Thief dev on avoiding the steampunk look

They're everywhere nowadays, the punks. In shopping malls, parks or railway museums, they're loitering, jeering, smoking pipes and sneering at our society as they express "individuality" through top hats and goggles. Fear not, steampunks can't ruin everything we hold dear. While the Thief series always dabbled in steampunk-ish things, the new Thief won't ape the gleaming brass and wood those hooligans and louts so adore, going grubbier and scrappier as it creates a large city.

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They're everywhere nowadays, the punks. In shopping malls, parks or railway museums, they're loitering, jeering, smoking pipes and sneering at our society as they express "individuality" through top hats and goggles. Fear not, steampunks can't ruin everything we hold dear. The Thief series has always dabbled in steampunk-ish things, and rest assured the new Thief won't ape the gleaming brass and wood those hooligans and louts so adore, going grubby and scrappy as it creates a large city.

"The first goal was to avoid feeling [like you're] in a village, a small town," game director Nicholas Cantin told Game Informer. "My goal was to do a metropolis. Something really modern even though it fits in an old time."

But shh, don't say 'the S word.' Those people will hear it, through the ear trumpets they carry.

"The art style of steampunk is golden and wood--see Wild Wild West with Will Smith," Cantin said. "It's something we really want to get rid of. We're really more about rusty stuff where you see the welding."

Screenshots and concept art over at GI show the city's certainly stylized and Victorian London-ish, but in a dirty, foggy way. The sort of city where alleyways are more likely to conceal mutilating murderers than fops on steamcycles, I'd say.

The fog's for more than looking pretty though, as Cantin explains it lets players pick out silhouettes from the darkness. Fog: no longer simply for concealing draw distances.

Thief is coming in 2014 to PC, PlayStation 4, and any other next-gen consoles which might just happen to come our way.

From The Chatty

  • reply
    March 26, 2013 4:45 PM

    Alice O'Connor posted a new article, Thief dev on avoiding the steampunk look.

    They're everywhere nowadays, the punks. In shopping malls, parks or railway museums, they're loitering, jeering, smoking pipes and sneering at our society as they express "individuality" through top hats and goggles. Fear not, steampunks can't ruin everything we hold dear. While the Thief series always dabbled in steampunk-ish things, the new Thief won't ape the gleaming brass and wood those hooligans and louts so adore, going grubbier and scrappier as it creates a large city.

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      March 26, 2013 4:51 PM

      Thief 2 was not only doing steampunk before it was cool popular but it was rocking the Art Deco look years before Bioshock hit the scene.

      They're mad to throw away such proven popular design elements when they have the perfect justification to be using them.

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      March 26, 2013 4:54 PM

      Alice, how I enjoy the cut of your jib. That entire first paragraph said everything I loathe about Steampunk.

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        March 26, 2013 6:37 PM

        It was more a pull-back-and-reveal joke about perceptions of punks--particularly my favourite type of punk, the Hollywood B-movie punk--but oh no I actually mean steampunks not people with mohawks and piercings what a surprise but okay sure.

        I suppose the edited headline torpedoes that a bit.

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          March 26, 2013 6:41 PM

          As someone who worked in the surplus retail environment, let me tell you - Steampunks are quite honestly the most irritating of all social cliques.

          To pull a number out of my ass, the number of people talented with brass, metalwork and clothing design is about 1:1,000. The other 999 just glue gears on any goddamn thing, wear a top hat and put on a horrendous 'Victorian-ish' accent.

          When I left that jerb, the fad was at it's apex - mothers would come in asking for 'brass gears and stuff?' for their children.

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            March 26, 2013 6:56 PM

            Oh, ho ho!

            Shame on me.

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            March 26, 2013 11:21 PM

            I had no idea that fad had metastasized out of the internet

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              March 26, 2013 11:24 PM

              Yeah. I was irritated enough when it became this clean polished magically powered clockwork crap. Then it... ugh. Sad I ever liked "it."

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      March 26, 2013 5:01 PM

      I support the return of the word fop to our modern vernacular.

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      March 26, 2013 5:20 PM

      Thank god. Getting sick of steam punk stuff.

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      March 26, 2013 5:44 PM

      The City: Dirty smoke and smog, loud clanging, filthy water, intermittent power failure or at least fluctuation, fatigued bolts, corroded metals, wooden and stone buildings, cobble roads, twisted unplanned street layouts, crumbling stone walls, plant overgrowth, fire damage, hints of magic, strange sounds from below, deep shadows, topped with the Thieves' Highway.

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        March 26, 2013 11:13 PM

        I forgot the torch lit corridors and alleyways.

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      March 26, 2013 9:04 PM

      I love your writing, Alice :-D