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Thief Previews; Videos

Looks like an NDA may have expired, as a few previews of Thief are online today, offering looks at Eidos Montreal's upcoming reboot of the stealth/action series. There are previews covering an unspecified amount of the game on CVG and Polygon, while the previews on Destructoid and Strategy Informer each boast hands-on impressions of the first four hours of the game, which is probably not a coincidence, as the Thief preview on games.on.net says it covers the same span. That last article also includes a seven-minute video with new gameplay footage to accompany their impressions and there's also a preview on Eurogamer with their own gameplay video, which runs nine minutes.

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35. Re: Thief Previews; Videos Jan 28, 2014, 01:41 Jerykk
 
Then we both have a different definition of a game being on rails (maybe "on rails" is a wrong choice of words, but what I mean to say is perfectly clear so let's not get stuck on semantics). To me, THIEF is on rails because there's no question/"illusion" whatsoever that you can only do what the devs tell you to. Sure, the devs give you multiple choices, but you cannot -- in any way! -- solve an obstacle in such a way the devs would be like "What the hell? Even we didn't think of that!". Have you played DX:HR with the dev commentary? I have. From start to finish. Apparantly there were allot of moments where the devs were saying almost exactly that.

I never encountered any genuinely emergent gameplay in any of the Thief games. It was always pretty clear that I was doing what the designers intended because the game's systems were never flexible enough to allow me to do otherwise. In DX, the emergent gameplay stemmed primarily from your strength & jump augmentations combined with your ability to pick up and move objects. Thief never had any such systems, meaning you were always limited to the options the designers created for you. The presence of manual jumping didn't change that which is why I don't think its absence is problematic in the new game.

Also, it's a bit silly to assume that emergent gameplay can only occur as a result of manual jumping. THIEF still has the AI, light/shadow and sound systems of the original games and it's conceivable that some random interaction could cause the AI to act in an unexpected way. We'll have to wait and see. I'm pretty sure that it, much like its predecessors, won't have even remotely as much emergent gameplay as DX.
 
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34. Re: Thief Previews; Videos Jan 27, 2014, 04:51 Quinn
 
Jerykk wrote on Jan 27, 2014, 04:01:
Out of curiousity: Why? Why do you prefer it?

Because I like having more control over my character. However, I can recognize when that control (or lack thereof) has a meaningful impact on gameplay. If the traversal system is as flexible as the previews seem to suggest, the lack of manual jumping will not have a significant impact on the new Thief. It will not mean you are "on rails," as that's a matter of level design, not controls. As far as I can tell, the levels are open-ended which is the exact opposite of "on rails."

Then we both have a different definition of a game being on rails (maybe "on rails" is a wrong choice of words, but what I mean to say is perfectly clear so let's not get stuck on semantics). To me, THIEF is on rails because there's no question/"illusion" whatsoever that you can only do what the devs tell you to. Sure, the devs give you multiple choices, but you cannot -- in any way! -- solve an obstacle in such a way the devs would be like "What the hell? Even we didn't think of that!". Have you played DX:HR with the dev commentary? I have. From start to finish. Apparantly there were allot of moments where the devs were saying almost exactly that.

If they would've made the traversal system as dynamic as AC's + added manual jumping, I'm sure THIEF let the player surprise the devs in the same way. Now you'll just be a magnet in a maze stone and steel, bound to the latter, limited by the first.
 
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33. Re: Thief Previews; Videos Jan 27, 2014, 04:01 Jerykk
 
Out of curiousity: Why? Why do you prefer it?

Because I like having more control over my character. However, I can recognize when that control (or lack thereof) has a meaningful impact on gameplay. If the traversal system is as flexible as the previews seem to suggest, the lack of manual jumping will not have a significant impact on the new Thief. It will not mean you are "on rails," as that's a matter of level design, not controls. As far as I can tell, the levels are open-ended which is the exact opposite of "on rails."

The truth is, other people have different opinions of what they expect in a quality PC game, and they don't necessarily jibe with yours. When we voice those ideas, it seems impossible for you accept that they are anything but "minor nitpicks", "absurd conclusions", and "faulty logic", and you feel the need to weigh in with a "correct" perspective.

I'm sorry but your arguments are usually illogical. For example, claiming that the lack of manual jumping is due to consoles doesn't even make sense, given how many console games have manual jumping. Hell, the last Thief game had manual jumping and the game was clearly designed for Xbox. Claiming that button prompts dumb down the game is equally silly, given that you can disable them and that the functionality remains the same regardless of whether or not you can see a prompt.

