In the early stages of its development, the Thief reboot was prototyped as a third-person game. The tactical aspect of gameplay has also been scaled back as it was “slowing the game a little bit too much.”
Remember how everyone cried bloody murder when Eidos Montréal announced that Deus Ex: Human Revolution would not only have a cover system, but one that showed the player character from a third-person perspective? Heresy! Change is bad! How dare they do this to a Deus Ex game! Argle bargle! Turns out it was a good call, but apparently not for the Thief reboot.
“Now it’s really a first-person game,” producer Stephane Roy tells Game Informer. “The team did some prototypes with a third-person perspective.”
Steve Gallagher, who serves as narrative designer on Thief, explains why this was scrapped. “What was interesting is that when you’re in [first-person], you’re very intimate and focused and closed-in and you need to look behind you. When you’re in [third-person], you automatically felt like ‘If I can see me, other people can see me.’ At the end of the day, it’s much more important that the player’s comfort is looked after more than some kind of narrative brain fart.”
Human Revolution’s third-person cover system actually fixed one of Deus Ex’ more noticable quirks, namely the incredibly nearsighted enemies. Seeing Adam Jensen in third-person allowed for the same kind of situational awareness without necessitating the fact that enemies can only spot you from up close.
So that’s not the angle that Thief will be taking. It’s far more likely we’ll be seeing a stealth system based on light and shadow, where darkness truly means darkness. Whatever the case, the tactical aspect of it all will be somewhat reduced.
“In the beginning, we were really tactical, but at one point we went a little bit too far with that tactical aspect.” says game director Nicolas Cantin. “It was slowing the game a little bit too much.”