Summary of Q&A (in alphabetical order) - more to be added
(FYI - This post was populated by the community - b1skit simply made the original post as a placeholder)
There are dogs.
Burricks are part of the universe, but they do not appear in the game.
- see TOOLS OF THE TRADE
The game is extremely atmospheric. The place is really fleshed out and it lives and breathes. Several rooms of the Baron’s manor had sheets half draped over furniture and dust, while many others were clean with things left on tables. The Baron had a clearly unique taste in art and there was a lot of characterization for the Baron through the environment.
- see TOOLS OF THE TRADE
They remain part of the new Thief universe but don't play a role in the game.
- see MOVEMENT
The dialogue was good. There was a bit of modern profanity, but it was used for emotional emphasis and shocking not in an immersion-breaking way, but in a "good grief that fellow is pissed off" kind of way;
The word "taffer" is still in the game; In the previous games it was a catch-all expletive, here it is just one of many.
Ambient dialogue felt pretty organic. Guards would gripe about being called in late to guard the Baron's mansion and talk to each other. Real world cursing is in the game. The Baron's captain of the guard was particularly angry with a guard and dropped an "F Bomb" in his angry rant and it felt pretty shocking.
Garrett's sense of humor is still there.
We asked about difficulty levels in the forthcoming audio Q&A with Daniel Windfeld-Schmidt.
There are going to be unique stipulations in the missions like "don't be seen"
and strip the level of loot.
The escape portion of the demo is a tense sequence that involves a great deal of spreading fire, smoke, and collapsing environments. Although there is loot to be found for the quick-fingered, lingering in one place can have deadly consequences. It is not the strongest (or most representative) slice of game content, but served to show some variety in Garrett's escapades.
There was a really notable part where Garrett climbs in the window only for the supports to collapse and the apartment goes sideways while you’re still inside, everything nailed down collapsing on the far wall. It required a keen eye and fast thinking. There were also quite a bit of loot items during said escape that were particularly risky. Lingering to try to get them had a certain risk/reward factor to them, including a particular hairy part where I was picking a lock to a chest while I could see fire slowly creeping towards me down some wooden stairs.
That being said, linear moments like these are particularly rare in the game according to Nic Cantin. They’re there to provide a bit of variety to the experience and push you out of your comfort zone for a bit.
It was quite literally a minute out of the one hour and fifteen minutes of gameplay I got. I was timing it. That's 0.01% of the demo. It was far from my favorite part of the experience, but the idea that it was long and protracted is completely false in anything but a relative sense. - Master Taffer.
There is no undead in the game, but as to whether the Hammers, Pagans and others are there remains to be seen.
Focus is far from obligatory, and can be turned off from the menu.
It's not like a cover system or anything of that sort; it is simply there to make the game easier for those who want it.
There might be a moment where it becomes very difficult to proceed without it, but simply being careful, observant and quick-witted (if you choose to enter combat), will take care of things just fine.
Eye - Very few details released yet except that it is central to the story, and it's related to his focus ability somehow.
History - You won't have to recall anything from previous games as this is a new story - a re-imagining and so doesn't directly follow the older games.
HANDS & BODY AWARENESS
Body-awareness is very present here. Feet included.
The hands are here to stay as they are extremely important to characterization of Garrett. There was a moment in our playthrough where the five of us all looked at each other with a "That was awesome" look on our face that we have come to name "The Painting Moment."
More detail on that later.
A lot of games have difficulty making you feel like you are actually part of the world in which you are exploring, that it is solid and a tangible. The way in which Garrett uses his hands and body in the game really works well.
HEALTH & CONSUMABLES
As it was a pre-alpha build, the availability of health and focus consumables still has room for polish and the demo itself had the health and focus resources turned up above normal availability so that the press members could get a good feel for how things operated in a short time. Health and Focus DO NOT REGENERATE. They are based on consumables.
Garrett's excellent cynical sense of humor is still there.
A lot of the elements are optional (in the always on, always off, only contextual sort of way)
Alert-state icons/markers are optional and can be turned off if you don't want them. They are there to provide feedback if you need it (eg you're a deaf gamer or playing in a loud environment).
