Eidos Montreal has more or less confirmed that it’s scrapping Thief’s XP leveling system following negative feedback from the fans.
Game Director Nic Cantin and Lead Level Designer Daniel Windfeld Schmidt confirmed that this feature was to be removed in a community Q & A on the studio’s website, and in fact saying that they were “happy” to make the announcement.
“At first, we wanted to outline the progression of the player with XP, but it was reducing our motivation to steal,” explained Cantin. “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.”
“We wanted to put emphasis on stealing things, and put the rewards on the stealing aspect,” continued Schmidt. “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.”
Both developers acknowledged the negative fan feedback following Thief’s E3 demo, which rewarded the player with XP for achieving a headshot.
“Fans might be surprised how often the devs go to the forum to see how things are perceived in the “real world,” said Schmidt. “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.”
“It is more a design decision to add to our economy system and entice the player to steal more,” explained Cantin. “But yes, the E3 reaction was right, rewarding killing like that was wrong for a Master Thief.”