Thief Influenced By Assassin’s Creed, Bioshock, Metal Gear And More

By Ishaan . March 11, 2013 . 10:00am

Speaking with Game Informer magazine, Thief director, Nicolas Cantin, shares some insight regarding how Eidos Montreal are approaching development of the new game, which they hope will create a solid foundation to build more Thief games upon in the future.

 

“We know that the game is really a PC game and on that side, we will not annoy those fans, but at the same time, we’re not doing the game only for them,” Cantin shared. He goes on to mention specific games and movies that the development team looked to for inspiration.

 

“In the beginning, the art direction was really more like… it was more about movies,” Cantin reveals. “Sweeney Todd, Roman Polanski, Oliver Twist. Those kind of movies. We had a lot that was coming from Assassin’s Creed, so Assassin’s Creed at some point influenced the game.”

 

As far as game influences go, he elaborates: “We looked a lot at Bioshock. I’m a big fan of old Splinter Cell, old stealth games, Metal Gear and things like that, so I kind of replay them a lot also. I played Skyrim as a stealth character also.”

 

Cantin says that if Bethesda managed to create a stealth experience just in Skyrim alone, he feels Eidos Montreal can expand that experience with their own tools. Click over to the Game Informer link to listen to Cantin’s quotes in full, as well as producer Stephane Roy’s thoughts on Dishonored, a game inspired in part by and compared to the Thief series.

 


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  • gold163

    “Thief Inspired by Everything Except Thief”.

    • http://www.siliconera.com/ Ishaan

      And yet, the very first quote from when the game was announced was:

      “We’re handling a precious gemstone with Thief. Fans remember the original games very fondly and we want to preserve that essence—which we have excellent experience of doing at Eidos-Montréal—whilst also introducing Thief to a brand new, next-generation, audience. Our goal is to deliver the fantasy of being Garrett, THE master thief, and we’re building this game around that core experience.”

      Let’s not get smart-alecky without doing our research. :P

      • gold163

        These reboots always like to sacrifice the subtleties that made the original games great while focusing more on the obvious “cool factors” and often missing the core concepts. Human Revolution may have succeeded at bringing Deus Ex into the current generation kicking and screaming, but at the cost of a diluted message. QTEs and flashy animations downplayed the significance behind the violence — something that Spector and the original visionaries at Ion Storm tried hard to convey with DX — and the extent of the message in HR became, “oh no augmentation, what have we done?”

        I am skeptical about Thi4f. There is this obsession with the aesthetic direction and this focus on inspiration for how the game /looks/, but somehow the influences on how the game is supposed to /play/ are completely separate? How could a game that “looks like Oliver Twist, plays like Metal Gear” possibly lead to a more cohesive vision of Thief than Thief itself? Why is the goal to deliver the “fantasy of being Garrett, THE master thief,” but there is no mention of the statements on technological revolution, religion, authoritarian government and secrecy that the classic Thief games sought to convey, and were actually about? Granted, we know absolutely nothing about new Thief and what it is going to be like — and yet, if you happen to bring up Skyrim and Dishonored as influences — two games where it was entirely possible and in many cases a better choice to circumvent the stealth entirely with wanton violence — I am worried.

        • Curan_Altea

          If you took the time to watch the video you’d know he talked about great things in Dishonored such as the peaking mechanic, but also that they didn’t reward you very much for stealth in that game. There’s nothing wrong with drawing from successful stealth games, the fact they exist and are doing well is good news for a new Thief game.. We don’t really know what the game will be like at this point, so for the time being can we at least be optimistic? It’s almost like you want this game to be bad.

          • gold163

            Why should I “at least be optimistic”? Isn’t it healthier to exercise caution about things you admit you know nothing about?

            I don’t want the game to be bad; that’s a quality that people like to project onto others in order to make their dissenting opinions look invalid by default. Besides my admitted skepticism, you actually don’t know anything about what I want this game to be.

