Fritz Lang's Metropolis and M have had the biggest aesthetic influences on Thief 2. Umberto Eco's book, The Name of the Rose has had the biggest effect on the overall story.
I haven't been with the Thief 2 team for very long, so I had no initial input on the fiction. I believe that the Thief 2 team, when designing fiction, watched such movies as "The Castle of Cagliostro"(anime) and "The Name of the Rose". Of course, all games have some impact on other games. We make games to try things that we haven't seen, and to use things that worked well before. It's impossible to come up with things in these categories without drawing on past experience.
Before I came to work with LGS I had been working for Electronics Boutique. I worked there for about 4 and a half years and I had a chance to play just about anything I could get my hands on. I can still remember that day in December when I started to go through that dayís very large shipment and found a box marked with the Eidos logo. I can still remember opening it up and pulling the annoying trapezoid boxes. Inside was a game called, "Thief: The Dark Project" I remembered reading really good things about it, but it looked nothing like my favorite 3D-shooter, half-life. I reluctantly took it home and gave it a shot, and I was immediately hooked. I got to experience the first Thief as a gamer and therefore it was very inspirational to me. As I began to design the levels that I was given, I would recall all of my classic Thief experiences and that would give me really great direction of where I wanted to go with my level. Experiencing the first game as a gamer has given me an advantage because while I was playing through the game I found a ton of things that I would do different, and I had tons of ideas of things I would like to see. It is a very exciting experience making the transition from fan to member of the design thing. The thing that inspired me most about the first Thief was the story and I was like a kid on Xmas when I was handed all of the design docs on my first day and got to find out where the story was going. There are several movies that have inspired me for designing Thief. The inspiration that I have received from these movies is mostly from the beautiful architecture that they displayed on the movie screen. Three movies that come to mind are Meet Joe Black, Eyes Wide Shut, and The Haunting. All three of these movies featured some incredible 18th century architecture that influenced me when building my missions.
The Disney version of Robin Hood, definitely.
I've been re-reading Fritz Leiber's books of Fafhrd and the Gray Mouser lately. I've also been looking over Dungeons and Dragons material about thieves, what there is of it. Commandos was really interesting in the way that it treats interlocking systems of patrols. A little bit of Tenchu and Metal Gear Solid will work its way in, I'm sure. And then there's that big dance-off against the Sherrif that's an obvious homage to Bust A Groove.
For me, Son Of Frankenstein kinda got me level-happy last summer. The sets and lighting in the third Frankenstein film are so much like a modern 3D game, like Quake, that it's scary. (Well, it is a scary movie. Kinda.) ; )
I canít really speak for the team. We all have our own inspirations but we all have a common vision. From a game fiction perspective my inspirations come mainly from science fiction, mythology, contemporary film, theology, and philosophy. Books like Frank Herbertís Dune, Ayn Randís Atlas Shrugged, Sun Tzuís The Art of War, Terrentino movies and Arthurian Legend have all found there way into my writing in one way or another. If I had to pick one though, Iíd go with Babylon 5. I wanted to help make the Thief universe into a deep and continual saga. No writer has created a saga that can best Babylon 5ís creator and author Joe Straczynski. Like so many B5 episodes I want the player to read a seemingly pointless book from Thief 1 that will play out to be a huge deal in Thief 2. From a game design stand point I find inspiration from the great ones System Shock, Half-Life, Metal Gear Solid, and even Sin. These games all had something different and unique to offer the player and rarely got repetitive. Bottom line is that they were all a lot of fun to play.
Ooh, three very different media, all of which have inspired my work greatly.
Movies - Iíve been on a real film noir kick, lately. Nothing beats a good Bogart movie for examining the gritty side of urban life. Some favorites: The Big Sleep, The Maltese Falcon, Dead End, and All Through the Night (certainly not Bogartís best movie, but really fun nonetheless). Fritz Langís films, like M and Metropolis, inspired a lot of my original designs as well.
Books - Charles Dickensí Oliver Twist and A Tale of Two Cities really helped inspire me when I first started to flesh out my designs. Thatís the great thing about the Thief universe - itís not strictly medieval, and itís not strictly Victorian, so we as designers have a lot of creative liberty. To me, Garrett is an expansion of the Artful Dodger; heís that character 20 years in the future, having miraculously evaded the law for so long - the quintessential Victorian thief: charming, skilled, and cynical. Thatís quite a combination. I really urge any Thief fan to read Oliver Twist; itís a great chronicle of criminal life in Victorian London.
Games - I play and have played a LOT of games, and itís pretty easy for me to pick and choose the positive elements from each one. Iím currently into Rogue Spear, both multiplayer and single-player mode. Sure, there are still some stability issues with the multiplayer, but itís arguably the most intense squad level combat game to date. Iím also playing Everquest, experimenting with the Rogue character to see how a thief operates in a multiplayer setting.
I frequently draw level-building inspiration from real world architecture. I draw influence for game experiences and fiction from whatever Iím reading, doing, consuming, or thinking about at the timeÖ But other games donít influence me very much, which is good since it keeps me exploring new concepts. The one exception is the original System Shock, my favorite game of all time, which had some magic formula that Iím still trying to figure out and incorporate in new ways into other games.
Movies - The Third Man, Fritz Lang's Metropolis and M, Phantom of the Opera, Lupin III:The Castle Cagliostro, Books - The Thieves World graphic novels adapted by Tim Sales, Fritz Leiber's Fafrhd and The Grey Mouser books, lots of architecture books, The Thief of Baghdad, The Merry Adventures of Robin Hood by Howard Pyle
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