Sly Cooper: Thieves in Time
It was only a few months ago at E3 that I was first introduced to the latest Sly Cooper game, Thieves in Time. Today at Gamescom, Sony and developer Sanzaru Games debuted a new level and some exciting features for the upcoming platformer.
As the game title suggests, Sly and his crew will be traveling through time in their latest adventure. I got to take a brief look at the hub stage for the Feudal Japan section of the game. Sanzaru's goals with hub stages is to make them even bigger and more complex than they were in Sly 2 and 3. Players will be urged to explore more to find clue bottles once again, and where previous Sly levels generally featured a couple levels of verticality – usually just ground level and rooftop – Thieves in Time will provide much greater and more varied heights to climb to.
To help players deal with the larger hubs, Sanzaru has also put in a new compass tool that helps Sly locate his next objective. When activated, the compass appears as a blue circle around Sly with an arrow pointing in the direction he must go. The arrow even operates on 3D space, so it will point up or down if the goal is on a different plane.
In the bit of the Feudal Japan hub that I witnessed, Sly received a mission to begin putting together a set of samurai armor by stealing it. As with all of the alternate costumes in Thieves in Time, this armor set will both allow Sly to disguise himself and grant him a new power of some sort. Sanzaru says they're hoping to encourage players to go back through completed levels as they collect new costumes with powers that will enable them to reach new areas.
Since the hub worlds are more open-ended than the regular levels that branch out from there, there are numerous ways for Sly to approach his mark. Whatever the route, though, one rule stands above all: He cannot be seen by the lantern-carrying, fully armored samurai patrolling the streets. Unfortunately, the Sony representative demoing the game hit a bug where he was spotted over and over, and being seen during this portion seems to lead to an instant fail state.
On the brighter side, the representative took this opportunity to show off several viable paths through the wide open Feudal Japan hub. Traversing the city looked like standard Sly Cooper fare, including run along thin wires, balancing on precarious lantern tops, and generally sticking to the heights and shadows whenever possible. I also noticed Sly pull out a parachute to help glide to safety when falling from farther up.
Finally, Sony provided a brief look at the brand new version of the hideout in Thieves in Time. In addition to giving access to all the different time periods, the hideout has a treasure wall where players can display items they have won from various challenges. Apparently collecting enough treasure will lead to even more bonus unlocks of some sort. And for the fashion moguls in the audience, there's also a costume gallery where players can check out and jump into any of the bonus armor they've collected so far.
Once again, I walked away from my Thieves in Time appointment mostly impressed that this new developer seems to be handling Sucker Punch's excellent series respectfully and smartly. I'm itching to get hands on with the game, so hopefully Sony will have more to show off soon.