In 1998 a game emerged from the shadows that changed the face of action-adventure games. Developed by Looking Glass Studios, of System Shock
fame, and published by Eidos, the game allowed us to slip into the shoes of a master thief and experience never-before-seen advancements in stealth gameplay and mechanics.
That game was Thief: The Dark Project
and introduced us to Garrett, the mysterious and charismatic master thief who dedicated his life to stealing from the wealthy in a steampunk-tinged metropolis. The first-person stealth title utilised new and revolutionary mechanics and gameplay, specifically with the use of sound, light and unscripted events. For the first time, players could hide in the shadows, distract guards with light and sound, and had to be constantly aware of what surface they were travelling on and what the sometimes unpredictable guards were up to. The game also featured largely unscripted environments, and large open-world levels gave the player the freedom to approach various goals in any way they saw fit. Guards could become suspicious of the slightest noises and movements and would decide whether or not to investigate the source, completely changing their patrol routes and forcing the player to adapt to these changes.
As well as a sword that could be used in open combat or to silently kill, Garrett would carry a bow and a selection of arrows suited for a variety of purposes, such as water arrows to extinguish torches or give guards hilariously wet crotches, and rope arrows to scale up or down walls. The memorable story saw our reluctant anti-hero caught up in the ongoing war between three factions; the primitive and chaotic Pagans, the industry and order loving Hammerites, and the mysterious Keepers, who try and maintain a balance in the city.
The game was a massive critical and commercial success and a sequel was inevitable. Two years later, Thief II: The Metal Age
was released to similar acclaim. Taking an 'if it ain't broke, don't fix it' approach, most of the mechanics remained from the game's predecessor. However, there was a greater focus on the title's popular stealth and thievery elements, rather than combat, and there were also new mechanical features such as cameras and sentries, which came from the title's new dangerous faction, the Mechanists. 2004 saw a second sequel to the franchise, Thief: Deadly Shadows
, developed by Deus Ex
studio, Ion Storm. It retained most of the core aspects of its predecessors, but also added an optional third-person perspective and an open 'hub' world to explore between missions.
The series has had an undoubted effect on a number of different titles and series over the years, from the steampunk aesthetics of BioShock (Xbox 360)
, to the stealth aspects of Assassin's Creed
, to the 'choose your path' mission style of Deus Ex
. Whilst many titles borrowed heavily from Thief
, nothing has quite matched all the elements to fulfill people's desire for a true spiritual sucessor of the series, except maybe for last year's Dishonored
. That's all about to change.
For the last nine years, rumours have circulated about a fourth game in the Thief
series, but only now has the title been allowed to come to light thanks to a Game Informer exclusive reveal
. Developed by Eidos Montréal and published by Square Enix, the teams behind Deus Ex: Human Revolution
, the title will be a reboot of the series, rather than simply a sequel.
Stephane D’Astous, General Manager at Eidos Montréal had the following to say about the reboot:
We’re handling a precious gemstone with Thief. Fans remember the original games very fondly and we want to preserve that essence - which we have excellent experience of doing at Eidos-Montréal - whilst also introducing Thief to a brand new, next-generation, audience. Our goal is to deliver the fantasy of being Garrett, THE master thief, and we’re building this game around that core experience.
As part of their exclusive coverage in their April issue, Game Informer have some details of the title, as well as a behind the scenes video of the Eidos Montréal team working on and discussing their reinvention of the series.
Our April cover story is a world-exclusive look at this next-generation stealth title. Series hero Garrett returns to the Gothic, industrial metropolis known simply as the City to steal any and everything that will make him richer. Unfortunately, the City is broiling with social tension as it is ravaged by a plague and lorded over by a political tyrant known as the Baron. In order to survive his adventures, Garrett will have to pay attention to his environment and make use of the may possible paths through each of the game's levels.
Garrett himself also stepped from the shadows to offer this statement:
Time has moved on. Power has shifted. New greed replaces the old.
But to remain free in The City of chains – that is still the greatest prize.
First I stole to survive… then I survived to steal.
I am one man; I hear your secrets, see your hidden truths.
I am the shadows, the dark and deadly, the velvet night. You will not see me coming.
I am Garrett….What’s yours is mine.
I'm presuming he means our money will be his when we all buy the game.
Like the recently announced Witcher 3: Wild Hunt
, the Thief
reboot has been announced for PC and next-gen consoles in 2014. Whether this includes a release for Xbox 360 is still a mystery. Keep an eye out on TA as further details emerge and also check back with Game Informer's Thief hub