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View Full Version : PHILOSOPHY & PLOT: philosophical elements in the plot are a must!



Limesneeker
13th May 2009, 19:19
Hi,

first of all: Bioshock showed recently that a philosophical storyline and mainstream success dont have to be a contradiction (in some ways, Assassin´s Creed did the same)

In my opinion both philosophy and mysticism played a major role in ALL Thief games: order, chaos, balance, harmony, the danger of extremes, subjectivity of good and evil, dogmas and fanatics can be found everywhere in all Thief games and are timeless themes.

Please continue to incorporate these elements!

Secondly: symmetries.
The whole plot of the series used symmetries. 3 factions. 2 extremes, one in the middle. Thief 1 showed us one extreme and the combined force of the middle and the other extreme were used to bring balance again. Thief 2 brought the other extreme - again, the remaining 2 parties brought balance. Thief 3 continued this principle, this time, the middle itself got unbalanced and the force of chaos (paw) and order (chalice), combined by the "true" middle (the true keeper) brought balance.

Well of course, a fourth installment cannot continue this principle directly, so maybe, plan the whole thing as a second trilogy. EVEN if the other 2 parts will never be realized, the planning alone will definitely create more depth in Thief 4.


What do you think?

StalinsGhost
13th May 2009, 19:37
Absolutely. It's one of the reasons I think it would be interesting to see playing someone else than Garrett - this time, the game should revolve around the legendary mystique that surrounds Garrett in the criminal underground. Garrett has become by the end of TDS both in game and to the fans of the series a sort of myth. He's stepped up from being a master thief to an anti-heroic arbiter of a bizzare sort of justice. He's the only thing that's kept the city from destroying itself three times, demonstrating that he is metaphorically and literally the "One True Keeper", regardless of his own personal attempts to escape the life others have laid out for him.

Thus, Thief 4 could instead revolve around the power of one man - Garrett - to shape the city, and draw other would-be master-thieves to seek to attain the same reputation, only for them to come to realise what Garrett ultimately always was; a man who for all the freedom his skills gave him and the force of personality that tried to maintain that independence is restricted to prophecy, fate and hero-worship. The player could, as I've said else where be a "wannabe" master Thief, who happens to find themselves privy to Garrett's new goings on, while the plot revolves around investigating just what Garrett is doing within the city.

Terr
13th May 2009, 19:59
I have a hope, and a fear (if it's done badly.)

Namely, more fleshing-out of "The City" and the larger world. There's certainly room to expand, provided it stays consistent with the other games. All those ships sail somewhere.

Thing is, I can't think of any reason for Garrett (or a presumable waif apprentice) to leave the city.

Garret's ego is such that if any enemy poses such a threat that he must leave the city, he'd do something about it rather than flee. And what possible friends or obligations could compel him to leave? Perhaps chasing an errant apprentice...

Fundamentally, we've got a guy who has been struggling to "be left alone to perfect my craft" for a long time. And at the end of TDS, it looks as if he might get it.
__________

Back to philosophy instead of plot.

The big issue in Thief 1-2 was the Pagan/Hammer duality. They're both nasty extremes (I include Karras & the mechanists) with "hooks" to draw people in.

And (at least for the Hammers) occasional sypathetic character (ex. Inspector Drept.)

Then in Thief 3, we've got corruption within the "balance" party of the keepers.

Limesneeker
13th May 2009, 20:49
Hi,though I posted this already in my "philosophy" thread, I think it´s important enough to open a seperate thread for it.
As I said before, I think in order to continue the style of the series, it is important to create a storyline which is designed as a TRILOGY - even if the other parts will never be realised, it would create appropriate depth (again each part would highlight one of three (fanatic) factions)

So this are my ideas:



after the disappearance of the glyphs INDUSTRIALISATION got more and more powerful. The development caused that the trickster got a myth- the townsfolk started to think of him again as a never-existant fairy-tale character.
Even among the Hammers, mystics and priests, who believed in the Builder as actual god become only a few, the "mainstream-hammers" started to belief only in men and technology-some sort of a dark version of humanists. Unlike the Trickster, the Builder was never really manifest anyway.

