Sneaksie Wordses

I don’t know what it is about today, but I keep running into articles about the Thief franchise.

Those of you familiar with my gaming habits know that I hold the original series in high regard. I try to fire up all three games for a marathon session of sneaksie thieving at least once a year, although I failed spectacularly to do so in 2012. Maybe this summer, I promise, even though it feels like a “wintery” game to me.

Nevertheless, that I’ve returned to the games (yes, even Ion Storm’s flawed jewel) so often, and continue to find things I’ve never found before, speaks volumes about their meticulous world building and level design. I’m clearly not alone in that regard, because people are still writing about the franchise to this day, although Eidos Montreal’s impending reboot is obviously drumming up some additional interest.

First up today was Nathan Grayson’s Thief: Eidos’ Words Vs My E3 Playthough piece over Rock Paper Shotgun. Those of us who’ve been keeping an eye on the E3 coverage of Thief have been rendered somewhat bewildered by Eidos Montreal’s take on the beloved franchise. Grayson’s article acknowledges an alarming disparity between how EM would like Thief to be perceived and first-hand experience of the game in action. At this stage we’re still about a year away from release, so there’s room for refinement, but we’re seeing a number of worrying signs that EM may have misjudged a little of what made the original series tick.

A few people in my Twitter feed posted links to an archive of Looking Glass’ original web site for The Dark Project, including Andy Durdin:


This brought back a few memories of a much younger me, having thoroughly enjoyed the likes of Ultima Underworld 1 & 2 and System Shock, eager for news on whatever the developer of those games might be working on next. Back then, around 1997 or so, the internet was a smaller place and very few game developers had an internet presence worth speaking of. So when Looking Glass first announced The Dark Project, I immediately bookmarked that sucker and would return to it a few times a week, hungry for more details. I’m not quite sure at which stage of development that archive comes from—certainly relatively early—but there’s just enough information there, particularly in the manifesto and development diary, to give you an idea of LG’s intentions for the game.

Whenever I meet a new friendly face on Twitter, I try to make a habit of visiting whatever blog or web site they happen to link in their profile. So having recently started following Sarah K (@raoden), I was delighted to discover that front and center on her Tumblr page was a nice nostalgic piece about Thief: The Dark Project:


Check out what she has to say about Dishonored too.

Of course, every time I see a screenshot of Angelwatch, I’m instantly reminded of Justin Keverne’s awesome analysis of Life of the Party, a tour de force of level design from Thief II: The Metal Age, over on his Groping the Elephant blog. You’ll be hearing more from Justin on RunJumpFire in the near future. In the mean time, if his deconstruction of Life of the Party is the sort of thing you like to read, please consider donating to the Groping the Map book he’s currently writing.

Stumbled upon any decent Thief-related writings recently? If so, let us know in the comments below.

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About Mark Stevens

Mark is British but lives in the USA, which is why you'll see him flip-flopping between British and American spelling without a care in the world. As a veteran of the 8-bit and 16-bit eras you'll notice a decidedly retro slant to his posts, but he has just as much to say about contemporary gaming too. Outside the world of blogging Mark has previously written for Wired and The Guardian and has written a number of Doctor Who short stories for Big Finish.