Thief's return allegedly hampered by setbacks at Eidos Montreal
While we're anxiously awaiting Eidos Montreal's reboot of cornerstone PC gaming franchise Thief next year, you might've wondered why we've only just begun to hear hard details about it this year. Its announcement-of-existence in 2009 was followed by years of public silence—which, we're learning now, was allegedly filled with quiet turmoil, office politics, and assorted strife. Will Thief's rocky journey show in the final product?
The polished demo we saw at this year's Game Developers Conference may not be indicative of Thief's overall progress, an article at Polygon suggests. The single-level demo reportedly took 10 months to develop, six of which demanded the participation of nearly every member of the Thief team. Numerous programming tricks were also required to get the demo running—non-playable character AI was turned off, as the engine had trouble processing too many characters on the screen at a time.
The demo footage was also intended to be revealed to public, which was later decided against due to "internal unhappiness" with its quality.
Designers have come and gone, sometimes staying less than two years, and the constantly changing developer lineup has resulted in fluctuating creative vision—the Thief demo shown to press earlier this year reportedly barely resembles its original concept. In our preview earlier this month, Tyler said that the developers present were anxious about Thief's eventual reception. That anxiety is also reflected in studio and publisher insecurity about how well Thief will perform, given its rocky, half-decade development history and the missed sales goals of other recent Square Enix releases Tomb Raider and Hitman: Absolution.
As a fan of the Thief universe and Garrett's verging-on-hilarious cynicism, I'm really hoping that Eidos Montreal and Square Enix have finally found a stable foothold in the apparently jagged rockface of thievery—it's an admittedly difficult game to develop for multiple platforms and multiple audiences. Tyler said that the developer's fear to please fans was "probably a good thing," so we can only hope that that fear has incentivized them to overcome the odds and deliver a worthy addition to the franchise.