Because of that,obvious magical phenomena (divine powers of hammer-priests included) got rarer,so that the common belief in gods and greater-forces vanished.



Economy, technology and money got more dominant and this caused corruption, poverty and disrespect for nature to get more dominant than ever.

Maybe the seperation even caused that the different districts look like different time periods: the poor districts remain in a dark-middle-age-state, while the rich-district represents an industrialized art-déco civillization - so progress is limited to the rich. (Through that idea, (minor or major?*) technological progress (relatively to Thief 1-3) could be integrated without harming the dark middle-ages elements)

So what does this technological extreme cause?

"Mystical/magical extremists" on the other side. United by the common goal to reassamble faith and belief in greater forces among the people of the city, hammer and pagan priests unite (though hostility remains) and ask the mages guild for support, which kept its secrecy during the whole development.
They hope that by making the existence of magic public, faith will be reastablished.
Maybe this causes internal conflicts among the mages guild as well. Pagans hope to summon forces of chaos with the help of mages, while hammer priests want to make it clear, that technology comes from forces other than men, namely the builder.


So we have materialistic, narrow-minded, atheistic technocrats, who would industrialize everything and dominate society on one side and a secret, UNDERGROUND group which contains magic, crazy mystics and god-worshipping, on the other side. Of course, the magic-side is too extreme as well, because they want to create a world order in which people are suppressed by priests and gods.


So again, keepers have to keep balance, this time between Magic and Technology. Because glyphs are gone, there tools are a combination of magic and technology (which is appropriate for the middle), maybe there is also support through non-fanatic members of both extremes (like wise-mages and nature-respecting industrialists)

Maybe this time the MAJOR objects of theft are experimental, technological devices and magical artifacts. Maybe the thief-guild plays an important role among the economies of the industrial side.

I suggest to plan the whole thing as a new trilogy, so this game could focus on stopping the magical side, which would otherwise accomplish some sort of mad plan - like summoning gods in order to destroy technological science or something... (in a way this would echo Thief 1, while creatin something new at the same time, which is the right combination in my opinion).



*
I´m not sure about that point: originally I only thought about additional steam-elements. But imagine a co-existance of spot-lights and rough-stone walls and swords (recently I saw a wine-cellar with modern, minimalistic, silver spotlights and rough, curved stone-ceilings. Maybe it works for Thief, maybe it doesnt, but it wouldnt really change the core of my story-line anyway...

tender19
13th May 2009, 21:53
Remember the notes of Constantine? (About dreams, and how electric lights took away the darkness, and thus taking away imagination.) Remember the structured thinking in hammerite and mechanist chronicles, compendiums? Remember the truth in pagan sayings? Remember the wisdom of the Keepers?

Well, that shall continue.

Limesneeker
13th May 2009, 22:10
Remember the notes of Constantine? (About dreams, and how electric lights took away the darkness, and thus taking away imagination.) Remember the structured thinking in hammerite and mechanist chronicles, compendiums? Remember the truth in pagan sayings? Remember the wisdom of the Keepers?

Well, that shall continue.

Yep, but this time the structured thinking even lost it´s faith in a god, while the other side will glorify dreams, imagination to an extend, at which it will even see "common" nature (plants, elements) as impure and minor compared to gods/magic....

tender19
13th May 2009, 22:16
Yep, but this time the structured thinking even lost it´s faith in a god, while the other side will glorify dreams, imagination to an extend, at which it will even see "common" nature (plants, elements) as impure and minor compared to gods/magic....

I think there always was some kind of balance in that:

mystic pagans vs religious hammers vs wise objective keepers vs common citizen to manipulate

and then Garrett, the master of sarcasm (best philosophy ever... I think every philosophy has flaws, and mocking them is just the highest level of intellectuality :cool: )

Limesneeker
13th May 2009, 22:25
I think there always was some kind of balance in that:

mystic pagans vs religious hammers vs wise objective keepers vs common citizen to manipulate

and then Garrett, the master of sarcasm (best philosophy ever... I think every philosophy has flaws, and mocking them is just the highest level of intellectuality :cool: )

Of course,there was always balance in the series. I just wanted to come up with an idea for a new balance....

