Thief: Deadly Shadows
|Thief: Deadly Shadows|
|Developer(s)||Ion Storm Austin|
|Engine||Unreal Engine 2|
Thief: Deadly Shadows is a stealth video game developed by Ion Storm for Microsoft Windows and Xbox that was released in 2004, on May 25 in North America and on June 11 in Europe. It is the third video game in the Thief series.
In Thief: Deadly Shadows the player takes the role of Garrett, a master thief. It is set in a fantasy world resembling a cross between the Late Middle Ages and the Victorian era, with more advanced technologies interspersed. One of the game's major new features was the ability to explore the City. While previous games sent Garrett straight from mission to mission, Thief: Deadly Shadows allows him to walk the City streets between missions where he can steal from passersby, spy on the townspeople's daily lives, and search for sidequests in addition to major story missions. The game also introduced an ability to switch between first and third person views, and to flatten against walls.
Development for both platforms started simultaneously. Like its predecessors, Thief: Deadly Shadows has received almost globally positive reviews. The level "Robbing the Cradle" received particular praise for its horror design. A follow-up to Deadly Shadows, Thief, was released by Eidos Montréal in 2014.
Thief: Deadly Shadows is a first-person and third-person 'sneaker', similar in gameplay to the previous games in the series. The player takes the role of Garrett, an independent master thief who aims to steal his way through the City, using stealth, devices and weapons, in order to complete objectives and make profits on the side. The player may steal from or mug innocents for loot, and avoid, distract, attack or knock out guards. Loot and weapon ammunition may be stolen simply by 'touching' it, when close enough. Locked rooms and chests can be broken into after completing a lock-picking minigame.
Mission levels may be traversed by sneaking through the shadows, since walking or running will alert nearby guards, who detecting the presence of a vandal will search around for an unknown face. Upon discovering the player, the guards will give chase and possibly hunt them down. In order to make minimum noise, the player must actively monitor the noise each action creates. The player may usually view a hand-drawn map of the immediate surroundings; realistically, the player's location is not indicated on the map and must be deduced from the surrounding landmarks. The game has a fairly open-ended structure, allowing the player to approach every objective in multiple different ways. Upon completion of all objectives, the mission ends and the plot is further revealed through cutscenes. Due to limited memory, city and mission levels are divided into parts connected by load zones.
After each mission, the player reappears into the nearest district within the City, which may be freely explored by foot. Most civilians do not recognize Garrett as a criminal, although wanted posters are frequently visible on City walls. City areas unlock as the player progresses through missions. Within the City, the player may sell previously stolen goods on the black market to fences, for gold, which can be used at various shops to purchase weapons, equipment and supplies. Special loot such as artifacts cannot be sold but are involved in the objectives and plot. As they are collected, loot, gold, equipment and weapons are retained in the player's inventory through the game, making it possible to 'hoard' for later use. While exploring the City, the player may break into homes for additional loot, spy on and steal from the townspeople, and complete the occasional side quest. Allying with major factions will motivate its members to fight alongside the player, against the City Watch guards.
Both the PC and Xbox versions of the game are relatively easy to play, with conventional and reconfigurable shooter-style controls. The first mission is an interactive tutorial that guides the player through a typical robbery, set in an Inn. The player may save progress at any point, and must do so manually from time to time, since the game never autosaves. The Xbox version has considerably more tactile controls since it uses a game controller instead of an all purpose keyboard. Within the lock-picking minigame, a rumble effect can be felt based on the relation between the lock picks and tumblers. Movement of the right analog stick also allows Garrett to turn his head while picking locks, allowing the player to survey their surroundings and pick locks simultaneously. Moving the left analog stick gently makes Garrett creep, and forcefully makes him run.
