While not fairly on the identical scale as Grand Theft Auto 6 or Diablo 4, one other latest online game leak has supplied an intriguing perception into one of many PC’s most critically acclaimed video games. Over the weekend, an unfinished prototype of Thief 2: The Metal Age appeared on the Internet.

The prototype is dated November 4, 1999, which is roughly 5 months earlier than the game launched in March 2000. It was found and uploaded by a game preservation organisation known as The Project Eclipse Team, then shared by the Twitter account of considered one of its members @Hwd405, as a part of a a lot bigger launch of game prototypes from the late nineties and early 2000s.


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An evaluation of the prototype was subsequently supplied by Romain Barrilliot, a stage designer at Arkane Studios and an enormous Thief fan. “It is, as you can imagine, an absolute treasure trove”, Barrilliot wrote on Twitter. Every stage featured within the ultimate game is offered to play within the prototype model, however their phases of completion differ wildly. Some, just like the fifth stage “Eavesdropping” and the ultimate stage “Sabotage at Soulforge” are barely began, whereas others, such because the game’s well-known financial institution heist, are on the cusp of being completed.

Feature-wise, the prototype would not diverge radically from the ultimate model, however Barrilliot notes just a few attention-grabbing variations. For instance, he factors out the second mission “Shipping and Receiving” had two buildings to discover within the retail model, however the prototype features a third constructing that was in the end minimize. Barrilliot additionally notes that the police station from Framed “looks nothing like what’s in the final version in terms of texturing”. Some missions even have totally different names. The ninth mission “Trail of Blood” is known as within the prototype as “Trace the Courier” – the identical title because the earlier mission. Meanwhile, Thief 2’s most well-known mission “Life of the Party” is at this level often known as “An Unexpected Guest”.

(Image credit score: Looking Glass Studios/Romain Barrilliot)

There are tons of different enjoyable little particulars too, similar to total in-game paperwork that have been minimize from the discharge model, and the truth that the prototype makes use of objects from Looking Glass’ sister-project System Shock 2 as placeholders for issues like enemies and safety cameras. It’s effectively price studying by way of all the thread.

In the context of the opposite leaks which have occurred lately, nevertheless, the Thief 2 prototype reveals two issues. First, whereas leaks of in-development video games can have destructive penalties for these video games, from inflicting grief for builders to actively hindering a game’s creation, leaks may also have a optimistic impact, notably when they’re sufficiently chronologically faraway from the game’s energetic improvement. This is an interesting slice of online game historical past with loads to be realized on it, and the truth that it is appeared now means it might probably’t harm Thief 2’s improvement.

(Image credit score: Looking Glass Studios/Romain Barrilliot)

Which leads neatly onto my second level. The prototype demonstrates the huge quantity of labor that occurs within the ultimate phases of a game’s improvement. With simply 5 months to go earlier than launch, not a single stage of Thief 2 is completed, and a number of other of them are barely began. It’s a putting instance of how late within the day in improvement video video games come collectively, which is particularly vital to know in when taking a look at an in-development game like Grand Theft Auto 6. To peek backstage is to see the actors in varied states of undress, and it is foolish to then complain about that when it is you doing the peeking.

Correction: A earlier model of this text incorrectly attributed the unique sharing of the Thief prototype on Twitter to Romain Barrilliot. The prototype was launched by the Project Eclipse Team, and initially shared on Twitter by @Hwd405.