Eidos Montreal’s Thief Reboot Has Been Having Trouble

By Ishaan . April 26, 2013 . 1:30pm


Eidos Montreal have been facing some challenges with regard to the new Thief game, according to a Polygon report. The Thief reboot has been in development at Eidos Montreal for five years now, according to the report, and has been impeded by corporate politics, creative conflicts and high-level departures.


Thief was reportedly greenlit in 2009, after Square Enix were pleased with a vertical slice prototype of the game that was developed by a group of Eidos Montreal employees. Following this, the size of the development team expanded and several senior team members that previously worked together at Ubisoft Montreal joined the project, and began to recruit their local colleagues.


As a result, “collegial favouritism” began to arise at the studio. Meanwhile, lead and senior designers on the project began to depart frequently, being replaced by new designers each time, each with their own creative vision for the game. As recently as March—when Thief was revealed in Game Informer magazine—Lead Game Designer Dominic Fleury left the Eidos Montreal studio.


According to Polygon’s sources, a Thief demo shown at the Game Developers Conference this year took 10 months to develop. This same demo was used for Game Informer’s feature, and reportedly has a number of issues, such as having trouble when too many characters are on screen as well as NPC AI being turned off for demonstration purposes.


Demo footage was meant to be shared with the public, but these plans were reportedly scrapped due to unhappiness with the footage at Eidos Montreal.


Polygon’s sources also say that a number of talented staff working on Thief came to Eidos Montreal out of love for the franchise, but at the same time, cited team politics and conflicting creative visions as the cause for several departures. Following the report, BioWare senior gameplay designer Manveer Heir tweeted: “Pretty much everything in that Polygon article I read matches rumors I’ve heard in town about the Thief project. I hope things work out.”

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  • Zenthos

    Even so, the new Thief has taking some pointers from dishonor. It seems like a well polished game.

  • Jungo

    This is… kind of concerning? I only know so much, but generally when I hear about problems like this even before release, that’s an ominous sign.

  • DarkWaterClone

    I know I will get some hate for this but why can’t people get their act together. The game has had work on it for already five years. It most likely will come out at the end of the year. But if it does not then the game would be worked on for even longer. So it makes me wonder if this can even make money for SE.

    Because they talked about games like Tomb Raider which I thought sold a few million but SE said they still have not made a profit yet. So it makes you wonder why any company would want games to take so long to make. I know open world games take longer then the normal game. But you would still think you would have a plan already set in stone and go with that. Because if you don’t you will end up with lots of delays and having to pay extra money. Which then means you have to sell even more games to make a profit.

    • Frankie

      SE did make a profit off Tomb Raider, just not the profit they wanted too. They also did not even get Tomb Raider a month before saying that. It sold 3.5 million when they said it was not high enough. Thief will be a total disaster if they do not have someone force everyone to focus and make the game, the way it should be made. Eidos has made some good games recently, so I think it will turn out alright.

      • $1484028

        where did you hear that, because thats contrary to everything that’s been said thus far, including statements by the former S-E CEO, Wada himself, who specifically said the budgeting of Sleeping Dogs, Hitman Absolution, and Tomb Raider were directly linked to S-E’s target expectations.
        in other words, according to Wada, when he said S-E expected TR to sell 5-6 million units, TR was literally budgeted to sell 5-6 million units.

        the fact that it (and Hitman and SD) did not meant that S-E’s expected $35-36 million profit instead became a $138 million loss for the fiscal year.

        that’s not “we just made less money than we wanted”, that’s “we straight up lost a ton of money.”

        • Frankie

          You are completely wrong. They did make money off those games, just not the expectations. If they put 20 million into a game and expected to make 40 million off of it, but only make 35 million, it does not meet expectations. SE had extremely high expectations for all of those games, and none of them had a chance of meeting them. They did make a profit, just not the profit the company or investors wanted.

          • $1484028

            once again, where/what are your sources? wishful thinking? faith?

            i named mine, the former CEO of Square-Enix who has said flat out in every interview since the fiscal year report that their expectations and budgeting were linked.
            as well as S-E fiscal report which explicitly say S-E LOST MONEY.
            they didn’t “only make 35 million”. according to their fiscal reports, THEY DIDN’T MAKE MONEY.

            if you actually have sources, so be it.
            i asked what they were.
            like i said, mine are the former CEO and official corporate fiscal reports.

          • $1484028

            it should be noted btw that at 20 million you’re scratching the bottom of the average cost range of AAA development at this point. (source: Pachter and various other industry analysts)

            if S-E had only spent 20 million they probably wouldn’t be having the trouble they’re in.

  • David García Abril

    “Collegial favouritism”…

    One sad, yet probably unavoidable recurrent aspect of the industry…

    • AJ

      I am constantly astounded, though, at the seeming lack of management or leadership in the industry. No one seems to be able to just slap people down and make a game. Make a plan, and stick to it. It seems simple, but then you frequently get into “Duke Nukem Forever” territory.

      Has anyone a clue as to why this is? Why this “collegial favouritism” is even allowed to happen on a big project?

  • let’s see.. development hell, SquareEnix, Western IP revival attempt. Yep, bomba & financial disaster incoming!

  • SirRichard

    Very, very concerning news and the game doesn’t need this going around with the pressure on it already, certainly not in the wake of Aliens: Colonial Marines and all the dirt that absolute mess raked up. Looks like back at home isn’t the only place Square needs to clamp down on.

  • Göran Isacson

    WELP, guess we’ll be returning to this article in… half a year or so or whenever the game is out, in order to either go “man no wonder it was such a bomb with all those troubles” or we fall to our knees and praise the lord for the fact that the game actually was good despite all odds! Any betters on the latter option? Anyone?

  • JustThisOne

    I’m assuming the game is pretty late in development now, considering it’s been greenlit in 2009 and there are little snippits teased here and there.

    But is this still the case now? Has the devteam sorted itself out yet? Or is this report based on problems in the past, and not currently happening?

    • Solomon_Kano

      “According to Polygon’s sources, a Thief demo shown at the Game Developers Conference this year took 10 months to develop. This same demo was used for Game Informer’s feature, and reportedly has a number of issues, such as having trouble when too many characters are on screen as well as NPC AI being turned off for demonstration purposes.”

      Sounds like the troubles are still ongoing.

      • JustThisOne

        Whoops. Missed the Gameinformer bit.

        Hmm… I guess I’ll have to positive thinking.

        • Solomon_Kano

          That’s the spirit! Good vibes! Good vibes~!

          We just have to hope everything gets ironed out!

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