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Thief Dropping XP System

The Eidos Montreal Community Website has a community Q&A about the upcoming Thief reboot, answering questions from eager fans of the franchise (thanks PC Gamer). The topic this time around is the removal of the planned XP system from the game, a decision the developers explain while dropping a hint they may have something positive to say about QTEs in the future:

Why was it removed?

Nic:
At first, we wanted to outline the progression of the player with XP, but it was reducing our motivation to steal. The main goal of a thief should be to gain loot. Garrett is already the Master Thief, so we saw no need to have XP as a core mechanic.

Daniel: We wanted to put emphasis on stealing things, and put the rewards on the stealing aspect. We want to allow the player to decide the "how to" we shouldn't judge how the player wants to achieve their goal, only reward them for achieving it.

The reaction from fans to the "Headshot XP" pop-up in the E3 gameplay demo was fairly negative. Did that have an impact on the decision to remove it from the game?

Daniel: Fans might be surprised how often the devs go to the forum to see how things are perceived in the "real world". This feedback is extremely valuable to us, so as you can imagine, the consistent reaction to the XP system was something that indicated we needed to revisit some design decisions.

Nic: It is more a design decision to add to our economy system and entice the player to steal more. But yes, the E3 reaction was right, rewarding killing like that was wrong for a Master Thief.

How will Garrett progress through the game without XP?

Nic:
The goal is to use gold to buy elements to progress, to encourage the player to steal. The player will be able to choose how to spend money, for more stealthy or more aggressive tools.

Daniel: It was always possible to play without using XP, like it is still possible to play through the game without killing anyone or even spending any coin (though it isn't going to be easy!)

Thanks guys, this was very instructive. And wait until you hear what they have to say about QTEs...

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44. Re: Thief Dropping XP System Oct 18, 2013, 04:54 Jerykk
 
Except reaching places you're not supposed to reach isn't really part of the PC mentality. The only reason it happened more often in older games is because they didn't have nearly as much testing as new games do. When Ion Storm made Deus Ex, they never intended for players to use sticky mines to climb up walls. When Dynamix made Tribes, they never intended for players to exploit a bug in the physics system and move at incredibly high speeds. Emergent gameplay, by its very nature, exists in spite of design. The Thief games, while having large, open-ended levels, were never really known for emergent gameplay. You were still mostly limited to going where the developers allowed you to go and doing what they allowed you to do.

The lack of manual jumping does not mean that Thief will be a completely linear and guided experience. The demo they showed at E3 had multiple ways to get into the castle and plenty of opportunities for verticality. Splinter Cell: Blacklist was very much the same way. No jumping but the levels were open-ended and there were enough contextual triggers available that you never felt limited.

I think people are just way too eager to dismiss the game based on very limited knowledge of it. Wait until the game actually comes out. Or better yet, wait until you actually play it. Remember DX:HR? Remember how people were shitting all over it when they heard about the one-button takedowns, the third-person camera cuts, the cover system, the object highlighting, the merging of the skills and augmentation systems, the XP awards for specific actions, etc? In spite of those things, DX:HR ended up being a pretty damn good game. I've heard fewer specific criticisms about Thief yet people act like it's going to be the worst game ever made.
 
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