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Thief 4 Announced- Thoughts

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Today, Game Informer confirmed that Thief 4 is this month’s cover story.

The series, which has been dormant since 2004 with the release of Thief: Deadly Shadows, is often credited with being one of greatest and most influential stealth franchises of all time. Many of the games that allow us to be all sneaky-like draw immensely from the steampunk/fantasy stealth gameplay of Thief. The developers of two of my favorite games of 2012 alone, Mark of the Ninja and Dishonored¸ have said that the Thief was one of the inspirations for their stealth gameplay mechanics.

Now I cannot say that I have played any of the Thief games, other than the 10 minutes I played on OXM demo disc for Deadly Shadows (does anyone else miss those?) I own the whole series thanks to the wonderfulness of Steam sales, but they are currently in the dreaded backlog queue that comes with that wonderfulness. Still I can’t help but get a little excited about the new game simply because of my love of Dishonored.

The two aspects of Dishonored  that drew me too it was the two major inspirations from Thief: the world and the openness of the gameplay. Both Dunwall and the City which the Thief games take place are designed with a mixture of real historical elements and fantasy/steampunk elements like magic and advanced technology for the time period. That blend of elements makes for settings that are truly unique and stray from the usual fantasy motifs seen in so many games. I found this uniqueness the major draw to Dishonored and increased my enjoyment of the game exponentially.

The other aspect, openness, is something many games claim but few achieve. Stealth series like Metal Gear Solid and Splinter Cell  give the illusion of openness yet can’t quite deliver what Dishonored does. The difference between this level of openness is that the former titles may give you about 2-5 set ways to complete your task, while Dishonored gave you an almost unlimited amount of ways to complete your task.

I got a real sense that the developers of Dishonored put me in each level with a set of tools and said “okay go, do what you want.” The amount of violence and stealth you used were completely up to you, and the game gave you enough tools to effectively play that way. You want to barge your way in guns ablaze? You can. Want to play as a ghost and not get noticed at all? You can. Want to talk your way in? You can. It is this freedom in gameplay that makes Dishonored (and other games like Dues Ex) do fun and repayable.Form my understanding, the Thief games have this sense of openness and freedom in a semi-open world and as long as the fourth installment continues this tradition I am interested to get my hand on it.   ­

But mainly I am just excited that more games like this are coming out. The general trend of games (non rpg games) have been bigger, more bombastic and more linear lately, so it’s good to see game that stress story and player freedom over these elements. Not sure when the realease will be but I’ll be anticipating this one while I replay Dishonored and start the first three games in the Thief  games.

What do you think about this announcement? Have you played the original games? Are they worth the playthrough?Leave a comment and let me know.

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