Now that Eidos Montreal has lifted the curtain on Thief, it's time to talk details. As most "reinventions" tend to do, Thief will introduce some new gameplay mechanics such as the recently detailed Focus ability. Fear not purists, Eidos has assured us that this ability is optional.
As Eidos explains, Garrett has a new edge to him. Thanks to an event that occurs earlier in the game, Garrett is left with a "highly increased ability to focus." That is, he's able to speed up his reaction times, empowering the player and giving Garrett an edge over his surroundings. Of course, this is not something players are forced to use, game director Nicolas Cantin explained.
"It’s something that you manage, one of the tools at Garrett’s disposal that he can use to tackle the various situations he is confronted with," he said. Some of the benefits of Focus is enhanced combat, lock picking and pickpocketing, and marksmanship. You will have to plan accordingly, however, as Focus is something you have to accumulate. It also has a cost to use.
"The player will have to choose when the best time is to take advantage of Garrett’s Focus, as he has many different ways and abilities that Focus can be used. It’s completely up to the player to decide and manage how Focus is used in the game."
One thing Focus won't allow for is navigation or direction on where to go. "We don’t want to kill that exploration by giving the player too much information or too many hints," Cantin said. "It is a tool that can help the player, but it’s certainly not something that will hold your hand or guide you through the world."
The overall tone of Cantin's interview seemed to be justifying the ability as an optional tool for players. Cantin seemed focused on assuring us that Thief will still feel like the classic games, that you will still be able to play the game with Garrett's basic abilities.
"All I can say now is that Thief purists will have options – those types of players will definitely be pleased," Cantin concluded. Thief is due out on PC and next generation consoles in 2014.