The game begins when Garrett steals a rare opal from a nobleman's castle. After fencing it, he is contacted by Keeper Artemus to steal two Artifacts; The Builder's Chalice and the Jacknall's Paw, in exchange for access to the Keeper Prophecies. After hearing about a coming Dark Age, Garrett reads about a lost book, the Compendium of Reproach, which supposedly offers information about it. Garrett manages to steal it, the "Glyph" Key required to open it and the third Artifact, the Kurshok Crown. The Keepers read the Compendium's prophecy, including: "When the progress of time ceases, the evil one will be pointed out for all to see". Not willing to wait, Garrett realizes that the prophecy might be referring to the clocktower in the city being stopped rather than time itself, and so Garrett sabotages its gigantic mechanism, stopping the clock but causing the entire clocktower to collapse, after which it appears to point directly at First Keeper Orland's office.
Caduca, the Keepers' Interpreter of the Prophecies, is found murdered. Orland blames Garrett for it, and fixes a trial where Garrett is "found" guilty. Garrett manages to escape, causing Orland to send the Keeper Enforcers, an elite unit of telepathically-connected assassins, after Garrett. Garrett is contacted by a group of friendly Keepers, mentioning that the clocktower's rubble forms an arrow which points directly at the Keeper Library instead. Orland plans to promote a young girl named Gamall to replace Caduca. Garrett believes that Orland is the "Brethren and Betrayer" mentioned in Keeper prophecy, so he returns to the deserted lower library of the Keeper Compound, and finds a note addressed to him. Garrett then encounters a mysterious old woman, who uses Glyph magic to bring the nearby Keeper statues to life and instructs them to search for Garrett and kill him. The woman vanishes and Garrett eventually escapes the ambush.
Garrett visits Inspector Drept and mentions the old woman, whom Drept realizes to be the Hag. Drept advises Garrett to search the abandoned Shalebridge Cradle, as that was where Drept first saw the Hag. The Cradle had once been an orphanage, and then an insane asylum. The building was abandoned after a fire broke out, killing all its asylum inhabitants, and became a dark and haunted place. In the attic of the Cradle, Garrett finds a painting and the glowing white spirit of the young girl Gamall, who is actually Lauryl. It beckons Garrett to help her trapped spirit leave the Cradle, by finding her old belongings and removing them from the building. To do this, Garrett returns to the past by entering a cage with a belonging of an asylum patient, taking on his/her appearance. However, Garrett is no longer able to leave, as the Cradle now remembers him. Garrett enters the past as himself and tricks the Cradle into "thinking" that he had committed suicide by jumping out of the highest tower, landing safely outside in the present time. Lauryl's spirit leads Garrett to her secret tomb, which is covered in magical Glyphs left by the Hag, enabling her to use Lauryl's appearance. Years ago, the Hag killed Lauryl for the purpose of becoming Interpreter, so she could harness the Glyphs and destroy the Keepers. Garrett washes away the Glyph marks on Lauryl's grave with her own blood. Gamall the Hag, about to become Interpreter in a ceremony, loses her disguise and is revealed to be a hideous monster, and attacks the Keepers, ruins the Library and flees.
The Hag has found the Final Glyph, and has stolen two Artifacts from the Keepers. Orland wants Garrett to find Gamall's hidden lair, learn what she wants the Artifacts for, kill her, and find and destroy the Final Glyph. Inside Gamall's underground lair, Garrett steals back the Chalice and the Paw, and discovers the Glyph of Unbinding, hidden there by Gamall years ago. Keeper Artemus appears in Gamall's lair, and reading a map they discover that the five Artifacts - the Eye, the Heart, the Crown, the Chalice, and the Paw — must be placed in specific locations in the City to activate the Final Glyph, a safeguard in case the Keeper Glyphs are used for evil, which, when activated, all Glyph magic and Keepers' power will be destroyed. Garrett goes to the Wieldstrom Museum in Auldale to steal the remaining three Artifacts before the Hag is able to find them herself. Keeper Artemus is waiting for Garrett outside the Museum and asks him to hand over the Artifacts. Orland then hurriedly appears and tells Garrett that he activate and not destroy the Final Glyph. Keeper Artemus turns out to be the Hag in disguise and kills Orland.
