by William Thompson
previewed on PC
“What's yours is mine”
Reboots seem to be the 'in thing' at present, and for some franchises it certainly makes sense. There is a guaranteed market of gamers who want to relive their earlier experiences, and there is also the younger crowd who have heard great things about the original. And if you do a remake rather than a sequel, you don't even need to write a new story from scratch. With recent successful reboots such as Tomb Raider and Deus Ex: Human Revolution, I jumped at the invitation to come and see how the re-imagining of one of the best stealth games ever created - namely Thief - was coming together.
The 1998 original of Thief was much heralded for its use of stealth as its main gameplay feature and all signals were that the 2014 reboot would do the same. My playtime with the game turned signals into actual experience: stealth is very much the main focus indeed. The game's original protagonist, Garrett, makes a return. Somewhat of a loner, he does have that Robin Hood mentality where he steals from the rich to help the poor. Discovery, however, is not on his agenda and it is therefore imperative to remain stealthy in order to complete his goals.
Thief producer Nicolas Cantin emphasized that Thief is not about fighting, as well as the need to bring back Garrett as the main character that those who played the original can relate to. Being a re-imaging, Eidos did not use the shortcut of re-using the same story. Instead, they wrote an all new one that will feel fresh and different to fans of the original. The game is set in the Victorian era, with dark, fog-laden streets made up of grey, brown and black tones - a great place for someone not wanting to be discovered. It fits the game perfectly, as the sombre story - which I don't want to reveal too much of - has a more mature ambiance than it predecessors. I found it quite easy to wander around the various locations simply by moving from one shadow to the next, often circling around guards or distracting them with thrown objects. The availability of so many places to hide is a good way to nudge players towards pursuing the stealth option, employ Garret's lock picking abilities and find their way into forbidden locations without causing a ruckus.