Eidos Montreal General Manager Stephane D’Astous talked a bit about the upcoming Thief 4 project recently, saying he wants the game to “bring a lot of new things to the table.”
Speaking with IGN at the Game Developers Conference Canada, D’Astous said one of the most fundamental problems facing the team at this early stage is the uncertainty surrounding the future of the current and next generations of consoles. “There’s some contradictory noise on when there’s going to be the next generation, so we’re going to be prudent on that one,” he said. “So we’re going to wait a couple of months to announce more about that. It’s going to be cutting edge technology, that’s for sure. It would be imprudent for us to say which console because, first of all, we don’t know exactly the window of release and we don’t know the first-party strategy.”
And while he declined to discuss details, including whether or not we’ll see a return of Garrett or voice actor Stephen Russell, he did set the bar rather high by invoking the influence of Thief: The Dark Project, the first title in the series, on the evolution of the stealth genre. “It’s safe to say that there’s an association of stealth games being boring and slow-paced. And we’re fully aware of that,” D’Astous said. “I think we’ll try to repeat what the first game did, which is to really break ground on the traditional way of playing. And I think if we want to do a fully stealth game, it’s going to be, I hope, very innovative and bring a lot of new things to the table.”
“We want to bring something new to the table, because these games sold respectably [in the past], but we want to bring it to another level. We want to have a larger audience without diluting the content,” he continued. “That is the real challenge, to bring it to a larger audience but without making it too easy or too thin on content. We’re going to bring certainly a lot of innovation to both [Thief 4 and Deus Ex 3].”
Comments like that tend to make fans of the franchise nervous, particularly after the disappointment of Thief: Deadly Shadows, the third and, so far, last chapter in the series. While not a bad game by any measure, it was a significant departure from the previous titles and took heat from the existing fanbase for its concessions to “accessibility” and the limits of the Xbox console. Nonetheless, D’Astous wasn’t shy about his desire to try new things with the new game.
“People want to have a richer experience,” he said. “They want to have choices in their gameplay and I think games are getting more and more sophisticated with storytelling, and I think we can certainly do something with that with Thief.”