Stealing The Show: Thief 4 Lecture At GDC

Announcing... Thifourfth!

Quick, somebody sound the Thief 4 gong! Looks like we’ll be getting a tiny glimpse of the still very much in-development title at GDC, which kicks off on the 28th of February.

What’s happened is that the schedule for GDC 2011 has been posted, and among such sinister-sounding lectures as “Care and Feeding of Your Independent Game Studio” and “Practical Occlusion Culling on PS3” is a talk entitled “Stealing Sound: Generative Music in THIEF”.

So, yes. If nothing else we’re likely to hear something about Thief 4’s music. As the description of the lecture points out, audio has always been at the heart of Thief, although I’m not entirely sure if music specifically is what Thief’s been about. According to ex-Looking Glass staffers, the original Thief was created simply because the team felt audio was under-used in games, and so they made a game all about footsteps, distractions, and other mechanics which tied audio into the game itself.

That said, maybe in Thief 4 we’ll be listening out for swells in the music to warn us that a guard’s about to see us, and the organic soundtrack will therefore allow us to share in Garrett’s thiefly sixth sense. Who knows? Thanks to Eurogamer for the tipoff.

On the subject of Thief 4, did you hear the full title is going to be “Thief 4: He Who Larcenies Last, Larcenies Longest”? It’s true*. Also, have you all played Thief 3 yet? If not, the following fan-made video might will convince you. It takes you half way through The Cradle, one of the single best levels of the last decade.

* It’s not true.


  1. Carra says:

    Thief 3 is on my long “bought during the steam-deals, still have to play” list.

  2. zergrush says:

    THI4F makes my brain bleed.

    • AndrewC says:

      It sounds like a dry sneeze.

    • RogB says:

      It makes me read it as The-AFF :(

    • djbriandamage says:

      Reminds me of one of those letterboard signs where thieving children steal the letters, forcing the poor proprietors to use numbers instead. Maybe Thi4f takes place in an elementary school.

    • sneetch says:


      My l337 may be a bit rusty but what the hell is a “ThiAf “?

    • RegisteredUser says:

      I believe this is the ebonification of gaming terminology.

      First we had shiat and biatch, now we have Thiaf. Or, uh, something.

      ..I meant to say I actually find this tremendously stupid as well, considering that the 1337sp34k 4 has always been an A / a best to my knowledge.

    • Inigo says:

      I always pronounce it “Theourf”.

    • sneetch says:

      Maybe it’s just embracing the lovely wealth of lovely accents worldwide, “bloody thiaf, stole mah ahvory alaphant figarahnes!”

    • SanguineAngel says:

      I usually pronounce it Thief 4….. am I doing it wrong?

    • WJonathan says:

      Until I see gameplay footage, I’m pronouncing it “DAY-us ex too”.

    • Auspex says:

      Like sneetch I read it as ThiAF so I say it in a bad English accent.

    • Wulf says:


      If Garrett turns out to be a down-on-his-luck rapper, who’s trying to ‘keep it real for the hood’ in Thief 4, I’m going to blame you and personally make it my mission to end you. :p

      – Wulf (who absolutely despises stereotypes)

    • jeremypeel says:

      @Wulf: You jest, but Ion Storm Austin were working on a contemporary-set (or steampunk-contemporary, I guess) Thief sequel when the company was killed.

      It’s weird… imagining a contemporary Garrett makes him seem far more sinister and voyeuristic. Maybe it’s because it’s our world he’d be stalking around.

    • adonf says:

      They missed the obvious THI3F so now they’re desperately trying to grab some leet points

    • Veret says:

      I, for one, eagerly await the more distant sequels: Thi11f, Th31f, and Thi3134f promise much more journalistic entertainment to come. I also want to see someone trying to pronounce 7hief when that comes up.

    • Xaos says:

      @Veret – It will most likely be pronounced “Sniff”

    • Sobric says:

      I’ve been pronouncing it Edith Thiaf in my head.

