Our forums are currently down for maintenance, so unfortunately I was not able to solicit your questions for this month's Take 5. No worries, though, because I know exactly what you want to know. It's something you've been asking ever since you got your first glimpse of gameplay at E3.
To get to the bottom of that burning question, I had a chat with Game Director Nic Cantin and Lead Level Designer Daniel Windfeld Schmidt. I think you will like what they had to say...
So, guys, what is the deal with XP in Thief?
Daniel: I am happy to announce we no longer have an XP system in Thief.
Nic: Yeah, it is not there anymore.
Why was it removed?
Nic: At first, we wanted to outline the progression of the player with XP, but it was reducing our motivation to steal. 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.
Daniel: We wanted to put emphasis on stealing things, and put the rewards on the stealing aspect. We want to allow the player to decide the "how to" – we shouldn't judge how the player wants to achieve their goal, only reward them for achieving it.
The reaction from fans to the "Headshot XP" pop-up in the E3 gameplay demo was fairly negative. Did that have an impact on the decision to remove it from the game?
Daniel: Fans might be surprised how often the devs go to the forum to see how things are perceived in the "real world". 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.
Nic: It is more a design decision to add to our economy system and entice the player to steal more. But yes, the E3 reaction was right, rewarding killing like that was wrong for a Master Thief.
How will Garrett progress through the game without XP?
Nic: The goal is to use gold to buy elements to progress, to encourage the player to steal. The player will be able to choose how to spend money, for more stealthy or more aggressive tools.
Daniel: It was always possible to play without using XP, like it is still possible to play through the game without killing anyone or even spending any coin (though it isn't going to be easy!)
Thanks guys, this was very instructive. And wait until you hear what they have to say about QTEs...
But, you say, that was only 4 questions! Here is the fifth:
What happened to Adam? Doesn't he usually do these Q&As?
We're sorry to announce that Adam has decided to leave Eidos-Montréal to pursue new opportunities. We're going to miss him dearly around the office, and I hope you'll join me in thanking him for all his tireless work and dedication to the Thief and Deus Ex communities. He's leaving some gigantic shoes to fill (the man had huge feet, for real), but I'll do my best to keep you informed and entertained until we can introduce you to a new Community Manager.