Thief Autopsy Part 2: Dust to Dust

  By Shamus   Mar 26, 2014   69 comments

Before we go forward, I need to back up for a minute. In the last entry I tried to summarize the cutscene that ends the prologue, and I actually made a hash of it by leaving out several elements. Let me try again. In the cutscene we have:

  1. The Baron, who is leading…
  2. a cult ceremony, which features a book, which is opened with
  3. A key (or keys?) which activates the…
  4. primal stone which creates…
  5. a magical vortex of unknown utility.
  6. Erin falls into the vortex while trying to reach…
  7. the claw. This causes…
  8. Garrett to fall down after her. He may or may not be trying to save her. To break his fall he throws a rope arrow into the leg of the…
  9. Thief-Taker General, who is maimed by this.

And do you, Cornelious, take Aldous as your lawfully wedded… uh. Oops. Wrong script. Give me a minute here.
And do you, Cornelious, take Aldous as your lawfully wedded… uh. Oops. Wrong script. Give me a minute here.

That’s a LOT of moving parts. In particular, I think having the book AND the keys AND primal stone makes for too many macguffins. This is certainly too many plot elements to ram into a single three-minute cutscene that’s mostly sound, fury, and bickering between our leads.

After the intro cutscene dumps us into a loading screen, Garrett wakes up on a plague cart rolling through the city. We’ve done a massive time jump (a year) and now Garrett has “amnesia” to explain why he doesn’t realize this. Later it’s revealed that beggars “found” his body and nursed him back to health, and that this may or may not have been a supernatural revival. But that doesn’t really fill in the important blanks. Garrett was presumably trapped under rubble inside the Baron’s mansion, surrounded by cultists, with both the Baron and the Sheriff after him. “Amnesia” doesn’t begin to explain how he could possibly get out of that predicament with all his gear, as well as the claw. (There is more on this later, but I want to talk about it in context.)

I feel strongly that a Thief should live in a dark hidey-hole and not in a giant open space with lots of light. And if he IS going to live there, he shouldn’t put all his bling on display like the chumps he robs.
I feel strongly that a Thief should live in a dark hidey-hole and not in a giant open space with lots of light. And if he IS going to live there, he shouldn’t put all his bling on display like the chumps he robs.

We finish up our tutorial with a trip back to the clock tower where Garrett lives. As an aside: I really dislike the whole “clock tower” idea. For one thing, he’s got display cases of loot around, which sort of kills that desperate feeling that Garrett needs to steal to survive. In the past, Garrett made his living job-to-job, stealing just to put food in his belly. If he’s stolen enough money that he can keep his loot instead of fencing it, then it effectively makes Garrett part of the decadent upper class the game spends so much time deriding. It also means all his sarcastic mocking of the upper class and their baubles is now incredibly hypocritical. I wouldn’t make a big deal of thisThis is a lie. if not for the fact that the game is really heavy-handed with its class warfare message. (We do donate to the poor, though. More on that below.)

Also, living behind the clock face is pretty absurd. Isn’t Garrett worried that someone will come up here to tinker with the clock once in a while? Doesn’t this thing require maintenance? Wouldn’t it make more sense for him to live in an attic or basement somewhere?

It’s not wrong. It’s just dissonant.

ANYWAY.

The two best characters in the game: Basso, and Basso’s hat.
The two best characters in the game: Basso, and Basso’s hat.

We go see Basso, Garret’s fence. I really liked Basso. He’s probably the most consistent and interesting character in the game.

In the year Garrett was missing a plague has broken out, and now bodies are burned to stop it from spreading. Basso asks Garrett to get a ring. The guy with the ring died and his body is on its way to the furnace to be burned, presumably still wearing the ring.

On the way to the job Garrett stops in to see the Queen of the Beggars. She’s not a bad character. She’s basically a replacement for the Keepers as the conscience of the city. It feels like the plot is supposed to bring her in and go somewhere with her, but it doesn’t. She’s just your upgrades vendor. You give her money, she gives you skill points. That’s fine, although from a practical standpoint it made me wish I could sell all the useless goods in the display cases in the clock towerI think the game actually gives you money for collecting the jewelry you have on display. Don’t ask me how that works.. I’d rather have the skill points than decorations.

Ugh. That dialog.
Ugh. That dialog.