    • Stephen Roberts says:

      The Thief series set itself apart by being so damned good at boundaries and mechanics, then adding a beautifully realised tapestry of environment quality and fictional-depth that I have not seen rivalled since. Vulnerability and great power. Light and dark. Marble and carpet.

      A title with a number in it is what I would consider a negative omen. Please don’t fuck this up.

    • RegisteredUser says:


      Edith Thiaf, la vie en rogue?

  3. RegisteredUser says:

    I never much bothered with the thief series, but I would like to point Kieron and other like-minded over the top RPG nutters towards Mark Leung (did not want to spam the direct URL) Revenge of the Bitch, simply because it seems to have over 9000 levels of awesome contained in it, and I desperately need a Wot I Think.

    Please don’t tell me RPS isn’t my private WIT army :(

  4. ZIGS says:

    They better hire the original voice actor for Thief 4. THEY BETTER!

    • Quintin Smith says:

      link to

      Nothing on there yet. Also, check it out- he’ll be in BioShock Infinite and voiced a bunch of characters from Fallout 3.

    • edwardoka says:

      They bloody better; it’s not Thief without Stephen Russell.

      They could have given him the Oblivion gig and no-one would have complained about all the NPCs sounding the same.

  5. The Army of None says:

    My god, what have we come to? Using numbers to sub in for other numbers to sub in for letters? YOU’VE GONE TOO FAR, INTERNET.

    What a shame.

  6. ChaK_ says:



  7. zergrush says:

    Also, GOG needs to put Thief 1 and 2 up. Getting them to play on Windows 7 was a pain in the ass and after an hour of following random faqs I couldn’t get the first one to run. Then I virtualized a XP install and was unable to make them run on that too and just gave up.

    Maybe I was dumber than usual that day, but still, it would be cool to have them ready to play.

    • sneetch says:

      I came across my Thief 1, Thief 2 and Homeworld game cases recently and I was delighted I thought I’d lost them during a move. All excited I went to my PC and opened one, then the other, then the third.

      All empty. Damn you cruel, cruel world! Damn you!

    • faelnor says:

      Tafferpatcher: link to

    • zergrush says:

      That happened to me a couple of weeks ago. I searched the entire house for my old Blade of Darkness copy and was pretty happy to find it in a dusty box on top of a wardrobe, but opened it to find a Vampire the Masquerade: Redemption disk =(

    • zergrush says:


      Thanks! Will try it.

    • RegisteredUser says:

      You can all go home, I found a “Star Trek – 25th anniversary” box from Interplay the other day AND IT STILL HAD THE DISK!

    • sneetch says:

      Ok, you win this round!

      Fly my minions! Fly! Our day will come!

    • Rond says:

      If I remember correctly, Thief 1 used the same engine as System Shock 2, which has an issue with running on multicore CPUs. Try to set the process’ core affinity to only one core, that enabled me to play SS2 on a dual-core machine running vista.

    • beavioso says:

      I bought Thief 1 from gamersgate during their holdiay sale, and I didn’t expect to run it on Windows 7. However, this morning I did get to the sword fight in the tutorial before having to go to work.

      I set the compatibility settings for the Thief.exe to Windows XP (SP 2), and then created a batch file to set the affinity to one core of my cpu.

      I placed this in thief.bat in the folder with the Thief.exe file:
      “c:/windows/system32/cmd.exe /C start /affinity 1 ./Thief.exe”
      There should be forward slashes in there, but they disappeared on an edit… so I changed it to backward slashes, but /C and /affinity are correct as written above

      link to

      Basically, scroll down and in the comments you can see that the number passed after “/affinity” is a hex number 1-F for enabling all core combinations possible in a 4 core system.

  8. Deeon says:

    Love the cleaver use of number in the name. So original.

  9. obvioustroll says:

    Ooh, some info, I posted earlier I wanted some news, and now my wish has been fulfilled just 7 days into the new year. I am as happy as a burrick in sh4t.

    link to I really did, post 40

  10. airtekh says:

    Most upcoming games I await with a pleasant sense of anticipation and measured restraint.

