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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?

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?

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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58. Re: Thief Dropping XP System Oct 22, 2013, 06:14 Raptor
If the system works well I suppose yes. (ie. AC)

If the system doesn't (and any game with prompts for doing things can get confused by this) then it can be a point of frustration and failure. (not constantly, but often enough to be a constant reminder and source of caution)

Say you are escaping guards and want to jump on boxes, but you are approaching diagonally to the boxes edge and the game doesn't recognise the box and doesn't give you the prompt for jumping.
Variations of this happen often. And instead of the player having to get used to how high and how far you have to jump to reach something the player has to get used to the logic of the prompts. (which is harder since prompts depend on a more intricate logic than jumping)

Any game which has had a prompting system for doing things like this has frustrated me at least in one point due to not giving me an option when I can clearly see I should be able to do something or getting me killed because the "knock out" prompt didn't appear while I was clearly behind a guard. Whatever the case removing the player's ability to do these things when and how they wish is just restrictive gameplay.

Lets say melee is a prompt, if you are not correctly facing the enemy you can't swing or do nothing, so it's not as fluid since sometimes you end up just standing there stupidly doing nothing at all while the enemy notices you and shoots you in the face. (I believe I've experienced this most with Hitman, but also with the Splinter cell games)

Sure it makes it easier for the devs to plan player paths and approach options, but it also restricts and limits the player imho.

I'm sure there will be a situation where you are sure you should be able to jump on something or reach something and will circle around the object for ages and then leave because the level designer had built something like it should be reachable, but has decided that it shouldn't be reached or forgot about adding a prompt option.
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