We’ve got a system of hoarding extravagant baubles, a heavy-handed rich vs. poor message, and a system where you donate to the poor as a way of becoming a better thief. None of these are terrible, but they kind of clash or undercut each other.

Moving on: It’s a pretty straightforward mission. You sneak into the factory where the bodies are being cremated, slip past the guards, and reach the guy who supposedly has the ring. If you dig around you might uncover a secret room where there’s some sort of automaton sitting at a desk. It’s supposedly part of the whole “industrialization” thing the Baron is doing. It’s obviously a throwback to some earlier version of the game. No character ever discusses these things, they serve no purpose to the city or the Baron’s plans, and while Garrett talks about them as if they were insidious, they are never seen to move or take any action. In an earlier version of the script, I imagine these things were part of some scheme to take over the city.

We get to the end of the factory and then this cutscene takes place. What is going on here?

The Thief-Taker General shows up. He’s obviously here for the ring. (On behalf of the Baron I presume? The game never explains.) He searches the body. Then he insinuates that one of the guards might have taken the ring. Then he grabs a cleaver, puts it in the hand of the supposedly untrustworthy guard, and forces him to chop the body a couple of times. The cutting is done off-screen, so I don’t know where he’s cutting. Then TTG finds the ring somewhere in the body and executes the guard as an example to the others for not “following orders”.

I don’t have any screenshots from this part of the game, so here’s a picture of a guy smoking an invisible pipe.
I don’t have any screenshots from this part of the game, so here’s a picture of a guy smoking an invisible pipe.

What? What orders? What is going on here? There are actually procedures for searching bodies posted in the room, and they make no mention of opening the body, which would be a monumentally stupid idea during a plague anyway. Did you give your men orders to randomly hack all the plague bodies with a cleaver in case they have rings in their entrails? Where WAS the ring hidden, anyway? How did it get there? Did he swallow it? What did TTG expect this guard to do? And while we’re at it: Since this dead guy was obviously part of the conspiracy, why didn’t anyone in this cult or club or whatever think to secure the ring before he was dragged off to the morgue?

I’m not saying these questions are “plot holes” or story contradictions. They’re just stuff the story doesn’t make clear, which keeps you from understanding what’s going on.

Whatever. I guess we’ve established our mustache-twirling bad guy who kills his own men for no reason, so let’s move on. Garrett nicks the ring and makes his escape.


2020209Sixty-nine comments, dude! Excellent!


  1. Nimas says:

    2 things here:

    1. I completely forgot that Garrett gave the TTG his limp. There are so many other pieces of information in that one jumbled cutscene that I honestly thought the first intro to the character was just before he offed his guard for basically no reason.

    2. Following said execution, there was a really great moment that felt very thiefey to me. Sitting in the shadows listening to a hilarious conversation. I really loved the conversation between the 2 guards afterwards, and was holding a lot of hope at that point (because it’s so early in the game) that there would be alot more of it.

    I cannot for the life of me remember another conversation in the game.

  2. Horfan says:

    Shamus you rock I will not have internet for long just temporary so I came here to read your new post please don’t stop bye

  3. Starker says:

    It’s Garrett, not Garret.

  4. kikito says:

    The bad-guy-with-mustache-twirling, I guess I have seen before. The bad dialog, too.

    But the the clocktower/display thing. I mean come on. What is this, Skyrim?

    • Naota says:

      I can immediately think of two ways they could let you admire valuable loot from the past without making Garrett into some weird combination of street vandal (who takes historical plaques right off monuments for no reason save to have them) and impulsive collector of valuables:

      -Have Garrett sketch all of his stolen loot for posterity. It’s still a dumb thing to keep around because it’s basically a damning record of his crimes, but at least it’s portable, flexible, and easily disposed of and overlooked. Also, he can fence the actual valuables like a reasonable freaking criminal and just hold on to the memories. Not that either of these fits Garrett’s character as we knew it. At all.

      -Forget trying to canonize the loot and just put a gallery in the menu with tidbits, quotes, and renders of all the neat stuff Garrett’s put his hands on during the story. It’s dumb that he’d keep it in the first place, so you might as well just add “special loot gallery” as an option next to “documents”. Everybody wins.

      • Nimas says:

        I was thinking about this, and I think a really good way of doing it would to simply state that these items are “too hot” to sell immediately. Given the short time the story takes, it would make sense that you would have difficulty selling these unique pieces.

