Interview of Thief: Deadly Shadows (PC)
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UK Boxshot of Thief: Deadly Shadows (PC)
US Boxshot of Thief: Deadly Shadows (PC)
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UK RELEASE: 11-Jun-2004 (Released)  | NORDIC RELEASE: 11-Jun-2004 (Released) |  US RELEASE: 25-May-2004 (Released)
VIDEO
INTERVIEW
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  Interview of: Thief: Deadly Shadows | By: Justin Fenico
23 Apr-2004
 

Garrett is back yet again harnessing his thievery skills! I was able to ask some questions to one of the rouge's creators (and a bit of one herself), Kristine Coco.

  QUESTIONS  
Q: First letís find out how youíre influencing Thief Deadly Shadows. With its release in a month what are your day to day tasks?

A: Bugs, bugs, and more bugs. Right now, I spend a lot of time in bug meetings with other team leads. We review major issues and figure out who fixes what. When I am not doing that, I am playing the game. I have so much fun, itís hard to tear myself away.

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Q: Letís give our readers a quick synopsis of the past two games. Where do we find Garrett in the beginning of third title?

A: There are three major groups in the Thief series: the Pagans, a nature-loving cult who worship the Trickster god; the Hammers, a fanatical group of zealots who demand order, and the Keepers, an enigmatic society who pulls the strings behind the scenes to keep the Pagans and Hammers from destroying The City. In the previous two games, Garrett primarily interacted with the Hammers and the Pagans, and the Keepers were a mysterious organization that showed up occasionally just to meddle and provide dire warnings. In Thief: Deadly Shadows, Garrett finally interacts directly with the Keepers, so we get to see the inner workings of their secret society.

In a lot of ways, Garrett is the same reluctant anti-hero that we saw in Thief and Thief 2. Heís still selfish and doesn't want to help anyone. If thereís one thing heís learned from Thief and Thief 2 though, itís that thereís some truth to the prophecies read by the Keepers. The beginning of this game finds Garrett begrudgingly agreeing to help the Keepers. Garrett realizes now that he canít just ignore his destiny, so in Thief: Deadly Shadows he has a new strategy: heís going to take the prophecies into his own hands, and decide his own fate.


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Q: Looking at the website and pictures, Deadly Shadows seems to have a darker atmosphere than its previous titles. During the beginning of development, what made you head in this direction?

A: As just mentioned, this installment of the Thief series focuses on the Keepers, a secret society. The clandestine nature of their affairs called for a darker atmosphere then the previous games. The artistic style of this game is superb. The art director, Sergio Rosas, and art and design teams captured an undeniably beautiful style for this game. Itís thrilling to play.

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Q: Thief has always been about stealth, something developers are focusing on more and more? How is stealth being handled in Deadly Shadows and what makes it different than other titles?

A: Thief: Deadly Shadows is stealth. Itís where the exciting, tense gameplay comes from. At every step of development, weíve thought about stealth. How will the player use this tool to enhance their stealth experience? How will this character reaction give the player clues about how visible they are? What makes Thiefís stealth different than other titles is its breadth of AI reaction. You can be partially hidden and partially visible and the AI will respond with ďHey did I see something?Ē and start to investigate. If they see a dead body, they respond accordingly. They have many, many reactions to what they see. A guard who thinks he sees something is going to respond very differently than a guard who just saw you run by.

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Q: What new editions to gameplay can we look forward to in Deadly Shadows? Have things been changed or was the dev team happy with the general type of gameplay taken from the previous titles?

A: Thief: Deadly Shadows is a true sequel to the first two titles. Weíve kept the core elements of the game, while adding some new exciting gameplay elements. Players have the ability to play the game with a first and third person camera and to switch between the 2 of them dynamically. This new view of Garrett is a powerful addition to the stealth gameplay. To see Garrett pressed up against a wall in a dark corner and an AI strolling by just feet away is nerve wracking. Itís great! Many aspects of the stealth gameplay are similar to the first 2 games. A lot of the core gameplay mechanics were nailed by the Looking Glass teams, and the Thief: Deadly Shadows team did not feel the need to re-invent the wheel here.