    Not this one.


    • Casimir's Blake says:

      I’d like to be proven wrong but…

      It won’t. It’s an Eidos production, and it’s not LGS making it. If it doesn’t turn out to be to Thief 1/2/3 what Bioshock 2 was to its predecessor, I will be shocked.

      I await Thief 2 fan-mission “Rocksbourg 4” with far greater anticipation than this inevitable abortion. And the System Shock rebuild. Someone bothering to make a System Shock 2 campaign is far, far more mouthwateringly great news than a new Thief by some new, unknown team.

    • ZIGS says:

      Someone is making a System Shock campaign? Please elaborate/post links

    • Jason Moyer says:

      What Bioshock 2 was to its predecessor? You mean better in every way?

    • Urael says:


      Disagree with you on that one. Bioshock 2, while a better combat experience than 1, pales beside it’s progenitor in every other way, imo.

      I’m with Airtekh – it has every possibility in the world to suck hard but I still hold the faith that this dev team will manage to pull off a great new addition to the series.

  11. faelnor says:

    I don’t think there will be any screenshots or ingame footage – only a (very interesting) specialised talk about a generative approach for ingame music. You’ve been warned.

  12. bill says:

    Two things. *

    Thief trilogy is the ONLY videogame series that would make a decent movie series. Get to it.

    Return to the Cathedral (?) was much better than The Cradle.

    My only problem with Thief was that garret was really uncoordinated. Thief 1 or 2 with fluid mirror’s edge / Brink style movement would have been awesome.

    *it’s not true

    • edwardoka says:

      The start of Return to the Haunted Cathedral was fantastic, yes.
      Shame about [spoiler]Casper the friendly Hammerite ghost[/spoiler] destroying their meticulously constructed vibe.

      I don’t think Garrett was particularly uncoordinated; bear in mind that he was carrying lots of thiefy equipment and loot, and I don’t know of many games (bar Tomb Raider, perhaps) that had similar levels of interaction with the world back in those days.

      Also, I both love and hate your idea about Mirrors Edge style controls; if you’re running from guards then hell yes, but it wouldn’t be conducive to stealth, and you shouldn’t be able to breeze past guards the way you can in Mirrors Edge.

    • VelvetFistIronGlove says:

      Garrett was about the only FPS protagonist who could actually climb navigate chest-high walls.

    • Stephen Roberts says:

      “Thief trilogy is the ONLY videogame series that would make a decent movie series. Get to it.”
      This times a billion.
      “Garrett was about the only FPS protagonist who could actually climb navigate chest-high walls.”
      This times a few trillion trillion. You could even jump a ways and pull yourself up from BELOW A LEDGE.

      FPS heros: Able to sprint about a tenth of the distance of that I can. Able to clear about a tenth of the height that I can. Able to get shot, not much else.

    • bill says:

      I know garret was better than most others. But I still found it a little limiting. It was another case of the dreaded “cutscene me isn’t gameplay me” syndrome. In the cutscenes garret was a “blink and he’s gone” style ninja – in the game he made a huge noise if he moved faster than a statue.

      I think I played Splinter Cell between Thief 1 and 2, and so i found the second one even more limiting.

      I know it would probably break half of the sneaking mechanics, but it did feel like a master thief should be able to move around a little more smoothly and quickly. A dash from shadow to shadow when they turn their back. A quick hop over the table and slide into the shadow. Etc..

      I guess I’d like to spend some time planning my route, and then go for it… rather than moving at a crawl. But it might be hard to balance so that people didn’t just run past all the guards.

      Other than that (and to many zombies) I thought Thief 1 and 2 were close to perfect, and 3 wasn’t bad at all either.

    • VelvetFistIronGlove says:

      I know garret was better than most others. But I still found it a little limiting. It was another case of the dreaded “cutscene me isn’t gameplay me” syndrome. In the cutscenes garret was a “blink and he’s gone” style ninja – in the game he made a huge noise if he moved faster than a statue.