- see MOVEMENT
- see MOVEMENT
LENGTH (gameplay time/number of levels)
The mods can't remember exactly but think they were told somewhere around 12 missions are planned - but unconfirmed.
The shroud is a quick-reference visual element for understanding whether or not you are in darkness or light, and at what point you enter from one into the other. However it is an approximation, a simplification, a shortcut. Stealth is not binary; the light gem operates as a more comprehensive detection meter and fades through various levels of brightness and darkness, like a gradient. So the light gem is more comprehensive, the shroud is faster. You wouldn't want to disable the light gem in favor of the shroud, but you might want to disable the shroud in favor of the light gem.
There are no loading screens.
Loading is handled behind the scenes, the next portion of the level streams in as you approach it. When the demo kicks off there is a very brief loading screen but that was it.
Garrett move freely between interior and exterior areas - and the guards able to do the same. It is seamless.
Lockpicking is different depending on whether or not Focus is active. Focus makes it easier by bringing up the "inside the lock" view. Without focus, the view is on the front of the lock, making things a little bit less straightforward. It is right there in the name: When picking in this special mode, he is "focusing" and the inside view is meant to communicate him doing that.
You can check through the keyhole first
LOOT & LOOT GLINT
Loot is a very common sight.
Loot was shiny, looked valuable, and yes, there was a loot glint. According to one mod, it didn't glint when stared at. It always seemed to be while it was at the edges of the screen, like it was catching Garrett's eye out of the corner or something. Also, the glint was far less...cartoonish than it was in Deadly Shadows. Here it actually was like light reflecting off a shiny surface. Similar to the effect you're get if someone was reflecting the sun off their watch into your eyes.
The lore presentation, although very true to the established lore, is very layered.
There's not just a minimap, there's a full map as well.
The minimap only shows up if you press a button (down on the d-pad, IIRC) - it's off by default.
Magic is stepping back in favor of mysticism - which is a bit different.
Garrett is able to press up against walls and then lean around them.
Jumping is not freeform.
Climbing can be done at any ledge Garrett would be able to jump and reach. it's not particularly limited. It is comprehensive and if you feel like you'd be able to climb somewhere, you're going to be able to.
You are not on rails or blocked... you can fall to your death.
You can jump on the rope at any reachable level and leap off to any reachable point. This includes other ropes.
"Looking at a rope" is a context for jumping, just like "looking at a ledge" is a context for mantling.
"I played on the PS4, so (movement speed) was a pressure sensitive scale going from creeping very slowly to moving quickly. The maximum speed while crouched wasn't as fast as the maximum speed while standing, which is understandable. However if you wanted to full bore run (ie sprint) you had to be standing/would stand. Swooping could be done from the crouching and standing position."
Background music could be heard, and it was reactive. It mostly just blended in and re-enforced the aesthetic.
The gameplay itself, as the moderator chose to play it, was very slow and methodical. He went over a lot of the land while there and if we're careful and observant we can get through the areas quietly and safe. Rush through and we’re in for a world of hurt.
By adding a delay to the pickpocket as well as requiring Garrett to be within arm’s reach, it significantly adds to the tension of picking pockets. You now have to be closer and plan the pickpocket ahead of time rather than be able to accomplish this so easily. If a guard is on patrol you have to follow him; if there are multiple guards you have to plan your window; if the target has multiple items you may have to plan multiple approaches to the target over time. This simple addition makes pick -ocketing tenser and ultimately more rewarding.
You’ll have to adjust to Garrett’s reach and the fact he physically grabs things instead of having this five foot long arm. A mod was caught in the demo because he reached for something ahead of a guard, still thinking he was playing the classic games, and Garrett shouldered the guard out of the way to get to it. This guard also happened to be around three archers and another sword guard, so the mod was promptly turned into a pin cushion!
The game was played with a PS4 controller, with a pressure sensitive thumbstick - several speeds depending on how far you push it.
PC controls unknown.
There are multiple, readable letters around the levels.
