Eidos Montreal's latest gig shaping its Thief reboot treads a fine and shadowy line. The modern entry to the esteemed stealth series has the cautious attention of franchise fans who've long awaited a new Thief, but it's also mixing the new in with the tried-and-true: a grittier and more involved Garrett, an all-revealing Focus mechanic, and a conservative jumping/climbing control scheme.
So, Garrett is a ninja that lives in a clock tower now. I'm not sure how I feel about that. I always had him pinned as the sardonic vagrant sort, scraping a difficult living eating mice in stolen basement spaces to avoid the authorities. That's the trouble with Thief, I've filled every dark low-poly corner of the game with assumed lore. In the long years since I first played it, it has become a better game in memory. It's easy to forget how blind and thick the guards could be, the silly hats they sometimes wore, and those damn giant spiders.
How can Eidos Montreal ever hope to meet the expectations of Thief fans? They've certainly ticked off the general feature list well enough. Hiding in shadows - check. Rope arrows, fire arrows, water arrows - check. A dark city full of bawdy crooks and racked with sociopolitical strife - yep. I spent a few hours sneaking around the market hub district that surrounds Garrett's clock tower home, and came away worried. I got a good whiff of the grimy, mysterious atmosphere I associate with classic Thief, but in the final ten minutes - side missions completed - I ran around the level easily coshing sword-wielding guards into unconsciousness in dull face-to-face combat. Hmmm.
Were you worried that the new Thief wouldn't be a game? Put those fears to rest. As you'll see from this trailer, Garrett has to escape from a burning building, thereby confirming that yes, it will be an interactive video game. Further evidence exists in the fact that this is the first Thief trailer to show footage from the game as it is played. Sure, it's hidden around cutscenes and narrative brooding, but it's there.
The Dark Mod is an excellent Thief-inspired stealth FPS mod from 2009, and so, to an extent, it seems almost inconceivable that any fans of the series won't yet have played it. Of course, that's slightly mitigated by the fact that it was a Thief-inspired stealth FPS mod for Doom 3. It's entirely conceivable that any fans of the series wouldn't have bought that. Running? Gunning? Far too rambunctious. For those shadow-clinging sneaks, there's good news, as version 2.0 of The Dark Mod has been released, turning it into a standalone game.
Square Enix's new Thief has had a somewhat strained relationship with fans of the series. Under normal circumstances, you'd think this announcement could alleviate some of the worry: it's a bank heist mission, advertised as a "true homage" to Thief II's very own bank-based escapades. That sounds like a significant and meaningful connection to the series' past. So of course it's pre-order DLC.
Typical. Eidos Montreal open their window just a crack so they can shout to the streets the release date of the upcoming Thief, and what happens? Their Gamescom trailer leaps out into the public eye, to be snatched up by interested eyes. It continues the studio's insistence on promoting the game with CGI movies, but this time focuses on the city and it's increasingly harrowing problems.
The general manager of Eidos Montreal, Stephane D'Astous, has announced that he resigned from the studio last Friday. In a statement made to Polygon, he criticised the developer's parent company, Square Enix Europe, over a "lack of leadership, lack of courage and the lack of communication".
Garrett is back! Yes, there he is, Batmanning his way up a wall on the cover of PC Gamer UK issue 255. Is this Thief a worthy successor to the much-loved originals? Graham slipped on his best thievin' gloves and played Eidos Montreal's new take on the classic robbery sim, and then slipped on his best velvet writing gloves to pen this month's six page cover feature. The soft roar of beleaguered keyboards filled PC Gamer towers this month as the staff united to forge our list of the 100 greatest games of all time. There was controversy, mild mannered discussion, tea-drinking, more discussion, sagely nodding and then a blaze of word-making. Will you agree with the list? Perhaps. But, more importantly, it's sixteen pages of passionate writing celebrating the best games ever made.
That's just a fraction of what's inside the latest issue, of course. We've got loads of previews, reviews, features and tech coverage, which you can find out about below. The issue is available now via the App Store, Google Play or Zinio. If you prefer, you can subscribe to get each issue delivered to your door. This month's issue also comes with a free game, a spiritual successor to Deus Ex, Project Snowblind, worth £4. Read on for a closer look at the cover and a list of what to expect from issue 255.
The picture - the header of our Thief review from 1999 - may be a bit of a giveaway, but why not? It's Friday, after all. We can indulge in a little bit of misty-eyed nostalgia without fear of our bosses asking us why we're staring wistfully into space and making bow and arrow and mimicking guard-clubbing animations over and over again. That's the sort of freedom only the weekend can bring. Here's what we're planning to play between now and Monday, but what will you indulge in?
