Eidos Montreal has killed Thief's XP system following negative community feedback and because the developers felt the progression system restricted gamers playstyle, according to a community Q&A with game director Nic Cantin and lead level designer Daniel Windfeld Schmidt.
Thief fans expressed dismay at seeing XP points rewarded for a headshot kill during an E3 gameplay demo. Cantin said that while the decision to axe the system was to encourage the player to steal more, the community reaction did have a bearing on the design turnaround.
"Fans might be surprised how often the devs go to the forum to see how things are perceived in the 'real world'," Windfeld Schmidt said."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."
An emphasis on the stealing aspect was desired, Windfeld Schmidt explained, saying that they want to reward the player for achieving their goal and not dictate how the player achieves it.
"At first, we wanted to outline the progression of the player with XP, but it was reducing our motivation to steal." Cantin said. "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."
According to Carnet, players will be able to use gold to buy items to progress, such as more stealthy or aggressive tools. It is still possible to play through the entire game without killing anyone or even without spending any gold, “though it isn't going to be easy.”
For more about Thief, be sure to check out our recent hands-on impressions and interview with producer Joe Khoury. Thief is slated for released across Windows PC, PlayStation 3, PlayStation 4, Xbox 360 and Xbox One on Feb. 25, 2014 in North America and Feb. 28, 2014 in Europe.