Thief Project Lead Says a New Game Needs New Combat

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Thief Project Lead Says a New Game Needs New Combat

Thief screen

Stephane Roy says Thief will employ QTEs and bullet-time in combat sequences because the swordplay of the original games just doesn't work anymore.

Combat in the original Thief trilogy was generally something to be avoided. Killing was always best done from the height and distance afforded by an arrow (although true pros don't kill in the first place), and while your sword could occasionally prove handy against a spider or a zombie, if you found yourself swinging it at a guard you were more likely than not in very deep trouble.

But that kind of thing just doesn't fly anymore, according to Roy, who said the studio playtested the original combat and found that it's just too far out of date. "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," he said. "Game over."

The tricky part for Eidos is that Garrett is a thief, not a soldier, so while they don't want him to be helpless in a fight, they're not interested in turning him into a killing machine either. Thus the new combat system, which he said is a "fair balance" that will focus on escape rather than victory. "Don't try to kill them, just try to push them or make sure they are disabled," he said. "Don't finish the job, just get the fuck out."

He acknowledged that the new system still needs work but insisted that the change is necessary, and for the better. "How we used to play games ten years ago and how we play games today is different," he said. "So that's why we are supporting this new way to play."

Source: Official PlayStation Magazine

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Sounds like a possibly good change. Maybe have a single chance to slowdown time and target a limb or something that doesn't become available for use again till you have avoided combat for X seconds.

He's reasoning is good but his results are uninspiring.

Never played the old Thief games but am I right in assuming that the combat was so difficult that it persuaded the player to be more careful? (You know, play the game properly).

I get the whole accessibility thing, but rebooting a series should be first and foremost fan service in my opinion. Basically, give the established fan base what they want and they'll be the ones to market your game for you through word of mouth (or typing positive things on the internet).

Doing things this way just serves to alienate the original fan base and they'll be ones telling everyone how 'bad' the new game is.

""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," he said. "Game over.""

This is exactly what I loved so much about the original games. You're a thief! Not a soldier, not an assassin, a THIEF! The whole point is to get in, get the loot, and get out without being detected. Ergo, being detected should have a very stiff penalty. That's what set Thief apart from the rest of the action game crowd.

While I see where Stephen Roy was coming from, I think he's going about fixing the problem in the wrong way. Or at least offer an old school/hardcore mode that disables the QTEs and bullet time and force the player to deal with the consequences when they slip up and get caught. I would find that an acceptable compromise.

The "swordplay" didn't work because it wasn't supposed to work. You're not encouraged to fight head on. : /

I mean in Deadly Shadows I could get to a point where I could use my fire arrows, mines and gas bombs to pretty much knock out/kill anyone I came across, but I could never win in a "sword fight" (lol dagger) with more than possibly 3 guards.
I don't believe I even want to pick this up in the future when it's cheap.

Uh... I thought the reason the swordplay didn't work is because you're supposed to ghost it.

This doesn't inspire faith in me.

This just sounds worse and worse. I mean really? All that seems to be remaining is the premise and Garrett, and even he has a new voice actor...

CardinalPiggles:
Never played the old Thief games but am I right in assuming that the combat was so difficult that it persuaded the player to be more careful? (You know, play the game properly).

Correct - few sword swings and the next treasure you'll have to swipe are your guts. Only you won't be able to because you'll be too busy being dead. You can otherwise slit a guard's throat or try and snipe them with arrows and they are really vulnerable when unaware, however if you miss with the arrow (hit them in the body instead of the head, or outright not hit), they aren't unaware any more and you'd better leg it if the guards haven't actually spotted you yet. Sword do...dagger, fights aren't impossible but guards have the nasty habit of calling other guards for help. Cowards. You can probably take one out, perhaps two but it's better to not try in the first place.

piinyouri:
The "swordplay" didn't work because it wasn't supposed to work. You're not encouraged to fight head on. : /

In other words, pretty much this.

piinyouri:
I don't believe I even want to pick this up in the future when it's cheap.

I'm not sure myself - maybe if there are really positive responses to it and even then if it's really cheap. I don't really like reboots to begin with, so this game should try really hard to make me want it. For the record, so far it's not trying.

CardinalPiggles:
Never played the old Thief games but am I right in assuming that the combat was so difficult that it persuaded the player to be more careful? (You know, play the game properly).

I wouldn't say the combat was difficult, it was just based on the premise that if you tried to take on two or three guys at once, you were probably going to get killed. On the other hand, if you could get behind a guy without him knowing you were there, you could (usually) take him down quite easily and quietly. Roy's comment that you were basically boned if you got into a fight is a huge overstatement - avoidance and evasion were key (and the point of the whole thing, really) but you were far from helpless if you got into trouble.

