Eidos-Montreal Q&A: Thief and the Power of a New Generation

Step into the Shadow, as Garrett, the Master Thief. Some steal to survive, he survives to steal.  Check out the Xbox Wire interview with “Thief’s” senior producer Stephane Roy from Eidos Montreal, and stay tuned for more news and insights from other renowned developers of the hottest and most anticipated games coming to Xbox. 

“Thief” launches on consoles, including Xbox One and Xbox 360, and PC on Feb. 25, 2014 in the U.S.

What has you most excited about developing “Thief” for a new generation of hardware?

The aim here at Eidos-Montréal is always to create deep, immersive experiences and this is key to the successful development of “Thief.” We’re the studio who made “
Deus Ex: Human Revolution;” we’ve got a great track-record at telling great stories and we aim to do this again with “Thief.” The increased horsepower of the next gen machines enables us to maximize what we can achieve visually and with our AI to make the most immersive experience possible – this is really exciting for us.

How will a new generation of hardware impact/change/revolutionize the future of your title/gaming

While creating fun and deeply engaging gameplay elements is still at the very core of what we’re designing with “Thief” – this new, powerful generation of hardware allows us to really dive into building a rich and immersive universe. The unprecedented visual fidelity that is now available gives us the opportunity to communicate a dark, damp, and decaying world allowing players to live in the City with Garrett; sliding through the shadows, feeling the rough cobblestones beneath padded boots, gently coercing the lock pick to snap into place, and making off with priceless treasures.

A calling card of the series is the fantasy/steam punk setting, will players see a vast difference in the presentation and scale of the City in the upcoming “Thief?”

The world of “Thief” is set in a fictional Victorian age on the brink of industrialization; this collision of elegant architecture and new industrial advancements helps set the stage for the story we’re presenting.

The scale of the City is larger than the previous games and we hope to encourage players to take their time exploring the depths of this world we’ve created. Exploration and player choice is really important to us and we’ve designed missions and locations that allow this – there’s a lot more to the City for players looking to take the time to explore and find hidden notes, journals, and lockboxes to really dig into a deeper layer of the world.

Sound, light and shadow all play a major role in previous versions of “Thief,” what are the main differences between how these elements are presented/utilized in next-generation hardware versus past iterations?

Shadows, light, sound: These have always been key parts of the “Thief” experience. Garrett is safest in the shadows and as soon as he steps foot in the light he’s at risk of being detected. Listening to what’s happening in your environment, whether it’s the heavy boots of a patrolling guard, a key piece of information overheard, or the noise of Garrett’s footfalls on stone, grass, or water. Next generation hardware enables bigger and richer sound banks as well as better light fidelity than previously possible, again allowing us to build a deeper and more immersive world.

How has next-generation hardware/capabilities allowed you to improve the AI of guards, civilians and other NPCs in “Thief?”

“Thief” relies heavily on AI to create its mood and provide a solid foundation for the gameplay experience. Next-gen hardware allows us to provide more variety for NPC animations, AI routines, and dialogue which creates more depth and believability to the world. Having access to more CPU cycles and memory is always welcomed when trying to push the limits of the NPC’s abilities to trigger challenging and interesting behaviors in response to a player’s actions.

What type of surprise/unique features can fans look forward to for the online component of “Thief?”

As with “Deus Ex: Human Revolution,” our primary goal with “Thief” is to provide the best story and single player experience possible. While we won’t have multiplayer, we’ll have some fun and interesting online leaderboards available. We’ll have more information to share on these in the near future.