Thanks to the latest issue of GameInformer, we now have a ton of information about the next game in the Thief series. According to Eurogamer, Thief 4 is set to continue the series' tradition of first-person stealth and actively discouraging combat, just like the previous games.

Thief 4 will also add a major new mechanic called Focus. It works like Detective Mode did in the Batman: Arkham games, and highlights scalable walls, extinguishable lights and fingerprints that can be analysed. It also works as a sort of Bullet Time, as you can use it to slow down time while pickpocketing.

Gathering Focus lets you accumulate Attack Points, which basically work as emergency “oh crap!” buttons and let you pull off emergency escapes. This may be a lot like the VATS system Bethesda used in Fallout 3 and Obsidian used in Fallout: New Vegas, where you pause time and aim for specific body parts. For instance, you can use Attack Points on an enemy's chest to shove him out of the way.

Hopefully, Thief 4 won't be action-oriented

Hopefully, Thief 4 won't be action-oriented

The enemy AI can make or break a stealth game, and the first few Thief games' AI were revolutionary for their time. Apparently, this game is set to continue the tradition. “Garrett's enemies understand the topography of the level and which areas could be useful for hiding. Different NPCs will look for Garrett in different ways,” noted AI programmer Eric Martel.

Eavesdropping will be playing an important part in the game too. You'll be able to hear NPCs talk about the environment, which may give you new ways to go about your mission. GameInformer cited an example of some servers talking about a time when the level's ventilation system was contaminated by opium. This, Garrett decides, would be a great way to calm down a panicked crowd, and goes about doing just that. This also ends up being a double-edged sword, though, as Garrett now has to escape quickly while holding his breath so that he doesn't get “calmed down” too.

The level structure seems like it will be like that of Deus Ex: Human Revolution. Levels will have a main hub area where you can roam around and do side quests between missions. Garrett’s tools of the trade will include a bow, a club, a grappling hook, lockpicks, and like the previous games, specialty arrows. The arrows have different properties—they can put out flames or even create a cloud of smoke.

Overall, the game sounds very similar to Dishonored, which is unsurprising as the Thief games are cited as some of the biggest inspirations for Dishonored.

The Thief games are set to be released for the PC, the PlayStation 3, the Xbox 360, and possibly the next-gen consoles in 2014.

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