Despite numerous reveals and news stories suggesting the complete opposite, all is not well in the house of Thief. Yes, the game was officially unveiled last month, leading most to assume the long-gestating project was finally on track, but that is apparently not the case.
In fact, the game’s development has been plagued with numerous departures of both senior and junior team members, escalating production costs, and intra-office politicking. Needless to say, while Thief looks great, it’s behind the scenes work is an ugly affair.
According to a source for Polygon, development at Eidos Montreal has been rocky at best. While the Deus Ex: Human Revolution team has been basking in the glow of releasing a critically acclaimed and financially successful “reboot,” the Thief team has been on the outside looking in. As Polygon explains, the lead and senior design roles on Thief were fluid, meaning that it was not uncommon for a team member to up and leave. In fact, as Thief‘s promotional tour was ramping up with the Game Informer cover story, Lead Game Designer Dominic Fleury departed the studio.
Now, studio departures aren’t always cause for concern, sometimes they are part of the process, but the way in which these exits impact development is a bit alarming. Apparently, with each new hire comes a changing of the guard, so to speak, with old ideas being replaced by new ones. Basically, the game can’t find solid footing without a solid and unified development team first, which Thief reportedly doesn’t have just yet.
Polygon’s source also cites several other problematic areas including an unwillingness by team members to create a sequence with “Cinemax-level” sex, and a demo that took nearly 10 months to develop. That demo — the same one showcased at this year’s Game Developer’s Conference — required input from the full breadth of Eidos Montreal’s team just to get finished.
However, because the core Thief game has changed so much over time, and perhaps because Eidos wanted to put their best foot forward, that GDC demo won’t actually load inside Thief‘s version of Unreal Engine 3. That means that the game on display at GDC, is not indicative of the current iteration of Thief.
At one point, Eidos Montreal toyed with the idea of releasing the demo to the public to give gamers a better sense of the game, but that idea has apparently been scrapped after the publisher was unhappy with the captured footage. Eidos does have plans to showcase the game at this year’s E3, but it’s unclear at this point whether that presentation will feature a new demo or the same one.
Does Thief‘s development troubles give you cause for concern? Will Thief ever see the light of day?
Thief is reportedly still on track for a 2014 release on the PC, PS4, and other next-gen consoles.