Unhappy ‘Thief’ Fans Petition For Return of Original Voice Actor

Published 2 years ago by , Updated April 15th, 2013 at 12:54 pm,

Thief Reboot Logo

Any fresh addition to a much-loved game series that carries the “reboot” label is bound to be met with a degree of wariness by fans, especially if it comes almost a decade after the release of the last game, as Eidos Montreal’s new steal ’em up Thief does. The developers have promised that they’re staying true to the spirit of the game, with the focus remaining on a single-player campaign and the option to play through the entire game without killing anyone, but fans are understandably greeting each fresh announcement with a critical eye.

News of the most notable change so far came with the release of the first CG trailer for the game, which was narrated by Romano Orzari, the new voice of Garrett the Master Thief. For the first three games the character’s lines were provided by actor Stephen Russell, and quite a few fans were disgruntled by the change of casting.

A gamer going by the pseudonym Cloud Unknown has started a petition over at Change.org, demanding that Eidos Montreal bring Russell back for the reboot, and the petition has since gathered almost 2000 signatures. Here’s what the petitioners are signing:

Eidos Montreal; Square Enix: Bring back Stephen Russell for Thief 4.

We were promised that we will play as Garrett. The voice we’ve been given is not him. Stephen Russell, the voice actor for the first three Thief games, defined Garrett. Garrett does not have a defining face, it is his characteristic voice that makes him who he is. Change that, and he becomes another character entirely.

We’ve all gotten attached to that voice over the course of many robberies, adventures, and heists. Without it, Garrett is simply an impostor of his own self. A plastic Garrett lookalike. And so we urge the developers… Please bring Stephen back?

It might seem like a small thing to some, but it is not. Don’t let Thief go the same way Splinter Cell went, which had its main character replaced by a new actor after five games. It is like a slap to the face. We’ve gotten attached to this character. Don’t take it away. Stephen is a core part of the Thief series.

Thief Reboot Actor New Garrett

Thief‘s narrative director Stephen Gallagher and audio director Jean-Christophe Verbert have already responded to the criticisms in a community interview, saying that Stephen Russell was their first choice for the role of Garrett, and was even involved with the game’s early development. However, because the studio opted for full performance capture (meaning that physical movement and audio would be recorded at the same time) they found that Stephen Russell was simply not physically capable of taking on the role:

“Stephen was considered quite heavily. We actually had him in for some preliminary vocal recordings in fact.

“Being able to capture the voice at the same time as the actors’ movements and facial expressions, all while the actors play off each other, delivers a much more convincing experience than traditional techniques of recording each characters’ dialogue separately and then animating everything by hand afterwards.

“With the new visual of Garrett we’d created, we found that there was a disconnect that we couldn’t ignore between the concepted character and Stephen’s voice today.

“To answer your question directly, the actor playing Garrett needed to be able to perform his own stunts. Garrett’s a really athletic guy. We could have pasted Stephen’s voice on top of the actions and stunts of someone else, but this wouldn’t appear natural. It really wouldn’t make any sense to capture the full performance for our other characters, but not for our star.”

Performance capture behind the scenes of Thief

Voice actor Nolan North has sung the praises of full performance capture as it was utilized in the Uncharted series, saying that, by contrast, the work that he did on the Assassin’s Creed series as the voice of Desmond Miles made the movement of the character and the voice acting feel too disjointed:

“I wish it wasn’t done separately. Don’t get me wrong, the mo-cap actors do a great job, but there will always be somewhat of a disconnect when it’s done this way … The cut-scenes are shot exactly like a film or television program. The actors interact more naturally and unique and subtle elements to the performances are captured. Don’t think for a minute that gamers don’t notice. They’re a savvy bunch.”

This will be the first time that full performance capture has been used in the Thief series. In previous games, animator Daniel Thron created hand-drawn animated cut-scenes that featured a lot of silhouettes and shadows, and even in the third-person view there were a limited range of animations for Garrett. Almost ten years have passed, however, since the release of the last game, and it’s not only understandable but expected that the game developers would want to make use of the technology that has become available since then.

