Graphics, Graphics, Graphics: Why the Thief Pre-Order on Steam is Good News For All

The fact that the PC version of Thief is getting special attention means every version will be the best possible.

An advertisement to pre-purchase Thief appeared on Steam on Friday, and PC gamers across the land rejoiced. The premier stealth game will land in 2014, and though this means good things for all versions of the game, the PC version is really the only one you need to be concerned with.

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I know many people don’t have a gaming PC, so I apologize if this article doesn’t sit well with you, but let’s be honest. We all want to play the very best version of our games, right? Thief’s producer, Stéphane Roy has said that the PC version is “very important…It is one of our goals to not make the PC-version a straight-out copy of the console-version.” This is great news for PC gamers, and frankly, console gamers as well. This indicates that Eidos Montreal is not compromising anything when it comes to making each version of the game. The consoles will be similar and will be tuned for maximum performance on those systems, and the PC version is getting special attention as well to ensure it is not just a rushed port. There’s nothing worse for a gamer when their copy is simply a poorly put together port of a great game.

Graphics, Graphics, Graphics

So why do we need to be concerned about the PC version so much? Quite simply, graphics. Yes the Xbox One and PlayStation 4 consoles are going to look really good and will be improvements over their predecessors, but even an averagely powerful PC will have the ability to tweak and customize many different options, making that version of the game shine in comparison. Many gamers insist they don’t care about graphics and only care about gameplay or story or whatever, and to a degree that may be true.

We don’t love games like Minecraft or Dragon Fantasy for their HD graphics, we love them because they engage us in other ways. But Thief is not an indie title or coming from a small, low budget studio. It is a triple-A title that has been in development a long time, and if its graphics are not top-notch, or if we aren’t able to tweak many of the important settings to our liking, then it is a huge misstep and will ruin the experience.

Because, let’s be real here, if you went out and bought Thief claiming you don’t care about graphics, are you going to be happy if the game looks like garbage? When you pay $60 for a game these days, you expect certain things. You expect an engaging story, intense action, superb controls, and yes, incredible graphics. I will not pay $60 for a game that does a lot of things right but has average or worse graphics. I’ll settle for the graphics being merely “good” if everything else about it is amazing. I will still pay $60 if the game has an incredible story, plays really well, but maybe misses the mark on the graphics a little bit. But if the graphics aren’t good, I don’t care if everything else is great, it’s not worth $60.

Speak With Your Wallet

It’s not about the money, it’s more about the principal. We pay a lot of money for our consoles, PCs, and games these days, and we should be expecting and demanding top-notch AAA experiences. So if Thief launched on PC as simply a port and didn’t take special care to tailor it for PC (with all the tweaks, bells, and whistles that PC gamers have come to love), then I would not buy it. The fact that Eidos Montreal is taking special care to make the PC version fantastic is excellent news for us all. This means they have the exact specifications in mind for the Xbox One version, the PS4 version, the PC, and whatever else they may be developing it for.

Whichever system you buy Thief on, you can expect a well-thought-out experience, and assuming the game itself is fun, it will probably be an early contender for Game of the Year.

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Brian Armstrong
Proud gamer parent and freelance journalist (and fundraiser). I cover anything and everything that's interesting about the gaming industry, and even some stuff that isn't so interesting.