You don't get to develop a gravelly voice or kleptomania through anything as quaint as a happy childhood, that's for sure. This new dev diary from Eidos Montreal reveals the backstory behind Thief's protagonist, Garrett—and as you may have guessed, his early years were disappointingly bereft of cuddles.
Now that the blinding glare of every major publisher simultaneously projecting marketing at us has dimmed, we have a clearer picture of what E3 2013 revealed, what's important to us, and what we expect to be playing on PC within the next couple years. And here it all is.
Like Garrett out of the shadows, details continue to emerge that give shape to Eidos Montreal's upcoming Thief reboot. From a new Shack News interview with lead level designer Daniel Windfeld Schmidt we hear about the "reinvention" of the stealthy, blackjack-swinging original.
Thief was appropriately - if surprisingly - quiet this E3. We caught the odd brief glimpse: most tangibly a bizarre CGI trailer that explained little besides Garrett's love of bows and pinching thing. Now OPM have caught sight of something slinking through the darkness. Hey, it's screenshots! Get 'em!
We're gearing up for the biggest E3 in years next week. There's going to be a lot of chat about the next console generation, but on the show floor there will be games. Exciting, intriguing, shiny PC games of all shapes and sizes. We've picked out a few that we're super excited about, and highlighted a few more besides. If you think there'll be nothing for PC in LA, read on and think again. And these are just the games we know about.
Let us know which games you're most looking forward to in the comments. You can keep track of all the latest from E3 via our E3 2013 channel, We're on Twitter and Facebook, too, if you're into that sort of thing. If you enjoy a bit of video, the US team took to the Couch of Truth for a chat about all the intriguing titles headed our way.
And... We're off. E3 may not be until next week, but the E3 trailers are already slipping out from the shadows, trying to pinch precious minutes of our attention. Square Enix are going retro with their CGI Thief trailer, all the way back to last year, when bows were the show's weapon de rigueur. Let us steal it from its unsecured YouTube box, and hide it away inside this post.
After a disastrous financial year, in which Square Enix not only failed to make their expected profits, but were hit instead with by massive financial loss, the company's senior executive managing director Yosuke Matsuda has been looking at Kickstarter as a possible guide to improving "asset turnover". Which isn't to say they'll attempt to raise $100,000,000 for a Tomb Raider sequel via the crowd-funding site. ($110,000,000 stretch goal: add some proper tombs.) Instead, Matsuda wants Square Enix to interact with its customers at an earlier stage.
In a column at GamesIndustry International Monday, game designer Warren Spector railed against the overwhelming power of Metacritic as a cultural arbiter of game quality. Spector’s past work includes classic game franchises like Deus Ex and Thief, so his thoughts on the industry tend to be well-respected, though sometimes controversial.
The joys of being a PC gamer! Thanks to the modability of our platform, only we can patch the ugly out of a game, utilize tools to help us keep track of WoW's economy, and randomly slap Iron Man into GTA4, no questions asked. That's pretty badass. We understand that some folks, though, don't always have the time to unzip things, crawl through directories hidden all over their PCs, do forum research, and tussle with conflicting mods. Cue Gmod. This mod-management tool's aim is to greatly ease the mod-enabling process, expediting, say, the restoration of truly fearsome dragons in Skyrim again.
While we're anxiously awaiting Eidos Montreal's reboot of cornerstone PC gaming franchise Thief next year, you might've wondered why we've only just begun to hear hard details about it this year. Its announcement-of-existence in 2009 was followed by years of public silence—which, we're learning now, was allegedly filled with quiet turmoil, office politics, and assorted strife. Will Thief's rocky journey show in the final product?
The barbrous Hoary McCrabFist joins a couple of glowing mages on our May cover as we delve into the curious world of veteran MMO, Runescape. Over its twelve year history, Runescape has vaulted the 2D/3D divide, amassed zillions of players and fostered a diverse and passionate community, and all from an internet browser. In this month's MMO special, we visit developers Jagex to gain an insight into the game's past and discuss their plans for the future.
Some MMO devs would give their left arm (to a crab) for Runescape's longevity. The Elder Scrolls Online faces a tricky challenge reconciling the Scrolls fans' RPG expectations with the MMO format, but Zenimax Online Studios also have their own ideas for pushing the genre forward as we discover in our six page preview feature.
Not into MMOs? Fear not. We've got a six-page first look at Thief 3, reinvigorated Supreme Commander, revisited Rise of Nations and much more. The mag also includes entry into the World of Warplanes closed beta and 14 days of free Runescape membership. The issue is available now via the App Store, Google Play or Zinio. If you prefer your words on trees, you can subscribe to get each issue delivered to your door.