Feb 6 2014 3:00pm

Gaming Roundup: The Thief Reboot Steps Out Of The Shadows

Thief Reboot

Fifteen years ago, Looking Glass Studios and Ken Levine (a key contributor to such gaming classics as System Shock 2 and the Bioshock franchise) took a risky step by developing and releasing Thief: The Dark Project—an unconventional stealth-based steampunk PC exclusive that used light and sound as core gameplay mechanics to promote non-confrontational combat in an FPS market saturated with spray ’n pray splatterfests. The game was a hit, and its surprise success spawned two sequels—the last of which launched in 2004. The series then went (aptly) dark for nearly a decade... until last year, when Eidos Montreal and Square Enix officially announced a new entry to the franchise that will effectively reboot the series.

The new Thief places you once again in the shoes of Garrett, a master thief and the series’ protagonist, who is reluctantly drawn into a city’s fight against an oppressive baron when all he’d really rather be doing is robbing you and everyone you know blind. As this is fundamentally a game about, well, thieving, much of the gameplay (as we can see from the recently released Thief 101 tutorial trailer above) is focused on orchestrating heists and incorporating your personalized playstyle in order to do so. Want to go in bow ’n arrow a’blazing? Go right ahead. Want to turn out all the lights and sneak about undetected in the shadows? Feel free to release your inner Solid Snake. Whether Square Enix and Eidos Montreal have created a game truly worthy of its predecessors remains to be seen, but we’re looking forward to finding out.

Thief launches February 25 for PC, PS3/4, and Xbox 360/One.

In other gaming news this week, The Last of Us wins a writing award, Freedom Cry goes standalone, the Uncharted movie gets a director, and more. Read on!

  • For those of you still playing Star Wars: The Old Republic, BioWare expects to launch two expansions for their free-to-play title this year.
  • The Uncharted movie has been passed on to the director of the excellent and engaging King of Kong: A Fistful of Quarters—Seth Gordon. Unfortunately, his more mainstream ventures haven’t lived up to the promise of his first feature-length documentary, but there’s always hope.
  • Episode 2 of Bioshock Infinite’s Burial at Sea DLC, which returns you to Rapture, launches on March 25.
  • In what was likely a fairly easy decision, The Last of Us writer Neil Druckmann was awarded the Outstanding Achievement in Writing for Video Games by the Writer’s Guild of America.
  • The excellent, nuanced Freedom Cry DLC for Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag will be available as a standalone game for $15 on the PS3 and PS4 on February 17, and on the PC on February 25.

  • Finally, in some unfortunate news, Japanese composer Mamoru Samuragochi, best known for his work on the Onimusha and Resident Evil soundtracks, has admitted to using a ghost composer for work he previously claimed to solely be his own. Samuragochi has suffered from a degenerative hearing condition since 1996, and commissioned a ghost composer to create about half his credited work since.

If there are games you’d like us to cover or other angles you want us to examine, please let us know @tdelucci or @pritpaulbains.

Chris Nelly
1. Aeryl
I just finished beating the crap out of AC4.

Can I just say now that, as much as I liked the game, Edward Kenway is
kinda the worst assassin EVAH. And not just in the "doesn't hold to the
Creed" sense, but in the "people he kills keep coming back to life"

Like, if you wanted those characters to return later Ubisoft, why not
utilize the fact that Kenway is capable of non lethal attacks and have
the game make him use those instead, so there's a pretty legitimate
reason that guy you killed and left for dead on an abandoned island
shows up later in a prison cell.

Also, I know a lot of people complained about the present day story, but to me, that was the most gripping part of it. The eerie parallels with
our world, the slow reveal of Desmond's fate, the discovery of Shaun
and Rebecca still in the fight, "John from I.T." was all really spooky.
Plus, I liked the return of the puzzles. I loved the heck out of the
glyph puzzles in AC2 & AC:Brotherhood.

Plus all the tantalizing hints about other possible stories. Miriam
Kurtz fights the Nazis! Alchemists in Prague! Something called
Assassin's Creed PhoeniX Rising(I assume the capital X means it's to be the tenth installment).

I posted this yesterday in the last edition of GR, but I figured I'd move it here.
Walker White
2. Walker
The irony of the Thief reboot is that it has been so long that many people will think of it as a Dishonored clone (which itself was clearly inspired by Thief).
Pritpaul Bains
3. Kickpuncher
@1 Aeryl - Thanks for re-posting! Personally as I'm playing through AC IV, I'm more in the anti-present day story camp, but not due to any quality discrepancy in the storytelling. I find it interesting, but just a bit jarring. Some very cool elements though. I would love love love a Prague-based AC. Have you played Freedom Cry yet? Would enjoy hearing your take on it when you do.

@2 Walker - Heh. I was thinking exactly that as I was finishing the write-up. Love Dishonored mainly because it was heavily rooted in so many of the concepts borne of Thief.
Chris Nelly
4. Aeryl
No, I haven't played Freedom Cry yet, but I will be soon. I've got that and Liberation up next on my agenda.
Pritpaul Bains
5. Kickpuncher
A follow-up on the last bulleted item (that broke after the post went live): Samuragochi's ghost composer identified himself as Takashi Niigaki - a part-time lecturer at a Tokyo-based music college. Niigaki claims that in addition to ghostwriting many of Samuragochi's credited scores, Samuragochi himself is not deaf.

Not exactly verified at this point, mind you. Just what was said.
Chris Nelly
6. Aeryl

OMG, this is honestly one of the BEST ACs, story wise. It ranks right up there with Brotherhood(my fave after 2).

It begins 15 years after Adewale and Edward Kenway part on Great Inagua. He is shipwrecked off the coast of Haiti, and steps straight into the Maroon revolution that leads to the founding of the Republic of Haiti.

Because Adewale is a former slave on a slave island of the edge of revolt, the guards are ALWAYS aware of him, which limits his actions considerably. He cannot openly carry weaponry, so he only has a machete, his assassin blades, a blow pipe, rope darts, and later a blunderbuss. If you never used the rope dart much during combat in AC3 or AC4, you WILL use it now, it's just too damn useful.

Free running and combat are pretty much the same, but the game highly prizes stealth. As you go on missions to free slaves and strengthen the resistance, discovery will cause the overseers to begin killing slaves.

For once, I have no qualms about the indiscriminate killing of poor saps walking around doing their jobs, because they are all slavers*. The sailing aspects of the game aren't as in depth as AC4, the map is fairly small and not as detailed, but there are still things to do, plantations to liberate and slave ships to hijack.

*My partner asked how come I wasn't allowing people to join me, like Edward did(you still can, btw, I just wasn't), and I told him that I didn't have no time for white people. The racial politics in this game are not joking.

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