Portraits hang on the wall of the small interview room in which I met Thief's narrative director. Steven Gallagher. It starts like any other appointment, but something about this one is different. I'm tired after three days of back-to-back meetings, but Gallagher holds my attention fast. He isn't simply there to answer my questions. No, he has a story to tell.
Gallagher's performance is grand. He tells me of a young girl, Erin. She is an orphan living on the street until she is taken in by a high end brothel. There, she cleans and performs other chores until she gets older. Facing an undesirable life in the brothel, Erin makes the decision to return to the street.
There, she encounters the master theif, Garrett. He sees something of himself in her and takes her as his apprentice. Unlike Garrett, who keeps his emotions in check with absolute discipline, Erin is impulsive. She kills without thought, and this eventually creates a rift between master and student.
Many years later, the two are unwittingly paired for a major job by a mutual friend, Basso the fence. Garrett continues with the plan, and almost immediately Erin leaves another dead body on the ground. As punishment, Garrett steals Erin's claw, which allows her to climb buildings. She is too occupied to recognize it is missing until it is too late.
The pair come upon a ritual in the large manor they are infiltrating. Observing from the roof is safe, until the building begins to shake and crumble. Erin falls, and without her claw, meets her end. Garrett plummets as well, blacking out when he hits the ground.
When he awakens, he is on a cart on its way into the city. Once there, he discovers that the age of prosperity has suddenly ended, and the average citizen is poor. A sickness called The Gloom permeates the populus. This is not the place Garrett departed just hours before. He has been gone for an entire year.
Thief will ask players to explore the mystery, learn more about what happened to Garrett during his blackout, and steal from those who are oppressing the poor. For more on Thief, you can read our cover hub from the April 2013 issue. Thief is due out on Xbox One, PlayStation 4, PlayStation 3, Xbox 360, and PC in 2014.