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Eidos Montreal’s Thief Reboot Has Been Having Trouble



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.”

Ishaan Sahdev
Ishaan specializes in game design/sales analysis. He's the former managing editor of Siliconera and wrote the book "The Legend of Zelda - A Complete Development History". He also used to moonlight as a professional manga editor. These days, his day job has nothing to do with games, but the two inform each other nonetheless.