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The experience of discovering narrative bits in virtual environments is games’ unique contribution to the storytelling tradition. The design of the Thief games—from environment, to audio, to objects, to scripting, to player-character and AI—is the best foundation for games’ style of narrative. Looking Glass Studios’ Thief: The Dark Project and Thief II: The Metal Age, and, to a lesser degree, Ion Storms’ Thief: Deadly Shadows relayed narrative superbly via first-person immersion, stealth gameplay, and environmental storytelling.

Throughout Dark Narrative, Trevor Whalen will make the case for these games as I look at their missions and the stories they tell. The thesis is that the design behind the Thief series lays the most effective foundation for interactive storytelling.

This series will jump back and forth between missions from Thief: The Dark Project and its Gold re-release, Thief II: The Metal Age, and Thief: Deadly Shadows. In addition to the games’ official missions, fan-made missions by users at “Through the Looking Glass” will also be considered.

The following lists each article in chronological order.

Lord Bafford’s Manor

lord baffords manor thief dark narrativeLord Bafford’s Manor is the first area you get to explore in Thief and it lays the groundwork for the narrative design of the game. The mission is a simple one, but has many narrative caches to discover, if you so choose to look. From the start you see the foundation for incredible interactive storytelling. Read more here…