Fans of Thief have been waiting long enough to hear of Eidos Montreal‘s plans for the franchise, and the wait is over. Thief 4 is a reality, and is currently in development for a 2014 launch. The long-awaited reboot, simply titled Thief has claimed the cover story of Game Informer‘s April issue, and with it, a full unveil of the character design, setting, and peek behind the scenes has arrived.

The titular stealth character, Garrett, has received some updated visuals and entirely new levels of attention in his weapons and traversal. The images certainly speak louder than words, but the words from Eidos Montreal won’t hurt in building excitement, either.

Open-ended gameplay and giving players the choice of how to tackle specific missions or tasks have quickly become buzz words in modern open-world game design, with the finished products often varying in success. But considering how strongly customization and choice was emphasized in Eidos Montreal’s last reboot, Deus Ex: Human Revolution, they’ve more than earned the benefit of the doubt.

Here’s an update from the developers themselves, courtesy of Game Informer:

These days, it’s hard to mention the words ‘stealth’ and ‘steampunk/fantasy’ in the same sentence without somehow addressing the success of Dishonored, also building both action and stealth into core mission design. But as the team points out, Garrett is not “renowned” in the game’s world, meaning guards aren’t jumping at the chance to shoot him on sight.

While that might mean that clambering up the walls of the Victorian-style City isn’t entirely necessary, it won’t be any less fun. Garrett is a thief, after all – a fact made perfectly clear by the studio’s glimpse into the mind of the character, and the world in which players will operate:

Time has moved on. Power has shifted. New greed replaces the old.
But to remain free in the City of chains — that is still the greatest prize.
First I stole to survive… then I survived to steal.
I am one man; I hear your secrets, see your hidden truths.
I am the shadows, the dark and deadly, the velvet night. You will not see me coming.

I am Garrett… What’s yours is mine.

Those skills and will to survive will come in handy for Garrett, as a plague hits the residents of the City, and social unrest grows toward a boiling point. How that factors into the overall story isn’t clear, but the released screenshots and concept art prove it should make for one entertaining environment. Have a look:

The word ‘reboot’ tends to raise some hackles among the gaming world’s most devoted followers, especially when the property being rebooted has yet to fall out of favor. However, the studio’s general manager Stephane D’Astous maintains that they’re not going to fix anything that isn’t broken, but update the property for fans both old and new:

“We’re handling a precious gemstone with Thief. Fans remember the original games very fondly and we want to preserve that essence – which we have excellent experience of doing at Eidos-Montréal – whilst also introducing Thief to a brand new, next-generation, audience…Our goal is to deliver the fantasy of being Garrett, THE master thief, and we’re building this game around that core experience.”

The studio’s website lists a release date of 2014 for the PC, PlayStation 4 and “other next-gen consoles,” so for now it seems that whatever Eidos Montreal has planned, it’s too substantial for the Xbox 360, PS3 or Wii U. If true, Thief is one of the first truly next-gen games being detailed at this point. In case anyone needed another reason to pay attention.

Expect more details on Thief to arrive as the coverage continues. Needless to say, we’ll keep you updated.

Follow Andrew on Twitter @andrew_dyce.

Source: Game Informer, Eidos Montreal