        That way, the gold you gain from them is merely an ‘advance’ from Basso as a sort of guarantee that you’ll sell through him and not some other fence.

        Thus for the low price of a few lines of dialogue you can have your pretty gallery.

        • rofltehcat says:

          But in that case hiding it somewhere would make more sense. Hell, I’m sure he could hide it somewhere inside the clocktower. After all sliding walls etc. don’t seem to be that uncommmon. But in display cases right next to the tower’s mechanism?

          • Nimas says:

            Oh I totally agree, probably even covered in cloth or something to preserve its value. It’s more that saying he’s waiting for items to be fence-able implies that he’s cautious, (with the gallery as is, perhaps implying that in this place he feels safe, maybe overconfidentally so)whereas the base game just kind of implies that he’s decadent and maybe that they’re trophies for his kleptomania which he uses to relieve the rush (I believe this Garrett to have quite a few mental problems)

      • Peter H. Coffin says:

        Making a cat-burglar the guy who maintains the clock would be interesting. There’s a whole jungle gym of a jumping puzzle in performing the maintenance and it can be a “safe” training space where new mechanics that come with new gear can be played with and learned. But that’s probably muddling up the story even further.

        • Jabrwock says:

          See now THAT would make sense. Hell, have the tower guard even recognize and wave to him on the way in. “Here to lubricate the gears again Garrett?”

          • IFS says:

            On that note it could be interesting if Garrett’s supposed day job is to be the clock tower maintenance guy. Then it would make some sense why he doesn’t worry about people finding his stash up there. Combined with the ‘items being too hot’ idea could provide a decent (hardly perfect, but better than nothing) explanation for the place.

        • oasis789 says:

          Same problem in the Gargoyles animated series. Having a clocktower hideout ABOVE THE POLICE DEPARTMENT looks cool but doesn’t really make sense, even though the Gargoyles are petrified during the daytime, considering the police force is constantly looking for them.

          • Steve C says:

            I think they are different. The gargoyles are hiding within the organization looking for them. That is hiding in a cognitive blind spot and smart. That is the Millenium Falcon attaching to the Star Destroyer. The fact that both are clocktowers doesn’t matter.

            In Thief it’s not a blind spot. It’s just a clocktower. Garret being a “master thief” might be able to live there without it seeming that anyone is living there. But putting things on display negates that idea. It’s just dumb.

    • rofltehcat says:

      I really dislike the TTG: He is too much of a comic relief character. Not only his looks, you keep stumbling across him in many missions, often with him in “funny” situations. For example in the brothel.

    • ET says:

      Didn’t Daredevil live in a clocktower in the 2003 film?*
      Although in that hideout, if I’m recalling correctly, he actually did use sliding doors, and secret panels, in case somebody found him out.

      * Apparently this film was pretty bad, judging by the scores on IMDB and Metacritic.
      Although, it seems that it was more well received by people like me, since the users’ reviews average 6.4/10, but the average critic’s review is 4.2.
      I remember liking it; I wonder what I’d think if I rewatched it…

      • krellen says:

        Pretty much every super-hero film before Marvel Studios started up with Iron Man was crap. Raimi’s first two Spider-Man movies possibly excepted.

        • Daemian Lucifer says:

          Keaton batmans were good,if a bit too dark for majority of the audience.And some of the supermens were also good.

          • Abnaxis says:

            I know I’m a rare breed, but I liked the first two X-MEN movies as well. Whoever cast Kelsey Grammar as Beast deserves an award.

            • Thomas says:

              Batman Begins beats out Iron Man by a good 3 years and is the better film of the two (just).

            • ET says:

              Umm…the first two X-Men films were good, and I’d agree with Kelsey Grammar doing a good job playing an intellectual character*, but Beast wasn’t until X-Men: The Last Stand…which was a mess.

              * Let’s be honest here, he’s basically playing Dr. Crane painted blue. :P

              • Abnaxis says:

                Was he? I must be getting old…

                I know a single line shouldn’t make a movie, but every time I start to say the first one was good, I remember the “do you know what happens to a Toad struck by lightning?” line and groan a little bit inwardly.

            • Steve C says:

              Ugh. Beast’s dialogue was atrocious in the movie. He didn’t sound like an intellectual he sounded like an idiot. The animated series had far better dialogue. Really Beast’s dialogue should have been the absolute easiest to write since you could just lift profound quotes. How the movie handled him pissed me off and Kelsey Grammar may not have been to blame but he’s an easy target so I blame him.