Whether you agree with the petition or not, there’s little chance that Eidos Montreal are going to take any action based on it. 2000 signatures out of their total target audience isn’t all that significant a number, and if the studio was ever going to change its mind about using full performance capture instead of mo-cap/audio booth recording with two separate actors, it would have been before they went ahead and completed the performance capture.

An animated cut-scene from Thief II: The Metal Age

The petition also comes across as more than a little exaggerated, describing Orzari as an “impostor” and a “plastic Garrett lookalike,” and calling the casting decision “a slap in the face.” The Splinter Cell comparison is an apt one, at least, since Michael Ironside was replaced in Splinter Cell Blacklist for the exact same reason that Russell was replaced; the actor is now 63 years old and not capable of the kind of physical movement needed for full performance capture.

Moreover, the backlash doesn’t seem to be against the choice of Romano Orzari or what we’ve heard of his Garrett performance so far; the main criticism of Orzari is that he isn’t Stephen Russell, and that’s not really something he can help. It’s also a little insulting to the writers of the previous games to suggest that Garrett is defined by his voice actor, rather than by the way he is written. Orzari’s voice is actually impressively close to Russell’s gravelly tones, and so long as he does a good job of voicing Garrett, there’s no reason that the change of lead should be detrimental to the game as whole.

You can definitely say this for the Eidos Montreal team behind Thief: they’re not rushing the game out. It was originally announced in 2009, and is currently expected to release on PC, PS4, and Microsoft’s 4th generation console some time in 2014.

Source: Change.org (via PCGamesN)

TAGS: Eidos Montreal, PC, PS4, Thief, Thief 4, Xbox 360

  • Shalkowski

    What’s up with devs and changing the voice actors? (IMO) the game and series loses a lot of credibility when this happens. Its like changing the main actor of a movie in the sequel. Just not the same.

    • http://gamerant.com Rob Keyes

      I don’t think it does. Fans buy what they’re fans of, and newcomers – the majority of players who will be buying this – are unaffected by a voice actor change.

      They cast an actor for a full-on acting role. It’s a reboot, no? I for one want the best performance possible, so they cast accordingly.

      • ColdSc

        I agree, it’s better to have what’s best for the game at hand instead of trying to grasp what they can from the previous games and risk performance issues in the game.

        • tag

          In that case why use an established character? Since it’s a reboot they could just have simply used a new character – especially since the last game in the series actually set them up for one, and a female one at that.

          Far too few female protagonists out there, and there would have been no need to upset old fans by changing the character. Heck new players wouldn’t even know the difference.

          • ColdSc

            Wouldn’t using a new character techincally be a spin off instead of a reboot? By not having the same voice actor, it definitely shouldn’t prevent them from using that character. Sure I agree the voice actor plays a large role in bringing life into the character, but I don’t think only one person can take that specific role. It’s like saying no one can play superman but Christopher Reeve, no one can play Spider-Man but Tobey or no one can voice Batman but Kevin Conroy. To me it’s all about being open minded. Plus by letting different people take that role, it really develops the character further.

          • http://gamerant.com Rob Keyes

            Because it’s a reboot, lol. It’s a new take on the same character. Just like the new Tomb Raider. It’s still Lara Croft – just a re-imagining of her and her adventures.

            By the way, new actor and voice actor for that too. Interesting how there was no petition and controversy on the Tomb Raider front…

      • Shalkowski

        If its a completely new reboot then I could see, but take MGS for an example. Kojima dropped Hayter off the face of the earth right in the middle of the series with no explanation other than “we wanted to reinvent the game”. That is so wrong on so many levels. Not to mention heart breaking.

  • YourColourTelevision

    Why do people even care…?
    Its been like, over a decade since the last once.

    And the voice acting was bad.
    The same goes for Metal Gear. Snake sounded like a Pornstar.