What your arguments essentially boil down to is "new games aren't exactly the same as old games so they must be worthless pieces of crap." If that's what you genuinely believe, go ahead. Just don't expect me to sit by and let you spout your nonsense without any sort of rebuttal.

This comment was edited on Jan 27, 2014, 04:09.
 
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32. Re: Thief Previews; Videos Jan 27, 2014, 03:16 Quinn
 
Like most here, I'm being very negative on the board about this game. However, the new vids look surprisingly good. I pre-ordered the game for 15,- on kinguin.net.

I still hate the fact manual jumping is gone. Despite the irrational defending of it by a certain person, no manual jumping simply means you're on rails.

I believe you can make the game hard enough for yourself. The failstates are retarded, annoying and immersion breaking, but I'll just let the guards do allot of damage and turn the health regen / health potions off. That'll make things properly interesting.

Actually can't wait for this game now. It'll surely be great fun.

Quote from Jerykk:
I'd also prefer manual jumping ...

Out of curiousity: Why? Why do you prefer it?

This comment was edited on Jan 27, 2014, 03:37.
 
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31. Re: Thief Previews; Videos Jan 27, 2014, 00:38 Fletch
 
Jerykk wrote on Jan 26, 2014, 17:29:
Also, I'm fine with people criticizing games before release, as long as those criticisms are based on fact and logic. Unfortunately, the people declaring that the game will be a consolized piece of crap aren't doing that. They take the most minor of nitpicks and blow them out of proportion or they come to absurd conclusions based on faulty logic.

No. We come to conclusions based upon the same info you have. You apply "absurd" to them in condescending bullshit disguised as this voice-of-reason babble you seem to be adept at. The truth is, other people have different opinions of what they expect in a quality PC game, and they don't necessarily jibe with yours. When we voice those ideas, it seems impossible for you accept that they are anything but "minor nitpicks", "absurd conclusions", and "faulty logic", and you feel the need to weigh in with a "correct" perspective. I wanted Thief to be awesome, but I've seen enough of the game and read enough from the developers to know I'm not interested any more. If that doesn't compute from behind whatever-color-tinted glasses you perceive the universe... well, I'm not nearly as astute or diplomatic as Ray, so I'll just say, "piss off".
 
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30. Re: Thief Previews; Videos Jan 26, 2014, 17:29 Jerykk
 
Ray Marden wrote on Jan 26, 2014, 07:37:
Jerykk,

Eurogamer is not the only outlet to talk about noteworthy shortcomings or outright negative things about this game. Rev 3 Games, Weekend Confirmed, Giant Bombcast, IGN podcasts, EpicBattleAxe, etc.

Prior to making my earlier post, I did watch the Eurogamer video and it seemed to confirm the items I was concerned with or letdown by. However, I just watched the Games.on.net video and it brings up some shortcomings of the game as well - Erin being the first contender for the most irritating character of the year (again, the removal of Russell was unwarranted given the poor end quality of the abundant, gameplay-stopping cinematics,) the restriction on jumping and climbable surfaces giving them the impression of a more jigsaw-like game than an open-world game, the game being ugly in quite a few areas, particularly the non-PC platforms, and noting the removal of the XP and quicktime systems (overall improvements, but raising many concerns about the original design intent and the impact that intent will have on the final product.)

As ever, you fall back on challenge. In that regards, you hopefully concede that you are different than many gamers...or let me say that I approach games from a different perspective. Time and time and time again, I have seen you comment on the challenge of a game above all else. Absolutely, I believe it can help shape one's impression of a game (too easy, too hard, can make actions boring, can build a sense of accomplishments, creates a challenge, etc.,) but I often view it as just one piece of the puzzle along with sound design, level design, gameplay mechanics, puzzles, exploration, story, new experience factor, improvement upon prior iterations, etc.

Look, I bough the game yesterday from GMG for $31.50. It's sufficiently Thief-like for my preferences, stealth games are few and far between, this is one of only two games releasing in February I have any interest in, the price was right for all these things, the more recent previews have spoken to a higher level of design quality than earlier previews, etc. But I'll be damned if I cannot already see a number of things that I would love to change or am immediately concerned about.