            There *are* detriments to drawing from “successful stealth games” when those stealth games in question are admittedly lacking in the stealth department. It promotes homogeneity in gameplay and stifles the development of truly creative ideas, especially when the game when we’re talking about is a reboot of a series that we haven’t seen in nearly a decade and whose original visionaries have long since exited involvement.

          • Curan_Altea

            I’m of course worried that the game will be bad, but I hope it will be good and I trust the studio.

            You’re just being a little negative towards a few things said in one interview.

            The feeling I got from the interview, and something that I hope for, is that there are quite a few games with stealth mechanics in them and they want to make this game so much more. I don’t know what to expect of the game at this point but I’ve yet to hear anything that’s made me worried about it.

          • gold163

            I’m not being negative. It’s disconcerting that the impression someone gets when I raise questions is, “you’re being negative, and implicitly you’re saying the game will be bad”, instead of raising a meaningful discussion on why or why I’m not wrong besides a dismissive, “it’s just one interview, chill out and be happy.”

          • Göran Isacson

            Mostly I think that people are reacting to the way you seem to have a very set opinion after just one little interview and think you over-react.. but I will admit it’s amusing that they’re not going after people who are positive as well. After all, why should they be positive when all we’ve seen is just one interview ? ;)

            Jokes aside- I really do think that what triggers people here are the enormous amounts of people who have knee-jerk reactions to reboots and remakes and first trailers, and since the Internet is just so goshdarn full of people who cry wolf as soon as they see something vaguely furry people aren’t really receptive to ANYONE who, as you do here, seem to have very strong opinions on something with very little information available, no matter how well-founded or well-argumented those opinions are.

            For the record I do think you have a point and make interesting statements, but after seeing so much debate and anger over these things I will admit that I too am way too tired of jumping the gun, and will simply wait until there is at least a demo or a trailer or a in-detail written preview of the game until I decide to have any misgivings/expectations for this. Until I’ve got more info I’ll just file this in the “this sure is a thing that exists” part of my brain and let the actual judgments come when something judge-worthy arrives.

          • gold163

            This goes both ways. The common reaction to this sort of early opinion is usually, “We have no information, so we aren’t in a position to judge the game.” When we have trailers, previews, and demos, people are still quick to judge, and the reaction is still, “it’s way too early to say for sure.”

            It’s only when the game comes out that people can say for sure that they do or don’t like it, but that shouldn’t invalidate whatever preliminary thoughts people have on the subject. The crucial mistake here being made by anybody is the assumption that just because a game gets good or bad reception, or just because there are dissenting opinions on the matter, that there should be no thinking about the game and its associated politics (it is a business, after all) from a critical standpoint. That is the most dangerous thing.

            The reason why there is so much debate and anger in the first place is partly because of quick dismissive attitudes (and this goes both ways). Anybody who actually has anything meaningful to say is drowned out in a sea of assumed deliberate negativity while everybody covers their eyes and ears to each other. I would assert that the time before the game actually gets into anybody’s hands is the best time to talk about it — once the game is released, the people who refuse to like it can’t affect its course, and the people who refuse to hate it will be too busy playing it.

            At that point, the only difference an opinion makes is what money goes where, not how much.

        • JustThisOne

          Man, I know how you feel. But this is the kind of risk we take every time we play a sequel to anything.

          We’re just going to have to sit tight and see how it goes. A magician can’t show all his tricks, right? Can’t expect them to dive too deeply into mechanics and plot yet.

          • gold163

            I don’t want to be a buzzkill. I have absolute faith that the game will be successful, mainly because of the pedigree. Deus Ex: Human Revolution had positive critical reception. So did Tomb Raider. So did DmC. So did Splinter Cell: Conviction. Duke Nukem Forever and Aliens: Colonial Marines were financially successful despite the unanimous negative reaction, and what really matters is that the games were profitable. I am sure that the recent SimCity made lots of money, and I have no doubts that Diablo 3 was extremely good to Blizzard.

            One fan’s opinions on the game are never going to matter, and whether or not a game is “good” is subject to the individual, anyway.