      I know it would probably break half of the sneaking mechanics, but it did feel like a master thief should be able to move around a little more smoothly and quickly. A dash from shadow to shadow when they turn their back. A quick hop over the table and slide into the shadow. Etc..

      But you could do that! On carpet or grass you could basically run with impunity. On wood or stone as long as you weren’t really close to a guard, he wouldn’t hear you running, or would very quickly dismiss it without breaking stride. The only time you really had to creep to avoid being heard was on metal or tile floors, and then you’d either use moss arrows or find another way around.

      I used to play in a very paranoid fashion, only creeping slowly and barely moving if a guard was nearby. But then by being more daring I learnt the limits of their hearing. Remember, you sound much louder to yourself than you do to them.

  13. lurk says:


    Oh man, that Thief 4 gong is a lot louder than it looks.

  14. Schadenfreude says:

    So they’re basically going to license iMUSE off of Lucasarts then? Or rebuild it in a non-patent infringing way at least.

  15. manwe says:

    Shalebridge Cradle. The only game that has scared me as much as that level is my current ruin through of Amnesia.

    The trailer’s right; what could cram more misery than a former insane asylum, turned orphanage, then burned down and abandoned? Not much.

    If Thief 4 is half as scary, it should come with a spare pair of trousers.

    • Fumarole says:

      I just finished Thief 3 over the holiday break. I found the Cradle spooky, but nowhere near as scary as the Von Braun. Maybe that’s just my younger self and rose-tinted glasses talking; perhaps it’s just been too hyped up in my mind as I was expecting it all game long. Either way it gets points for atmosphere.

  16. Pemptus says:

    Hm. It seems the ever-so-slightly retarded RPS spam detector ate my token “go play Thief 1 and 2!” comment. Ctrl+v away:

    Go play Thief 1 and 2! And then go play the top fan missions for both these games! Unbeatable sneak-em-ups, with incredible atmosphere and immersion. Use this for T2: link to – it reportedly (I never used it – installed T2 before its time) automatically does everything from installing to applying latest widescreen and rendering fixes. There’s also a texture pack somewhere to be found on the forums.
    T3 was (kinda) alright, I suppose, and The Cradle is all sorts of awesome, but the first two are just pure bliss.

    • TeeJay says:

      I really enjoyed 1 & 2 but I have never completed 3. I didn’t like all the “loot glint” (I have tried to mod it out but haven’t really got it to where I want) and it didn’t seem as ‘tight’ and immediate as the first two – seemed kind of ‘saggy’.

    • MajorManiac says:

      Thanks for the link. The 2nd game is by far my favorate, with huge open levels and a brilliant vilian.

      The 3rd felt very boxed in. It was like moving from a mansion into a bungerlow. Still a good game, but only half the game of it predesesors.

  17. Subjective Effect says:

    First off that is nowhere near “half” of the level. No. Where. Near.

    Music has always been very important in Thief. There is a lot of atmospheric music as well as the usual set piece music. Just walk into a Hammer church, or a crypt and you’ll see. Heck, you only have to wander the streets in Thief 1 and 2 to get a lot of ambient/atmospheric sounds, some of which are just very subtle pieces of music.

    You only have to look at the sound assets that were created for The Dark Mod to see how much you need to make for Thief levels.

    If they are really taking this aspect of the atmosphere seriously then they may actually understand the spirit of Thief and make a good game out of it.

    Here’s hoping.

    • yabonn says:

      Sound was one of the saving graces of Thief the Third, imo.

      Creepiest zombie sounds evah.

  18. JayTee says:

    I’m looking forward to frobbing Thief 4

  19. Loopy says:

    Looking forward to this, it’ll be interesting to see what the dev’s ideas are.

  20. Basilicus says:

    I’m a little surprised how well Thief 3’s visuals hold up. Shalebridge was the standout experience, but the Pagan hideout and cordoned ship were also great levels. Every Thief has its standout levels, though, and Thief 3 is the least of the series due to a slight overconsolization to the controls and an ending that got a touch stupid. Still, though…man, that Shalebridge was really something.