          • HiEv says:

            Batman and Superman aren’t Marvel Comics characters, they’re DC.

            Yeah, it used to be that Marvel was good at TV and sucked at movies, and DC was bad at TV and good at movies. However, nowadays Marvel is pretty good at movies and has (mostly?) abandoned TV, while DC is getting bad at movies and is putting out some (mostly) good TV shows. (Yes, there were exceptions, but this was/is the overall trend, IMHO.)

            I’d love to find out exactly how this reversal of roles came about.

            • Daemian Lucifer says:

              “Batman and Superman aren’t Marvel Comics characters, they’re DC.”

              Irrelevant,since krellen said pretty much every super-hero film.

              Also,Im not sure if the same studio made supermans and batmans.

        • Peter H. Coffin says:

          I wouldn’t even say that the DD film was really terrible. It suffered badly from Affleck Affliction, where him merely being in a film is at least polarizing at best, and sometimes leads to reflexive and unthinking disdain for a film. Elektra was terrible. Around 2004, though is where Marvel started really finding their groove in working with film companies and we started seeing films that got tone right as well as characters: Spiderman cracking wise and feeling young enough, the courage to make Tony Stark the drunken genius, Thor unworldly, Hulk in self-imposed isolation and bitterness, etc.

    • Bropocalypse says:

      Wait, Skyrim had a clock tower?

  5. Someone says:

    I haven’t played the game, but after watching the cutscene I got this impression:

    “Where WAS the ring hidden, anyway?”

    The ring was in the stomach. The fellow swallowed it before dying. The Thief-Taker General checked the mouth of the dead guy, and saw the bruised marks as if he had swallowed something hard. From the posture of the Thief-Taker General, it is very clear he already knew the object he was looking for.

    “Then TTG finds the ring somewhere in the body and executes the guard as an example to the others for not “following orders”. What orders?”

    He was not talking to the guy in the crematorium. He was talking to the other guard accompanying him. He was scaring him into keeping his mouth shut.

    After watching that scene I knew: 1)the TTG knew the dead guy had the ring; 2) the ring was important enough for the dead guy to swallow it to conceal its existence; 3) the TTG knew that what he did was wrong and killed the guard he didn’t trust, and bullied the one he trusted (at least a little bit) to keep that secret from coming out.

    • Naota says:

      Just leaving… all the other guards in the room to keep that secret for him, after he just demonstrated that minor incompetence is reason enough for him to kill them?

      I’ll confess, I wasn’t confused about where they found the ring either, but there’s no good reason for the guy to kill his own men except to sledgehammer home the idea that this character is comically, baby-punching, puppy-shooting evil.

      • ? says:

        There is also very little reason to choose a cleaver as a tool to open up someone’s gut… There wasn’t some kind of a knife on the table? Or was he picking up random object and the guy was lucky that he picked up something with an actual blade and not a sponge. “You shall dissect this corpse with a… herring! Ni!”

        • Olly says:

          Even better: The TTG begins wildly slamming the cleaver into the body in front of him, neatly slicing the thin metal ring concealed inside the stomach in two (seriously, cleaver vs ring is an easier battle than cleaver vs bone, a battle that the cleaver is specifically suited for). The TTG then takes his own life as an example to his men of the punishment for ridiculous incompetence.

    • ET says:

      If he did indeed find the ring in the man’s guts/stomach, then it should have taken much longer.
      I mean, the stomach’s function is to thoroughly mash up things that go into it, so that ring should have been in the middle of a hunk of mushy half-digested food.
      This would necessitate at least a minute of squishing it through your fingers, to strain out the one solid object.
      (That’s also assuming that the ring hasn’t already moved on to his intestines.)
      So, he should have created a huge mess, and taken at least a full minute, if not ten or fifteen minutes, using both hands.
      How the heck did he find it in 10 seconds, without getting food, blood, and feces all over his arm/hand, while distracted by holding another man’s arm for the duration? ^^;

      • Abnaxis says:

        Thinking along those lines about virtually any movie/visual narrative is the way into madness. If we forced every procedure to happen in the appropriate amount of time–whether through fade-to-black transitions or any other time-skip technique you could think of–you could quickly kiss any sense of story momentum goodbye

        • ET says:

          Not really.
          Good films would at least hand-wave it a bit, showing the guy grunting a bit, like he’s fishing around with his arm, then wiping off some blood with a rag.
          This cutscene, on the other hand, just poofs the ring into his hand in a completely sanitary way, and the cuts and camera angles do not in any way, indicate any passage of time.
          You don’t need much to keep up the immersion, but this game left out completely, anything meant to make this scene make sense.