SECRET SWITCHES/PASSAGES/BOOBY TRAPS etc
Secrets in the game.
Various booby traps encountered inside manor.
The "shroud" the mods saw during gameplay was a placeholder pre-alpha version.The final UI is not complete and expect there to be some changes in the final game.
The shroud takes some time to adjust to when playing- they haven't quite gotten that nailed down yet. After you take it in though, it just becomes a bit of helpful information on the periphery of vision. The flash appears to be part of the shroud effect's "vocabulary"- its a mod's guess that either it will disappear completely as they refine the UI or will only be optional as part of the shroud itself.
You get to steel from everywhere like in the original games.
Stealth is partially shadow-based (and much more comprehensive than a simple binary system), and most of the vertical vantage points were cloaked in shadow. Guards can look up. Their vision cone is actually really realistic and linked to their eyes. For example, if two guards are facing each other talking they cannot see what is behind the other because they are blocking each other's views.
TOOLS OF THE TRADE
So far confirmed:
There are plenty of arrow types to be had including Moss arrows in some form.
There were slots in the inventory for more arrow types and the devs told us that there are more. There's going to be a Community video down the line that will go into some of the equipment we have not seen yet.
Rope arrows are limited to some hot spots.
The rope arrows and claw serve somewhat different purposes: one is used to open up new methods of vertical travel, another is used to actually travel vertically (on a smaller scale). The points where each is usable is perfectly detectable without Focus.
Blunt arrows can be used for distractions, but they might also be modular (speculation).
Primarily used as a climbing tool for Garrett to reach a higher area he wouldn't be able to climb to himself, as well as one moment in the bridge sequence where Garrett saved himself from falling by throwing it into a grating.
There are three types of blackjack attack:
Standard attack. Swing your blackjack, hit a guard, job done.
Hold the button to do a blackjack takedown. There for those who want it, avoidable for those who don't.
Focus attacks. When you attack in focus mode, enemy weak points are highlighted, and you can aim for them more precisely. This isn't really a QTE: consider it more like bullet time. But that's still a pretty bad comparison.
Free-form melee: you can swing your blackjack freely, and miss if your aim isn't good enough.
Unconfirmed. Not encountered so far.
Romano's voice (as Garrett) actually fits pretty well. The trailer lines don't do it justice; he pulls off Garrett's dry, sardonic wit and overall didn't pull me (Jerion) out of the experience. Serviceable at worst, spot on at best.
Guards can look up. Their vision cone is actually really realistic and linked to their eyes. For example, if two guards are facing each other talking they cannot see what is behind the other because they are blocking each other's views.
More information coming later, but XP is for upgrades to Garrett.
We didn't really get to see anything that involved XP, so expect more info down the line.
E3 - THIEF wins "Game of the Show" Awards
The game is in pre-alpha.
The demonstration at E3 was polished for the show and is not an accurate representation of where the game is at in development but rather what the game is aiming for.
Many of the gameplay demonstrations at E3 were pre-alpha. Battlefield 4, The Division, Murdered: Soul Suspect, etc.
Pre-alpha is a very long period in game production pipeline and includes everything prior to the alpha build including first playable and even the conception phase.
Originally Posted by b1skit
There is no written rule on what Alpha or Beta means. The required conditions of Alpha and Beta stages of development are defined and agreed upon internally at the very beginning of any software development project, and are unique to each studio, team and situation.!
In Their Own Words
Originally Posted by spyhopping
Questions have calmed down a little so I've scribbled down some general impressions of the game which I thought I would share here. These are a few things which stood out for me more significantly. I will be repeating things that the other guys have said, but hopefully this will reinforce or perhaps even expand on them.
Tactility with the environment and the way in which Garrett moves (namely, swoop and the smooth use of the claw). These things make you feel considerably more in touch with his experience of the world. Holding his hands out ready as he moves feels quite natural when you play the game, and I like it, though I can understand why some people aren't keen.
Garrett's cynical attitude adds a good tone to the game. It is quite subtle though, he doesn't overload you with cheesy quips. When he did comment on something in the demo, it was either insightful or pleasantly amusing. The tone of the game remains pretty dark. It's a pity that Stephen Russell didn't do the voice acting, but Romano does an excellent job.