I think, or at least hope, that's the big difference here. I now effectively own the game, but I want it to be better and think it could have done a lot more given the pedigree of the series and the improvements in both design and technology over the past decade. You and others seem to like this a lot more than others. That's honestly great. However, a seeming belief that the game is amazing or good enough and there shouldn't be any other comments about shortcomings or aspirations for a greater game is something I find particularly saddening. In my book, being blind to shortcomings or halting acknowledgment of them is a race to mediocrity.
Personal preference =/= quality =/= purchase.
Able to like flawed games; able to critique amazing games,
Ray

Eurogamer was the only preview that was consistently negative. Other previews pointed out a few nitpicks and potential concerns but were, as a whole, positive.

As for the issues you mentioned, a lot of it is premature or unfounded. Is Erin annoying? Possibly, though she "dies" in the tutorial mission so it's not like you have to deal with her for the entire game. Also, replacing a voice actor has nothing to do with writing or quality of cinematics. Strategy Informer said the new Garrett VA is surprisingly good. I've addressed the traversal concerns numerous times already. The original Thief games were never defined by emergent gameplay and the ability to manually jump didn't mean you could go wherever you wanted. Level designers still decided where you could and could not go, as is the case in the new game. People complain about the lack of manual jumping as a matter of principle more than anything else. Shitty graphics and performance on consoles is irrelevant to me, as I only care about the PC version. The removal of XP and QTEs will have little to no impact on the game, as they were not fundamental to the overall experience. You used to use XP to buy Focus upgrades, now you use Focus Points. QTEs only existed in a few cinematic moments and were not an actual gameplay mechanic.

Thief may very well end up being disappointing. However, I don't think there's enough evidence to prove that just yet. From the previews I've read, the consensus seems to be that the levels are mostly open-ended and gameplay faithful to the originals. Are there specific things that different people dislike? Sure. I personally dislike the amount of camera bobbing when you're sneaking or grabbing loot. I'd also prefer manual jumping, even if it wouldn't have any meaningful impact on the game. I'd also like to have no cinematics whatsoever and no cuts to a third-person camera. However, are any of these nitpicks significantly detrimental to the game? I'd say no. I will wait until the final game is released before passing judgment on the things that really matter (level design and AI).

Also, I'm fine with people criticizing games before release, as long as those criticisms are based on fact and logic. Unfortunately, the people declaring that the game will be a consolized piece of crap aren't doing that. They take the most minor of nitpicks and blow them out of proportion or they come to absurd conclusions based on faulty logic.

This comment was edited on Jan 26, 2014, 17:42.
 
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29. Re: Thief Previews; Videos Jan 26, 2014, 16:02 Overon
 
Wow I watched some previews and how you can turn off a lot of the consolitis gui and focus mechanic, and was I wrong? Is this actually worthy of being a PC game?  
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28. Re: Thief Previews; Videos Jan 26, 2014, 08:58 Quboid
 
Cram wrote on Jan 25, 2014, 20:45:
@ Jerykk Still supporting and agreeing with your opinions. Not much else I can care to say or do for the neg nancy's.

Eurogamers vid was polar opposite of everyone else's. It's curious. We will see, and only see when the game is released. Until then.

We will only see when the game is released, exactly. So why are you naive enough to not be cautious? Recent games I have preordered or come very close to preordering include SimCity, Hitman Absolution and X Rebirth so no, I'm not going to ignore concerns.

It's the same shit on Star Citizen threads, anyone who brings up concerns or urges caution - talking about things that ***_MIGHT_*** happen gets jumped on for their negativity, as if being cautious about a game in the face of pre-release hype has been shown to be anything other than a very sensible point of view time after time after time after time.

Being optimistic for a game is one thing but to be dismissive of concerns is unwise.
 
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27. Re: Thief Previews; Videos Jan 26, 2014, 08:35 Ray Marden
 
You got me there - I meant to say "difficulty" rather than "challenge." It's easy to make a hard game, but hard to make a good game. And making a fun, challenging game has been the bane of many a developer's existence.