    • Jak Frost

      That would be funny if it was true.

    • ATG

      Hey! I enjoyed David Hayter! I’m OK with him changing though, because technically, it isn’t the same Snake. Far from a pornstar though lol.

      • graverobber

        what you talking about Snake grunts every 2 seconds, if somebody wasn’t watching me play and just heard Snake’s uhhh,ohhhh,ahhhhhhh they would be thinking I was watching porn.

    • Sidney O.P

      The way I see it is that they don’t care about the old fan base.

      In fact, they couldn’t care less.

  • ATG

    It was so long ago, it wouldn’t be a reboot without a new voice actor. Splinter Cell is different because it’s a sequel, not a reboot, same goes for the new Metal Gear Solid. Both companies (Eidos Montreal & Ubisoft) have a legit excuse, these actors are aging and have to perform and act too. Ironside is OLD AS DIRT (exaggerated, I know)! But seriously:

    Reboot = New voice actor
    Sequel = Retain previous voice actor

    That’s like complaining that The Amazing Spider-Man didn’t use Tobey Maguire lol here’s my take:

    Thief – New voice actor? Fine, it’s a REBOOT.
    Splinter Cell – Either bring back Michael Ironside or retire Sam Fisher!
    Metal Gear Solid – Their excuse would work had Snake been older, but he isn’t. Bring back David Hayter!

  • ColdSc

    It really sucks for the new voice actor, must have worked so hard only to be rejected because he isn’t someone else =/.

    • Arthur

      Yeah, I can understand if Mr Orzari is disappointed with Eidos Montreal as well.

    • http://gamerant.com Rob Keyes


      Same goes for Eric Johnson who offers a badass take on Sam Fisher. Some people aren’t thinking about it from both sides.

    • Eve

      If I was the new voice actor I would have signed the petition as well, EM has really put him in a thigh spot and it’s not really fair to him. :(

  • jwalka

    can people get any more ignorant ? htf are they supposed to change the voice actor when most of the base game is already done ? people need to to both use some common sense and grow the f*** up and accept that there are new people on board with an old favorite franchise.

    that and they need to find things worth thinking about in life… but i suppose that’s what whiny little b****s… mean ‘true gamers’ are 😉

    • DeathKnight579

      If the world was as close-minded and arrogant as u it would be a terrible place but on topic no company wants bad press and they will eventually have to do something

      • jwalka

        ironic that you call me ‘close minded’ when it’s the people crying about the voice actor who are the small thinkers.

        • DeathKnight579

          Right they are the small thinkers thats why they go on every cod article and spam hateful comments oh wait thats u and your point makes little sense anyway its like changing master chiefs voice actor, they voiced the characters so well and so long they basically are the characters and it wouldnt surprise me that the chief looks like steve downes under his helmet

          • jwalka

            that bulls*** makes even less sense b/c you couldn’t even tie it into this article/scenario properly.

            if you’re gonna jump on the sheep wagon and accuse me of random s*** talking, at least try to hold your ground and not come across as said label.

            this game might not technically be a reboot (more like re-imagining of the original) but that doesn’t mean they have to bring back ever single person involved with voice acting – new studio working on game = new team of staff. simple. f you butt hurt ‘fans’ are pissy about something as little as a change in voice actors then you need to sit back and think about the big picture 😉

        • Harland McTavish

          Having worked as a Voice over artist, both behind the microphone and the mixing board, there is still plenty of time for Eidos Montreal to have Stephen Russell return and loop his lines with the animated character.

          Some folks here don’t appear to have a great grasp of what Stephen did for the series. In the first two games, he voice around half of the characters. He was the backbone of that world and his characters are most memorable.

          The developers of Thief 1 and 2 would hardly argue that Stephen truly injected the character of Garrett with life beyond what was written. One of the lead designers in an interview last year mentioned that areas in certain levels would be redesigned based on some of the character work that Stephen would improvise while recording his lines. Not only did he deliver what was written, he inhabited the character and contributed to the game.