          EDIT:
          Actually, upon re-watching it, the little speech he gives, clearly shows that this happens in real-time.
          So, the complete lack of guts/blood really stands out.

          Furthermore, he’s shoving the guard’s hand into the dead man’s chest cavity, to pull out the ring.
          I could have accepted the TTG himself quickly grabbing the ring, assuming he knew exactly where to shove his hand.
          But in what universe would he be able to both control this guard’s hand like a puppet, and be able to feel the tactile sensations of another man’s hands, without any sort of sorcery or spellcraft involved?

          • Tizzy says:

            I think a compromise is in order: have the guy fish around a little bit. Not nearly as long as it would really take, but long enough to show that it’s a slog.

            Also, I am not sure how well it would show inside your mouth if you has swallowed a ring, so though the guards are instructed to look inside the mouth, it seems a bit unfair to blame the guard for overlooking a swallowed ring.

            Thanks to the posted link, I understand how overbearing the music is in the game. But also, these are some long-ass cutscenes. Yawn!

            • C0Mmander says:

              If one minute and a half is a long cutscene for you then you might want to work on your patience a bit.

              Also I think the Thief Taker only shot the guard because he failed to procure the ring. If that’s the case, then that makes him a complete moron.

              • Alan says:

                A video game’s defining feature is interactivity. From that point of view, 90 seconds is eternity. Given that cutscenes are often pretty awful, it’s an eternity of punishment. I enjoys short videos, but when I want them, I open YouTube, not Steam.

                • Tizzy says:

                  Indeed. The injunction to writers is: “show, don’t tell.” I feel like someone should come up with a similar injunction for game designers. Whatever the right wording is, there is a “don’t show” in there somewhere. Long cutscenes, camera-grabs a la Skyrim, all of these should be used in extreme moderation.

      • syal says:

        The ring never made it to the stomach; it was too wide and jagged, and got stuck in the guy’s esophagus (that’s why he died, you know). The Thief Taker General, being an expert in esophagus widths, knew this, was able to estimate exactly which part of the esophagus it had gotten stuck, then cut it out.

  6. kdansky says:

    You forgot the next dialog between the guards where they talk about cock rings. I’m not making this up, just watch the video for two more minutes.

    That just strikes me as incredibly weird.

    • ET says:

      It actually makes sense, I think.
      This other guard just saw someone getting murdered for doing his job.
      (The posted procedure makes no mention of checking inside the bodies, except for their mouths.)
      So, he has to wonder, what other un-posted “rules” should he be imagining, and using to alter his procedure?
      Well, for one, what other types of “ring” should he check for?
      This leads into…awkward idle chatter about sex objects.
      I mean, in a society where innuendo is used heavily, good, accurate, unambiguous information would be hard to come by.
      This is shown, when he (from what I saw in the scene) conflates two different things.
      “Use a pig’s gut tied in a knot” sounds to me more like a makeshift condom, than a cock-ring.

    • Daemian Lucifer says:

      Its actually one of the (very) rare good dialogues in the game.Funny too.So I guess that does make it weird in this game.

      • kdansky says:

        I think the dialogue was weird to me precisely because it wasn’t generic game-drivel, but something actually worth listening to. I’ve played a lot of Skyrim recently, and that game might have thousands of lines of text, but nearly every single one of them is utterly boring. And then hearing US voice actors talk about sex is very unusual too, seeing how utterly and completely prude the US entertainment industry usually is, especially games.

  7. Peter H. Coffin says:

    The opening scene almost sounds like that was supposed to be the climax of the whole thing instead of the intro, or that we were supposed to be playing a whole other chunk of game as a flashback. Garrett acquires the series of macguffins for the Baron. He doesn’t really like doing it, he doesn’t like the baron at all, but the baron has money to trade for things and is willing to pay. We can get the class struggle out there that way. Erin really hates the baron, hates that her mentor/boyfriend/dad/whatever is working for him and that’s the cause of the deterioration of their relationship which can lead to the acrimony displayed in the intro. Still haven’t given myself a satisfactory reason for them to be at the ceremony, because “she changed his mind” doesn’t seem substantial enough, but handwaving that… Okay, he’s there now to help her stop it, after essentially enabling this … whatever it is… to happen. Maybe the Baron’s gonna turn into a snake and eat the city or something.