But otherwise, I generally agree with challenge being important; it can play a big part in enjoying a game, although I would open up the door (perhaps more than many others) for other items. And balance plays has more weight with me as I get older; I like challenging games within a certain gameplay or mechanic structure, but I have no love for games that blatantly cheat to make things "hard."
A sh*tty camera in a 3D game is just lazy and cheap, for example.
Wanting better versions of the old games I play, not rehashed, simplified ones,
Ray
 
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26. Re: Thief Previews; Videos Jan 26, 2014, 07:51 Zoom
 
@Ray: about challenge. I read something recently about challenge being the defining quality about a game, far ahead of everything else. Of course it's tightly linked to what we call "gameplay" as a bad gameplay in a challenging game is just frustrating. It's a matter of balance. Very challenging games with good gameplay become cult classics. Schoolbook example is Deus Ex which was bloody difficult compared to today's standards. We could cite many examples here, but you get my point - i think we are in a time where producers remove the "challenge" element from their games thinking it's adverse to good sales, which is completely wrong. One only hopes the industry will come around full circle and give us back some really challenging games, and those with good gameplay will become the new cult classics - as of now we are still defining all games against classics of 10-15 years ago, which is not a good sign.  
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25. Re: Thief Previews; Videos Jan 26, 2014, 07:45 Zoom
 
I for one liked many aspects of Deadly Shadows. Actually even if it didnt feel exactly like the first two iterations of the series (the second one being the best IMHO) it had some really unforgettable moments (pointing at Shalebridge Cradle, here, the fall of the clocktower was also an "OH SH**" moment) which cannot be said of many games. Roaming the streets was nice. I felt immersed in the story, and for this i think it was successful. Thief was always all about immersion. I just hope this new one is still able to do it (removing the consoleitis helps is a first step i guess).  
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24. Re: Thief Previews; Videos Jan 26, 2014, 07:37 Ray Marden
 
Jerykk,

Eurogamer is not the only outlet to talk about noteworthy shortcomings or outright negative things about this game. Rev 3 Games, Weekend Confirmed, Giant Bombcast, IGN podcasts, EpicBattleAxe, etc.

Prior to making my earlier post, I did watch the Eurogamer video and it seemed to confirm the items I was concerned with or letdown by. However, I just watched the Games.on.net video and it brings up some shortcomings of the game as well - Erin being the first contender for the most irritating character of the year (again, the removal of Russell was unwarranted given the poor end quality of the abundant, gameplay-stopping cinematics,) the restriction on jumping and climbable surfaces giving them the impression of a more jigsaw-like game than an open-world game, the game being ugly in quite a few areas, particularly the non-PC platforms, and noting the removal of the XP and quicktime systems (overall improvements, but raising many concerns about the original design intent and the impact that intent will have on the final product.)

As ever, you fall back on challenge. In that regards, you hopefully concede that you are different than many gamers...or let me say that I approach games from a different perspective. Time and time and time again, I have seen you comment on the challenge of a game above all else. Absolutely, I believe it can help shape one's impression of a game (too easy, too hard, can make actions boring, can build a sense of accomplishments, creates a challenge, etc.,) but I often view it as just one piece of the puzzle along with sound design, level design, gameplay mechanics, puzzles, exploration, story, new experience factor, improvement upon prior iterations, etc.

Look, I bough the game yesterday from GMG for $31.50. It's sufficiently Thief-like for my preferences, stealth games are few and far between, this is one of only two games releasing in February I have any interest in, the price was right for all these things, the more recent previews have spoken to a higher level of design quality than earlier previews, etc. But I'll be damned if I cannot already see a number of things that I would love to change or am immediately concerned about.

I think, or at least hope, that's the big difference here. I now effectively own the game, but I want it to be better and think it could have done a lot more given the pedigree of the series and the improvements in both design and technology over the past decade. You and others seem to like this a lot more than others. That's honestly great. However, a seeming belief that the game is amazing or good enough and there shouldn't be any other comments about shortcomings or aspirations for a greater game is something I find particularly saddening. In my book, being blind to shortcomings or halting acknowledgment of them is a race to mediocrity.
Personal preference =/= quality =/= purchase.
Able to like flawed games; able to critique amazing games,
Ray
 
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http://shoutengine.com/GarnettonGames/
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23. Re: Thief Previews; Videos Jan 25, 2014, 20:45 Cram
 
@ Jerykk Still supporting and agreeing with your opinions. Not much else I can care to say or do for the neg nancy's.

Eurogamers vid was polar opposite of everyone else's. It's curious. We will see, and only see when the game is released. Until then.
 
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22. Re: Thief Previews; Videos Jan 25, 2014, 19:54 Quboid
 
I do like that they've put lots of options in. The way I play, detection and fighting is failing. However, the way I play, detection and fighting and failing is inevitable and I want to keep playing and suffer the consequences. We don't know how that'll play out, it might be great but if it might be flawed in ways that no amount of difficulty options will help.

Failure states should be avoided as much as possible and the result of non-fatally screwing up should be that you face the consequences of the screw up.
 
