Eidos Montreal Invoked Assassin’s Creed When Experimenting On Thief 4
Assassin’s Creed is not a stealth title but so far as exploring exquisitely crafted worlds goes, it is pretty much the benchmark for any open-world game. It may come as no surprise then that Thief 4, recently announced for next-gen, was at one point during its experimental development process drawing inspiration from Assassin’s Creed.
The game was announced back in 2009 but stayed in gestation for so long to avoid “million dollar disasters” by keeping the dev team small and the project in the concept stages until a clear idea emerged which they could take forward. At one point the team even experimented with third-person gameplay featuring Assassin’s Creed style parkour. It didn’t quite stick as the series as always been more comfortable with first-person view although some of the mobility from that early concept seems to have stuck around if the early details are anything to go by.
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Narrative director Steven Gallagher said: “Concepting was a really cool time. There were a lot of ideas. It was very creatively energetic, but there was a lot of stuff that went on the table and was quickly taken off the table, and then placed in a dark room never to be seen.
“Some of the early concept stuff had Garrett a little too soft in his approach. That was a fine line to walk. I had a lot of problems with some of the early focus tests because I had turned his movements up too much towards the female spectrum.”
A year ago the studio hired Splinter Cell veteran Stephane Roy as producer, in an attempt to bring focus to the project.His job was to “figure out the original mandate” of the project and avoid any confusion caused by the team’s years of experimentation.
“I noticed that when I asked several directors about the original mandate, there was no clear answer,” he explained. “When you try a lot of things, sometimes it’s difficult to keep the focus.
“You try this and you try that and you forget what the game is about. It happened a couple of times where we were wrong, and that was tough on the team, but at the end of the day, people on the game really believe in Thief.”
Eidos Montreal’s experimentation helped the studio settle on what it now believes is the formula for designing a great stealth game, says GI: “Force players into a series of impossible situations and then give them the tools to escape.”
It’s quite interesting and rather refreshing that the team got to be so experimental with Thief 4 till they ultimately came up with the final product and hopefully this means that the released game will be something truly refined and spectacular.