Eidos Montreal has stepped up to explain why they decided on ditching Stephen Russell, the original voice of Garrett, in their new Thief game.
In a community interview, narrative director Steven Gallagher and audio director Jean-Christophe Verbert said that Russell was always on their list but at the end the development team decided on acquiring 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.”
Actors in the new Thief game wear a full motion-capture suit, complete with a microphone. The development team then capture voice, movement and facial animations all in one go.
The Thief character had to do his own stunts and Stephen Russell unfortunately was not that agile.
Gallagher also added, “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.”
He then concluded: “We’re absolutely huge fans of Stephen’s work on the classic Thief games. But when it came down to it, we ultimately realised 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.”
Thief is currently confirmed for a release on PC, PlayStation 4 and Xbox 720; probably at the end of the year.