Eidos Montreal's reasoning for Garrett casting change in Thief
Earlier this week, Eidos Montreal released the first official trailer for Thief. While the trailer was absolutely stunning, fans noticed the Master Thief, Garrett, had a different voice. Wasting no time, Eidos Montreal took to the community blogs to explain the decision behind replacing long time Garrett voice-actor Stephen Russell.
"Stephen was considered quite heavily," Narrative Director Steven Gallagher opened. "We actually had him in for some preliminary vocal recordings in fact."
But Audio Director Jean-Christophe Verbert added, "It was actually very early during development at that time that we had him involved, before we made the decision to record our actor’s voices and their movement at the same time using a full performance capture technique." That is, the studio captures the full performance of an actor all at once -- the voice, movements, and facial animations, all in one take.
"Immersion. Being able to capture the voice at the same time as the actors' movements and facial expressions, all while the actors play off each other, delivers a much more convincing experience than traditional techniques of recording each characters' dialogue separately and then animating everything by hand afterwards," explained Jean-Christophe.
"We want Thief to be a really rich, story-driven experience," Gallagher justified. "Being able to deliver the narrative in the most convincing and believable way is a really important part of providing that experience."
The duo went on to say that the new visual of Garrett in Thief resulted in a "disconnected" between the concepted character and Stephen's voice today. On top of that, the actor playing Garrett needed to be able to perform his own stunts. Jean-Christophe admitted that they could have pasted Stephen's voice on top of the action and stunts of another actor, but claimed "this wouldn't appear natural."
"We’re absolutely huge fans of Stephen’s work on the classic Thief games," the two concluded. "But when it came down to it, we ultimately realized that holding onto Steven as the voice of Garrett just for the sake of our nostalgia would be like wanting to cast Sean Connery again in the new 007 movies... It’s a nice thought, but honestly, it wouldn’t make sense for anything else other than nostalgia."
For all you nostalgic Thief fans, do you mind a change in Garrett's voice? Let me know at @Matt_GZ on Twitter.