The Magpie
14th May 2009, 03:24
I have a hope, and a fear (if it's done badly.)

Namely, more fleshing-out of "The City" and the larger world. There's certainly room to expand, provided it stays consistent with the other games. All those ships sail somewhere.

Thing is, I can't think of any reason for Garrett (or a presumable waif apprentice) to leave the city.

See, I addressed that in the Thief Universe - the City & Beyond (http://forums.eidosgames.com/showthread.php?p=991155#post9911557) thread seven minutes ago.

As for the philosophy: For that, EM would need to hire a real university level philosopher. Shouldn't be too hard.

--
Larris

randomtaffer
14th May 2009, 03:32
No heavy-handed (intended) moral messages please. Just have characters that interact and play off of each other. Philosophical issues will arise automatically if the characters are "real" and have different goals and interests in mind.
The player will reach his/her own philosophical conclusions. If they're preached at, it'll just get annoying and sound sophomoric.

Petike the Taffer
23rd May 2009, 21:15
How about finally establishing some sort of peace - or at least armistice - between the Hammers and the Pagans ? Don't get me wrong, they don't need to love each other or anything, but maybe both sides could be persuaded to coexist... Find a fitting modus vivendi... Or something... Maybe Garrett's ultimate mission in life as the Final Keeper is creating a peaceful balance between the two... ;) And yes, the story must be written sharply, convincingly and not riddled with heavy-handed clichés and cheesiness...

GmanPro
23rd May 2009, 23:09
^^ Don't think that's a good idea. You have to have a conflict of interest. Otherwise, there's no interest.

Limesneeker
24th May 2009, 20:56
^^ Don't think that's a good idea. You have to have a conflict of interest. Otherwise, there's no interest.



Yep...but whats about a new splitting? This time not the original Hammer vs. Pagan...
but on one side - like Petike suggested - balance accepting (but still agressive) Hammers and Pagans vs. "pure" Hammer/Pagan only-fundamentalists (who of course neither accept the balance seekers nor the extreme opposite)

Of course, even then there should be no clear good vs evil scenario so even the "balancers" should have their dark side (dont know - maybe they´re only happy when they achieve an exact equillibrum and therefore want to force the whole population into this state)

Durinda D'Bry
26th May 2009, 12:26
...
The whole plot of the series used symmetries. 3 factions. 2 extremes, one in the middle.
...

For me factions more like vertices of triangle and Garrett is in the middle.

If game will lose main character independency and it's opposition to other forces (while he may help somebody in particular situation), then I think it would break something and conflict with what we had before. This is why Keepers gone - there could be no live for Garrett among the Keepers but there is not need to be someone else to keep balance except Garrett.

Platinumoxicity
26th May 2009, 12:50
How many agree that the end of the keepers and Garrett's transformation were pretty philosophical/metaphorical too? I mean that Garrett was labeled a true keeper in the end because he's the one who kept the balance. Not with magic or glyphs but with actual hard work and physical actions. The keepers were not really keeping anything in balance ever. They were doing nothing for, I dunno, hundreds of years while never learning anything. They were reading with their eyes closed. They finally noticed the fallacy of their work when they realised that they really had no way of changing the pre-written future, and their actions had always been futile. Garrett didn't change when he activated the final glyph, the keepers changed, and realised that Garrett was always the one who tipped the scales of the world. Now that there are no more words and the future is not decided in advance, the City is going to need a lot more than just Garrett to save itself, because no happy ending is guaranteed.

Limesneeker
26th May 2009, 16:38
How many agree that the end of the keepers and Garrett's transformation were pretty philosophical/metaphorical too? I mean that Garrett was labeled a true keeper in the end because he's the one who kept the balance. Not with magic or glyphs but with actual hard work and physical actions. The keepers were not really keeping anything in balance ever. They were doing nothing for, I dunno, hundreds of years while never learning anything. They were reading with their eyes closed. They finally noticed the fallacy of their work when they realised that they really had no way of changing the pre-written future, and their actions had always been futile. Garrett didn't change when he activated the final glyph, the keepers changed, and realised that Garrett was always the one who tipped the scales of the world. Now that there are no more words and the future is not decided in advance, the City is going to need a lot more than just Garrett to save itself, because no happy ending is guaranteed.



agreed.

