on Feb 28, 2014
Chris uploaded a highlight reel of some of the bugs he found in the new Thief game. Yes, we all saw this coming. But it’s sad anyway. Like being told that Uncle Fred is dying of cancer, and then going to the funeral and seeing that yup… he sure did.
My experience has been really similar to hisChris, that is. Not Uncle Fred.. I’m basically having a good time with the game. (I’ve completed it, and I’m still playing.) But the lack of polish and awful design choices have horribly marred something that could have been great.
Bug: This guard is stuck in the T-pose, which is the default position for a 3D character. This is what figures look like when no animation is applied.
Bug: Do I have five focus points left, or none?
EDIT: Apparently this is working as designed. The 5 points is how many possible upgrades there are left in the game. Which is really… odd. I’ve never seen a game that showed that number before.
In any case, this is just bad interface, not a bug.
Bug: This guard is walking face-first into the wall. I am reminded of the early press buzz surrounding this game, where they told us that this next-gen horsepower would enable them to make more advanced AI than ever.
Bug: This stream of cultists (or whatever) is walking up this hill. But from this vantage pointThe entry point for the level, where it says PRESS THE LOOK BUTTON TO ZOOM IN. we can see new people popping in at the back of the line. Also, after watching for some time I saw one of them turn around and try to head upstream against the flow of traffic. I wish I had video of it.
Criticism: This is one of the fully in-game, motion-capped cutscenes, which necessitated them replacing beloved voice actor Stephen Russel. No contrast. No color. It’s a giant mush of grey where the characters don’t stand out from the scenery. It’s under-lit and visually tiring to watch.
If I touch it up manually I get:
That’s still not great. Proper cinematography would call for more finesse, stark shadows, use of contrasting colors, etc. But at least you can SEE in my version. Game Devs turning games into movies is bad enough. But it would be so much more tolerable if they weren’t so bloody awful at making movies.
Also, the framerate drops precipitously in cutscenes.
Bug: A couple of days ago I was walking around the open world section of the game in chapter 3. I walked through a gate and suddenly found myself back at the start of the game, with Garret reading his usual post-tutorial lines. The game uses a single save slot for a play-through, and both auto-saves and quick-saves go there. So after I went through the gate it auto-saved over my game.
It was an odd sort of reset. I technically still had my chapter 3 equipment and cash. Very odd.
Issue: This is what lightning looks like in the game. It just cranks up the brightness for a split second. In the real world, lightning comes from the sky and stuff like buildings cast stark shadows. This would be a minor problem in any other game, but Thief is all about using shadows to hide. I kept positioning myself in what I thought would be shadows, only to have the magical wall-penetrating light illuminate me in front of the guards.
Additional issue: At this moment in the game, some electronic music(?!) surges in, playing so loud it drowns out the guards that are talking nearby. The music if fast-paced and pumping, and there’s no reason for it. You’re just crawling through one of the many linear alleyways of the city.
Bug: The game doesn’t save all settings. I play with mouse inverted, and every time I launch the game it’s reverted to the default.
Shamus Young is an old-school OpenGL programmer, author, and composer. He runs this site and if anything is broken you should probably blame him.