The upcoming reboot of Thief will not feature original voice actor Stephen Russell in the role of Garrett, despite serious considerations from developer Eidos, it was revealed in a recent community interview with narrative director Steven Gallagher and audio director Jean-Christophe Verbert.
According to Gallagher and Verbert, the studio invited the original voice actor in for preliminary voice over work; however, the team later decided to use a new actor for full performance capture.
"Stephen was considered quite heavily," Gallagher said. "We actually had him in for some preliminary vocal recordings in fact."
Verbert added: "Yes, 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."
Eidos will use full performance capture throughout, which allows the studio to capture voice, movement and facial animation in a single take — a technique similar to that used by developer Naughty Dog.
'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...'
"With the new visual of Garrett we'd created, we found that there was a disconnect that we couldn't ignore between the concepted character and Stephen's voice today," Gallagher stated. The new voice actor will be able to perform his own stunts, in comparison, they revealed.
"Garrett's a really athletic guy," Verbert explained. "We could have pasted Stephen's voice on top of the actions and stunts of someone else, but this wouldn't appear natural. It really wouldn't make any sense to capture the full performance for our other characters, but not for our star."
Gallagher went on to say: "We're absolutely huge fans of Stephen's work on the classic Thief games. 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."
The developers describe the upcoming title as a narrative-driven game with aims "to deliver the narrative in the most convincing and believable way." A short announcement trailer for the game was released by publisher Square Enix this week.
Thief is scheduled to launch in 2014 for Windows PC, PlayStation 4 and other next-generation consoles.