Developers can't please everyone, but that doesn't stop them from trying and, in doing so, they often seem to alienate their original fanbase.
Take the new Thief. In a recent video at E3, Stephanie Roy says 'now it's a good mix of action' and shows off the addition of a new ability called 'focus', he also says; 'how you want to play this game... the game will adapt to your style' and that 'you feel really powerful'.
Am I alone in that I don't want to be really powerful? That I don't necessarily want a game to 'adapt to my style'? We're assured by Roy that the inclusion of 'focus' is more than just a gimmick but, at least at the moment, it looks pretty damn gimmicky alright...
Thief for me was never about action, it was in fact about the complete opposite. I spent most of my time in Thief: The Dark ages standing still, crouched in corners or pressed up against the algae seeping from the walls. I spent hours pouring over the maps in my inventory in a futile attempt to understand just where on earth I'd ended up and what I was meant to be doing. The fact of the matter was if you engaged in any kind of action other than silent blackjacking, rope climbing, torch extinguishing and the occasional throwing of an object to distract a guard then you probably died. Lots.
Yet in the E3 gameplay video we see the player take down at least three guards before becoming a human kebab and that's just not Thief. That's Dishonored, or the new SplinterCell games, it's more modern Assassin'sCreed than the old stealth game I remember...[/left]
If I wanted to march into a room and prove 'I'm da boss' by taking everyone out in a series of cool, sharp, swift keystrokes and button presses then I'd buy Call of Duty. Hell, I'd even buy any of the new SplinterCell games; that series that moved so swiftly from the heights of methodological stealth to that of a point-and-click action movie. The way in which Thief should be played is in the name; quietly, silent, ghostly, it has more in common with psychological horror than blockbuster action. You can't have your cake and eat it too.
That's not to say that action and stealth cannot work well, Dishonored is a brilliant hybrid of the two genres combining fast-paced action with methodical stealth to create what might well become the modern stealth game. However, I ended up approaching Dishonored in the same way I would a puzzle-platformer: observe, note movements, and then in this case blink/manoeuvre behind the enemy and give him 'a bit of leverage' from behind. Dump the body somewhere no-one would find it, and move on to the next section.
I never felt this way with Thief. There were no 'sections' there was just a maze of catacombs and a crap map, you had your trusty blackjack and a sword thicker than your arm that your character could barely swing. Your footsteps sounded like sledgehammers on metal underfoot and even drunk Benny was a force to be reckoned with.
And now that's all gone. Maybe even gone for good. To be replaced with a Hollywood-esque Farmville experience injecting a false sense of pride into the 'gamer' - a man or woman who's skill is equal to the number of clicks of their mouse.