Garrett places the Artifacts into the corresponding positions to activate the Final Glyph, causing all Keeper Glyph magic to be destroyed. The Keeper's key symbol burns into his hand as he places the final Artifact, revealing Garrett to be the One True Keeper mentioned in Keeper prophecies. The Hag and her walking statues lose all their Glyph powers. All the magical Glyphs in Keeper books have disappeared, and the Keeper Library is visible to citizens being no longer concealed by Glyph magic. The Hammerites discover the Chalice where Garrett put it in the Hammerites' Fort Ironwood to activate the Final Glyph. The Pagans similarly discover the Paw where Garrett put it in the Pagan-controlled Docks to activate the Final Glyph.
In the final scene, Garrett catches a young girl attempting to pickpocket him, saying, "It's no easy thing to see a Keeper, especially one who does not wish to be seen", hearkening back to young Garrett's first encounter with Keeper Artemus in The Dark Project.
- Garrett: Protagonist and master thief, Garrett received extensive training from the ancient sect known as the Keepers before rebelling against their secretive and hierarchical nature and leaving the order. Garrett's vision is augmented by a mechanical eye, given to him by the Hammerites after his natural eye was plucked out by Constantine the Trickster (The Woodsie Lord of the Pagans) and his consort Viktoria. Garrett has attained a fearsome reputation through his prodigious skills and his habit of becoming involved in the epic events portrayed in the Thief series.
- The Hag: A mythical serial killer who purportedly stalks the night, slaying victims and stealing their skin. Even the Pagans, who deal regularly with monstrous creatures, regard her as an abomination. The Hag appears to be the bogeyman of the Thief world and is featured in a variety of children's rhymes and night-time tales. However, few believe she actually exists except Garrett and a Hammerite inspector named Drept, who actually encountered her as a child and survived. According to Drept, the Hag "wears death upon her as a cloak. Some who meet her doth vanish. Others perished with bloody work upon their bodies." "There are hints spoken of creatures made of stone. The tale of a Hag, a bent old woman, who is ever old but grows no older."
- Robert Moira: The captain of the ship Abysmal Gale and resident of a mansion on an island not far from the City. A battered Abysmal Gale docked in the City one day as a ghost ship, devoid of crew and occupied by zombies. The City Watch quarantined the ship and dispatched at least two people to investigate, including one named Reggy, but they did not return. Moira's log indicates that he had found a strange golden slab in a cave and brought it back to his mansion. According to a sailor's log, Moira had begun acting strangely, forsaking food and furiously searching for an unknown item. The crew had decided to mutiny at one point. It is assumed that Moira and his crew were either killed or transformed into zombies.
- Edwina Moira: The wife of captain Moira. She sits in a room facing the sea, murmuring, and seems to have lost her mind.
- Lord Julian: A nobleman who has sworn revenge over his cousin, Lord Ember, who resides in Rutherford Castle. He has vowed to find the Bloodline Opal, but in the End of the Bloodline mission Garrett beats him to it and the Opal is sold on the black market.
- Lady Elizabeth: The wife of Lord Ember who stays in Rutherford castle. She finds out that Garrett has stolen the Bloodline Opal and her special Gilded Helm from her private chest. She sets out to kill Garrett as revenge accompanied by two thugs.
- Inspector Drept: A Hammerite bent on tracing and finding the Hag due to his childhood experience. When he was a young child, he lived in the Shalebridge Cradle, an orphanage and insane asylum. One day he was playing hide-and-seek in the attic with his friend Lauryl. During the game while Lauryl was searching for the hidden Drept, the Hag appeared and killed her. Drept was frozen with fear and could do nothing. Afterward he informed the Cradle staff that it was done by a hag and not an insane patient, although no one believed him. When he grew up he joined the Hammerites and began searching for the Hag.
- Lauryl: Originally an orphan who resided in the Shalebridge Cradle, as did the eventual Inspector Drept, but was killed and skinned by the Hag. Her body was buried in a secret room in the catacombs in Fort Ironwood with a spell marked on the tomb. Since her death her ghost haunted the attic in the now-abandoned Cradle. During the events of Thief: Deadly Shadows, Garrett liberates her spirit.
- First Keeper Orland: The elected leader of a secretive faction of guardians known as the Keepers, who quietly watch over the City and attempt to maintain a near-equilibrium of power in the City. Orland held a lifelong distrust of Garrett, believing him to be too unpredictable, and retained negative feelings toward him after he left their order.
