Death’s Cold Embrace: Thief 2’s new fan-made campaign

Death's Cold Embrace

The best thing about PC gaming is that the classics don’t die. They just don’t. They remain timeless, immortal and ever-growing. To give a familiar example, Doom as it stands now is not the Doom of 1993, but something much deeper, broader and stranger.

While the Thief community may not be quite as massive, they are a dedicated lot. Case in point: Death’s Cold Embrace, a winter-themed ten-mission campaign for Thief 2: The Metal Age, released just yesterday, a full 17 years since the game first came out.

Death’s Cold Embrace requires the NewDark patch for Thief 2, which is semi-unofficial. I say semi, as it’s handily integrated into the current GOG and Steam versions of the game. Impressively, they’ve gone the extra mile in making this campaign as international as possible, with German and French and Russian versions available already.

The need for the fan-upgraded engine is made clear in this screenshot gallery. While the game is still unmistakably Thief, there’s a layer of spit and polish here just not seen in Looking Glass’ original, with much more detailed architecture, textures and models than anything seen in the original game. The scale of the environments is no slouch either, with a lot of new ground to explore and rob.

One of the key selling points of Death’s Cold Embrace is persistence; several missions are set in the same part of the city, with familiar streets and buildings revisited at different times as you progress through the campaign. While every mission is self contained (there’s no branching storyline) there’s plenty to explore, with old routes closing and new ones opening up. To further increase replay value, the location of objectives and complexity of puzzles increases on higher difficulty settings, so even returning thieves might have to improvise a little.

You can pick up Thief 2: The Metal Age on Steam and GOG, and Death’s Cold Embrace here.


  1. Premium User Badge

    Drib says:

    Honestly I love how the mod scene still exists for stuff as old as DOOM. XCOM, too. I mean really, these things are ancient (for this medium) and yet they still get work and all kinds of loving adoration.

    Thief is a game in need of more modpacks, as it was a damn good time and I’m sure it remains so.

    • Horg says:

      There really hasn’t been a game since that’s captured the sound, atmosphere and aesthetic that the Dark Engine generated. Especially true for sound. Nothing is quite as tactile and nerve wracking as trying to creep across a marble floor with the ambient background noises making you jump at nothing. I remember typing something years ago in a thread about some gameplay vs graphics debate that if developers were still releasing content in the Dark Engine, i’d still be playing it no matter how aged it looked. I will definitely be looking into this mod series, even if it means buying yet another copy to run it.

  2. Michael Fogg says:

    That’s a pretty crap trailer, doesn’t show any alluring new architecture.

  3. GlasWolf says:

    As usual for all things Thief, the best place to start is at the TTLG forum thread.

  4. Yandros says:

    Wow, thanks for the article Dominic. DCE was definitely a labor of love. A very long labor.

    • Premium User Badge

      Frog says:

      It looks great actually, I’m excited to fire up Thief again.

  5. poliovaccine says:

    Awesome, never even heard of this, but I still play the early Thief games, and DromEd is where I first cut my teeth on modding! So an accomplished Thief I or II mod is definitely something I need to see. Never mind a new Thief *campaign,* agagag! I mean if this mod is even 20% as good as the original game it’ll be a premature Christmas..!

  6. Faxmachinen says:

    This is most excellent news! I shall download at once.

  7. MaxMcG says:

    I’ve been meaning to re-install T2 and this gives me the perfect excuse. Still my favorite game of all time.

    • cpt_freakout says:

      Same here, I’m up for any excuse to re-install Thief 2. I don’t remember a few things from 1 so I might as well just play them all again…

  8. Blake Casimir says:

    Now THIS is kind of gaming news that excites me. A “feature-length” campaign for one of the greatest games ever? A 17 year old game, at that. And this is why (first person) PC gaming is best gaming. ;)