          I stand with the fans on this one. Of everything Eidos Montreal has stripped from Thief 4 so far, the magic, the linguistic charm, the steampunk setting, the biggest mistake has been recasting Garrett. They quite honestly should have created a new character and made a spinoff, rather than reboot the series in this way.

          Russell was the heart of the series.

    • ATG


      Pigs must be flying because I completely agree with you.

  • http://www.facebook.com/DownloadableConflict TaboriHK

    Halo 4 seemed to manage it just fine. Cortana and Chief are both acted by two different people (more relevant for Cortana who actually has a face, but, you know.)

    • Varteras

      Actually that’s not true. Steve Downes and Jen Taylor have been the voice actors for Master Chief and Cortana since the first game.

      • http://www.facebook.com/DownloadableConflict TaboriHK

        Yes, I’m aware of that. That’s exactly what I’m saying. The “body” actress for Cortana in 4 is NOT Jen Taylor.

        • Varteras

          Ooooooh. My bad. I thought you meant they were voiced by different people in Halo 4.

  • Nicolas

    Shame. I was excited for this, but without Russell I won’t be buying this game.

  • Smittyy51

    Who cares if they change the voice actor. Doesn’t ruin the game for me at all

  • Anonymoose

    Stephen Russell may be too old for the performance capture but to bring him back, they just need to record the voices. And so what if pasting someone else’s voice on top of a character can possibly make the character look unnatural? It’s a videogame! No one should prioritize full performance capture instead of ideal voice actors!

    • ATG

      Oh what a sad comment…

    • tag

      The unnatural movements thing is somewhat of an excuse if we’re being totally honest, Pixar films don’t utilise motion capture for their characters and I don’t see anyone criticising Elizabeth from Bioshock Infinite for being unnatural – and she had a different mo-cap actor to her voice actor.

      I mean regardless where you stand on the whole voice actor change, let’s be honest – having the same VA as MoCap actor is a money thing as much as it is anything else.

      Overall I’m pretty much indifferent to it, but I am getting a bit tired of so called ‘reboots’. Especially when they could just create a new IP but don’t have the balls to do it. Dishonored managed it (and even cited Thief as a reference if I recall correctly), and I fail to see how another new IP handled well couldn’t achieve the same.

      Let’s look at the overblown sales targets Square Enix has been levelling at its games lately – despite selling multi-million numbers of copies both the new Hitman and the new Tomb Raider failed to hit their targets. That to me just proves that publishers have no sense in realism when launching new titles. Square Enix, in particular, seems to think that slapping an older brand name on a new game guarantees it ridiculous levels of sales, and doesn’t appear content to settle with merely great sales. Sales which they have no basis to think would have been any worse had it been a new IP rather than an old one.

      That, more than anything, is what worries me.

  • Alderis

    The petition “movement” for such stuff is getting sillier every time with gamers demanding their way. Should a couple of thousand supporters of this get their voice they got so much “attached to” as representatives of the whole community around THIEF? Doubt it. One can easily bet that counter-supporters can also be found who like the new voice instead of the old one. Surprised those people haven’t begun any petition wars yet; you know, like a poll.

    It’s sad that this tool (petitions) is used in such a foolish way and not where it matters. Also shows disrespect towards the creative process and the new voice actor.

    You guys live in the past and bar the future.

    • Nicolas

      The only ones showing disrespect are EM. They show disrespect towards the series’ fans by asking for input, ignoring it for 4 years and then pandering to the AC crowd. They disrespect Stephen Russell by telling him he is unable to do the motion capture in a game that is 95% first person and doesn’t require him to do any actual stunts. Don’t tell me the motion capture involves the new guy jumping through windows and shooting his grappling hook at the wall. Garrett is wearing a friggen facemask for crying out loud. The mouth wouldn’t sync up? Puhlease. It’s not like other games have done it that way (Bioshock Infinite, anyone?).