The open-ended gameplay of The City is also a new experience in a Thief game. The player can stroll through the street ignored by everyone (except the City Watch of course), she can mug everyone she sees, she can decide when and whether to pick up extra jobs for more cash. When a player finishes a mission, he can dump his loot for cash and head off to a shop to stock up on supplies. The thing I really like about the City is that on my way from Point A to Point B, I get easily distracted by an expensive glinting bracelet on a passerbyer's wrist or a locked door.


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Q: During the E3 demo I had the chance to walk around a castle like structure. It was shrouded in darkness and shadow. What other environments can we expect to lurk through?

A: There are plenty of rich establishments to break into, such as castles, mansions, and cathedrals. There are also mysterious hideaways in The City that take the player to unexpected places. But I can't give away all the details. Itís much more fun to discover them yourself.

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Q: How will the enemy AI affect your progress in the game? Will they look for you in the shadows, hunt you down, and call for help?

A: Our AI does all this and more. Not only will AI come looking for you in the shadows, but they will say things like "I should go look behind that chair" or "I guess there's nothing under the table" AI give the player enough hints to stay one step ahead of them if they are careful, but enemies are so tuned into the sounds and movement around them that its never a given you won't get caught.

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Q: In a game where silence is of the utmost importance, how is it being handled?

A: Sound and silence are as critical to Thief gameplay as AI response and player tools. You can hear guardsí footsteps as they patrol nearby. If you knock a plate off a table it clatters to the ground. Conversely, if a player creeps slowly, his footsteps are virtually silent. A silent thief is a good thief, unless of course, the thief wants the guard near the expensive looking vase to head to a nearby hallway. Nothing like tossing a glass objects into the hallway to make a guard leave his post. Itís totally up to you to use silence and noise to craft your game.

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Q: As of now what are the final touches being put on Deadly Shadows? What have you been able to capture in this game that you could not have before?

A: The most exciting thing happening right now for the team is being able to play this game. We no longer have to say things like "remember in the shipping game this will happen" about things we couldn't see onscreen yet. Now, it just happens. Being able to see the big picture has allowed us to fix the little things in the last couple of months of development that make the game better and more polished. For examples, it used to be too easy to accidentally end up flattened against a wall. Now you press a keyboard or PC button. This small change improved playing the game immensely. Six months ago we couldn't see the need for that change.

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Q: Finally, how does Deadly Shadows stack up against other ďstealth gamesĒ? Why do you think it will have the heart pounding, palm sweating experience everyone craves for?

A: The first Thief defined the stealth genre, so as far as I am concerned Thief Deadly Shadows is on top of the stealth games stack. Playing this game reminds me of sneaking out of my house as a teenager. You need to be quick, silent, hidden, and crafty all at once not to get caught. Getting nabbed by a parent meant real trouble. I get the same feeling playing thief. Keeping on the move, putting out lights, picking up loot, and knocking out that guard at just the right time so his nearby friend doesn't see me is tense, careful work. There is the constant danger of getting caught that makes my hands sweat. But the fun doesn't stop when you get caught. Then itís quick thinking of where to go and what tools you can use to beat your enemy, all the while scoping for more loot, that makes getting away equally as fun and rewarding as not getting caught.

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Well unlike Kristine, I never snuck out of my house; I didnít have those hidden and crafty skills nor would I knock out my parentsÖ Seems to me sheís right at home with Thief: Deadly Shadows. Iíd like to thank her for sharing some info about the game and look for more during E3.
 
  SCREENSHOTS
Click to enlarge this screenshot of Thief: Deadly Shadows (PC)
Click to enlarge this screenshot of Thief: Deadly Shadows (PC)
Click to enlarge this screenshot of Thief: Deadly Shadows (PC)
Click to enlarge this screenshot of Thief: Deadly Shadows (PC)
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