By Joseph Leray
It seems impossible to write about “Thief,” the upcoming Eidos Montreal-developed reboot of the long-running series, without mentioning a bit of its history. The original “Thief,” subtitled “The Dark Project,” was released in 1998, by Looking Glass Studios, at a time when the most acclaimed projects featured a bevy of interlocking systems and mechanics: if you were careful and a bit tricksy, you could play most games however you wanted.
That all started to wane a bit as developers moved toward more controlled, cinematic design, but there was a time when you could complete, say, “Fallout” or “System Shock 2” (or even “Metal Gear Solid”) without killing anyone. Some more recent games born out of that legacy, like “Fallout: New Vegas,” “Dishonored,” and “Deus Ex: Human Revolution” offer similar freedom, but shooting All the Things is still pretty much the norm today.
The news that the new “Thief” will allow for a pacifist playthrough will be well-received, then. In a post on Eidos Montreal’s blog, community manager Adam Badke explained the good news: “Players will have multiple ways to approach their objectives and each objective can be reached using Garrett’s various tools, by exploring and by playing with your environment.”
“Each path comes with a set of challenges, encounters and looting opportunities. Difficulty options allow the experience to be scaled for hardcore fans of the original series, but to also let newcomers have a lot of fun,” Badke explains. “And yes, you can complete the game without killing anybody – Garrett is a Master Thief, not a killing machine!”
This is nice to hear for anyone a bit world-weary of pumping bullets into polygonal enemies, and a sign -- at the very least -- that the Eidos Montreal team are aware of “Thief”’s legacy as a dynamic, expressive series. “Thief” should be available some time in 2014 for PC, PlayStation 4, and “other consoles.”
For those of you interested in non-violent gaming, game designer and blogger Corvus Elrod has been working on a Low-Violence Challenge, looking for games and mechanics that offer something a little more peaceful. It’s disconcerting just how much trouble he’s having, and you can track his progress on his blog.