    • krellen says:

      Please tell me the last sentence is a reference to Buffy.

    • Chris says:

      So I have absolutely no actual evidence to support my theory on this, and arguably a lot of evidence to contradict it, but (end game spoilers, by the way)…

      It sort of felt to me like maybe that opening cutscene and the finale of the game weren’t meant to be bookends that mirror one another, but instead one of two ways the game could have reached a theoretical middle-state. Like, picture this: the first act would have been adventures in random city spots like the brothel and crematorium, doing odd jobs for Basso and running away from the Thief Taker General. Then the second act would have introduced these two figures vying for control of the city and would force you to make a decision about who to support. Then at the climax of the second act The Inevitable Thing Happens in one of two cutscenes and it prompts Garrett to action for a third act with the city falling apart because of the actions of the evil guy you supported. All of the levels are there, more or less, for that structure, from “random odd jobs” to “missions for your evil faction leader” to “city in chaos after things got real.” They’re just cut together in a way that doesn’t make any real sense. It also explains why some things seem to be abruptly cut out – the Baron’s automatons really don’t do anything at all, and they even have closed-circuit security cameras in the bank mission DLC that don’t appear much in the main game. Is there an alternate version of the city where the Baron takes over after you beat Orion and automatons/security cameras get as common as the angry mobs at the end of this game?

      And I don’t propose this because “hey it’d be cool” but because it feels like it might have been the original intent. Otherwise, if we take the opening cutscene and the closing cutscene as a bookend? It’s a terrible bookend! Garrett fails Erin and then over the course of the game learns how to fail Erin again? What kind of arc is that?! But as the same cutscene from two different factions serving the same narrative purpose in the middle of the game before a second or third act, it kind of makes sense that there are two near-identical cutscenes full of action and consequences that in the grand scheme of things make absolutely no sense where they are right now in the game at the very beginning and very end.

      That comparatively complex/grand scope for a Thief game – an open world stealth game with two major narrative branches to write/balance – could also explain a lot of the dev hell and reworking that went into the game. Of course, we’ll never know because no one talks about this stuff due to NDAs… *grumbles*

      • rofltehcat says:

        I like that explanation. It would make sense but I think the game would need to be twice as large or so for that.
        Maybe they couldn’t get the overworld to work right (5 guys max?) and thus decided to go more linear?

      • Starker says:

        From what I gather, the automatons were supposed to be workers and the baron was trying to use The Primal™ as a fuel source to power them and also heat all these radiators that you see just about everywhere. The story and the characters are explained in more detail in that companion app that they are selling separately.

  8. toasthaste says:

    You totally missed an opportunity to call this installment Thief Autopsy Part 2: Autopsy

  9. Daemian Lucifer says:

    I didnt mind him living in the clock tower,because he does say something like “I liked living here,the ticking helped me sleep”.So I assumed he was doing the maintenance,which is why you learn that in the past year,the clock broke down,and workers sent there had a bunch of accidents(probably from the traps).

    But the loot,that you get the money for and have at display,is dumb.

    • False Prophet says:

      I haven’t played the game, but does he mention if loud clanging bells every hour on the hour helped him sleep?

      • Daemian Lucifer says:

        I havent played it in a few days now(and I dont really have a desire to),but I seem to remember that there is no bell in the tower,so that wouldnt be a problem.

    • Rosseloh says:

      On the flip side of that, though, is the fact that those gears are HUGE. Unless the only maintenance he had to do was oiling it and possibly replacing much smaller parts, I really don’t understand how he could do it. Obviously the writers thought he could, since the clock isn’t running when you get back in after chapter 1, but is fixed when you start chapter 2.

      I mean, yes, even a big clock like that is going to have some small pieces, but maintaining that is more than a one-person job in my mind.

  10. Flavius says:

    It is type-casting, I know, but even though I will never play this game, I wish that Basso was voiced by Mark Sheppard (aka Badger.) It is the hat, I think.

  11. Daemian Lucifer says:

    While we are talking about thiaf,I am half way into it and I am yet to see why they needed a voice actor able to perform their own stunts.Is there any cutscene in the second half that couldnt have been done without that?Because there sure is nothing so special about the first half.