The guards felt intimidating. This was helped by a particularly abusive string of modern profanity from one man. Dogs are alarming to encounter too. Your behaviour will have to change from your usual approach which you use with guards if you want to avoid dogs detecting you. I got into trouble early on because I underestimated a pooch.
The level design and the furnishings of the level felt organic and original. There was a lovely bit of clutter inside the mansion. It draws you in and makes you want to explore and carefully attend to things visually.
Problem solving and the 'puzzles' are stimulating and interesting. The 'painting moment' relates to this, where Garrett's tactility comes in to play elegantly. There was one lock/puzzle where you had to peek through a hole in a box to watch when a heavy tumbler dropped. Creative and great fun.
I liked that there appeared to be an option to lock doors behind you. I didn't try it, so I'm unsure how it works (do you have to enter into lockpicking mode?) but there's potential for the player to get quite creative here.
Things could be done at a slow pace on the mansion level, whilst flowing nicely still. I was pleased with the arrow types.
Apart from maps and mission based items, I would have loved to be able to pick things up regularly in the environment to read them. This may have been an oversight on our behalf but it didn't seem to be a part of the demo we played.
The shroud felt intrusive as a feedback tool and needs work. However it is useful combined with the light gem, it is a work in progress, and to be perfectly honest I stopped noticing it after a while.
It feels like a challenging game. However, I didn't need focus to tackle any of the locks which I went for, because I felt I could unlock them fast enough without. I don't know if this conflicts with the intention for focus or not, but I thought it was worth mentioning. I also somehow managed to knock out 3 guards attacking me at once in the mansion which was great fun- whacking them with the blackjack was satisfying- but I thought I probably should have lost that fight.
Sometimes I couldn't tell whether I was planning to enter decent shadow or not. It occasionally felt too well lit when completely concealed, but this might have just been to do with the brightness calibration needing a tweak.
I really enjoyed the game. Honestly, it felt more natural speaking about the good things here because it was an overwhelmingly positive experience. There's more to say but I've gone on for long enough! I wil leave the rest for the write up.
Originally Posted by Jerion
Here's a collection of my thoughts on Thief. Also posted here are some really, really hi-res screenshots, so be sure to click on them and take in your fill.
We were given a hands-off presentation followed by a full hour of hands-on time with the demo; this is far more than nearly every member of the gaming press and covered more of the game than what has been released online. I’m reiterating this so that you have context for my thoughts. Some of these have been mentioned to some degree in various answers elsewhere in the AMA thread, but hopefully this will expand a bit on those bits.
(click image to enlarge)
Garrett, our titular thief, is just as dry, sharp and sardonic as ever. The trailer lines heard so far do not do this justice. Romano's voice works sufficiently well that Garret's comments are not jarring (or frequent) and the sound seems suitable. As for the world he inhabits? It feels heavy
. The atmosphere, environment design, sound design, animations, it all just feels heavy in a very good way. More over, it feels like Thief. Or somewhat differently, it feels like Thief ought to feel. Aesthetically and indeed from a gameplay perspective this is not a clone of Dishonored; nobody that has played both games while paying any amount of attention would ever confuse the two.
(click image to enlarge)
There is tremendous sense of tactile contact between the player and the environment; this is partially communicated by the onscreen presence of Garrett's hands. The hands themselves provide an element of this “tactility” through bits of contextual animation, such as reaching out to snuff candles or pluck loot, or just gently pushing open a door. No longer is there an incorporeal hand adjusting the world; now it is Garrett changing the environment as directed by the player. This was beautifully
demonstrated in the painting moment. I'm looking into getting video footage of this for everyone. The others might try to explain it, but I think it would be better to just show it to you.
