It hasn’t been an easy path for Thief‘s upcoming reboot thus far, but given the tradition and love for the franchise, it’s hard to think the developers didn’t expect it. Even if development hasn’t been smooth sailing to this point, they aren’t letting that shake them from their course (not that we can see, at least).

As satisfying as stealth and thievery can be (in a digital realm, of course) Eidos Montreal knows they’ll need a top-notch story driving players forward to attract the audience they hope to. And as the latest developer diary shows, story and gameplay won’t be as divided as one might think.

It’s safe to say that a great deal of expectation has already been placed on the writing and overall narrative of Thief; not only due to the successes of its most similar (and recent) competition – Dishonored – but it was the need to deliver a cinematic level of storytelling that led to Garrett being recast. The fans let their outrage at such a change to the canon be heard, so it will be interesting to see if that passion means fans will be the first to appreciate the story of Thief, or the first to attack it.

Thief E3 Gameplay Combat

Narrative director Steven Gallagher does a good job of breaking down the history and skills of Garrett for newcomers, as well as a brief look at the dark and gloomy city that will act as backdrop for most of the game. No period drama is complete without an evil villain, and Thief looks to have more than a a few when all is said and done.

As has become par for the course, Gallagher promises that new players will not have to have played through the previous Thief games to understand this new take – a statement we should all get used to hearing as next-gen launches approach. Seasoned fans will be happy to hear that even if this open world is a new start for Garrett, the men and women designing the game are fans of Thief, first and foremost. As such, there are sure to be subtle nods to past games, but no specifics are being given just yet.

The lengthy look at gameplay shown during E3 2013 gave an example of how the larger game world will evolve and change as the player moves through the story, but so far, it seems like the developers are keeping the major plot points under wraps.

What do you think of the merging of story and gameplay on hand for Thief? Is a strong story what you’re most hoping for from this reboot, or simply polished processing and sound gameplay?

Thief is expected to release in 2014 for the Xbox One, PS4 and PC.


Follow Andrew on Twitter @andrew_dyce.