            The important thing to remember is that we aren’t the ones taking risks. It’s the game’s developers that are taking risks (hypothetically at least). If this game tanks it’s no skin off my back (even if I post like it is).

          • JustThisOne

            Nah, you’re not a buzzkill. I also believe this game will be successful, but that’s not exactly what I mean when I say risk.

            Either way, I just mean that there’s too little information to be worried so far. I read some of your other posts, and I can understand why to some degree, but I can tell you that these cited influences should be taken with a grain of salt. I believe that they’re just trying to paint the best picture they can without having the screenshots and videos to show for it.

            Besides, it’s very hard to feel the spirit of a game without seeing it in action.

        • http://www.siliconera.com/ Ishaan

          QTEs and flashy animations downplayed the significance behind the violence — something that Spector and the original visionaries at Ion Storm tried hard to convey with DX — and the extent of the message in HR became, “oh no augmentation, what have we done?

          Yes, so the message of Deus Ex changed from the original to Human Revolution. So what? We didn’t ask to play the same game with the same message. They didn’t say they were making the same game with the same message.

          What they took was the world, the cyberpunk theme, and the focus on making choices to create a new game. It’s still Deus Ex. Not everything has to explore the meaning behind violence. I thought augmentation was a great topic to focus on and very convincingly portrayed in the game and world. I personally liked it more than yet another debate on the meaning behind violence, and judging by how well HR was received, so did a load of other people.

          There is this obsession with the aesthetic direction and this focus on inspiration for how the game /looks/, but somehow the influences on how the game is supposed to /play/ are completely separate?

          Er… yes? Art direction and gameplay are intertwined but are also independent of one another. For example, Mario games look very friendly, but that doesn’t mean they don’t get incredibly hard as you progress through them. On the flip side, several gritty looking games pose far less of a challenge. The trick is finding a balance somewhere in between. I don’t see why this is difficult to understand?

          • gold163

            Yes, so the message of Deus Ex changed from the original to Human Revolution. So what? We didn’t ask to play the same game with the same message. They didn’t say they were making the same game with the same message.

            But they did say that they were making a Thief game. If they didn’t want fans to lay those sorts of expectations on this game then they would have chosen to go with a different IP. They didn’t, because they want people to play this game and say, “this is a Thief game”, even if they also want to be able to say, “this is more than a Thief game”. The risk associated with that kind of ambition is that you might alienate the original demographic, but then again, who cares? They’re all fossils anyway who don’t know any better, and the game is going to sell truckloads on the name alone even if some people don’t like it.

            To most people, the erosion of a property’s distinguishing features doesn’t mean as much as whether the game is worth the hype to the mainstream. Who cares about creative integrity when you can make money instead? And in another twenty years? Reboot it all.

            Er… yes? Art direction and gameplay are intertwined but are also independent of one another. For example, Mario games look very friendly, but that doesn’t mean they don’t get incredibly hard as you progress through them. On the flip side, several gritty looking games pose far less of a challenge. The trick is finding a balance somewhere in between.

            This is an incredibly simplistic view on how the art direction and gameplay each impact a game, and it marginalizes the idea I was trying to express to the point of being condescending. Art and gameplay are not necessarily mutually inclusive, but they are not mutually exclusive either. Thief had a specific aesthetic that complimented the gameplay, and vice versa. There is no “Art vs. Gameplay”; it is not black-and-white; they are not completely separate variables.

          • http://www.siliconera.com/ Ishaan

            But you’re trying to comment on the art direction without even having seen the game… that’s what I’m pointing toward. All we’ve seen are a few screenshots. We aren’t in any position, really, to judge, until we see more of the game.

            The examples I gave weren’t meant to be condescending (I apologize if it came off that way), but to highlight that the relationship between art and gameplay is often incredibly complex.

            The risk associated with that kind of ambition is that you might alienate the original demographic, but then again, who cares? They’re all fossils anyway who don’t know any better, and the game is going to sell truckloads on the name alone even if some people don’t like it.