- Keeper Artemus: Artemus is the Keeper who Garrett attempted to steal from in the beginning of the first game, and was the one who introduced him to the Keepers. He was sent to find Garrett and inform him about two lost artifacts, the Jacknall's Paw and the Builder's Chalice. Near the end of the game, however, he is murdered by The Hag, who steals his skin and wears it as a disguise.
During the production of Thief II: The Metal Age, developer Looking Glass Studios fell into serious financial turmoil. This led to the company's closure in May 2000, a few months after Thief II's release. However, the Thief series had been planned as a trilogy, and work on Thief III was "in a fairly advanced stage" when the company closed, according to PC Zone's Keith Pullin. Thief II designers Randy Smith and Terri Brosius had been appointed as lead designers on Thief III, and they had done several months of concept work for the project. According to Smith, the game was planned to take place in an "open-ended, self-directed city", and its plot was intended to focus on the Keepers. Brosius explained that the game would have seen Garrett grow as a person and become "ready to give, rather than always take." The player would have uncovered the plot gradually, while exploring a free-roam environment. Following the bankruptcy of Looking Glass, the Thief intellectual property was liquidated and the future of Thief III became unclear.
In August 2000, Thief publisher Eidos Interactive announced that it had purchased the rights to Thief, and that Thief III would be developed by Ion Storm Austin. The Austin team, led by Warren Spector, had just completed Deus Ex. Spector explained that Eidos would have given Thief III to Core Design or Crystal Dynamics had he not accepted it. The game was initially announced for Microsoft Windows and the PlayStation 2. Ion Storm began by gathering a core team to design and plot the game, composed in part of ex-Looking Glass employees. Four key members of the Thief II team—Randy Smith, Emil Pagliarulo, Lulu Lamer and Terri Brosius—were hired to begin the project. Others agreed to consult. After completing the core team in mid-August, Spector announced that pre-production would begin in September. The team's plan was to "wrap up [the] loose ends" of the series.
Thief III underwent six months of pre-production, which the team entered with the intention of facilitating a faster, more combat-based playstyle than in previous Thief games. Their main goal was to create an "immersive simulation" that maximized player agency. Smith, the project leader, stated in December that pre-production was "going well", and he noted that Ion Storm was developing an early test demo. The game's team was being filled out in preparation for full production. According to Smith, the Thief III design and story concepts created at Looking Glass were used as the basis for the game. However, the team opted not to use the "Siege" engine that Looking Glass had been developing for the game, partly because Ion Storm could not reunite the engine's original programming team. Instead, the company licensed and modified Epic Games' Unreal Warfare engine. Thief III was developed from the beginning as a cross-platform release for Windows and the Xbox.
Visiting Ion Storm in May 2001, Chuck Osborn of PC Gamer US reported that Thief III had "just barely" started production. The same voice actor, Stephen Russell, was selected for the lead character, Garrett. Unlike the original two titles, Deadly Shadows was developed simultaneously for Microsoft Windows and the Xbox. The game is powered by a heavily modified and tweaked version of Unreal Engine 2, which Ion Storm had previously used in Deus Ex: Invisible War. The engine made considerable improvements to both the lighting and sound engines, two important elements of Thief's core gameplay. For the first time in the series, the player was able to hide in shadows that could dynamically move based on adjacent light sources. The sound propagation system found in Deadly Shadows allowed for more subtle variances in determining whether the player could be heard by enemies, based on architecture of a room, presence of doors and windows, the material said doors and windows were constructed of, and whether those doors and windows were open or closed.
Ion Storm decided not to entitle the game Thief III for fear that it would alienate console gamers who had never played the previous two titles. It is the last game produced by Ion Storm before its demise in February 2005.
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Thief: Deadly Shadows received generally positive reviews from critics. Aggregating review websites GameRankings and Metacritic gave the PC version 84.21% and 85/100 and the Xbox version 81.51% and 82/100.
Despite positive reviews, Thief: Deadly Shadows failed to meet financial targets and may have led to the cancellation of a follow-up title: Thief 4: Dagger of Ways.
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