I love how they had the gall to spout silly lines like "we think we've really respected the DNA of this franchise" during their E3 demo, which displayed mechanics like XP rewards for headshots among other silly stuff. I'm not sure it's humanly possible to miss the point more badly. As far as striking a combat/stealth balance goes, they seem to be following in Dishonored's footsteps, which in itself follows in Thief's footsteps. Are we moving in circles now?

As far as Dishonored's mechanics go, the combat was definitely the weakest (read: most potent) part of the game. If you want a game with a focus on stealth, combat should never be rewarded or encouraged.

I'm honestly downright furious after seeing the E3 demo. I think I'll stop writing here before I start using spicy words. Either way, I can definitely say this is one game I'll be staying very far away from.

Look, the game is called "Thief."

A thief is not supposed to fight. If a thief ends up having to fight something has gone very very wrong. But alas, something will go wrong and you'll have to deal with it. However, it shouldn't be easy. You're a thief, not a robber. You're not suppose to be seen, heard, or even exist really. So if you fuck up, you shouldn't be able to just fight your way out of it. You should struggle.

Frankly, I'm sorta sick of this idea that every stealth game needs to have a blatant "combat option." No one complains when you can't hop an enemy to death in an FPS.

As long as you can completely avoid combat, still, this is okay. It's a failure condition, so it doesn't really matter if it's a failure condition with some QTEs - in fact that's mighty appropriate.

CardinalPiggles:
Never played the old Thief games but am I right in assuming that the combat was so difficult that it persuaded the player to be more careful? (You know, play the game properly).

I get the whole accessibility thing, but rebooting a series should be first and foremost fan service in my opinion. Basically, give the established fan base what they want and they'll be the ones to market your game for you through word of mouth (or typing positive things on the internet).

Doing things this way just serves to alienate the original fan base and they'll be ones telling everyone how 'bad' the new game is.

Combat was weighted heavily against you. Guards had more health than you or took less damage, you'd be making noise while fighting which could attract more guards, and if you did whittle their health down enough most guards would try to run and find help. But you had the option of trying to run away yourself, hiding again, then playing a sort of cat and mouse game in the shadows until they got tired of actively searching for you.

Even if Roy has a point about the combat being dated (and I don't think he's even sold that point here) quick time events are not an improvement. I'm part of the original fan base but I probably wont be telling people how bad this game is because I probably won't be playing it any time soon.

And the games fate was forever sealed with Yahtzee. I predict death and taxes.

"How we used to play games ten years ago and how we play games today is different,"

Um, no, no it isn't. How you have trained younger gamers to play easy mode everything in your quest for ever increasing profits through "streamlining" and homogenization has changed. Gamers are still the same, game makers however are not.

Didn't even finish reading the first sentence before I dropped my phone crying "Nope!"

I love the opening paragraph:
"Combat in the original Thief trilogy was generally something to be avoided. Killing was always best done from the height and distance afforded by an arrow (although true pros don't kill in the first place), and while your sword could occasionally prove handy against a spider or a zombie, if you found yourself swinging it at a guard you were more likely than not in very deep trouble."

Congratulation, you have just discribed a stealth game, where the emphasis is on Stealth& Stealth kills // Welcome to the world of Thief, a Stealth game where you Never want to get into melee combat because this is a Stealth game // The hint for that is in the title of the Game you are making, Thief

-M

I was hoping and wishing and praying that they'd do right by one of my absolute favorite series and specifically by Thief 2 which makes my top 5 list without doubt.

Now I know I won't be picking this one up at all. Lucky GOG sold me all 3 of the originals for $15. I'll be adding custom missions and replaying those as well as Dishonored. The first time I climbed up onto some pipes in Dishonored, made my way across a room via those pipes, and didn't alert a single guard I knew I was where I belonged. The shadows are my home.

R.I.P Garrett.

At this point I'd think they were purposefully trying to piss Yahtzee off. I can't wait to see his review.

Yeah, I won't be getting this one. Who put this clown as the project lead when he CLEARLY has no fucking clue at all what the Thief series is about? Goddamn poser, ripping out the soul of one of the most venerable franchises in the industry. Clearly everything has to be sacrificed on the altar of streamlining and accessability. Fuck this noise.

Andy Chalk:

But that kind of thing just doesn't fly anymore, according to Roy, who said the studio playtested the original combat and found that it's just too far out of date. "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," he said. "Game over."

1.Flashbomb.
2.Blackjack.
3.??????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????
4.PROFIT.

I have no idea what this "new way" is. Please explain to me how we "used" to play. Are we too stupid to not rely on QTEs and button mashing minigames now? Developers are so condescending these days.

Stephane Roy says Thief will employ QTEs and bullet-time in combat sequences because the swordplay of the original games just doesn't work anymore.

That was the point, you dolt! It didn't work because it wasn't supposed to! Garret is a Thief, not a mass murderer. You're not supposed to be having easy time murdering people because the name of the game is not being detected and if you are, you either fight and get punished or run away.