  21. BobbleHat says:

    I’m guessing the name will be changed to a subtitle some time soon, a la ‘Human Revolution’, so as not to confuse the children who haven’t heard of the previous games. Anything will be better than Thee-aff, anyway.

  22. BrendanJB says:

    Hey look! A fuse was dead. He went to find another one, and then found an apple. Then a door started banging.

    Also what is with the random switches to 3rd person? Are they scripted events or us the player doing that?

    I’ve heard great things about Thief 3, but was this video really meant to make me interested?

    I’ve been replaying Thief 2 recently and that game is pretty damn sweet. Only game I’ve ever played where I’ve really felt like a sneaky little thief.

    • dogsolitude_uk says:

      You can toggle between first and third person at will by pressing the ‘v’ key ingame. [Edit: I’d like to see this option available in many more games – I cannot stand third-person stuff as a rule!]

      Hm. Maybe you’d’ve got more out the the Cradle level if you hadn’t watched someone else play it first… :)

  23. Navagon says:

    You’ve just reminded me of my need to complete Deadly Shadows.

  24. Jahandar says:

    Thief 2 is still the quintessential stealth gaming experience, in my opinion. I eagerly await this new installment.

  25. sbs says:

    its because the 4 when you turn it around it looks like the e.

  26. Arglebargle says:

    Wasn’t the Thief guy responsible for the only really good story arc in Oblivion as well?

  27. phenom_x8 says:

    Can anyone here give me some recomendation about the best thief series worth to play??

    My experience with thief 3 was terrible, I just feel dont ‘click’ with its mechanism and atmosphere. Meanwhile I enjoyed deus ex in stealth (using crossbow) very much!

    PS : Lost my edit button

    • TeeJay says:

      I’d say play 1 (The Dark Project) and then 2 (The Metal Age), although if you only have time for one of them then 2.

      For the most informed opinions and help see: link to

    • Stephen Roberts says:

      Thief 2 “The Metal Age” is widely considered the pinnacle of the series, for a number of reasons. Thief one was considered pretty-fucking-ground-breaking, of course, but it went off course in the slightly questionable territory of zombies and demons whereas 2 stuck with humans being weird, oddly behaved bastards. Thief 3 was an enjoyable extension to the series but sadly handicapped by certain design limitations (dare I mention consoles?). I have to admit I didn’t notice the design limitations in question but I love the thief universe. I simply succumb to the shadowy world of religious zealots and murky skies, grumbling guards and secret rooms, hidden treasure and hideous machinations. Thief 2 captures this best. Huge levels to explore. Routes to find. Guards to trick. Shadows to hide in, loot to collect. Evil plots to unravel. Whu-

      Hmm… Must be one o’ them grubbers again!

    • bill says:

      Well, thief 3 wasn’t so far from 1 and 2, so if you didn’t like 3 you might well not like those either. It had smaller levels, and no rope arrows (blasphemy!) but the basic mechanics were the same (if not slightly improved).

      While 2 is more polished than 1, the characters and story are very important for the thief trilogy imho (though number 3’s story was a bit of a letdown at the end), so I’d rather play them in order.

      All have the same sneaking mechanics and goals. All have the same awesome voice acting and cutscenes. 1 and 2 both have great story and characters. 2 has bigger and more open levels. 1 has a little too much combat in the middle, but it’s a little shorter/faster than 2. Some of 2’s levels can take ages.

    • phenom_x8 says:

      Thanks guys, really help me! Looks like I need to play it from the first one!

      What I meant by not “click” with the athmosphere looks like it was caused by my lack of understanding with the Thief’s world since its first game, like you’ve all said I just need to play it in order!

      About the game mechanic, wish me that I could bear with it !
      God bless you all !

    • MajorManiac says:

      My advice for how to enjoy the Theif games is to take it slow. Enjoy the slow pace of the game, sitting in the shadows learning gaurd patrol routes and searching every room for secrets.

  28. sbs says:

    still havent played 2 :) and lloking forward to the days i will