Since its inception in 1998, Thief has undergone a variety of improvements and changes, all the while maintaining its core values: highly atmospheric, stealth-based gameplay. With an all-new Thief title just a few days away, we thought we’d explore the many ways in which the series has evolved. Let’s see what has changed over the years—and what new features the upcoming Thief release has in store.
The City Hub
The first several Thief titles were entirely mission-based, lacking any sort of hub area. That all changed with Thief: Deadly Shadows, a 2004 release and the franchise’s most recent installment. In Deadly Shadows, players were set free in a vast and troubled city filled with hostile guards and neutral citizens. The upcoming Thief title retains this sizeable hub, but unlike the claustrophobic corridors found in Deadly Shadows’ city, Thief’s sprawling metropolis offers far more room for exploration, with minimal load points. A huge amount of loot awaits those who care to explore The City’s every nook and cranny, and some of the best stuff is very cleverly placed. You’ll need to look up, down, and all around to spy hidden switches, overhead lofts, and secret crawl spaces, many of which require unique tools to access or specialized gear such as rope arrows that let you lower down ropes so you may climb up to those lofty lofts.
Gadgets and Gear
Speaking of arrows and tools, Thief retains many of the series’ staples. The blackjack has always been Garrett’s melee weapon of choice, as it lets him quietly knock out unsuspecting guards without blowing his cover. In a pinch, the blackjack can also be used to in direct combat, though confronting multiple threats is often unwise. Water arrows are available to help you extinguish torches to facilitate stealth infiltrations, while Broadhead arrows are there if you prefer to silence guards from afar with headshots. New tools can help you reach otherwise inaccessible areas where bonus loot or sneaky shortcuts might lie, or let you disable deadly traps and create other changes in the environment.
Perhaps the most exciting additions to Thief are Garrett’s all-new Focus powers. By activating Focus, you can scan your surroundings to easily discover valuable loot and resources, along with interactive objects, such as windows that can be pried open or a dangling rope that you might not have spotted. Such items and objects glow blue while Focus is engaged, helping you spot them with ease. As you advance through the story, you’ll have the option to steadily learn new Focus powers that provide even more benefits, such as the ability to quickly pickpocket victims with multiple coin purses, or KO guards in direct combat with one smack of the blackjack. No matter your Playstyle, Focus certainly makes a thief’s life easier—but your energy is limited, and special actions such as instant knockouts require significant amounts of Focus energy to perform.
Story and Atmosphere
All previous Thief titles have shared a rich story and immersive atmosphere, and the franchise’s upcoming release is no different. From the moment you fire up the game, you’ll be treated to jaw-dropping visuals and subtle graphical effects that draw you into Thief’s dark and troubled tale. From creepy mansions to industrial compounds and cavernous underground ruins, Thief’s array of arresting locales are truly a marvel to explore. Just try not to become too entranced, or you might not notice that trap ahead...