In choosing to develop sequels for both Deus Ex and Thief, Eidos Montreal has committed its teams to either universal love or hate – depending upon how successfully the company can recreate the sheer joy of the series’ high points.
We’ve seen quite a bit of Deus Ex 3, but very little of Thief 4. With the former due for release sometime this year, however, more of the latter may begin to emerge. It certainly looks that way, as this February’s Game Developers Conference in San Francisco will host a design lecture about Thief 4’s “generative music.”
Audio was absolutely crucial to Thief’s stealth mechanics. You had to be able to listen to distant footsteps and be able to figure out whether they were coming towards you, what surface they were walking over and if you needed to move from your current position. We’ll have to wait until the lecture on 28 February to learn more, but it’s possible that Eidos Montreal plan to take this concept and extend it to the game’s music. Maybe there will be context-specific music cues and clues to pick up on, alongside traditional audio.
One of the more famous videogame applications of “generative music” was Lucasarts’ iMuse system, which would subtly alter the tone and mood of the piece of music depending upon the location of the player-controlled character. If Thief 4 is going to have a system that is anywhere close to this, it could be rather exciting.