Putting aside the occasional non-sneaky event like the burning bridge, the game is flexible to suit multiple play-styles. Pacing is slow and deliberate; while there is some accommodation for combat-oriented players it is very oriented towards stealth. To some extent it is not a challenge of reflexes, but a challenge of planning and execution. If you’re aiming to be stealthy (as you should be) then the tools are provided for you to plan each movement and execute your plan on a schedule of your own making. The animation of reaching out and opening a door is a good example of this. You can peek through the keyhole, listen for footsteps or conversation, mentally keep track of known guard locations, etc. Once you move to open that door, there is a very brief moment for a guard to spot you where you can’t really do much of anything about it. That sounds bad. Yet from my experience, the pacing of it all is such that if you allow that to happen, you’ve already messed up. The fact that the guard could spot you while opening a door is no different from the idea that you could be spotted while picking a lock: it’s already part of the risk of moving to undertake that particular action, and the speed at which you slide into the action and then resume having complete control is prompt enough that in practical terms it is irrelevant.
Movement is a particular point that demonstrates this deliberate process: You plan, you execute that plan, if something goes wrong, you try to save it either by fleeing or fighting. The ‘swoop’ movement (demonstrated below by Steven Gallagher) is a tricky part of this. It essentially lets Garrett dash forwards or backwards to quickly cross a small space or withdraw from sight, in the latter case giving a gratifying moment of agency after the tension of suddenly realizing that you’re about to be discovered or about to make a terrible mistake. This is something that still has to be balanced; I heard some talk of a small cool-down being introduced so that it couldn’t be abused.
(click image to enlarge)
Getting in a fight with more than one guard - especially if you have opted to disable Focus or are running low on its resource - means you most likely won’t survive very long. Lucy (spyhopping) apparently successfully won a fight with multiple enemies, though I don't know if she used Focus to do it. Melee combat itself was focused on the blackjack for defensive strikes and for blocking. Takedowns are complementary to free-form melee combat; they seemed to be feasible only while the player remains undetected (such as climbing to a high rafter, then landing on a guard and knocking out the poor fellow with a sharp thwack). If the player is detected and opts to fight, a takedown isn’t going to be a feasible (or possible?) option. A bit of clarification on how Focus affects combat: It does not turn combat into a QTE, and indeed the use of Focus is completely player-controlled. Instead, it triggers a sort of slowed bullet time that lets you breath just long enough to choose where and when you want to strike or block. As it is fueled by a non-regenerating resource though, using focus within combat is still a potentially difficult choice. It makes things a bit easier, but it isn’t a win button and without a bit of foresight it won’t be any help at all. The thing to take away from this last bit is that combat is pleasantly supported and the game is flexible to support various play styles, but the emphasis is on stealth.
(click image to enlarge)
There are things that irked me. Jumping and climbing appear restricted to predetermined locations. It is set up fairly comprehensively; if you think you ought to be able to jump or climb somewhere you’ll be able to do so. I hope this will change and jumping will become free-form, unrestrained by pre-determined leaping points. Whether or not this approach to things was meant to simplify the control scheme I can’t say. It could have been a deliberate choice to slow the pace of gameplay. From my perspective, restricting climbing to certain points makes a degree of sense, as it forms vertical paths adding a tiny sense of puzzle-solving challenge to planning out how to traverse a given space. That said I found myself wanting the freedom found in Mirror’s Edge, where the player could clamber on top of reachable things from almost any reasonable point and angle.
(click image to enlarge)
The lighting and fog, as presented in the demo, was properly atmospheric though it did result in everything being bathed in a slight twilight. This did impact the notion of being concealed in the darkness. The distinction between light and dark appeared both slightly uncertain and somewhat binary in places, despite the fact that the shadow-based portion of the stealth system is built to support a comprehensive detection scale. Whether this is a fault of the lighting scheme itself, the gamma calibration being too bright,or some combination of the two, I couldn’t really say. I suspect that getting gamma calibration just right will do wonders for that sense of being cloaked in darkness regardless of how environments are lit.
The big thing that I was concerned about going in was Focus, and how it impacted the feel of the game; I’m happy to say that it is an optional tool that has plenty of uses for less-skilled or less aware players, but one that I will happily turn off as soon as I get my hands on the release version. All things considered, Thief is a game that will probably rate 9/10. It does not appear to be perfect, but while claiming any such thing from time with pre-alpha code is a foolish endeavor it does appear to be very strong overall.
