In 2015 I gave a lecture at Videobrains in London about my exclusive research into a cancelled Thief game that was in development at Ion Storm before it’s collapse almost a decade previously. The lecture was based on an article I wrote for Eurogamer, in which I interviewed a developer who worked on the project and shared some of the original design documents.
You can read the full Eurogamer article, The Modern Day Thief Reboot That Never Was, for more information on Thief 4 – but I’ve also included my slides and script below.
The game itself was called Thief 4: Dagger of Ways and was designed chiefly by Harvey Smith, who later carried at least part of that vision over to Dishonored. Thief 4 would have been a modern day reboot of the Thief series, reviving the characters in a dark and seedy inspired chiefly by Blade and Silent Hill.
You can read the Eurogamer article for more information on Thief 4: Dagger of Ways, or contact me for the original files and research this talk is based on. You can also check out my other Videobrain lectures, Easter Eggs: A Love Letter to Love Letters in Games and Deleted Scenes: Disney, Doom and Deus Ex.
In 2013 I spent several weeks researching the origins of the first Thief game, Thief: The Dark Project, for an article for RockPaperShotgun. This turned out to be the first in a series of investigative pieces I wrote for RPS and Eurogamer, focusing mainly on cancelled games in the Thief and Deus Ex series’.
This first article, Stealing History: Dark Camelot and Thief, investigates the two cancelled projects that preceded Thief: The Dark Project and which heavily shaped its final form. These are Better Red Than Undead, a cancelled Ken Levine game about Russians and zombies, and Dark Camelot, a steampunk reinterpretation of the Arthurian myth.
With help from Thief developer Randy Smith I exclusively uncovered unused levels, early trailers, concept art and plot information.
“The world was more modern than the traditional Arthurian elements. Steampunkish, but with no gunpowder,” says Marc. “I remember seeing sketches of Merlin with a top hat, and there was talk of Knights covered in corporate logos like NASCAR drivers… We didn’t want to be straight up orcs and elves; we wanted to build something unique and memorable. Something we could own.”
I spoke to a whole bunch of the original Looking Glass Studios team for this article and owe a lot of thanks to Randy Smith and Marc LeBlanc for their help.
You can read the full article on RockPaperShotgun for more information, or contact me to get access to the original research.
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When discussing fear in games, it’s almost impossible to ignore the shadow cast by The Shalebridge Cradle, the infamously chilling mission from 2004’s Thief: Deadly Shadows. So, what better way to start Season Two than by talking to RPS co-founder and comics writer Kieron Gillen to tackle that topic directly?
Discussing Shalebridge with Unlimited Hyperbole, Kieron talks about how Deadly Shadows evolved throughout development, the inspiration behind the level’s approach to fear and the best thing he’s ever accomplished as a games journalist.
Unlimited Hyperbole is a weekly podcast about videogames and the stories we tell about them. The show is divided into seasons of five episodes, each with a topic that’s used as a prompt when interviewing special guests. This season we’re talking about “Fear Itself” – but for more information about the podcast itself, read after the jump.
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This week Unlimited Hyperbole talks to Brendon Chung, the designer of Atom Zombie Smasher and Gravity Bone, about his favourite game and the very definite effect it had on him as both a fan and an independent game developer.
Released in 1998 by Looking Glass Studios, Thief: The Dark Project has been repeatedly hailed as not just one of the first true stealth games, but also one of the best games ever made. Looking back, Brendon discusses both what makes Thief such a triumph of world design and how it shaped his own games more than a decade later.
Unlimited Hyperbole is a weekly podcast about videogames and the stories we tell about them. The show is divided into seasons of five episodes, each with a topic that’s used as a prompt when interviewing special guests. This season we’re talking about “My Favourite Game” – but for more information about the podcast itself, read after the jump.