This brings me to something else: what is the origin of the prophecies? Who created them? How? Why?

Should Thi4f expand the whole universe by explaining the past?

Platinumoxicity
26th May 2009, 17:01
Should Thi4f expand the whole universe by explaining the past?

I don't know how to put this, so I'll just say it and speak for everyone:
Nooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo! :nut:
Mystery is fun solely because you don't have any idea what's really going on.

You are btw the first person who honestly agrees with me. Are we the only crazy people here or is everyone else unable to read between the lines?

WhatsHisFace
26th May 2009, 17:01
Thief had philosophy?

Yotun
26th May 2009, 18:21
I would greatly appreciate it if they hired a professional writer with some good background behind him (and I don't mean writer purely from the game industry) to do their writing, think of the plot and main themes, simply because, no offense, I do not think most game designers are capable of coming up with really sophisticated ideas.

I'd love to play a video game with a story by Gene Wolfe.

Limesneeker
26th May 2009, 21:34
I don't know how to put this, so I'll just say it and speak for everyone:
Nooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo! :nut:
Mystery is fun solely because you don't have any idea what's really going on.

You are btw the first person who honestly agrees with me. Are we the only crazy people here or is everyone else unable to read between the lines?

well, both I guess. But I´m used to it - in RL it happened so many times that most people disagreed about something which was obvious to me that I became used to it :nut:

About mystery: well of course there must always remain something unexplained but expanding the past should not/cannot necessarily mean to explain everything - just pushing the boundaries further - like in science....

So we could have an explanation for the glyphs but even more mysteries at the same time.



I do not think most game designers are capable of coming up with really sophisticated ideas.


Well,Terri Brosius was capable.

WhatsHisFace
27th May 2009, 02:43
I would greatly appreciate it if they hired a professional writer with some good background behind him (and I don't mean writer purely from the game industry) to do their writing, think of the plot and main themes, simply because, no offense, I do not think most game designers are capable of coming up with really sophisticated ideas.

I'd love to play a video game with a story by Gene Wolfe.

This never actually turns out to produce games with good stories, I hate to tell you.

Flashart
27th May 2009, 10:47
I'd like to see a conspiracy thriller, politics, factions, power behind the throne, trust..etc
All the elements are there.

citywolfdreams
28th May 2009, 05:37
My thought is that the first two games of the Thief game series (you know, the ones which are unilaterally acclaimed) have always drawn a tight focus on the difference between a Thief and an assassin. Thieves take things, do what they want, but almost never kill. (Not that Garrett would have any sort of ETHICAL problem with it - his feeling seems to be that it simply lacks finesse.) In fact, at the higher difficulty levels, you aren't allowed to kill anybody, even people who are attacking you.

My thought is that the new Thief series could return to its roots by showing long-term consequences of violence. For example, one thought I had for the training walkthrough is that it could be Garrett instructing his young apprentice - the girl he found at the end of Thief 3 -on the tricks of his trade. (So, in a twist of the usual style of walkthrough where your character is the student, here you are the master, instructing your pupil by leading the way. Garrett's voice as he instructs the girl - saying things like "Crouch to minimize your profile" or "See that guard over there? We need to distract him by shooting this noisemaker into an alleyway" - would also serve as instructions to the players to familiarize themselves with the game. Except at the end of the walkthrough, something goes wrong with the mission, resulting in a person being killed. Perhaps the girl, who is new to this, gets a bit too zealous or frightened when she gets cut off from Garrett and sees a guard getting too close to her. Perhaps she is cornered by the mark whose house they are burglarizing while Garrett briefly separates from her to take care of a locking mechanism. Whatever the case, that one death leads to a chain of events that end up drawing Garrett into the latest plotline - it is the impetus that sets things in motion. This not only is a nod to the basic underpinning of Thief (stealth is good, death is bad) but it also provides a realistic way for Garrett to get drawn into this adventure (since after all, he is the type of person who likes to AVOID trouble). If the girl is captured while on this training mission, he might feel an obligation to rescue her. If it turns out that the person that killed was connected to larger things at work in the City, then he is in for a bumpy ride.

