According to Polygon, anonymous sources “familiar” with Square-Enix’s Eidos Montreal studio have reported that the upcoming Thief reboot is suffering from development problems caused by office politics and staff departures.
Polygon’s sources claim that people are joining and quitting the Thief team all the time, and that the game has already had multiple lead designers, who have scrapped and restarted the project based on their ideas multiple times. The game’s latest lead designer, Dominic Fleury, quit the project shortly after the game was originally announced last March.
Those sources also claim that the game has been in development for about five years, but due to the high level of staff turn-over, the game still suffers from some major problems, such as the engine failing when there are too many characters on screen. The Thief development team reportedly spent the last 10 months simply creating the short, one level demo that was the basis for Game Informer’s March cover story. Footage from the game was reportedly scheduled to be released online last month, but Eidos cancelled those plans after members of the team voiced their dissatisfaction with how the game looks and runs in its current state.
The first two Thief games were two of the best games ever made, so if this news is true, I really hope Eidos Montreal can get their shit together and deliver a game that lives up to the Thief name. While the news about the game’s troubled development cycle makes it hard to be optimistic about the game’s future, keep in mind that a lot of games — such as Resident Evil 4 and the recently released BioShock Infinite — suffered through similar problems during their development periods, and still managed to turn out great. Of course, the opposite is true as well, but I wouldn’t write off Thief just yet.