It started as an RPG set in Dark Camelot surrounding King Arther. Several mechanics were there to facilitate different play styles. However, the ones about thieving seemed more interesting than the rest. The team decided to focus exclusively on those elements. Many features were cut down because of deadlines, like inventory management. Some decisions were made deliberately, others happened by accident. But almost everything took the project in the right direction. This led to the creation of something that can only happen once or twice in a life time. You can't create something like that again even if you tried. Looking Glass Studios finally released Thief: The Dark Project in 1998.
The studio was not done with it yet. It took feedback and improved almost everything in the sequel, Thief 2: The Metal Age. A swan song of Looking Glass Studios came out in 2000, the last game the legendary PC developers were able to push out before going bankrupt due to several bad decisions made previously. Thief 2 is still considered as definitive stealth game which literally changed my life. It changed how I approach my own work and how I judge other entertainment pieces. It was creation of multi talented studio where same person could do voice acting, level design, writing etc while other studios needed several more people to handle same tasks.
It was a game that not only gave you great storyline through cutscenes but also made you experience twists and turns in real time during gameplay as you felt what the protagonist was going through at given time. The same reaction from both the main character and the player created a strong bond between the two which took the immersion to the next level. It was a game that launched the career of people like Ramin Djawadi who now composes for Hollywood, but back then worked as an assistant to Eric Brosius, lead sound designer for the game who was more interested in creating immersive ambient sounds to immerse the players than having rock n roll soundtracks in the background.
Today every game inspired by Thief and Looking Glass Studio contains 0451 as password to open doors in early moments. This was a password to enter Looking Glass Studio's building. Everyone pays tribute to this great studio that revolutionized the industry with its titles such as Ultima Underworld, System Shock, Thief among others. The last one proved to be most financially successful and its second entry proved to be their swan song. The studio is no more, but we will never forget these great people and the series' amazing protagonist Garrett voiced by extremely talented real man, Steven Russell.
Happy 20th birthday you Taffer!