Thief's XP system canned after fan complaints

Thief has taken lumps (big, threatening lumps) from series fans worried that the reboot will stray too far from its subdued, stealthy roots. But thanks in large part to fan feedback, one particularly loathed mechanic is no more.

Thief's XP system was first seen in an E3 demo in which it gave Garrett 40 points for firing an arrow into a guard's head. Game director Nic Cantin explained Eidos Montreal's motives behind the system and why it didn't make the cut in an official Q&A.

"At first, we wanted to outline the progression of the player with XP, but it was reducing our motivation to steal," Cantin said. "The main goal of a thief should be to gain loot. Garrett is already the Master Thief, so we saw no need to have XP as a core mechanic."

Lead level designer Daniel Windfeld Schmidt added that assigning XP to certain actions, like killing a guard with a well-placed arrow instead of slipping by undetected, didn't make players feel they were at liberty to choose any path they desired.

"Fans might be surprised how often the devs go to the forum to see how things are perceived in the 'real world,'" Windfeld Schmidt said. "This feedback is extremely valuable to us, so as you can imagine, the consistent reaction to the XP system was something that indicated we needed to revisit some design decisions."

With XP gone, gold is back in the center stage both as an intrinsic goal and as a means to upgrade and diversify your equipment. Hide your valuables, City dwellers.


  • g1rldraco7 - October 18, 2013 5:11 p.m.

    I think they didn't want people thinking it had to do with Skyrim since you level when you pick locks and sneak in it. I like this idea, it makes you really test your skills.
  • rodger-walker - October 17, 2013 11:44 p.m.

    yeah, the thief games were based PURELY on the player's skill. In the last one they gave you all the eqiupment (i think) right at the start for you use as you see fit. and combat was a VERY bad idea. i think this one should be more like dishonored in that engaging someone in combat does not mean automatic death,but still discourages a direct action game type approach. but yeah, the last thief's HUD consisted of what was in your hands and a gem that told you how visible you were. the rest had to be determined by the player. and there was no hitman like instinct view.
  • gilgamesh310 - October 17, 2013 12:13 p.m.

    They have a lot more to put right if the game is to be taken seriously as a Thief game.
  • ObliqueZombie - October 17, 2013 12:46 p.m.

    Like what? I havent fully played the other Thief games. Barely, even.
  • gilgamesh310 - October 17, 2013 12:52 p.m.

    Like be an actual stealth game for a start and not just give you the 'option' of stealth which seems to be the way the genre is gone. The game just looks like a Dishonored clone to me which is not what Thief is meant to be like. Garrett also isn't anything like the real Garrett is supposed to be, and it's not just because of the change in voice actor.
  • ObliqueZombie - October 17, 2013 2:52 p.m.

    How so when it comes to Garrett's character? And yeah, I understand that. But for a game to be successful (nowadays, I guess), they have to appeal to a huge amount of people. I'm not sure who would play a game called "Thief" to randomly kill people all the time, but yeah... at least with Squeenix at the head, they're going to have to show to big numbers to look good to them. As we all now, 6 million copies sold is "bad" according to Square. But hey, I mean at least the stealth "option" is there you know? Even though in Dishonored I was an assassin, I MUCH preferred the no kill/no alarm playthrough. It's just so... fun. This game may yet still be fun even though it's not "Thief," and from what I played of the original, I with is was.
  • BladedFalcon - October 17, 2013 11:01 a.m.

    Well... this sounds like a good thing, honestly. I've never played a thief game before. But seeing how it's considered to be one of the best, if not THE best stealth series out there, an XP system that rewarded you for killing people is rather counter-intuitive.

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