Right! That's that. If you have a particular comment or question about something I've laid out here, feel free to ask it here, but otherwise keep more general Thief questions to the Ask Us Anything thread. Thanks!
Originally Posted by Master Taffer
So Jerion and spyhopping have already provided their opinion on the quality of the Thief demo we all played. We largely share the same perspective on the experience: faithful to Thief, fun, challenging, has a few issues though many of them are works in progress seeing as the game is in pre-alpha. Since sharing my perspective will just essentially be a rehash seeing as my fellow attendees and I largely the same views on the demo, I thought I’d do something different here. I’ll describe my walkthrough of the demo as I played it.
Obviously this is going to be a massive spoiler thread, so leave now if you don’t want to hear about the content of the demo. You have been warned.
After we saw the presentation playthrough we were taken to a back room set up with six game stations. Nic Cantin (game director) and Emanuel Garcia (creative director) hovered in the room in case of bugs or any of us were lost. I booted up the demo and went through a short tutorial on movement, shooting the bow, the swoop, and how Focus and combat worked. The tutorial was not a part of the narrative of the game and was blatantly built for the expo demo.
The demo booted up and Garrett provided the narrative for the mission as he always has in the past, just with an in engine establishing cutscene. As I’m sure many of you already know, Garrett is after the Heart of the Lion inside the Baron’s home, Northcrest Manor. The Graven are rioting in the City and approaching Auldale and the Baron’s manor, so the guards are on high alert expecting the angry mob in the immediate future.
At this point I took control of Garrett. I was set on not using Focus and attempting to ghost through the mission without causing any damages. First thing I do is start swiping anything not nailed down. Every coin pouch on a guard’s hip is a target. Wary of the caged dog near the start, I hit the coin purses of both guards near the waterway and move to the courtyard with all the boxes. A few crossbow wielding guards say they will get a better view from the balcony and hurry off. I move over to the boxes and swipe the guards’ coin purses as well as some items like water arrows, though this location is pretty difficult to navigate while grabbing everything without being seen and raising an alert. I had a close call trying to grab the coin purse of a guard surveying the crates, but managed to swoop back into the shadow before the guard’s alert raised any further.
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I head down into the water control room, grab the loot down there, and turn off the water flow. Heading back outside, I climb up to the balcony that contains three crossbow men, one patrolling swordsman, and the guard captain pouring over a map. I swipe a bunch of coin purses, which is tricky with the swordsman making his rounds. I hit the guard captain last and pick pocket his map. It’s a diagram of the courtyard with three locations circled, detailing possible breaches in security to be checked and fortified. There’s the cellar, attic, and sewers.
The sewers is the only entrance I had not seen as of yet, so it was tempting to take the road less traveled. However, it would require backtracking to the start position and I was on a time limit, plus I wanted to try out the rope arrow entrance. Attic it is.
I look back at the guard captain and see a piece of loot next to him on the crate he was using as a table. Instinctively I swipe it, but Garrett moves to actually grab it and shoulder the guard captain out of the way.
With five guards nearby, it’s not hard to guess what happened. I was turned into a pin cushion rapidly and had to restart. I make a mental note to remember that Garrett’s body and actions are physical in the world. A simple adjustment. Backtracking and picking up the loot I had previously gathered, I decide to let that piece of loot lay. The risk outweighed the reward, so I’ll come back to that one after the game releases.
I head downstairs and pick the lock to the cellar. The lock picking system was near identically to Deadly Shadows, minus being able to tell lock type by shape and material. Once I get in, I grab the loot at the cellar entrance and head back into the garden. I head around back by mantling over some stair railing and grab some shiny swag when I have an opening in the guard patrol. Remembering the caged dog from the presentation, I toss a bottle I had grabbed earlier as a distraction then use the opening to swipe the loot near the dog. The loud mutt summons one of the guards rather than multiple ones and he investigates the courtyard. I jump up on one of the archways and find a dark corner up there and wait. The guard eventually settles down, but his patrol changes to include the area below now.