      Let’s face it, they couldn’t care less about the creative process or artistic integrity. They just want to rake in some easy cash. The ironic thing is that they could probably make more by sticking with the things that made the series great, Russell included. If it aint broke, don’t fix it.

      • Alderis

        It’s a re-imagination of a sort. The old thief games are done. This is not a remake of the old but with better graphics. Just like Tomb Raider recently where they changed the Lara model, Thief treads on some new possibilities and is obviously aiming on making this a new series of games.

        While the phrase “If it aint broke, don’t fix it” might be appropriate for some aspects of life, it’s not the rule and is quite conservative. We experienced Stephen’s voice; it’s done; it’s in our minds. Now let’s experience a new one and give it a chance before condemning it from a trailer.

        • Nicolas

          You can call it all you want, it is still lipstick on a pig. Russell is the heart of Garrett and did way more than just lend his voice to the character.

          They could have just easily renamed him or turned him into Garrett’s apprentice. New players wouldn’t have cared and the old would have found it far less insulting than what they have done now.

    • jwalka

      well said (alderis). the past is the past, learn from it but don’t live in it b/c you’ll miss the present and get slammed by the future.

  • boogoo

    Is there anything gamers don’t complain about? Yeesh.

  • Rob

    You really need to have been a gamer long enough to have had one of your most cherished games disrespectfully handled, to understand where the complainers are coming from.

    I can understand reasonable reasons for changing the voice actor, but the ones they’ve cited aren’t compelling. Our strongest connection to Garrett during the old Thief games was through his voice: you hardly ever get a clear look at him. So their new emphasis on facial capture already indicates that they’re taking things in a very different direction.

    If you’re not going to keep the formula, I see no reason to use the IP, because _all_ you’ll achieve is upsetting the original fan-base. Newcomers won’t know any different.

    • http://gamerant.com Rob Keyes

      Hey Rob,

      Was the recasting of Lara Croft in the new Tomb Raider the same problem? Because that game, and the performance was awesome. Are you actually not willing to give Romano Orzari a chance?

      • Rob

        I’ve not played the Tomb Raider reboot, and after watching 2/3rd’s of a playthrough on youtube I never will. If ever a game spits on its heritage, that is one. It had all the same issues Resident Evil 6 was criticized for, yet Tomb Raider got accolades for it instead.

        I fully intend to give Mr Orzari a chance (on a steam sale). He might blow me away with his performance. I hope he does, or I and many others will share the disappointment of being right.

        I don’t know if you comprehend just how distinctive and peerless Stephen Russell as Garrett really was. He isn’t a replaceable part like for the role of Lara Croft or the actor for James Bond. Unlike the classic Tomb Raider games, Thief is celebrated for its artistic direction, and Stephen Russell’s performance was an iconic part of it. Praise for ‘the voice’ has existed from the beginning, as being just one of many of the game’s noteworthy high points. It’s no fluke. This outcry is not because of outraged nostalgia, it’s disillusionment that the developers could so cavalierly pass up on a key element of the originals and what it means for the rest of what they may have done with the game.

        I understand how a developer wants to make their own game without being creatively oppressed by what came before. But if that’s how they feel, I have to wonder why they don’t do that: make their own game. Are they trying to carry the game forward, or just its name? There are only so many ties you can sever before it starts being “in name only”.

        • http://gamerant.com Rob Keyes

          No one is disagreeing that Russell was excellent in Thief 1-3, but there’s a misunderstanding in expectations from a reboot vs. a sequel, prequel or spinoff. The new Thief is none of those things.

          As for why? Because it’s a brand that people recognize and a world and story they (the devs) love (and own!). It really is that simple.

          I’m going to assume that you actually know the answer to your questions about why they’re using the Thief name 😉

          • http://www.facebook.com/DownloadableConflict TaboriHK

            I think the underlying issue is that voice actors are seen as so disposable. Every time they change James Bond it’s a huge deal, and yet a guy who can easily become the heart of a series for gamers is tossed aside and the creators shrug like they can’t imagine it’s important. It’s just another in a long series of disconnects between game makers now and their audience.

