Following recent reports of layoffs, the Ion Storm saga took another turn today when a glitch was reportedly discovered in Thief: Deadly Shadows. According to posts on the official Ion Storm forums, games saved at the "expert" level will revert to the default "normal" difficulty level when restarted or when players are revisiting previously explored levels.
Specifically, the bug affects AI-controlled characters' awareness and combat. Instead of being alerted by moved objects or inflicting severe damage, AI characters will be the semi-unaware, punch-pulling opponents from the second-lowest difficulty level. Apparently, the glitch is caused by an error in the DEFAULT.INI file, which resets the multipliers that increase the affected values.
When contacted by GameSpot, Eidos reps admitted that they had heard the reports of the bug, but they did not specifically confirm its existence. Ion Storm was apparently more forthcoming: A post from one of the game's developers said that "the find isn't being ignored" and that the studio was "looking into it." However, the person didn't sound optimistic, saying, "Can't say anything more for now, and there aren't any guarantees..."
The Ion Storm staffer's trepidation may be justified. Although distributing a patch for the PC version of the game would be relatively easy, a remedy for the Xbox edition would be another story. Thief: Deadly Shadows is not Xbox Live-enabled, and Microsoft does not typically issue autoupdate for games that do not support its console's online service. There is also the question of who would make the patch, given that Eidos has reportedly laid off a good portion of the game's development team.