Garrett points out that a large hanging crate “looks precarious.” Waiting for the guard’s new patrol to be me an opportunity, I fire at the clasp holding the box up and let it fall. Grabbing some loot in a bird’s nest, I fire a rope arrow and climb up to the attic window, jimmying it open with a crowbar and sliding inside.
(click image to enlarge)
The attic is dusty and filled with condensation. A few crates and tarp covered pieces of furniture fill the room. I give it a once over for swag and head out, taking the time to look through the door’s keyhole before opening. Outside is a guard working on a pressure plate trap, complaining about receiving grunt work. I wait for an opportunity and make him and his work bench poorer. I then move downstairs, using the shadows to avoid a guard going up and down the stairs.
I move to open one of the doors and promptly get a dart trap set off in my left ear, taking away half of my health. Crud. I give the room a once over for loot then look around for a way out that doesn’t include taking the other half of my health. I notice there’s a balcony in the room and the drop looks safe enough, so I hop the railing down into the dining hall…
…And promptly die from the fall. Apparently it was higher than it looked.
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Backtracking to the room, this time I look around and find a control box for the trap on the overhang shelf high above the hallway. I climb a dresser to get up there and disarm the trap with Garrett’s wire cutters. Satisfying, honestly. I look around and see another such box right across the hallways. It probably controls a dart trap tied to the room across the hall. I hop down…
…Right onto a pressure plate in the hallways and die from dart overdose. How does the old adage go? Look before you leap? Now I feel taffing stupid.
Northcrest Manor, take three. I backtrack, disarm traps, loot, and investigate the room across the hall. A dusty, unused guest room with white sheets over furniture. I do a once over for loot and decide to head down to the dining hall, this time resolving to take the stairs.
Three guards are down there discussing the approaching mob, one carrying a lantern. Once they are done, they begin patrols. Garrett gets in a snide barb:
“It’s great that the Baron’s men can eat so well while they hang people for stealing bread…”
Vintage Garrett. I strip the room and guards of their valuables and head off into a library area. A ton of guards are in the room pouring over notes. The captain of the guard from the beginning cutscene is here ordering guards to various locations. One lower ranked guard pointed out that they are leaving the sewer entrance unguarded. The guard captain proceeds to verbally castigate said guard in front of his peers. I suddenly wish I had taken the sewer entrance to add irony to the scene I just watched.
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I take my time and pick the place clean, which is tricky because of the head count. I barely got out of there and head off through the halls. I turned a corner and ended up right in the sight of a patrolling guard. Almost instinctively I used to swoop to back around the corner again before the guard’s awareness raised beyond a “What was that?” It felt like a particularly real moment due to the mechanic. I pick a lock for a door when the guard patrol gives me an opportunity and find a closet. Inside I see light pouring out of a crack in the wall. I take a peek and see a safe that contain my prize. I head around the corner and come across a painting. Garrett comments:
“An original Lizotte. Valuable, but no the Baron’s usual taste.”
I head over and feel the painting, controlling Garrett’s hands along the edge until I find a hidden switch. Flipping it, the wall gives way and reveals the safe. It’s a box with two lion heads with ornate patterns underneath. I head to one side and align the pattern on the base and hear a satisfying click. When I go to the opposite end, I find the pattern has been worn away and cannot tell what I’m doing. Looking the box up and down, I find a crack in it and peer inside.
The box has a sequence of wheels with notches carved out inside. Handing above the top wheel is a weight on a chain. I have to turn the dials in order to align the notches so the weight can descend. I do so quickly and the safe opens up, revealing the Heart of the Lion inside. It’s a very large diamond. Garrett picks it up and inspects it:
“So, the Baron has a heart after all.”
Time to go. There’s a convenient exit here in the vault room. I fire a rope arrow above and escape through the skylight. It cuts to a cutscene of Garrett crawling onto the roof and ducking out. This convenient escape was only here for the presentation and demo time and the final game will have a more tradition exfiltration from the manor.