Thief will employ QTEs and bullet-time in combat sequences

It wasn't ment to have QTE's and bullet time! What have you done to one of my most loved IPs??

You Maniacs! You fucked it up! Ah, damn you! God damn you all to hell!
image

I thought it was a stealth game? You aren't supposed to fight in a stealth game. You should try to add more features that add to the core mechanic instead of fragmenting the gameplay.

Really sad to see this go the way of Splinter Cell :/

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VDgVyxaxRIE

That guy doesn't seem to know the meaning of the word Thief. Of course it was very very bad to get into a sword fight in thief 1 and 2 because you weren't supposed to. But the mechanics worked just fine.

And seriously, QTE in a Thief game is simply stupid. I won't go for that. I hate QTEs in general and I especially don't want them in a Thief game.

That game should just be ignored. From what I've seen in the E3 videos it's just bad....

The title of this article had me thinking "Oh no, what are they going to fuck up now?" but after reading through article I think this might actually be a good thing. Thief's combat, while avoided as much as possible, was nevertheless pretty clunky. So long as they stick to the idea that Garret is fighting to get away and he is not a master swordsman, a bit of combat improvement won't hurt. Of course, I plan to never see the new and improved combat system since I don't intend to get caught, but it is nice to know that it will be more feasible to fight your way out of trouble and run for cover when things don't go as planned.

However, this phrase - "How we used to play games ten years ago and how we play games today is different" - leaves me rather worried. It sounds like code for "Ten years ago, players had to think carefully and pay attention, but we've found that CoD players don't like being forced to think".

I thought having bad combat was the point in a stealth game. Only for emergencies and something to avoid.

Well there are ways to make the combat better in Thief, Adding QTE's and bullet-time isn't one of them.
Garrett wouldn't be much of a proper thief if he could reactively counter a guard like he was trained for these kind of adrenaline-laced combat situations.

Maybe something along the lines of using smoke-bombs or a wrist dart gun that shot sleeping darts at close range for situations like this, besides I thought the combat in the previous games kind of reflected Garrett's combat abilities.

So, not having played Thief before, I have no reference. It sounded like it was pretty fun though.

But I have to assume that any changes made to the new game cannot possibly be as terrible as how they handled the combat in Tenchu Wii.

That right there was some of the worst combat in ANY game, and a downright insult to the previous Tenchu games. Even when it actually did the moves you were intending it was still no fun.

So as long as combat doesn't involve peeing in a guard's face and jumping out the nearest window, it still has hope of not taking the WORST combat in a stealth game award.

Andy Chalk:
bullet-time

how we play games today is different

They're using bullet-time to modernise?! AHAHAHAHAHAAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAAHAHAHAH

Twenty years from now they're gonna make the fifth game and introduce cover-based sword fighting because "chest high walls are the new, cool thing"!

Yes, because as everyone knows, QTEs automatically make every game better.
*coughs up lung from sarcasm overload*

I support the idea of making a revamped combat system to avoid the arcane and likely cumbersome mechanic as it would function today.

HOWEVER I highly doubt QTE's are the way to go. Furthermore, I'm loathe to accept some form of Assassin's Creed level combat, wherein I can feel more invincible than Batman whilst fighting hordes of enemies.

The game is called THEIF, not ASSASSIN, and should be proud to do its own thing.

Combat for a game that never revolved around combat to begin with?

image

Oh you game devs with your lingo and buzzwords.

I love how it appears the game dev and everyone in this thread are starting from exactly the same premise, and somehow reaching bewilderingly opposite conclusions.

Dev: "We're changing the system so you're not totally fucked if you're discovered. This system will still be designed to encourage running over killing."
Everyone else: "You're supposed to be totally fucked if you're discovered! You're supposed to run instead of kill things!"

Therefore, I have reached the conclusion that I'm missing something here.

NeutralDrow:

Therefore, I have reached the conclusion that I'm missing something here.

QTE's are the source of all pain and suffering on this plane of existence?

The resentment felt by many of the triple-A industry bleeding all of gaming's generic features into beloved IP's that are loved so because of the lack of said features?

For me, it's the lack of imagination. I'm okay with the thinking behind the changes, but I would have much preferred them implemented to better suit Garret and the Thief series. Instead of "press X to run like a little bitch", stick to providing a variety of tools and gadgets and leave it to the player to get themselves out of the shit.

But no, games these days have QTE's and bullet-time and by God SO WILL THIEF.

QTE and Bullet Time? Yeah, no thanks. The developer is just being cheap and lazy IMO. I have been dying for a new Thief game for years, but after Emo Garrett and now this? I think I'll pretend it isn't happening.

EeviStev:

For me, it's the lack of imagination. I'm okay with the thinking behind the changes, but I would have much preferred them implemented to better suit Garret and the Thief series. Instead of "press X to run like a little bitch", stick to providing a variety of tools and gadgets and leave it to the player to get themselves out of the shit.

^^^This

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