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21. Re: Thief Previews; Videos Jan 25, 2014, 19:40 Jerykk
 
Quboid wrote on Jan 25, 2014, 18:46:
A fail state is not a good way to handle being detected, or for knocking out an enemy IMHO. I want in-game consequences, a tough fight or a chase. I don't know what Thief has but if it is a choice between an easy fight with no further enemy reaction or a "Game Over" screen, then that's a problem.

The point of a stealth game is to avoid detection. If you're fighting enemies, you've already failed the primary goal of the game.

And if you really want a hard fight, you can ramp up the difficulty and disable Focus mode. You can also disable healing items, making the consequences of getting hit have meaning without being an automatic fail state. You can also just run away.

As with any stealth game, the experience is largely dictated by you. If you want a pure, unforgiving stealth experience, you can do that. If you want a stealth experience with some leeway for mistakes, you can do that too.
 
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20. Re: Thief Previews; Videos Jan 25, 2014, 18:46 Quboid
 
A fail state is not a good way to handle being detected, or for knocking out an enemy IMHO. I want in-game consequences, a tough fight or a chase. I don't know what Thief has but if it is a choice between an easy fight with no further enemy reaction or a "Game Over" screen, then that's a problem.  
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19. Re: Thief Previews; Videos Jan 25, 2014, 16:32 Jerykk
 
This is better than I expected, given the garbage they were trying to sell us on (prior to trying to roll a lot of it back at the last moment,) but it's not what I was hoping for. Small, linear, missing atmosphere, limited exploration, minimalizing the punishment for being caught, making the search for loot mundane, scaling back the mystical elements, the jarring swoop for numerous actions, abundant cinematics of lackluster impact(meaning removing Russell was unwarranted,) a design focused around making core gameplay easier, light story, etc.

Eurogamer is the only outlet that thought the levels were small, linear and had limited exploration. The other previews said the exact opposite. As for atmosphere, story, cinematics, mystical elements, we don't have enough information to judge that. The mystical elements in the previous games weren't introduced until the later levels and this demo only included the first four levels.

As for the punishment for being caught, I will post this yet again: http://community.eidosmontreal.com/blogs/Stealing-Time-Episode-4?theme=thief

You can make the game as challenging as you like. You can turn off the UI. You can make items more expensive. You can make detection a fail state. You can make it impossible to kill or knockout enemies. You can disable Focus entirely. You can make taking damage a fail state. You can even turn on iron man mode, forcing you to restart the entire game if you ever get a fail state.
 
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18. Re: Thief Previews; Videos Jan 25, 2014, 14:14 siapnar
 
Squirmer wrote on Jan 25, 2014, 06:44:
Does the camera really perform that nauseating swoop every time you interact with something?
I thought that as well. It'll get pretty annoying, very quickly
 
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17. Re: Thief Previews; Videos Jan 25, 2014, 10:58 Acleacius
 
Please stop talking about DXHR, I have nightmares about the horrid pixelated faces with 8 bit animations! Bawling  
The people can always be brought to the bidding of the leaders.That is easy.All you have to do is tell them they are being attacked and denounce the pacifists for lack of patriotism and exposing the country to danger.It works the same way in any country.
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16. Re: Thief Previews; Videos Jan 25, 2014, 10:16 Ray Marden
 
It looks like the game is going to be a bit average - not a great action game, not a great stealth game, and neither honoring nor learning from its predecessors.

This is better than I expected, given the garbage they were trying to sell us on (prior to trying to roll a lot of it back at the last moment,) but it's not what I was hoping for. Small, linear, missing atmosphere, limited exploration, minimalizing the punishment for being caught, making the search for loot mundane, scaling back the mystical elements, the jarring swoop for numerous actions, abundant cinematics of lackluster impact(meaning removing Russell was unwarranted,) a design focused around making core gameplay easier, light story, etc.

From where they started, this better than I expected, but it's certainly not what I wanted. I am skeptical this will appeal to the masses they were lusting after and it's certainly not what I would look for in a sequel to the first two Thief games. The one improvement I've consistently heard is that the levels are more detailed, but it's been over a decade and is easily offset by the small levels and mundane mixture of gameplay elements - the "magic" seems to be missing.

Didn't we already go through this phase with Deadly Shadows? A decade later, this is where we are at? And the troubled design process didn't result in these failings or at least shortcomings?

Worried this will be small, short, and boring,
Ray With no other games in February, I guess I can pay $31.50.
 
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