          • ATG

            The devs aren’t “shrugging” it off, the fans are just overly dramatic as usual. There needs to be a line drawn between gamers wishes and those that are granted.

          • http://www.facebook.com/DownloadableConflict TaboriHK

            As long as games are a market over an artistic medium, consumer demand will always be king.

          • Varteras

            Consumer demand is not always right. One need look no further than any company that has made an MMO and listened to what the fans were saying even once. If I’m not mistaken, a couple people from Blizzard were quite blunt in saying that they have found that listening to fans has caused even more issues than were solved and sometimes made everything worse without adding any real value. ‘Consumer demand’ as many people try to claim it is rarely representative of the majority, is bias towards one concept or type of gameplay, often petty and fickle, and sometimes completely hypocritical.

          • http://www.facebook.com/DownloadableConflict TaboriHK

            Because with MMOs it effects game balance. Voice acting does not.

          • Varteras

            Certainly not but the message is all the same. Listening to fans is not always in a company’s best interest and, shocking as it may sound, often not in the best interest of the fans either. They complain, get what they want, find out it’s not all that great, and then complain again that the company shouldn’t have done that. This whole thing with the voice actor for Thief just smells of a petty grievance that virtually no one will really give a damn about soon enough and especially if the game ends up being amazing for those who just can’t let go.

  • Dia Horn

    EM has made so many changes to the world of Thief that replacing Mr. Russell as the voice of Garrett was just the icing on that cake. I agree with those who feel that EM should’ve just created a new stealth game without using and trying to capitalize on the Thief name and character. Though I’m sure Mr. Romano is a decent actor, in the video mentioned above he just sounds wooden, as though he’s merely reading his lines from a script. His voice is too high pitched and to be truthful, we have forum members who’ve done the voice of Garrett for fan-made missions who sound a lot more like the Garrett we’ve come to know & love than Mr. Romano does. Stephen Russell breathed life into the character of Garrett and for most of us die-hard Thief fans he will always BE Garrett. Why does it matter to us? We’ve been playing Thief fan-made missions for over ten years now, we’ve kept the Thief Forums over at TTLG alive for over ten years now. For over ten years Stephen Russell has BEEN the voice of Garrett. EM shouldn’t try to fix what isn’t broken!

  • Cassi Martin

    This reads like a transparent apology piece. You don’t broker any opinions of significance, don’t shed further light on a situation, and ignore entire sections of the opposing argument.

    Recasting Garrett is more than recasting a voice actor. His voice and tone are indelibly linked with the DNA of the series. Level designers on the original games have even claimed that the structure of their levels was directly changed based purely on his performance and attitude. His performance of Benny is a pillar of the player’s relationship with enemy A.I.

    Saying this movement can’t possibly result in a change of actor is a statement of staggering ignorance. We’re seriously going to pretend the entire Hitman: Absolution / David Bateson thing never happened? They brought him in THREE MONTHS FROM RELEASE to re-record the game’s dialogue. And the game was better for it!

    I’ll direct you to the following video, as he articulates it far better than I could:

    • http://gamerant.com Hannah Shaw-Williams

      Sorry if you feel like the article came across as an apology piece. I just feel that there’s not really much to apologise for. Thief is a reboot of the series rather than a sequel, and the narrative/audio directors did mention that Stephen Russell’s voice doesn’t fit with the new visualisation of the character, as well as the primary reason concerning performance capture. It’s possible that Russell’s voice has changed somewhat in the decade since he last worked on the series.

      I think it’s possible to both fully appreciate a previous actor’s work and look forward to the introduction of a new actor. After all, many people love Daniel Craig in the role of James Bond just as much as they loved Sean Connery, and the same goes for the various incarnations of the Doctor in Doctor Who. Stephen Russell’s performance was an incredibly important and invaluable element of Thief 1-3, and hiring a different actor for the reboot of the series won’t devalue that at all.

