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Arkane Director Once Pitched Thief 4, Games Inspired By 'Blade Runner' and 'Heat'

Robert DeNiro in Michael Mann's 1995 film "Heat."
Robert DeNiro in Michael Mann's 1995 film "Heat." / Warner Bros. Pictures

Harvey Smith, creative director of the Dishonored series at Arkane Studios, revealed three pitches he made that ultimately never saw the light of day: Thief 4, a game based on the 1982 sci-fi film "Blade Runner," and an immersive sim inspired by the 1995 heist epic "Heat."

Speaking to NME, Smith says he was working at Midway when he pitched his CEO on the "Heat"-inspired game. Instead, he was convinced to serve as executive creative director for BlackSite: Area 51, leaving his "Heat" pitch to languish. Midway filed for bankruptcy and closed in 2010.

Smith then joined Arkane, and when the studio was trying to figure out its next project, he pitched both a fourth entry in the cult-classic Thief series and a game based on "Blade Runner." He was once again asked to work on a different project.

"How about you work on this ninja game we've got called Dishonored, which is just [on] paper right now?" he recalls being asked.

Smith says he asked to move Dishonored away from the ninja conceit, and that publisher Bethesda supported the change of direction.

"We just did what we love to do, and to our utter surprise, they were fully supportive every step of the way," shared Smith. "The weirder we got, the more they were like, 'wow, this is very distinct.' Most publishers aren’t like that. Most publishers are like 'Whoa, whoa, whoa, can you maybe set it in Detroit instead?'"

Smith now serves as creative director on Arkane's upcoming vampire first-person shooter Redfall, which is set for release in the first half of 2023.