As one might expect from a master thief, Garrett of the Thief series has a number of well-honed skills that include lock-picking, hiding in shadows, sneaking around quietly, firing different types of arrows with precision and zooming in on interesting things with his mechanical eye. Swordplay and fist-fighting, however, are not among his strengths and if faced with an angry guard his best option is usually to run away.
Many fans have been regarding Eidos-MontrÃ©al’s upcoming reboot of the series with an air of suspicion and have been upset by the new elements being introduced to Garrett’s world, such as the change of setting from a medieval period to something more Victorian, the change of voice actor for Garrett and the introduction of more action-oriented mechanics like takedowns.
The fear, understandably, was that Thief would become a little bit too much like Dishonored and all the most interesting powers and weapons would be relegated to the kind of noisy and lethal approach that the game ultimately slaps you on the wrist for. Speaking at the Thief panel at NYCC over the weekend, level designer Daniel Wingfield Schmidt explained, according to IDT, that players will be discouraged from crossing swords with the guards simply because, “The melee system is, on purpose, not very good.”
He then went on to clarify that “not very good” means the melee combat system is very simple and, by extension, very boring. The developers have also indicated in the past that Garrett will continue to be as weak as a kitten when facing enemies head on and that coming up directly against more than one guard is more or less a death sentence. In essence, don’t expect an “Assault” style of gameplay like that of Splinter Cell: Blacklist, because the Thief reboot will continue to be all about stealth.
This should be taken as a positive sign by the fans. After all, Garrett is a burglar rather than an assassin and the reboot, like the games before it, will offer the option of an entirely non-lethal approach. Clumsily leaving the guards bleeding out on the floor isn’t nearly as satisfying as imagining how embarrassed they’ll be when it’s discovered that someone got in and thoroughly fleeced the place without them even noticing.
Thief is expected to release in 2014 for the Xbox One, PS4 and PC.