      With regards to David Bateson and Hitman Absolution, Bateson was never actually replaced as a voice actor; the studio eventually rehired him after failing to find anyone more suitable for the role. Mo-cap actor William Mapother was hired for the physical performance only, whereas Orzari has been cast based on his ability to deliver the full package, and the studio sound very strong in their conviction to commit to full performance capture for all the actors. Of course, if the petition is successful, I’ll be happy to eat my words.

      • Eve

        Now it sounds even more like an apology piece. Don’t forget that the customers of these gaming sites are the advertisers not the readers, wouldn’t surprise me if eidos montréal or square enix payed for this article.

    • http://gamerant.com Rob Keyes

      A series which is being rebooted and re-imagined. I don’t know why that point keeps being ignored. This is not Thief 4. The series DNA is not the same. That’s the point of the reboot.

      They cast an actor that fits the requirements of the role and every person who says Romano Orzari is wrong for it is being disrespectful because they haven’t even given him a chance. They re-cast Sam Fisher in Splinter Cell based on similar requirements and Eric Johnson is awesome in the role. They recast Lara Croft in the Tomb Raider reboot and again, great performance in an awesome game – where’s the petition for that?

      • Arthur

        It might be because Eidos Montreal (EM) has repeatedly stated they are indeed being true to the roots, keeping the Thief DNA. They have not used the word reboot calling it “more of a re-imagining” instead, whatever that means.

        To Thief fans Mr. Russell wasn’t just Garrett’s voice actor, he helped define many iconic characters in the Thief universe. EM was well aware of that fact and so their explanation, that they chose perfect lip-sync over a much loved voice actor, isn’t particularly compelling.

        EM has been treating the fans with a wall of silence since 2009 and this was one of many disappointments revealed in the first batch of information.

        They have changed so much about Garrett it would have made more sense to choose a new character as main protagonist instead.

  • ATG

    These comments are ridiculous. It’s a REBOOT. Look at all the Batman & Bond movies. The is EM’s take on the series.

    Gamers, man…

    • Rob

      Reboot just means ‘we’re going to f*** over the continuity for commercial reasons’. It works only when the element being reset is a replaceable part, not essential to the identity of the series.

      Example: Not one iteration of Batman has removed Bats’s bat-ears. Nobody would attempt to reboot the silhouette that batman casts; you can change the psychology of the Joker, but you can’t do that.

      The formula that Thief follows is like that. You can’t reboot it anymore than you can reboot the bible. You either follow the outline or you’re making your own thing and not the thing you claim to be making.

      • ATG

        That’s what reboot means? ONE thing changes and now definitions change, people like you develop their own interpretation of things. Ignorant, that sums it up.
        Batman’s ears? Your “example” is a joke. We’re talking actors. Batman’s voice, face, costume, etc changes with almost every movie. Because they’re reboots. With Stephen Russell attached, it isn’t a reboot.

        Don’t compare Thief to the bible, seriously? And FYI, the bible has been rebooted. I need not say anything to you if you compare Thief to the bible, don’t make me laugh! Some gamers are so blinded by their own desires, they become so closed minded and ignorant. Many of us made much better comparisons for and against.

        • Nicolas

          Lol. You’re missing the point. Russell was originally considered to be the voice of Garrett, so at first they saw no problem using him for this “reboot”. Then the French Canadians decided to overhaul Garrett ,turn him into some goth assassin and replace Russell with Orzari, who happens to have been born in Montreal, Quebec. Quelle surprise!

          • ATG

            Because it’s a reboot Nicolas lol you’re missing the point.

          • Nicolas

            They’re not replacing him because it is a reboot, like I just told you. They are replacing him to pander to Assassin’s Creed crowd.

          • ATG

            Until you can prove that or bring something compelling enough, you’re just stating your own interpretation of it. And what does Assassins Creed have to do with this?