            And this is why I put that comment about PC games right at the top. I trust Eidos Montreal after Deus Ex: HR because for all its shiny “next-gen-ness,” it felt, to me, like a modern old-school PC game, and I loved that about it. It felt like a game trying to make bold strides, and some of that coming at the cost of polish, but not in a way that made the game unplayable. That’s a feeling I associate with many older PC games, and I think it speaks to Eidos “getting it”.

          • gold163

            The fact that the game’s designers have told me what to expect without showing what or why, puts me in a position to question their direction. I am not commenting on the actual art of the game, because I have not seen it, I am commenting on the artistic influences that the designers have cited without an explanation of why, exactly, these influences would be relevant. It makes sense that the developers would not show off everything about their game if it is early in production, but that’s the point — the list of influences is so general and vague it doesn’t tell me anything about the game at all. So why are they telling us this? Why should anyone ask? Should I be excited just because you mentioned Sweeny Todd and Assassin’s Creed? What does you mentioning Sweeny Todd and Assassin’s Creed tell me about your game?

            And yet the designers don’t mention what influence they actually take from Thief that will be apparent in the game itself. A game that truly makes “bold strides” would of course not be content with riding on the coattails of prior fame, but at the same time, I believe that a game that truly intends to make “bold strides” would not need to rely on a years-old property that is apparently so stale that nothing worth mentioning could be taken from it in its reimagining.

            The developers have stated their intentions to reinvent the property for modern audiences, without explaining why the property needed to be reinvented in the first place, and this is something that irks me about modern game industry trends and popular media trends in general — you have a property that fans like for specific reasons, and most of the time the “bold new re-imaginings” are just because, often ignoring the subtle things that fans enjoyed about the property in the first place. Why make a Max Payne 3 if the game is completely stylistically different from the originals, when the story was enclosed and it was this style that defined those originals? Why retcon and expand on something that doesn’t need it as a standalone creative work? What you are saying is, “games are just disposable entertainment products, and games should just be disposable entertainment products.”

            Ultimately, the integrity of the original property is compromised, because you have explicitly deemed it inappropriate for modern audiences by reinventing it, by saying that it is time to move on, and that the property is destined for bigger and better things. You are also hurting the integrity of your new vision for the property, because by using the property you have implicitly agreed that your new vision could not exist independently of the old vision, and that the established brand is necessary for you to realize your creative take on what are ultimately the concepts of others. And if you are not using the concepts of others — why use the property? This is not inherently a bad thing, but I worry that its prevalence as merely a trend signifies a greater aloofness to the individual games themselves as standalone works.

            Obviously, it does not seem as if the designers of Thief are setting out to create needless controversy (and I respect them for that, believe me), and like I have said, I have faith that they will be able to restore relevance to an age-old property. And yet I can’t help but feel a minor pain in knowing that Thief is obsolete, because it is no longer “modern”, and because of the informal acknowledgement that “modern” people have no reason to care about the Thief that isn’t new. What does this say about games as creative works, if they can’t stay relevant without constant reboots, and if the trend is to reboot instead of creating spiritual successors and new properties?

          • Alex DC Webbs

            An interesting view but not everyone can share it unfortunately especially when there has been so much disappointment from the games industry Eg. Simcity and Alien’s colonial Marines. While both games arn’t made by Eidos there is nothing stopping them from jumping on the same band wagon.

            Ultimately while Deus EX HR was a great game overall it sacrificed some of what made the original special but fortunately it only mattered to the truly die hard fans. In this case like Yathzee from Zero punctuation I love the thief series I have all 3 games still on my PC thanks to Steam and this series is an incredible stealth series.

            Already as a big fan of the series I am hurt to hear the magical element is gone not knowing what will replace it worries me. Also a game series that any thief fan would consider a poor inspiration for the game that being Ass creed be mentioned or more than one occasion scares the s*** out of me.

            There has been a lot fans let down this gaming generation more than any other in my living memory anyway so you can’t blame people for being skeptical or annoyed by this news. Well in all fairness I have to admit it is much better than being outright lied too GEARBOX! ACM is an atrocity that must never be repeated.

