drew the designs up, and sent them to a blacksmith to produce a working copy. Those blacksmiths had to spend hundreds of man hours working out the kinks, but eventually they made it work. Another is much the same situation, they worked with clothing makers to make a realistic take on garret's outfit to ensure it'd be a sensible sneak suit in real life.

So the question is, in paying for hundreds of additional man hours of work(thus inflating the game's development budget, making a success on return harder) how did this improve the game?
The bow never had to work in game, it just had to look plausible, and the same with his clothes. They're not going to sell them as merch, so there's never going to be a return on those investments other than it makes the developers feel neat that it'd work in real life. And they wasted development budget to do it, in a time when development budgets are becoming a huge concern.
His point was, it's been a confirmed problem in the past, and they're now getting to the point where they're so content with tossing this sort of stuff in that it's beginning to override stuff people liked from the old games. Not inherently a problem, but it doesn't exactly ooze confidence in their management skills.

Yeah, that's probably a better way to put it with regards to the motion capture technology. A technology like Motion Capture is meant to help reduce the cost of "required" animation that is needed to make a game function. The fact it is being used in Hollywood level proportions is borderline insane since games have a different cost structure than movies do. Also, the most memorable games I can think of are those that are bucking the trend, such as Dark Souls and Mark of the Ninja.

Silly Hats:
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.

Yes, and all they thought of during that time was "Thi4f", mouth motion capture for a guy wearing a ninja mask, and console controls for a game that depends heavily on ultra fine movements.

Actually, I WAS excited for the upcoming Thief game, until I noticed this (not the change of voice actor, but the reason for it). And the chance that they'll get it wrong is incredibly high now. Why would I want Gears of the Dark Project when I've got Gears which does its thing well and The Dark Project which does its thing well?

Wow, another reboot I won't be getting.

The real question is, why do they need mocap at all for garret? There was no point in the originals when it was needed and I fail to see how it could be now, unless they've made it third person. All I can see is a massive money sink designed to impress the sorts of people who happen to be impressed by this sort of thing, or in other words it's an attempt to widen the market. Which always works, as we know.

Excellent article pretty much the reason i will not buy this game on release if ever even if it gets good reviews. When i read that the full performance capture is the reason they will not go for the original Garrett voice actor I was asking myself why the hell they need that and if they are making a movie or a game about a master thief who rarely gets into conversation and usually prefers not to be seen. Why just why?

Shamus Young:
A smart person will look at how much they can expect to make and devise the budget around that figure. But right now developers seem to be picking an absurdly high budget and then asking themselves how they can sell enough copies to cover it.

I think a part of the problem is the game industry trying to artificially accelerate the growth of the medium into the mainstream. Instead of letting potential gamers come into things via curiosity about what else is out there once they've done CoD/Madden/FIFA/whatever to death the industry has been pushing to make games more like other, more familiar media...and by that I mean 'more like movies'. So to do that they're pouring Hollywood Blockbuster levels of funding to game proects and not getting Hollywood Blockbuster levels of returns on the investment. Unless you're looking for a massive tax write-off that's pure idiocy.

Personally, I'm just glad it isn't an FPS. I'm always ready to embrace the new even in the face of fan outcry (which ALWAYS happens no matter what) and my own reservations. Not only am I hopeful for Man of Steel, I was also one of the many who walked into DmC: Devil May Cry wanting to love it. Just give it a chance guys & gals. If it's terrible or plain mediocre you can always boot up the original ones.

I don't understand why they can't go the route like Irrational Games went for Bioshock Infinite? Let Stephen Russell do the VO and get someone else to do the motion capture and then sync them?

I don't see a problem with that and with this it would make fans that want the real Garret's voice in the game.

As a fan of the Thief franchise in general I am a bit skeptical as well regarding this title, thinking they will make it more action`y and straying away from what made Thief, Thief, which was the stealth.

Consolizing it for the mass market is a very big mistake if you ask me. They should focus development primarily on the PC first then port it. Although Deadly Shadows (Thief 3) was released on X360 it didn't really do well as far as I know.

So it's going to be another modern corporate-age, overblown fuck up not worth giving money to support.

Figured, but then SQUEENIX never did get subtley. And it's for next gen consoles, so it's more important it look good and show off the new tech than be a good game.

The next gaming collapse can't happen soon enough.

I don't know that this game will be good or bad. It might be very good. However, having played the first three thief games, it's starting to sound like they bought the IP solely to see if they could garner interest from old fans, rather than actually treating the game with some respect. If you want to make an action stealth game, do so. There's no need to beat up an old IP for that. Certainly Dishonored did this without any trouble. Why can't, oh wait it's squeenix.

Large companies... See, when number of people involved in decision-making exceeds 3 the IQ of this hive mind is square root of IQ of the stupidest man/woman on the team.
Get a team of 100 people to make a thief game and you get ninja masks and dramatic per-rendered cinematics. Next thing - they'll add shotgun.

As much as I'm rooting for this game, they keep doing blunder after blunder. How much are they expecting it will sell? Dishonored sold about 2.5 million across all platforms, but, frankly, it didn't look particularly extravagant and expensive; everything was in-engine, from first-person, and had a limited number of game mechanics. It sold 2.5 million because it was good, fresh, visually stimulating, and appealed to an untapped market.

Thief has no fancy magical abilities and swashbuckling teleport-murderstravaganza-moments. It should be even cheaper to make.

oh yes, replacing the voice actor because of the cutscenes.

otherwise known as the 'let's ditch Michael Ironside for this prepubescent twat because of reasons' tactic. Glad to see that now all the major stealth franchises have done this and the circle is complete.

jesus, this is like a new trend of inexplicable decisions in all niche genres. first the coop in all major horror franchises, now this. what's next, remove guns from shooters?

huh. actually, that could be kind of cool...

Sacrificing something they do want for something they don't...

That is the battlecry for the next videogame crash.

Good job Developers and Publishers... <.<

I'm perturbed. The more I hear about the game, the more to me it sounds like they're going to make it some weird Assassins Creed rip off with all the free running and takedowns, except he's stealing more than the assassins would. It is quite unsettling.

New Horizon:

M-D-Emm:

I doubt they are going to fire him and start from the beginning just because of an internet petition.

Nobody is asking for Romano to be fired, he would still be under contract to finish all the mocap, they just wouldn't be using his voice. Sending a strong message to Eidos is important, regardless of the outcome. I've worked as a VO artist on both sides of the mixing board. There is plenty of time at this stage for Mr. Russell to come in and loop his lines to the existing animations.

Why would Eidos, after paying a perfectly good voice artist and recording all of his lines, hire another one to do the same again? The cost isn't justified: only fans returning to the series give a shit, and their decision to buy the next game will be made by the many other facets beyond the voice acting anyway. Rehiring Russell seems like a step away from their efforts to redesign the character and reboot the series.

I was excited when I heard it was the Deus eX team but now I hear it's the same studio but a different team?

Oh and Squareenix's recent releases of Tomb Raider and Hitman absolution were a joke to me. Sure they are not awful games but they seemed to have changed style and genre, to make it like a typical ubisoft AAA production.
Hitman is no longer about sandbox levels and Tomb Raider's more open area's are optional sidequests. Half of escapist will argue against my opinion here which is fine

When Thief comes out the same thing might happen. Most old school fans will hate it...new fans will shout 'GOTY'. Thus with heavy marketing it will sell 3 mill and it will be deemed a failure because of the ridiculous amount of cash spent.

Hopefully it's more like Deus ex:HR and fans of the franchise on the most part will like it

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