          • Nicolas

            The fact that they originally considered him proves that the reboot excuse is moot. The new guy was Giovanni in AC.

          • http://gamerant.com Hannah Shaw-Williams


            Orzari was hardly a major player in the Assassin’s Creed universe. His character only appeared for about five minutes in total at the start of one of the games. It’s a bit of a stretch to accuse EM of pandering to Assassin’s Creed fans because they cast someone who played a very minor role in ACII.

            Without any disrespect meant to Mr Orzari, I doubt whether many Assassin’s Creed fans have the faintest idea who he is.

          • ATG

            So? Maybe they felt the new guy fit better. Regardless what game he came from. I don’t think it has anything to do with that.

            It’s whatever, it is what it is. Reboot, re-imagining, new cast. That’s how it works. That’s life. Idk how else to put it.

          • ATG

            The problem is the fans can’t accept developers/publishers decisions so they come up with a bunch of BS, make a mob, cry, and hope things will change.

  • diegzumillo

    “We could have pasted Stephen’s voice on top of the actions and stunts of someone else, but this wouldn’t appear natural.”

    *cough cough* darth vader disgrees *cough*

  • Austin

    If it had been Looking Glass Studios at the helm of this game, then I would have sided with devs on this one because Thief was originally their creation and that means they would have had the right to change the voice actor (I still wouldn’t have liked it, mind you). But the fans have been with this series far longer than Eidos Montreal has. I don’t care about facial mo-cap. When you play a game like Thief you keep your eyes on the prize and not the protagonist’s face. For those of you who say it only matters how the character is written and that voice acting doesn’t matter may as well be saying that justin bieber should play the part (No offense to Mr. Orzari intended)

    My heart soared when I first heard about this game. I worry more over what it is becoming with every article I read.

  • Somethingbloody

    Really, I ask anyone to compare Orzari’s performance in the trailer to the fan-dubbed trailer or any cutscene from Thief. Orzari is trying to mimic the gravelly tone of Garrett, but he drops it at least once. Stephen Russel’s natural timbre and confidence carries the protagonist’s arrogance with easy, restrained charm.

    It is a lapse in quality and immersion, and the full motion capture argument is simply not compelling. Orzari can still be paid for his time, I mean him no disrespect, but Stephen Russel’s voice is the one I want behind the character. Not because he is iconic, but because his talent will enhance the game.

    Again, even if you haven’t played a Thief game, I encourage you to listen to both performances and if you feel Russel’s depiction sits better with you, sign the petition. There is a year before this game ships, so there could be a chance, and even if not you can send a message to game developers that we don’t want to encourage abandoning voice actors who can do the best job like they did with Michael Ironside.

  • 78star

    okay here is what to do, do a kick start to pay Stephen Russell to do over all the voice segments, get them to make an editor, and i will place all the voice segments perfectly over makes all sides happy.

  • http://ttlg.com frobber

    The new Garrett voice actor has a big problem that has not been discussed much — he tries to mimic Stephens Russell’s version of the Garrett rather than inhabit the character. I’ve directed and played many fan missions where the voice was someone other than Stephen Russell, and it often works very well when the actor keeps Garrett’s character in mind and skips the mimicry. In fact, it is always a poor performance when a voice actor tries to imitate Stephen’s version of Garrett’s voice. In short — I’d be okay with the new voice of Garrett if the actor had given up on trying to sound like Stephen’s Garrett and had instead worked at becoming Garrett.

    Regarding voice-acting while motion-acting — at best it’s a personal preference, and in reality nearly total rubbish. Even with basic editing tools I can match the best motions to the best voice-acting — and lock-step recording both at the same time ensures mediocrity since rarely are both “best” performances produced at the same time. Also at least 90% of game-voicing is done as drop-in comments — not as part of action sequences, so finding an acrobat to do your main character’s voice is both silly and rules out the best voice actors that are available.

    -frobber, producer/director — A Keeper of the Prophecies