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It’s at this point we had to leave the convention center. Our hour was up and we needed to head on out. My fellow attendees all managed to get through the entire demo, but because I was more thorough and took my dear sweet time it looked like I was going to miss out on playing the burning bridge escape sequence. The next day, I was grabbed by Adam after I finished both my Deus Ex: The Fall and HR Director’s Cut play sessions. There was an opening and I was going to get to play the bridge sequence.
Jumping right in where I left off, I controlled Garrett as he ran through the sewers and arrived at Auldale Bridge. The bridge was a massive structure with various buildings and homes built along its outer edges. The Graven gave lit it on fire during their riots, so Garrett was in a rush lest he be trapped on the Auldale side of the river.
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I dashed through the sewers and came upon a dock. The jump from one side to the other was too far, so I started looking around. To the right some distance away was a moored row boat, so I shot a broadhead arrow at its mooring line. The boat came loose and floated by, allowing me to use it as a moving bridge. Up ahead, the area was on fire, so I began climbing. The camera entered third person as I navigated the ledges. At one point a ledge came loose and I had to quickly his the bumper to have Garrett save himself by throwing the claw into a grate. This climbing sequence lasted one minute at most and contained the only QTE in the whole experience.
When I crawl up I find myself in a room on fire. I head down the stairs and find a locked chest. Greed rules, so I begin picking. To the left I can see the fire in the room spreading closer to me while I pick, but I manage to get it open at near the last second and head on out. I find myself in an open area with no obvious way out. The fire and smoke are right behind me and catching up. Looking up, I spot two souls hung by the neck on display. Climbing up there, I use their noose ropes to jump the gap to an opening. I begin navigating through a narrow space and come out face to face with two guards. They’re in the middle of carefully searching for a way out and are just as shocked to see me as I am them. However, the hall quickly collapses on them before they can react. Dead men tell no tales.
I swipe a coin purse that was on their person and carefully head through the area. Unfortunately, I die of smoke inhalation. It looks like I don’t have enough health to make it through the area as my lingering for loot in prior areas has drained my health. There’s a definite risk/reward aspect to this sequence. Nic Cantin comes over and points out that I’m not using my health items.
Well, I feel stupid again.
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This time I make it through in one piece. I turn a valve to turn off streams of gas that are impeding my travel and continue on, jumping across a dock and climbing up some collapsed structures. I climb into the window of an apartment. The second my feet hits the floor, the supports for the building collapse and the floor becomes a wall. Everything in the home that is not nailed down flies onto the wall as the building tips over with me inside of it. I grab a piece of loot and climb into another window.
Outside the area I need to traverse is nearly burned away and treacherous. I try to navigate it but I fall off the building and off the bridge to my death. I try it again with identical results. Finally, the third time was the charm and I found a path across the burning roof. I land on the bridge only to be greeted by a member of the Graven about to beat one of the Baron’s men. Before he gets his chance, a part of the bridge collapses right on top of both of them, narrowly missing me. I hurry forward, finding myself in another open area. A couple (man and a woman) lay dead nearby. The man has a pocket watch in his hand that I pick up. Instead of just stuffing it away, Garrett takes a few seconds to inspect this particular piece of loot.
I rush through the area, see the end of the bridge in sight. As I run forward the supports for the bridge are finally giving way and it is falling apart in plates. Right before the end the bridge collapses and Garrett jumps to the other end, landing safely and turns to watch the bridge fall into the river while he lay on the deck. The Thief logo pops up, signally the end of the demo. I gave a victorious fist bump to Nic Cantin, who was watching.
Phew, that was a long one. So yeah, that’s my experience playing the demo. I know for a fact I didn’t get all the loot and there were parts of the Baron’s manor I didn’t get around to seeing. I was also told after the fact that the Baron’s manor would be even larger in the final game, as an entire wing of Northcrest Manor was missing from the demo due to narrative elements contained within it.
In the end, apart from one "whoops" moment I managed to make it undetected through the demo. Also, zero damages inflicted AND Focus was not used. Mission mostly accomplished.
What is "THE PAINTING MOMENT"?