citywolfdreams
28th May 2009, 05:48
Another point I would like to make is that ALL of the factions we have seen so far genuinely believe that they are doing the right thing, and any evil that they do is justified because of the end result. The Pagans genuinely believe the world would be better without cities. The Hammers believe civilization is the only thing that separates men from beasts. However, because of these cults zealotry, ideals which might be good or noble in moderation become twisted. Hence the need of the Keepers to restore balance. And Garrett always looks more heroic for it, because no matter how dark his morals get sometimes, he is definitely not a fanatic or zealot. In fact, he might be considered an anti-zealot.

I think that we need to stick to this concept in thief. Make a protagonist who genuinely believes that he is doing the right thing, even though it is something so awful that Garrett can't permit it to happen. For example, maybe it is a mage who loses his family and is so traumatized by it that he doesn't want anybody to ever suffer such grief... so he develops a ritual to create an intelligent form of undead and decides to use it on EVERYBODY, so that nobody has to lose a loved one again. This would also fit in well with the traditional Thief concept of an invincible enemy - the end boss who can never be harmed by normal methods, but can only be taken out through stealth and cleverness. A mage who cannot die would certainly fit into that classification, and be an interesting antagonist to boot.

citywolfdreams
28th May 2009, 05:52
In fact... perhaps that mage might even be THE Necromancer? (The one referenced first in Thief 1 by the Hand brotherhood, and then later in Thief 2 when you have the option of sneaking into the top level of his tower in "Life of the Party.")

VicMackey
28th May 2009, 05:55
I wouldn't trust Eidos Montreal to handle any philosophical elements without ****ting the bed, If they attempted this, the best we could hope for would be a story akin to mediocre fan fiction.

WhatsHisFace
28th May 2009, 06:09
It's not like Thief had philosophy in it to begin with. It was a pretty standard adventure story, really. I think people are just taking threads from the Deus Ex 3 forum and putting them here, hoping to look like they know what they're talking about.

Limesneeker
28th May 2009, 17:05
It's not like Thief had philosophy in it to begin with. It was a pretty standard adventure story, really..

:nut::mad2:

ToMegaTherion
28th May 2009, 17:15
He's right, really. It's for the best anyway... any "philosophy" in video games almost always turns into pseudo-intellectual babble, usually always ensuring that the author's (generally superficially-thought-through) opinion is confirmed to be Obviously True and anyone disagreeing ends up being made a fool of or being butchered.

Petike the Taffer
2nd Jun 2009, 20:16
He's right, really. It's for the best anyway... any "philosophy" in video games almost always turns into pseudo-intellectual babble, usually always ensuring that the author's (generally superficially-thought-through) opinion is confirmed to be Obviously True and anyone disagreeing ends up being made a fool of or being butchered.

I agree with this.

If you take another look at the previous games, they had slight hints of (deeper) philosophy here and there, but succesfully tried to avoid going into overly self-serious pseudo territory. Thief IV should stick with this path. It should be thought-provoking, but not in the "beating over the head" or "what have we learned today" way.

Hypevosa
2nd Jun 2009, 20:21
It should be more of a "Let the player glean what he/she will from this experience" than a "Do the right thing" kind of experience. Any elements should promote thought and allow the player to distinguish it's meaning as it pertains to themselves, instead of giving a strict rule. Although it would be very ironic if at the end of thief 4 the moral was stealing is bad XD

Petike the Taffer
2nd Jun 2009, 20:22
It should be more of a "Let the player glean what he/she will from this experience" than a "Do the right thing" kind of experience. Any elements should promote thought and allow the player to distinguish it's meaning as it pertains to themselves, instead of giving a strict rule. Although it would be very ironic if at the end of thief 4 the moral was stealing is bad XD

:D :)

Agreed, agreed. :thumb:

MasterTaffer
2nd Jun 2009, 20:25
Thief has always contained phylisophical themes of the futility of fate and the folly of pride.

Don't see how that should change.