    • Alex DC Webbs

      Just been skim reading through your posts and i can’t help but be skeptical either. As a gamer for 20 years its hard to see great old series go under the grinder like this and all because SE wants to remake every bloody eidos game after Kane and Lynch 2 tanked so hard.

      I thought thief had the right balance of equipment and skills for its setting but now since the magic is gone from the series in both literal and non literal sense I am worried about what else they will do with the series and then I read this. Inspired by MGS a game I could never enjoy due to its setting at least its not a bad series on the whole. Assassin’s creed where you play as a mass murder not an assassin so that isn’t a great game to be inspired by at all this game especially has me worried.

      Bioshock had an epic setting and an incredible story so this game is at least a positive inspiration for me personally. Splinter Cell was always the poor man’s thief or MGS the stealth element never felt satisfying for some reason. Skyrim’s stealth is a little basic but a little reminiscent of the old thief so that’s a good thing in my opinion. Then Dishonoured well I am going to get hate for this but the reason I couldn’t like this game is because of hitman and the thief games because they did a much better job. Dishonoured is a good game overall but is a tad overrated and I hope if they do a sequel they will fix the flaws in the game.

      While some positive the changes have to all the eidos games Deus EX, Hitman, and Tomb raider have been hard for fans of the original games. What I have heard so far just isn’t looking good at all with stealth being made easier and poor inspirations like Ass Creed but I really want to be proven wrong.

  • AlexiusY

    “Cantin says that if Bethesda managed to create a stealth experience just in Skyrim alone, he feels Eidos Montreal can expand that experience with their own tools.”

    That’s just horrible. Poor Thi4f.

    • gold163

      woe betide the genre where a definitive example of gameplay is a tertiary mechanic in a different genre with an abstract implementation.

    • JustThisOne

      Yeah, they probably shouldn’t have said that. I get what they mean though! But now this just puts stealth game fans on a bit of an edge. xD

      “If they can pull off stealth elements in a non-stealth game, then imagine what us stealth-game-makers can do!”

  • Mir Teiwaz

    Skyrim had terrible stealth mechanics. Please don’t base a Thief game on something like that :<

  • SunOatBoatMatadorQuattro

    For a second I thought you were talking a thief who took nanomachines

    • 60hz

      Nanomachines, son?

    • Fitzkrieg

      Nanomachines.

  • brian

    This seems to me like a way to make people listening think “HEY I LIKE THOSE GAMES” and get this even if it does away with stealth like Assassin’s Creed supposedly has.
    Like a marketing tactic, instead of being genuinely influenced by them, but then again I have no way to be sure of that.

    • gold163

      I am beginning to see subway ads for Bioshock Infinite. The tagline is something along the lines of, “From the creators of the best first-person shooter in history”, and I’m not sure whether that’s supposed to be a pun or not, but it speaks volumes about how the game is being marketed.

      About a block away is the nearest GameStop©, where there are massive posters for the game and where you can more than likely pre-order the game well before it actually has a release date in order to get EXCLUSIVE GOODIES! You don’t need to know that the game is good; that’s implied. You just need to know that you want it.

      We know that the reason why Bioshock has its cover art is because they are trying to sell the game to people who don’t normally play these types of games. Citation:

      http://www.wired.com/gamelife/2012/12/bioshock-infinite-box-art/

      Conclusion: Game companies don’t give a care about you, because if you are under the impression that the game is good you will play (and likely buy) it anyway.

      I can see the ads for Thi4f already: “From the holders of the rights to the best stealth game in history…”

  • FetusZero

    I’m hoping this game will live up to my expectations as a Thief fan.. The Dark Project probably was the first PC game I ever truly experienced and continues to be one of my favorites many years later. Tomb Raider showed me that games can change for the better (unlike other “reboots” I’ve played), so hopefully this will be true for Thief as well.

  • Nitraion

    Hmm inspired by Metal gear i never know this series well look forward to gameplay video..
    also snake is not “thief” why inspired by him? XD

  • isfuturebright

    I hope it works great. Really excited for this!

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