    Not that I mind the new voice,I just question the statement.

    • ET says:

      Yeah…this is pretty stupid, to try and get somebody who is both a stuntman and also a good voice actor.
      I mean, even in films, it’s rare to have the same guy be the (main) stunt-man, and also be the face-man.
      (Harrison Ford and Arnold Schwarzenegger in their younger days, Jason Statham and the guy from the Indian-robo-terminator film Enthiran (I think) are all I can think of readily.)
      Even assuming you found the rare talent which is combination stunt- and face-man, it would be completely ridiculous to have him do mo-cap at the same time as you are recording his face-scan, and voiced lines.
      I mean…he’s going to be grunting a lot*, so you’ll need to do two takes just to get the voiced lines, and the mo-cap action.
      If you’re already doing two (or more) takes, you could just use different actors.
      Sure, they should have roughly the same face and body shape, so the face-mo-cap (and other mo-cap) matches up reasonably, but they don’t need to be the same guy.

      * Even when characters are grunting or eating food, etc, you can tell it’s done in a dub-over, or if it’s one take, it’s fake grunting, and fake chewing, because the actors know that they would be completely muffled and unintelligible otherwise.
      Just look at the opening scene (first 30s) of a Blackadder episode, where some characters are eating stew while discussing rats and the plague.

    • straymute says:

      It’s a pretty strange trend. Even games like God of War, Splinter Cell, and Metal Gear are doing this now and I honestly don’t understand it. God of War 3 had things done the normal way while they went with voice actors doing the mo-cap for Ascension. There wasn’t any kind of noticeable jump in the performances, if anything there was a decline.

      On one level it’s encouraging that they realize the stories need to be of higher quality, on another it’s concerning that the focus still isn’t going to the writing.

  12. Vermander says:

    I really dislike the whole trope of the villain who randomly kills his own henchmen. I understand that it’s an easy way to establish him as a complete psycho, but I think it only works in certain situations. I can understand it when it’s a drug-addled criminal on the verge of self destruction (Breaking Bad did this well), but when it’s a person in an important position of authority or leading a large, complex operation it makes no sense. I think it actually makes them seem like less of a threat if they’re not able to control themselves and are unable to maintain the loyalty of their men.

    I think a villain who is a competent leader who commands genuine respect and loyalty from their troops would actually be much more dangerous. Similarly, their henchmen/lieutenants seem like more of a threat when they are completely focused on the mission rather than plotting against their boss.

    • False Prophet says:

      This. Why do you have to go to such effort to villify the TTG anyway? You’re a thief, he’s effectively The Law, stopping you is his job description. You don’t have to hate him as a person as well.

      This is the result of 80s action movies and 90s grim ‘n’ gritty comic book story paradigms becoming mainstream. You can’t just have protagonists and antagonists motivated by professional duty, or patriotism, or pride, or a regular paycheque, or friendship, or doing the right thing. No, everything has to be personal.

      • Neil D says:

        A rare exception was the movie The Fugitive.

        Kimble: “I didn’t kill my wife!”
        Gerard: “I don’t care!”

        Gerard wasn’t interested in whether Kimble was guilty or innocent – it was his job to bring him in, period. The characters were both likable and the dynamic worked damned well.

        • syal says:

          But of course they’re working together by the end. Because having two likable characters dislike each other for the entire movie is asking too much.

      • Daemian Lucifer says:

        This ties into what Yahtzee talked about yesterday,how games these days are scared to portray the protagonist as a bad guy,so no matter who the antagonist is,they need to be much worse.So as a thief,of course you have to fight a psychopathic murderer.

        • Tom says:

          I felt they did the same thing in Hitman: Blood Money. From the tutorial onward, basically every mission has your assassination targets be absolutely horrendous, amoral human garbage, who it would be very, very hard to say don’t deserve it, and pretty much all the other stuff you’re asked to do in that game is either practically good-guy hero stuff, or simple self-preservation. It largely ruined the series for me, jettisoning all the interesting moral murkiness and tension of the 47 character, to say nothing of character development, and the world he inhabits. And they did it so well in Hitman 2, too!

    • Peter H. Coffin says:

      32. I will not fly into a rage and kill a messenger who brings me bad news just to illustrate how evil I really am. Good messengers are hard to come by.
      –Peter Anspach’s list of things to do as an Evil Overlord

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