View Full Version : The essence of the Thief Series

13th Jun 2009, 01:21
Though conception and production have already begun on thief 4, I though I would just describe what I felt the essence of the Thief experience was for me. Hopefully others will follow suite and along with all of the other posts on these forums, Eidos will design a great new episode for all of us!

In my opinion the essence of the game experience was the idea of freedom. The first two games were so open to your decisions, routs, and game "cheats." Notice the QUOTES around cheat. Although I myself do not use any cheats, there were numerous cheats in the original game if you were creative. Scavenging and collecting enough boxes to get into that distant open window that we all thought "there is no way that window just HAPPENS to be open... I have to get in there!" In the T1 & T2 you were given an objective, a complete location (no loading areas - although I do understand with the improvement of the visual aspect they will most likely be there) and then let loose to go about your "business" however you do it best. Sure there was an easy and mostly linear way to achieve your goal, however, It was not always clear. You had to know the game engine, physics, and what "probably" will happen if I run out and go for that frantic dash after getting Constantine's Sword, or if I just decided, I'm going to sword fight EVERYONE AT ONCE HAHAHAHA! Any style was open to your choosing. The game only limited you on health and ammo (and a small army of guards). If you were good, you were good to go.

The freedom (again, for me) also made the game oh so consuming. When I played, I rarely felt like I was in a "game" going from point A. to point B. to C. etc, etc. It was the fun of finding new and secret ways into and out of the mazes laid before me. You didn't just see a distant building, that you had to go a specific way to get into to start the mission. There were a number of different possibilities, and if you were creative you found even more. Playing the game through a second, third, fourth (and probably more for many of you) didn't loose the feeling of the unknown either. Sure I know that guard is going to march through the cubicles in the mechanists cathedral, but it made the level so much easier once I discovered the duct system in the rafters above!

Thief 3 was a fun game, and I feel they did a good job of sticking to the style (although I wasn't a big fan of the climbing gloves...) but I feel they could push it more.

I've read posts about creating the new thief world similar to Oblivion, and I would agree. However I do feel that the towns in thief 3 had the general aspect of freedom, just on too small of a scale.

These kinds of ideas are what made the game so much fun for me, and albeit, I left a TON out, hopefully the rest of you can fill in the gaps!

A couple of last thoughts:

The ending of thief Dark Project was so wonderfully anti-climactic and brilliantly character driven - best "boss" fight ever - haha.

The quirks of the first few games came to be such fun exploits. My favorite being when you startle a guard, club him in the face with the blackjack, while jumping around him in circles repeatedly hitting him with the blackjack until he finally whispers his last "you taffer... "

13th Jun 2009, 09:58
For me the essence of the games is to create tension. Not frantic excitement, just buttock-clenching concentration as I try to get through the missions.
I love the "How the hell am I going to do this?" when I see the extent of the challenge in front of me.

13th Jun 2009, 18:01
Story, atmospher,charecters...All of that is part of the essence. If one of them is missing, no Thief anymore in my opinion.

13th Jun 2009, 18:09
Terrifying atmosphere, music, voice acting, level design, possibility to do one thing on hundreds of ways, and of course the story - when you think about it for a longer time... than its EVERYTHING!

In my best of the best games, I always hold The Dark Project as the game with the best story in the games I played. It's so engaging, frightening, but also simple, and that makes it the best.

The ending of thief Dark Project was so wonderfully anti-climactic and brilliantly character driven - best "boss" fight ever - haha.

Constantine/Trickster was the best antagonist, clever and angry, Carras was just a lunatic like a Joker, Hag... well... she's... something, I guess.

17th Jun 2009, 06:27
I agree about Constantine being the best antagonist. One of the things I liked was that in some ways, he was a very sympathetic character. Reading some of his writings (assuming you found them), you could see how he had a point - the hammers were stripping away all of nature's beauty and mysteries, piece by piece. It was only natural to expect some kind of backlash. Of course, this didn't change the fact that he had betrayed you and taken your eye, but most major enemies in Thief have a very "ends justify the means" kind of mentality.

17th Jun 2009, 06:30
it was the same thing with gamall... she saw the all the secrets that the keepers held, and didn't think it was right for them to have all the secrets. She wanted to begin a time where there all knowledge and information was shared, and nothing was kept secret. But her means to that end, and her being blind to what would happen afterwords (keepers and people abusing glyphs eventually destroying the world), meant she had to go.

Well, she didn't have to go... the glyphs had to go. I think the glyphs were actually the real antagonist in T3 looking at it now...

17th Jun 2009, 06:55
if you read all of gamalls writings she talks about ending all the secrets, even sharing all her knowledge of glyphs with others... she had a desire that people could sympathize with, but as you've noted with the serial killing and all those fun things... she her means were too extreme for her end.

She was not the only corruption of the keepers, there were dozens of conversations that hinted at how deep the corruption went.

17th Jun 2009, 20:07
So you can't empathize at all with the desire to end secrets and have knowledge available to everyone? Kinda confusing considering how much knowledge you do share :P

17th Jun 2009, 20:19
I got the idea from her readings that she meant to share the knowledge not just of those specific glyphs with the keepers, but of everything, with everyone. Giving people in the city access to some of the amazing things the glyphs can do. I said earlier eventually the world would have ended up destroying itself if everyone had their hands on the glyphs... but that's a different story.

I'm an idealist, I like to believe there's good in everyone, and even in Gamall.

17th Jun 2009, 20:50
I think the glyphs manipulated her, the glyphs are a destructive force that WANTED to be unleashed to the whole city... that she was just their attempt of getting out. I'm not saying she's a good person, but that she at least was still portrayed as having a motive that some would consider virtuous. Her goal wasn't to kill everyone, her goal was to spread the knowledge.

18th Jun 2009, 04:36
I think just the fact that you guys are even having this debate shows how interesting a villain can be when they're fleshed out, made 3-dimensional, and given a sympathetic side. I liked Constantine as a villain most because he was the most sympathetic - reading his writings you could kind of see how the Old Gods and the Pagans were slowly going extinct and had their back to a wall.

This is NOT to say that I want Constantine back as a villain - Thief would become really lame if it starts having "Soap Opera" moments. "My god, you're back! I thought you were dead!" But I think it's worth the designers examining that character closely to see how to do a Thief villain that is really compelling.

Gamall was pretty good too. I liked Karras simply because of the deviousness of his schemes, but he never really seemed that sympathetic to me - he was just a religious fanatic, which isn't that compelling.